The Tex-Mex Cookbook: A History in Recipes and Photos [NOOK Book]

Overview

Join Texas food writer Robb Walsh on a grand tour complete with larger-than-life characters, colorful yarns, rare archival photographs, and a savory assortment of crispy, crunchy Tex-Mex foods.

From the Mexican pioneers of the sixteenth century, who first brought horses and cattle to Texas, to the Spanish mission era when cumin and garlic were introduced, to the 1890s when the Chile Queens of San Antonio sold their peppery stews to gringos ...
See more details below
The Tex-Mex Cookbook: A History in Recipes and Photos

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.99
BN.com price

Overview

Join Texas food writer Robb Walsh on a grand tour complete with larger-than-life characters, colorful yarns, rare archival photographs, and a savory assortment of crispy, crunchy Tex-Mex foods.

From the Mexican pioneers of the sixteenth century, who first brought horses and cattle to Texas, to the Spanish mission era when cumin and garlic were introduced, to the 1890s when the Chile Queens of San Antonio sold their peppery stews to gringos like O. Henry and Ambrose Bierce, and through the chili gravy, combination plates, crispy tacos, and frozen margaritas of the twentieth century, all the way to the nuevo fried oyster nachos and vegetarian chorizo of today, here is the history of Tex-Mex in more than 100 recipes and 150 photos.

Rolled, folded, and stacked enchiladas, old-fashioned puffy tacos, sizzling fajitas, truck-stop chili, frozen margaritas, Frito™ Pie, and much, much more, are all here in easy-to-follow recipes for home cooks.

The Tex-Mex Cookbook will delight chile heads, food history buffs, Mexican food fans, and anybody who has ever woken up in the middle of the night craving cheese enchiladas.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Walsh, the Houston Press's restaurant critic, lifts the veil on the often misunderstood, widely undefined concept of authentic Tex-Mex, providing the nuts and bolts of one of America's finest-and oldest-indigenous cuisines. While Tex-Mex is loosely described as a fusion of Texan and Mexican cuisines, Walsh sheds a much needed light on the intricacies of the food he calls "that loveable ugly duckling." He outlines Tex-Mex's main ingredients (chile peppers, lard and cornhusks), and along the way not only gives the history behind the proliferation of Mexican ingredients into American cuisine, but unapologetically rationalizes the need for unrefined staples such as Velveeta cheese and Fritos corn chips in customary Tex-Mex recipes. Walsh fills the pages with stick-to-your-ribs fare like chili-slathered Truck Stop Enchiladas and Chili Mac (spaghetti and chili con carne), along with basics like Ninfa's Showcase Fajitas and Frozen Margaritas. As the chapters progress, Walsh builds upon earlier dishes, offering alternatives and tips. Sidebars and vintage photographs lend a personal feel, transforming this cookbook from a mere reference guide to an inviting memoir and social history of a food most Americans forget is unique to their homeland. Walsh deserves credit for taking on the difficult task of organizing the desires, beliefs and strife of the people who made Tex-Mex the respected cuisine it is today. Photos. (On sale June 8) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Houstonian Walsh (A Cowboy in the Kitchen; Nuevo Tex-Mex) traces the history of real Tex-Mex food, from the days of the Spanish missions and "cowboy culture" to the present ("From Paris, Texas, to Paris, France: Twenty-First-Century Tex-Mex"). Drawing on in-depth research and visits to dozens of caf s and restaurants throughout Texas, he makes a case for Tex-Mex as our oldest regional cuisine. Although until recently, almost every "Mexican" restaurant in this country was actually serving Tex-Mex food, such food is not, in fact, a bastardization of Mexican cuisine. Instead, Walsh argues, it has its own identity. Referring to this food as "a lovable ugly duckling," he provides dozens of recipes for the unpretentious dishes that have made Tex-Mex so popular, from Casa Rio Chili Con Carne to Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas to Nachos and, of course, Frito Pie. Dozens of black-and-white period photographs, as well as anecdotes and oral histories of Tex-Mex cooks and other figures, supply additional context to this readable chronicle. Highly recommended. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781607747703
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press
  • Publication date: 8/19/2014
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 658,999
  • File size: 23 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Robb Walsh is the author of Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook, A Cowboy in the Kitchen, and Nuevo Tex-Mex. He is also the restaurant critic of the Houston Press, an occasional commentator for NPR’s Weekend Edition, and has served as the food columnist for Natural History. He has been nominated for six James Beard awards, including for last year’s Legends of Texas Barbecue, and has won twice.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

INTRODUCTION
TEX MEX: THAT LOVABLE UGLY DUCKLING

Tex-mex is the ugly duckling of american regional cuisines. Since it was called Mexican food for most of its history, nobody even thought of it as American until about thirty years ago. That was when the first authoritative Mexican cookbook in the United States, Diana Kennedy's The Cuisines of Mexico, was published.

Kennedy trashed the "mixed plates" in "so-called Mexican restaurants" north of the border and encouraged readers to raise their standards. The English-born Kennedy was the wife of the late Paul Kennedy, a New York Times correspondent posted in Mexico City. She had never lived in the United States at the time of the book's publication in 1972 and evidently wasn't familiar with the Tejano culture.

Hugely popular in the United States, The Cuisines of Mexico was a breakthrough cookbook, one that could have been written only by a non-Mexican. It unified Mexican cooking by transcending Mexico's nasty class divisions and treating the food of the poor with the same respect as that of the upper classes. But while admirably egalitarian in her attitude toward the food of Mexicans, Kennedy lambasted the food of Texas-Mexicans.

In a later book, The Art of Mexican Cooking, Kennedy wrote, "Far too many people outside Mexico still think of them [Mexican foods] as an overly large platter of mixed messes, smothered with shrill tomato sauce, sour cream, and grated cheese preceded by a dish of mouth-searing sauce and greasy deep-fried chips. Although these do represent some of the basic foods of Mexico-in name only-they have been brought down to their lowest common denominator north of the border, on a par with the chop suey and chow mein of Chinese restaurants 20 years ago."

Tex-Mex entered the lexicon of the food world within a year of The Cuisines of Mexico's publication. The first time it was used in print in relation to food, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, was in this 1973 quote from the Mexico City News, an English-language newspaper: "It is a mistake to come to Mexico and not try the local cuisine. It is not the Tex-Mex cooking one is used to getting in the United States."

If you go to the library to look up Tex-Mex, you will find lots of definitions. But unfortunately they are all different. The dictionaries don't agree on whether Tex-Mex means Americanized Mexican food in general or specifically the kind from Texas.

Some food writers put San Francisco's steak burritos, San Diego's fish tacos, and Tucson's chimichangas in the Tex-Mex category. That's because they use the term Tex-Mex to mean Americanized Mexican food, regardless of its place of origin.

There is no consensus on what Tex-Mex means in Texas either. Middle-aged Anglos tend to describe it as a specific subset of the larger genre of Mexican food-one that involves yellow cheese enchiladas with chopped raw onions and chili gravy as served in San Antonio around 1955.

Why the confusion? Because for many years, the people who owned the restaurants where Tex-Mex was served refused to use the term at all. Tex-Mex was a slur. It was a euphemism for bastardized, and it was an insult that cost Mexican-Texan families who had been in the restaurant business for generations a lot of business.

Tex-Mex was still called Mexican food when its popularity began to spread beyond Texas to other parts of the country. But the biggest fans of Tex-Mex have always been west of the Mississippi. Texas-Mexican food first became popular in the Midwest in 1893, when a San Antonio chili stand was set up at the Chicago World's Fair. Chili con carne was being canned in Oklahoma and St. Louis by 1910. Cincinnati's first chili joint opened in 1922. And more chili joints sprung up across the country, becoming Depression-era havens for cheap food. Meanwhile, tamale vendors popularized another kind of Mexican food across the country. In The World on a Plate, food historian Joel Denker tells us tamales were among the most common foods on the streets of Chicago in the early 1900s and were far more popular than hamburgers.

Because of their greater familiarity with its traditions, food writers and cooking authorities from the western half of the country think of Tex-Mex more sympathetically than do their New York counterparts.

"I love Tex-Mex. I grew up on it," says Rick Bayless, author of Authentic Mexican and Mexico One Plate at a Time.

In his cookbooks, Bayless, who comes from Oklahoma, pays tribute to Tex-Mex as a distinctive regional cuisine. "When people cook from the heart, there isn't a right, or wrong, way to do it," he told me. Bayless said that when writing Authentic Mexican, his first cookbook, which was published in 1987, he wanted to include Tex-Mex as well as New Mexican and California Mexican. But his New York editor didn't share his point of view.

In Eating in America: A History (1976), the late Chicago food writer Waverly Root defines Tex-Mex as a unique regional cuisine: "Tex-Mex food might be described as native foreign food, contradictory through that term may seem. It is native, for it does not exist elsewhere; it was born on this soil. But it is foreign in that its inspiration came from an alien cuisine; that it has never merged into the mainstream of American cooking and remains alive almost solely in the region where it originated . . ."

Today, most people agree that Tex-Mex isn't really Mexican food. And for reasons I hope this book will explain, Tex-Mex has started to shed its negative connotations. In the last five years, some of the same Texas-Mexican restaurants that once shunned the term have begun to claim they invented Tex-Mex!

Meanwhile, historians are beginning to study "Tex-Mex" more seriously. As it has become more widely understood to describe an American regional cooking style, it has also begun to be used retroactively. Culinary folklorists now trace Tex-Mex cooking all the way back to the state's Native American peoples and to Juan de Onate's colonists who first brought European livestock to El Paso in 1581.

"Tex-Mex foods are a combination of Indian and Spanish cuisines, which came together to make a distinct new cuisine," writes Joe S. Graham in the Texas State Historical Society's Handbook of Texas Online.

For all these reasons, I thought this might be a good time for a Tex-Mex cookbook. For the past ten years, I have been gathering scraps that I thought might shed some light on the story of Tex-Mex cooking. From restaurants and museums, garage sales and presidential libraries, I've collected recipes, snapshots, menus, postcards, and advertisements for canned chili. And I've interviewed a bunch of colorful veterans of the Tex-Mex restaurant business. In this book, I have put those scraps together. The result is not a complete picture but a fragmented collage made up of one man's gleanings.

It's been more than thirty years since The Cuisines of Mexico was published, and many of its baroque Mexican dishes seem like museum pieces now, while at the same time, Tex-Mex has achieved worldwide popularity.

We can all thank Diana Kennedy for inadvertently granting Tex-Mex its rightful place in food history. By convincing us that Tex-Mex wasn't really Mexican food, she forced us to realize that it was something far more interesting: America's oldest regional cuisine.

***

DEFINING "TEX-MEX"
-Oxford English Dictionary: "Designating the Texan variety of something Mexican. First use in print, Time magazine, 1941 '. . . Tex-Mex Spanish, that half-English half-Spanish patois of the border . . .' "
-Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition Dictionary: "Of, relating to, or being the Mexican-American culture or cuisine existing or originating in esp. southern Texas."
-Food Lover's Companion: "A term given to food (as well as music, etc.) based on the combined cultures of Texas and Mexico."

***

TEJANO
"In Spanish, a Texan of Mexican descent is called a tejano or tejana (with a lowercase t). Hispanics in Texas identified themselves as Tejanos as early as January 1833, when leaders at Goliad used the term. Contemporary historians use the term to distinguish Mexican Texans from residents of other regions and to distinguish them from the Texians as Anglo-American Texans were called, during the period between the end of the Spanish era in 1821 to Texas Independence in 1836.
"The term 'Tejano' gained greater currency following the Chicano movement of the mid-1960s with corresponding changes in nuance and usage. It now encompasses language, literature, art, music, and cuisine. Tex-Mex is a related term that is not synonymous."


-Adán Benavides from the Handbook of Texas Online.

***

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction: Tex-Mex: That Lovable Ugly Duckling XIV
Chapter 1 Talking Tex-Mex: Terms, Tools, and Techniques XX
Chapter 2 Old-fashioned Breakfasts: The Spanish Missions and the Cowboy Culture 16
Chapter 3 Chili con Carne: The Chili Joints and the Chili Queens 38
Chapter 4 Early Combination Plates: The Original Mexican Restaurant 62
Chapter 5 Hot Tamales! Mexican, Tejano, and Southern-style 80
Chapter 6 West Texas Enchiladas: The Old Borunda Cafe 98
Chapter 7 Mex-Mex: The Myth of Authenticity 114
Chapter 8 Dulces and Desserts: The Pecan Shellers' Uprising 138
Chapter 9 American Cheese Enchiladas: The Mexican-American Generation 152
Chapter 10 Puffy, Crispy, and Crazy: The Lost Art of the Taco 174
Chapter 11 The Junk Food Era: Nachos, Bean Dip, and Frito Pie 190
Chapter 12 Sizzling Fajitas: Tejano Tastes from the Valley 206
Chapter 13 Frozen or On the Rocks? The Margarita Revival 224
Chapter 14 From Paris, Texas, to Paris, France: Twenty-first-century Tex-Mex 238
Bibliography 258
Index 260
Mail-Order Sources 267
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2005

    suddenly homesick

    As a born and bred Texan now living in Upstate New York, I felt immediately at home while perusing this book. The recipes chosen were a spot-on representation of what defines the glorious whole of Tex Mex cuisine. As for the people and culinary institutions brought to life on the pages, well, let me just say that I recognized enough of them to realize how much of a stranger to the North East I am and always will be. Have to go now ¿ have some enchiladas to bake, and some plane reservations to make.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2004

    This book is as Great as Texas

    I was taken with the history,& the pictures are great! This book gives you the feel of the cowboy days and that you are 'there' enjoying the smells, thrills, flavors and tastes but most of all the people. You're a guest of a fasinating culture. Good food, easy recipes. Enjoy. I really love this book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)