An iconic regional American cuisine gets its due in “Tex-Mex: Traditions, Innovations, and Comfort Foods From Both Sides of the Border,” a new cookbook from two Texas natives, chef and restaurateur Ford Fry and food writer Jessica Dupuy.
The book traces the history and evolution of the relatively young cuisine, a confluence of Native American, Mexican, and Texan influences.
The cuisine’s roots are largely Mexican—Texas was part of Mexico before becoming a U.S. state, after all—still apparent in more traditional dishes like pozole and mole. But over time, the incorporation of readily available American ingredients, such as beef, wheat flour, cumin, and yellow cheeses (especially the processed variety), gave rise to distinctly Tex-Mex creations: the iconic chili con carne, beef and cheese enchiladas doused in chili gravy, flour tortilla-wrapped fajitas, and the ubiquitous bowl of queso. Shaped by the region’s street vendors, cantinas, and restaurants, Tex-Mex came into its own.
“Tex-Mex” the cookbook generously covers the cuisine’s range of hearty offerings, from gooey enchiladas to frozen margaritas to an extensive glossary of tacos, both corn- and flour-tortilla-wrapped. For Fry, it’s a taste of home, celebrated, as he puts it, in “all its queso-gilded glory.”