Tex-Mex food is good for the soul


Image by Jada Teague

Daphnie Escobedo, Contributing Writer

Being from Texas and living in the state means being integrated into a multitude of cultures. Considering that Texas shares a border with Mexico and is full of immigrants of all generations from the neighboring country, it comes as no surprise that Mexico has such a big influence on the state. That influence extends to how people identify themselves, the way they talk, what music they listen to and, of course, what they eat! 

Food is a major indicator of any culture, and Mexican food is easy to spot. Because of the centuries of Mexican food and culture influencing Texas, a new cuisine has developed into a distinctive blend of Mexican and Texan food that is fittingly called Tex-Mex.

Some people may make fun of Tex-Mex food for being a knock off of “the real thing,” aka Mexican food, but the thing about Tex-Mex is that it is the real thing; it just has a Texan twist to it. 

Tex-Mex takes all the best parts of Mexican food, such as its seasonings, spices, techniques and ingredients, and adds different tastes to it. For example, of course the taco is popularized in Mexico, but the breakfast taco is a whole phenomenon in Texas. The breakfast taco can be any combination of food such as bacon, potatoes, cheese and beans inside of a tortilla; it’s so popular in Texas that it’s sometimes offered and eaten at any point of the day. On Sundays, you can be sure that a huge part of the Texan population will be eating barbacoa tacos and drinking Big Red. Interestingly enough, what makes the food and drink combo even more Tex-Mex is the fact that Big Red is a native Texan soda. It’s not exactly known where the combination of barbacoa tacos and Big Red came from, but it has become so beloved that it’s often sold at restaurants and stores as a package deal.

Another Tex-Mex food favorite is nachos. They have many different recipes that include tortilla chips and any combination of cheese, meat, salsa and more. Nachos are beloved in Mexico as well. In fact, it’s such an admired and versatile dish that it can be served as a main dish, a side dish, an appetizer or even a snack. That versatility may be the main draw to Tex-Mex food, as so many Tex-Mex dishes have been made to be enjoyed at any time of the day.

While some people may feel that Tex-Mex food is a rip-off of Mexican food, that may not actually be bad. Being influenced by a culture in such a great manner, as Texan food is by Mexican food, should be taken as a compliment to the people who originated the food and immigrated it to Texas. Mexican immigration and integration is such a major contributor to Texan culture (and arguably United States’ culture as a whole), so of course food would be influenced and framed around the culture as well. For the people of Texas who appreciate Mexican food so much, whether they have ancestral origins to Mexico or not, the integration of their food with Mexican food is not a sign of a rip-off but rather a sign of deep admiration and appreciation.