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Old 07-26-2011, 04:59 PM   #1
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Tex-Mex, what is it...really?

i lived in tx all my life and ive been in chicago for over a year now.. and i see little difference between "tex-mex" vs mexican food... can a anyone break this down for me?

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Old 07-26-2011, 06:00 PM   #2
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Tex Mex has a lot more cheese, sour cream, hard corn tortillas, hamburger, and processed products. Pork and beef are not cooked in pits or banana leaves. We live in a town where we have many authentic Mexican restaurants, thanks to the immigrant population. True Mexican food has limited queso use, which is mild in flavor, and crema as opposed to sour cream. Soft corn tortillas, lard fried tortilla chips. Chilis and salsa varying in heat, frequently cruda (raw). There are many variants of Mexican food in Mexico, much like regional food in the States. Think New England Clam chowder vs. New Orleans jambalaya vs. Florida stone crabs vs. Texas bbq brisket. Lots of different spices and cooking techniques. The Yucatan Peninsula, where we stay, has a differerent style than Veracruz, which is different from other places in Mexico. Fish, beef, pork, chicken, iguana, you name it!

Get a good authentic Mexican cookbook, the techniques and recipes are amazing!
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:09 PM   #3
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You know, I find that what most people have in their minds about Mexican food is very stereotypical and is more "Tex-Mex" than anything else. Just like what everyone thinks Chinese food is, it's actually only one, very deviated style. I agree with Dawgluver posted. If you want real Mexican food, find the little hole-in-wall restaurants that is really owned by Mexican natives.
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:25 PM   #4
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I would avoid Menudo, the traditional Mexican hangover cure. To me, it's right up there with Brussels sprouts, only with tripe. Bloody Marias are much better.
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:29 PM   #5
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For me, it's simple. "Tex-Mex" is simply Americanized Mexican food; the same way Chinese food has been Americanized.

BUT - the Americanization has been going on for so long (with both cuisines), that the separate cuisines have frequently morphed into some pretty darn good stuff. We have a local Japanese/Chinese restaurant here that produces some absolutely fabulous dishes that aren't authentic Chinese/Japanese, but are still to die for. And while I love & cook authentic Mexican dishes, I still love hard-shell tacos.

Unless you're a total food snob, you need to go with the flow & understand that ALL FOOD boils down to personal taste. ALL FOOD. If you like something, then that's good food for you & don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Period.
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:45 PM   #6
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Didn't say both were without merit, Breezy, OP just wanted a breakdown. I love Taco Tuesday as much as the next guy.
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:50 PM   #7
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I agree with Breezy that nowadays you really can't tell. Especially since there are Mexican communities just about everywhere in the U.S. I grew up out west, and some people who are from here swear that one restaurant is more "authentic" than another. Well, if you want to know where the Mexican workers go to eat, drink, and relax, it is the place some of my friends swear is not "authentic" Mexican. Most of my friends never ate anything resembling Mexican food until they were over 40! And those that did ate at expensive resorts. I grew up eating cheapo Mexican food, Mexican food and "inexpensive dinner" were synonomous. So, just enjoy it and don't bother yourself ruining the experience by worrying about authenticity.
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:14 PM   #8
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Selena was Tex-Mex.....well, her music, that is...
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:43 PM   #9
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I had a friend who was Mexican and she made enchilladas that make my mouth water still just remembering them. I've never found them in any restaurant to this day. Authentic I don't know but the best ever for us they couldn't be beat. Am I right or wrong. I don't give a rip I loved them and her for making them for us just as she made them for her family. So as I see things if you like something and would go back again and again. That's all I need that counts.Your love of soemthing makes it authentic and wonderful.Not what someone say's is authentic.
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:51 AM   #10
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Tex-Mex is definitely NOT just Americanized Mexican food that stands in contrast to "authentic" Mexican food. Authentic Mexican food is regional and Tex-Mex IS the authentic Mexican food of northern Mexico and the border. Taco Bell and other chain and non-chain Mexican food restaurants serve Americanized Mexican/Tex-Mex food, not real authentic Tex-Mex (but most people, including Texans, just call it all "Mexican food" and most people don't really distinguish between them).

My godmother is from Laredo and cooks authentic Tex-Mex food which, yes, includes a lot of cheese (sometimes) and sour cream (Eastern European influence just like the music), ground beef (it's what's cheap in Texas) but there are a lot of things she cooks that you will not find in Mexican restaurants (which I can't for the life of me remember the names of) like this one dish with broken-up vermicelli pasta in it or one made with dried beef, or this one where you take fresh Mexican cheese and just fry in oil and eat it which chips. Point is, there is a difference between authentic, homestyle Tex-Mex that actual Mexican families eat and the Tex-Mex they serve at restaurants.
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:30 PM   #11
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What is TexMex? Well, it's to real Mexican food as Chef Boyarde is to Italian.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:11 AM   #12
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actually, you just reinforced texherps description of the matter at hand.

chef boiardi, or better known as boyardee, was an actual italian american chef. he was so successful at it that people often asked to take home his sauce and other foods, way before the days of doggie bags. he eventually sold out to factories that created crap. but i digress.

the point texherp made was that there is a true, regional tex-mex, but don't try to compare it to fast food.

that would be like comparing frozen factory made pizza to a real, fresh, handmade one.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:27 AM   #13
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Political borders mean nothing to how foods developed over the centuries. You will never find Mexican food on one side of the line that is the border and step over to the other side of the line and find completely different food in Texas.

Within Mexico, foods change gradually as one travels from South to North or East to West. So it's natural that that the food in Juarez is little different from the food in El Paso where Mexican influences meets cowboy/cattle country influences.

So I'd say TexMex is as legitimate a regional food as any other and doesn't simply equate to Taco Bell.
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Old 08-19-2011, 12:50 AM   #14
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If you discount food just because it falls under a specific title you're probably doing it wrong. Plus, for a lot of people, a more traditional mexican dish may be somewhat offputting.

Those people are crazy, but man, texmex is delicious.
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