Taco Bell's New Doritos Taco
In an amazing act of cross-branding, Taco Bell has painted its hard taco shell bright orange with a chemical-tasting spice mixture -- and called it a Doritos. Or maybe what's amazing is that they didn't think of it before -- from 1978 to 1997, PepsiCo (the corporate parent of Frito-Lay) owned Taco Bell, and several other fast-food franchises, as well.
Doritos are a product of the Frito-Lay division of PepsiCo. The salty snack was invented sometime in the 1960s, a thin triangular corn chip fried to crispness. The product is reminiscent of the tortilla chips used to dip guacamole, which also underpin nachos and are stirred with salsa to make chilaquiles.
My father, Jacob Sietsema, had an important hand in inventing some of the earliest Doritos flavors, including Nacho Cheese, which is the one being used in the Taco Bell taco shell. Of the original Doritos, he once told me, "Doritos were invented for Northerners. The Frito-Lay company's most important product at the time was Fritos, a corn chip with a very strong flavor. The company reasoned that consumers up north preferred something more bland and mild."
So it was with a strong sense of the Doritos' history that I bought my first Taco Bell Doritos taco, which sports the slogan, "My taco is a Doritos." Actually I bought two: a pared-down version containing only spiced ground beef, iceberg lettuce, and curls of yellow cheese ($1.29), and a more opulent rendition that adds crema and chopped tomatoes ($1.69).