Only two weeks left of summer 2021. The world is pushing forward. You are still seeing a lot of the same. Those that are anti-mask and/or anti-vaccine.The workers who once found themselves jobless- are now choosing not to go back when needed. Hopefully this spurs greater appreciation for our service industry folks.
Quarantine no longer keeps us home. Reduced capacity no longer keeps us waiting. However, even at the hottest restaurants - there are no shows. Even at the best barbaque spots - foot traffic is way down. Maybe it is the Texas heat, back to school shopping or the new variants. What do you think? It is so important to protect and preserve our culinary community. Food connects us to our past by preserving our story. We can share our stories in servings like copies of our book. Food also bridges across generations. Abuelitas teaching granddaughters how to cook. Food tells our history, culture and identities.
Tex-Mex. I am no authority on the subject so I’ll share my experience and interpretation. In the 1800s, the combination of Native Mexican and Spanish culture gave birth to the future Mexican Cuisine. I wonder if back then this new Mexican cuisine was thought of as Spanish-Mex.
Cheddar cheese, beef, wheat, and cumin were introduced into traditional Mexican recipes by Tejanos (Texans of Mexican descent) home cooking. Dishes like enchiladas with chili con carne, chimichangas and chicken or shrimp fajitas.
I read that in 1972, English author Diana Kennedy wrote a Mexican cookbook where she called Texas’ Mexican food unauthentic. She referred to it as Tex-Mex and popularized the term.
Tex-Mex meals usually start with chips & salsa or nachos. Margaritas are usually the most popular drink. It is a comfort food experience to be had.
Like most other cuisines - execution is not always there. Ask me where to go for the best Tex-Mex and you’ll find me with a lost of words. I could rattle off the most iconic or longest running spots. Although, just because you’ve been around a long time doesn’t necessarily mean it is good. There are a lot dishes out there ranging from okay to horrible.
A lot businesses mistakenly use Mexican in their name. The Tex-Mex category can be a crutch to miss the mark of authenticity. Tex-Mex can be a safe space to take liberties without fear of judgment. The funny thing is that even within authentic Mexican cuisine there are major differences. Authentic Mexican cuisine is regional. You will find different staples in different regions. So what is the big deal about Tex-Mex? Why do some people love it and others are even offended by it?
I’d really like to see a Tex-Mex reboot or revolution in causal and fine dining. (not talking about Taco Bell etc.)
I grew up in a restaurant family in Tampico México. My grandmother had a café and my Tio Beto a seafood restaurant. My dad & Tio Jesús partnered in a Mexican food restaurant & party venue. I worked every position in my Dad’s restaurant. Unfortunately, our restaurant closed before I could finish mastering the management/owner role.
My college years started with my pursuit of journalism. I’ve always enjoyed writing. I remember wanting to live the life of Murphy Brown (an iconic on-air journalist). My aptitude for grammar and spelling steered me toward other career choices. Graduating with a Masters in Hospitality Management brought me full circle. (back into the family business)
I actually wanted to go to culinary school instead college. I listened to my parents and saw my college education through. If only I could tell my younger self to focus 110% on a fusion of journalism and hospitality via social media.
If you made it this far - thank you! I really appreciate it. Comment an emoji below. See you were theres good food. Don’t forget to say Hi.