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Texas Cuisine

Texas is a large state, surrounded by many cultural influences.  That being said, there is a distinct amount of food available for consumption, from the common to the uniquely Texan!

What is Tex-Mex?

Tex-Mex food is a unique blend of American and Mexican food, with the ingredients from American combined with the flavor of Mexico.  Whereas other Southwestern states usually indulge in New Mexican cuisine, Texans tend to stay true to Tex-Mex.  Tex-Mex food is heavy on the cheese, meat, and spices; particularly beef or pork.  The fajita and chile con carne, while sounding Spanish, are Tex-Mex inventions and traditions. Tex-Mex culture has stuck around for over 100 years, and is very popular in the city of Houston.  Texas is known to have the widest population of different food seekers, so Tex-Mex has grown and changed throughout the years, but remains true to its Mexican Roots.

Texas BBQ          

One type of food that is emulated, but never duplicated, from Texas is Texan Barbeque. What makes it different is that while many BBQ places use pork as the main ingredient, Texans tend to use more beef.  Brisket and beef sausage are most commonly served, using a slow cooking method.  Texas toast, thick white bread, is often served with your Texas BBQ. Pinto beans are also a popular side dish. 

Influences

Texas cooking has many influences.  African Americans were responsible for bringing us many fried foods, including fried chicken and catfish, from their post-Emancipation days in the deep south.  Many former slave cooks or servants carefully documented these types of meals.  Mexico of course was another influence, using chiles, onions, peppers and other spices to bring a new flare to Texas.  Chile con carne is the state dish of Texas, a spicy stew with meat, tomatoes and chili powder.  The Pueblo Indians brought sopapilla pastries to Texas, a pastry made of wheat dough and lard.  Other immigrants, including the Germans, gave Texas BBQ its flare by their different ways of cooking sausage.  And who could forget the Cajun and Creole peoples, located in nearby Louisiana?  In southeastern Texas, the influence is strong in their cooking, while Western Texans focus more on the Americanized, cowboy way of cooking, often by wagon stand.  The mobile kitchen at fairs and such is a big part of western Texas cooking displays. 

 

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