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comida tex mex el origen de la fusion gastronomica 5

Tex-mex food: the origin of gastronomic fusion that unites Mexico with the United States

Esta entrada también está disponible en: ES (Spanish)

Tex-Mex cuisine, known for its Mexican-influenced dishes originating from Texas, stands as the flagship American food of the state, marking the genesis of this fusion.

Tex-Mex food has garnered widespread popularity globally, often blurring the lines with traditional Mexican cuisine. This confusion stems from the similarities shared by some dishes and, notably, the profound influence of Mexican culinary traditions in its inception.

The roots of Tex-Mex cuisine trace back to the Spanish missions of the 16th century, where the merging of Spanish culinary techniques with those of Native Americans in Texas commenced. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that Tex-Mex gastronomy began to take shape, earning its name from the Texas Mexican Railway, a vital trade route linking the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

During that era, Mexican cuisine had already gained a degree of popularity among residents of Texas, owing to its proximity to Mexico and the efforts of Mexican migrants who sought to recreate their beloved dishes. However, this adaptation necessitated the substitution of certain ingredients: beef was replaced with ground meat, while seasonings like oregano, epazote, parsley, and cilantro gave way to cumin. Additionally, corn tortillas were exchanged for flour ones to suit local tastes and ingredients more readily available in the region.

comida tex mex el origen de la fusion gastronomica 2
The flour tortilla is widely used in tex-mex food dishes. Credits: Unsplash

Today, Mexican food remains one of the most popular in the United States. Its gastronomic influence in the country lies in the origin of Tex-Mex gastronomy, a hybrid cuisine that should not be compared to traditional Mexican food. Tacos, nachos, fajitas and burritos are some of the most popular dishes. The fact that these recipes are promoted as Mexican food has created controversy.

It’s not Mexican food

The proximity between the United States and Mexico gave rise to the origin of Tex-Mex cuisine, but a dispute between nations as well, since for years this type of gastronomy was labeled as a cheap copy of Mexican food. However, today it is understood that Mexican cuisine and Tex-Mex are independent of each other.

comida tex mex el origen de la fusion gastronomica
Credits: Unsplash

The main difference between the two types of meals is in the ingredients and the ways they are cooked. In Tex-Mex, food is often “bathed” in yellow cheddar-type cheese, while in Mexican cuisine white cheeses are chosen, such as queso fresco or cotija.

comida tex mex el origen de la fusion gastronomica 3
Nachos are a quintessential Tex-Mex dish. In addition to cheese, they can have meat, pico de gallo sauce, cream and, of course, guacamole. Credits: Unsplash

Condiments also play an important part in the differences between the two cuisines. In Tex-Mex, dishes are usually seasoned with cumin, while in Mexico there is more variation with the different types of chili, pepper, cocoa, and herbs, such as epazote and coriander.

Although the meat and the tortillas are different, something that both cuisines share is their love for guacamole. The preparation is similar in both countries, as it includes cilantro, onion, salt and lemon. In large part, this is because the United States is the main consumer of Mexican avocados, importing up to 1.3 million tons a year.

comida tex mex el origen de la fusion gastronomica 4
Guacamole is one of the most popular snacks at events like the Super Bowl, for which tons of the fruit is exported from Mexico. Credits: Unsplash

What noro food would you like to try tex-mex style?

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