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Taco Bell Founder Glen Bell ~ RIP

11:11 AM PST on January 19, 2010

Glen Bell, founder of Taco Bell (and Der Weinerschnitzel), has died at the age of 86 at his home in Rancho Sante Fe. The Southern Calfornian and former Marine is survived by his wife, three children, and four grand-children.

Many taco purists bemoan the rise of Taco Bell, which is many Americans' first exposure to tacos or mexican food. The bastardization of the street taco into the crunchy, cheesy, lettuce-y fast-food taco induces revulsion and contempt in street gourmets the world over, and rightly so. However one cannot deny that to date, Glen Bell is the man most responsible for bringing the words "taco" and "burrito" to the farthest corners of the planet, setting the stage for the global taco revolution. As people discover authentic tacos, they realize that the transcendant flavors and aromas of a taco can reveal the lies behind corporate hegemony of all aspects of life. Or something like that.

Bell was a fast-food titan and originator, one of the original crew of Southern Californians who invented fast food. Like the others, he started out slinging hamburgers, but switched to tacos to both differentiate himself and introduce people to his favorite food, tacos. He is the direct or indirect inspiration for SoCal taco-preneurs from Southgate to San Diego. Originally sold for 19 cents out of a window in his taco shack in San Berdoo, the empire grew and grew and grew before it was sold to Pepsi in 1978 for $125m. Today there are more than 5,000 Taco Bells in 14 different countries including China and Dubai.

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