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R.I.P. Creator of Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Tacos

Though widely mocked and heralded as a sign of Western doom, you’d be hard pressed to find a more American means of culinary re-appropriation than that of Todd Mills’ Doritos shell taco. He had the idea while making a taco salad, and pitched it to Frito-Lay, who turned him down. Undaunted, he took the idea to Facebook, where the ravenous hoards came to his side and, unbeknownst to Mills, Frito-Lay went to Taco Bell and pitched the idea as their own. Yes, Mills’ story grows ever more American, with greedy corporations trying to keep this American Hero in his place. But Mills would not be long-denied justice, as Taco Bell eventually rang him up and asked him if he wanted to come out to California to take his idea for a test run.

The rest is history, and the Doritos Locos Taco became one of the most successful fast food items in history. And Todd Mills, like all great men in their time, never sought a dime of compensation. “Todd being Todd, he never asked for anything,” a pal of his told USA Today. “He said, ‘I just want my tacos.'” He got his tacos and now, he has sadly passed away at the age of 41, after a brave struggle against brain cancer, leaving behind a wife and two daughters. His family have asked that people submit photos of them eating his invention, to honor the very good idea of a very good man …

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