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The Tantalizingly Tasty History of Tex-Mex Cuisine


Did you know that the origins of Tex-Mex cuisine are not as simple as the name may suggest? Many ingredients were introduced from Spain, which itself had influences from across Europe and Africa. So how did these come together with Mexican food to create this delicious fusion?

Many people get confused about the difference between them. Read on as we discuss everything you need to know about Tex-Mex cuisine.

What Is Tex-Mex Cuisine?

Tex-Mex is a term used to describe American-made food that has been heavily influenced by the Mexican culinary legacy. They are often based on Mexican dishes with extra ingredients added and use new cooking methods. 

Common additions or changes are the use of black beans, particularly canned ones. Replacing meat for beef is another trait, as this is not widely used in Mexican food. Wheat flour products, as opposed to corn, are also inherent. 

History of Tex-Mex Cuisine

The fusion of these foods originates with Spanish missionaries in Mexico. While indigenous staples like beans existed, they would get mixed with European foods like rice, onions, and garlic. 

Descendants of these settlers became known as Tejanos. They lived in the north of the Rio Grande, which later became the state of Texas. These people would maintain their hybrid cuisine, and it would have a huge influence on what would become known as Tex-Mex. 

The term Tex-Mex did not originate with food. It was first used to describe a railroad that was a 52-mile long line that delivered sheep between Texas to the Gulf of Mexico. 

Its application to cuisine would first appear in an edition of The New York Times Magazine in 1963. The term was solidified in Diane Kennedy’s 1972 book “The Cuisines of Mexico.” This was the first time distinctions between authentic Mexican cuisines and the changed, Americanized versions were made.  

Classic Tex-Mex Dishes

There are several Tex-Mex dishes that have become staples in kitchens around the world. Chilli Con Carne is arguably one of the most famous. It utilizes both black beans, beef, and chilies to give its unique smoky flavor. 

Another classic is a wet burrito. This takes the Mexican street food staple and drowns it in chili gravy and melted cheese. You can find an excellent recipe for a wet burrito here. 

Steak Fajitas are another classic. The meat in these comes from beautiful cuts of beef, not usually used in pure Mexican cuisine. Served sizzling hot, they are often provided with several grilled vegetables and sides. 

Finally comes the humble nacho. The myth is that they were popularised when a folk legend named Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya served fried tortillas to pilgrims. In Tex-Mex cuisine, you can find them lathered in Chili Con Carne and delightful yellow cheese. 

Cooking Your Own Tex-Mex Cuisine

One of the advantages of Tex-Mex cuisine is that it is generally easy to cook. With just a few ingredients, you can create delicious healthy meals in your own home. Stock up and take some time to craft beautiful food in your own kitchen. 

If you enjoyed this article, then we have many more. From world cuisines to homemade favorites, we can help you find some delicious recipes. 

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