texmexcookbook_lThe Tex-Mex Cookbook:
A history in recipes and photos

by Robb Walsh

Cover Price $17.95
Paperback: 268 pages
ISBN: 0767914880

Join Texas food writer Robb Walsh on a grand tour complete with larger-than-life characters, colorful yarns, rare archival photographs — and a savory assortment of crispy, crunchy Tex-Mex foods.

From the Mexican pioneers of the sixteenth century, who first brought horses and cattle to Texas, to the Spanish mission era when cumin and garlic were introduced, to the late 1890s when the Chile Queens of San Antonio sold their peppery stews to gringos like O. Henry and Ambrose Bierce, through the chili gravy, “combination plates,” crispy tacos, and frozen margaritas of the twentieth century, all to the nuevo fried-oyster nachos and vegetarian chorizo of today — here is the history of Tex-Mex in more than 100 recipes and 150 photos.

Rolled, folded and stacked enchiladas, old-fashioned puffy tacos, sizzling fajitas, truck-stop chili, frozen margaritas, Frito pie, and much, much more are all here in easy-to-follow recipes for home cooks.

The Tex-Mex Cookbook will delight “chile heads,” food history buffs, Mexican food fans, and anybody who has ever woken up in the middle of the night craving cheese enchiladas.

The Tex-Mex Cookbook celebrates a dynamic regional cuisine that has long been pushed to the sidelines. I love the nuggets of Tex-Mex history and unforgettable characters. But it’s those Tex-Mex flavors that really satisfy the soul. There’s nothing fancy or fussy here, just a combo platter full of pure comfort. Kudos to Robb Walsh for busting through the “myths” of authenticity.

– Rick Bayless, author of Mexico One Plate at a Time and Chef/Owner of Tampolobopo and Frontera Grill

in review

Houstonian Walsh traces the history of real Tex-Mex food, from the days of the Spanish missions and “cowboy culture” to the present (“From Paris, Texas, to Paris, France: Twenty-First-Century Tex-Mex”). Drawing on in-depth research and visits to dozens of cafes and restaurants throughout Texas, he makes a case for Tex-Mex as our oldest regional cuisine.

Although until recently, almost every “Mexican” restaurant in this country was actually serving Tex-Mex food, such food is not, in fact, a bastardization of Mexican cuisine. Instead, Walsh argues, it has its own identity. Referring to this food as “a lovable ugly duckling,” he provides dozens of recipes for the unpretentious dishes that have made Tex-Mex so popular, from Casa Rio Chili Con Carne to Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas to Nachos and, of course, Frito Pie.

Dozens of black-and-white period photographs, as well as anecdotes and oral histories of Tex-Mex cooks and other figures, supply additional context to this readable chronicle. Highly recommended. – Library Journal