If you love Tex Mex food as much as we do, you probably know a lot more about this delicious cuisine than most people.
But we doubt you know it all.
That’s why we’ve put together a short list of four things you probably don’t know about Tex Mex cuisine (but will be so glad to learn).
- Tomatoes and vanilla originates from Mexico and its neighbors.
Many people think tomatoes come from Italy, but they originated in the Andes and were cultivated by the Aztecs and Incas.
Don’t thank Italy; thank the Incas and Aztecs!
As for vanilla, it originates from an orchid (the genus Vanilla). Most of these orchids now are grown throughout the world, but they came to us first from Mesoamerica, which now includes parts of Guatemala and modern-day Mexico.
Be careful, however, about going to Mexico to find “original” vanilla: it may not be real vanilla.
- Authentic guacamole doesn’t use garlic or lime.
The ingredients for authentic guacamole are as follows: white onion, avocado, jalapeno or serrano chili, cilantro, and salt. Tomatoes also are a part of authentic guacamole, although their use is optional.
Some regions of Mexico outside of the Center Plateau may use lime, but an authentic recipe never includes garlic or even lemon, cumin, cayenne, pepper, chili powder, red onion, or any type of spice.
- Fajitas didn’t originate in Mexico.
Neither did nachos or chimichangas. Fajitas as a dish got its start right here in Texas. The name didn’t appear in print until 1971 and even then the term “fajita” didn’t refer to the dish at the time but to the little strips of meat cut from skirt steak.
Restaurants in Houston, San Antonio and Austin made the dish popular in the 1990s and it wasn’t until that time that the term “fajita” described the dish we so love today.
- In order to be called real Tequila, Tequila must be produced in Tequila.
The Tequila region of Mexico, that is. This is law in Mexico and came about to protect the integrity of the real deal. You can find lots of imitations of the liquor, of course (and they will be less expensive). But if you want to be sure you’re drinking real Tequila (which is the national drink of Mexico, by the way), make sure it was truly made in Mexico and either in the states of Jalisco (where it originated), Nayarit, Guanajuato, Michoacan, or Tamaulipas.
Also, real Tequila has no worm in it. The worm is a marketing ploy. It adds nothing to the flavor of the drink and – once again – no worm will ever grace a bottle of real Tequila.
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