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Food historians tell us Tex Mex cuisine originated hundreds of years ago when Spanish/Mexican recipes combined with Anglo fare.
Tex Mex, as we Americans know it today, is a twentieth century phenomenon.
Dozens of Tex-Mex restaurants sprang up in Paris, and the trend spread across Europe and on to Bangkok, Buenos Aires and Abu Dhabi.
Kennedy and her friends in the food community began referring to Americanized Mexican food as "Tex-Mex," a term previously used to describe anything that was half-Texan and half-Mexican.
Dictionaries and food history sources confirm the first print evidence of the term "Tex Mex" occured in the 1940s.
Linguists remind us words are often used for several years before they appear in print. "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.
Tex Mex restaurants first surfaced ouside the southwest region in cities with large Mexican populations. Diana Kennedy, noted Mexican culinary expert, is credited for elevating this common food to trendy fare. 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..." ---Eating in America, Waverly Root & Richard de Rochemont [William Morrow: New York] 1976 (p. A combination of the words "Texan" and "Mexican," first printed in 1945, that refers to an adaptation of Mexican dishes by Texas cooks.
It is difficult to be precise as to what distinguishes Tex-Mex from true Mexican food, except to say that the variety of the latter is wider and more regional, whereas throughout the state and, now, throughout the entire United States." ---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. 325) [1950s] "Mexican restaurants, whos popularity coincided with the arrival of large numbers of Mexican immigrants after 1950, have for the most part followed the from and style of what is called "Tex-Mex" food, and amalgam of Northern Mexican peasant food with Texas farm and cowboy fare.Texas-Mexican restaurant owners considered it an insult.