a thoughtful web.
Share good ideas and conversation.   Login or Take a Tour!
comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  328 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Howdy, Hubski! What culinary crimes is your home infamous for?

Speaking as a native New Mexican with enough Texan blood to qualify for Old 300, allow me to say with no qualification that everyone west of you understands Tex-Mex to be what happens when white people encounter flavor and recoil in horror clear to St. Louis.

ThurberMingus  ·  328 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    white people encounter flavor and recoil in horror clear to St. Louis

That explains casseroles in my second comment.

But "family recipes handed down for 150 years since we moved north to Texas" tend to taste like Taco Bell with better salsa whenever the family got stuck in a dying railroad town for a generation.

kleinbl00  ·  328 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    since we moved north to Texas

Found the problem.

Hispanic cultures in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico tend to view themselves as Chicano ex-pats at worst and OG conquistadores at best. Hispanic cultures in Texas recognize the "yer with us or agin us" nature of the predominant white culture. "Remember the Alamo" to Texans is "fight and die for what you think is right. To everyone else it's whites over browns.

ThurberMingus  ·  328 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yeah. I don't disagree with you on any if it. Just bugged me because "when white people encounter flavor and recoil in horror" is the broad market appeal change after cultural otherness/isolation caused a bunch of other changes.

kleinbl00  ·  328 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It's easier in the rest of the Southwest because the native americans hate the Spanish, the Spanish hate the native Americans, and everyone hates the white people. In New Mexico, none of them have a clear majority. Nobody lived in Arizona until air conditioning so things are tense. In Colorado the hispanics have been there long enough that whatever bullshit they had to sort out got sorted out a hundred years ago. In Texas, though, white people consider themselves the undisputed kings which means you gotta white up any food so that people won't accuse you of going native.

I got some real conflicting feelings about Texas. That said, when white people in California interpret Mexican cuisine you get the sense they're at least trying to make something other, rather than just something lesser.

ThurberMingus  ·  328 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Between my family and in-laws I've had the whole range of TexMex from Abuela saying "now we'll feed you some real Mexican food" to the new white person all the way to white Grandma excited to show off her Mexican casserole to the new Mexican family member. The second is super cringey. The first was still unmistakably TexMex.

The main appeal is "this is the way Grandma makes it." By now there's better restaurants and Mexican grocery stores if you want to find them. But why do that when you've memorized the secret family ratio of Velvita and Rotel to make perfect queso.

There's also a "Spanish from Santa Fe" branch of the tree -- that mess doesn't translate to Texas' race situation at all but he tried anyway.

kleinbl00  ·  327 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My wife's family are from Minnesota/Wisconsin. I can't say that all of Minnesota/Wisconsin fears flavor, but I can say that there are vast strains of Minnesota/Wisconsin that fear flavor.

    But why do that when you've memorized the secret family ratio of Velvita and Rotel to make perfect queso.

I can also say that in any Mexican restaurant you care to name, you sit down and you are given chips and salsa. In the good ones you are given chips, pico de gallo and salsa. In the really good ones you are given hot, just-made chips, pico de gallo and salsa. In the serious New Mexican restaurants you are given hot, just-made chips, pico de gallo and two different kinds of salsa.

Every Mexican restaurant I've been to in Texas starts you off with "queso."

"Queso" is takfir. When you wish to offend your enemies back to their ancient dead, serve them "queso." "Queso", more than any other aspect of Tex-Mex cuisine, is the embodiment of effrontery.

I believe that Tex-Mex fans and Mexican fans could probably find common ground if it weren't for the fact that Tex-Mex holds at its heart something so essentially sacrilegious that it ends the conversation immediately and succinctly. If you choose to eat "queso" when there are so many better things to do with food, you are an infidel, an unbeliever, and may god have mercy on your soul.