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Tex-Mex & Velveeta

That Velveeta is a part of the American Regional Cuisine called Tex-Mex is anathema to many of my friends in the food world. I have long defended Velveeta as the best ingredient for queso and enchiladas, and those on the other side have argued that “authentic Mexican food” in Texas doesn’t include processed cheese.

After reading the post titled The Velveeta Underground, a friend of mine named Richard Flores offered an explanation for the popularity of Velveeta among Tejanos that I hadn’t heard before.

8 comments to Tex-Mex & Velveeta

  • Having been the “beneficiary” of government cheese myself, that may be part of the reason I hate the stuff — though I don’t think I had any real embarrassment of the stuff when I was a kid or associated it with being poor. I never liked it then and I don’t like it now, however. I guess it felt like a treat when we got to make nachos or enchiladas with Tillamook or Bandon (a better local cheese bought out by Tillamook) cheddar.

  • rl reeves jr

    The use of government cheese was rife in southeastern Kentucky when I was a kid. It was also very popular on the black market with families who earned too much money to qualify for it bartering other goods so they could get their hands on those precious 5 pound chunks.

    I remember my mom trading a big bag of sweet corn from our garden for a big block of this delicious product.

    She always made the enchiladas and other casseroles with velveeta.

    A restaurant in Corbin, Kentucky got busted for buying bootleg velveeta on the blackmarket and utilizing it in their commercial kitchen.

    People who declaim the use of velveeta in Tex Mex have never experienced the pleasures of a plate of enchiladas from places like La Reyna here in Austin, Texas.

  • What about us who’ve had them but just prefer the more complex and enjoyable flavor of real cheese rather than the flatter salt/milk-solids/msg flavor of processed cheese? I suppose in 30 years, Robb Walsh, Jr, will be arguing for Doritos-shell tacos. 😛

  • robbwalsh

    ExtraMSG-I don’t recall anyone passing judgement on what you and people of your culture eat.

  • jsnwtsn

    I travel extensively throughout Texas. Some of the best tex-mex joints in the small towns I visit always seem to use processed cheese. It may not be the cheese of choice for those with a discerning palate, but when used in the realm of tex-mex cuisine it’s damn good.

  • Sam

    Our Tex-Mex Restaurant does not use Velvetta anymore.The recipe was changed and the taste was ruined.
    Everyone Now uses Land O Lakes EZ Melt or Golden Velvet processed American cheese.Way better taste,problem is usally not carried in grocery stores.

  • James Rockford

    There is NO such thing as a GOOD cheese enchilada that is made with Velveeta or any other EZ Melt sort of FAKE cheese product. I have been eating the BEST cheese enchiladas in Texas (notably Fort Worth and San Antonio) and ALL of the best restaurants (including The Original, El Fenix and El Rancho Grande in Ft. Worth and Karams and Mexican Manhatten in SA) use cheedar cheese, PERIOD.

  • LT Mark Johnson, USN

    El Rancho Grande in Fort Worth? One of the best??? If you say so, partner. Anyway, as Mr. Flores states in the video, processed American cheese is to TexMex what 80/20 ground chuck is to the grill — it just goes together. The best places througout Texas that I’ve visited use Velveeta or the like. Thanks for a great site, Mr. Walsh.