Tex-Mex cuisine

Tex-Mex is a term used primarily in Texas and the Southwestern United States to describe a regional American cuisine that blends food products available in the United States and the culinary creations of Mexican-Americans influenced by the cuisines of Mexico. A given Tex-Mex food may or may not be similar to Mexican cuisine, although it is common for all of these foods to be referred to as "Mexican food" in Texas, parts of the United States, and some other countries. In other ways it is Southern cooking using the commodities from Mexican culture. In many parts of the U.S. outside Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, the term is synonymous with Southwestern cuisine. [
Robb Walsh. "The Tex-Mex Cookbook" (New York, Broadway Books, 2004), XVI
] [
Susan Feniger, Helene Siegel, and Mary Sue Miliken. "Mexican Cooking for Dummies" (Scranton, Courage Books, 2002), 2
] [ [http://www.lightmillennium.org/2005_15th/emartinez_tex_mex_cuisine.html Mexicans in the U.S.A: Mexican-American / Tex-Mex Cousine; by Etienne MARTINEZ ] ]

History

"Tex-Mex" first entered the English language as a nickname for the Texas-Mexican Railway, chartered in southern Texas in 1875. [http://www.kcsi.com/corporate/tmr_h.html]

In train schedules published in the newspapers of the 1800s the names of railroads were abbreviated. The Missouri Pacific was called the Mo. Pac. and the Texas-Mexican was abbreviated Tex. Mex. In the 1920s the hyphenated form was used in American newspapers in reference to the railroad and to describe people of Mexican descent who were born in Texas. ["Mexia Evening News" (Mexia, Texas), May 23, 1922 "...to the new town of Marindo City on the TEX-MEX Railway, where oil is loaded..."; "Newark Advocate" (Newark, Ohio), September 19, 1928 "Q. What are TEX-MEX? B. R. A. Texas-born Mexicans." "Gastonia Daily Gazette" (Gastonia, North Carolina), May 29, 1926 "...offering went to the Tex-Mex SCHOOL, the SCHOOL FOR MEXICANS on the Texas side." Citations from www.newspaperarchive.com (subscription research service)]

In the mission era Spanish and Mexican Indian foods were combined in Texas as in other parts of the Northern Frontier of New Spain. [ [http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/OO/fon2.html TSHA Online - Texas State Historical Association ] ]

The cuisine that would come to be called Tex-Mex actually originated with Tejanos (Texans of Hispanic descent) as a hybrid of Spanish and native Mexican foods when Texas was part of New Spain and later Mexico.

From the South Texas region between San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley, this cuisine has had little variation and from earliest times has always been influenced by the cooking in the neighboring northern states of Mexico. The ranching culture of South Texas and northern Mexico straddles both sides of the border. A taste for "cabrito" (kid goat), "barbacoa" (barbecued cow heads), "carne seca" (dried beef), and other products of cattle culture is common on both sides of the Rio Grande. In the 20th century Tex-Mex took on such Americanized elements as yellow cheese as goods from the United States became cheap and readily available.

Diana Kennedy, an influential food authority, first delineated the differences between Mexican cuisine and Americanized Mexican food in her 1972 book "The Cuisines of Mexico". The first use in print of "Tex-Mex" in reference to food occurred in the "Mexico City News" in 1973.

Award-winning Texas food writer Robb Walsh (of the "Houston Press") updated Kennedy and put her comments regarding Tex-Mex cooking into historical and socio-political perspective in "" (New York: Broadway Books, 2004).

Some ingredients are common in Mexican cuisine, but ingredients unknown in Mexico are often added. Tex-Mex cuisine is characterized by its heavy use of melted cheese, meat (particularly beef), beans, and spices, in addition to Mexican-style tortillas. Texas-style chili con carne, chili con queso, chili gravy, and fajitas are all Tex-Mex inventions.Fact|date=March 2007 A common feature of Tex-Mex is the combination plate, with several of the above on one large platter. Serving tortilla chips and a hot sauce or salsa as an appetizer is common in Tex-Mex restaurants. Fact|date=February 2007 Moreover, Tex-Mex has imported flavors from other spicy cuisines, such as the use of cumin (common in Indian food but used in only a few authentic Mexican recipes).

Tex-Mex restaurants

Tex-Mex cuisine is found in many independent and chain restaurants in Texas and elsewhere in the U.S. Chain restaurants include Chico's Tacos, Ninfa's, Chuy's, El Fenix, El Chico, Taco Cabana, On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, Pancho's Mexican Buffet, Taco Palenque, and the now-defunct Chi-Chi's.

In London, England, there is the Texas Embassy Cantina, located approximately 500 meters from the site of the former Texas Legation.

Notes

ee also

* Cuisine of the United States
* Cuisine of Mexico
* Chili con queso

External links

* [http://www.houstonpress.com/2000-10-26/dining/the-authenticity-myth/full A Six Part History of Tex-Mex]
* [http://inogolo.com/guides/texmex Pronunciation Guide to Mexican and Tex-Mex Food]
* [http://www.houstonpress.com/2008-07-03/news/temples-of-tex-mex-a-diner-s-guide-to-the-state-s-oldest-mexican-restaurants/1 Temples of Tex-Mex: A Diner's Guide to the State's Oldest Mexican Restaurants]


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