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Little Burros, Good to Eat

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Quincy from Bozeman, Montana, wonders how burritos came to be named with a Spanish word that means “little donkey.” In Spanish, the meaning of burro has also extended from “donkey” to “sawhorse.” In the case of the tortilla-wrapped comfort food, there are several possible explanations, although the most likely appears to be the resemblance between a tortilla draped over multiple ingredients and a blanket thrown across the back of a donkey, which also bears a heavy load of items. The Dictionary of Chicano Folklore (Bookshop|Amazon) suggests another possibility: burritos were a valued companion for vaqueros out on the trail, somewhat like the way burros are valuable companions for horses, because their presence tends to calm those potentially jittery animals. This is part of a complete episode.

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