Spanish Cuisine’s Influence on Tex Mex Food

Posted in History

That Tex Mex dish you enjoy so much at Mattito’s? You can thank Spain for it! (At least in part.)

Traditional Tex Mex food actually comes to us from Mexico, but it wouldn’t be the food we love today without some influence from Spain.

So how large is the overlap and which foods skew more Spanish? Well, that’s what we’re serving up today.  

You may already know that Spain colonized Mexico through the early 1500s to 1821. As you might expect, Spaniards brought their culture’s foods with them, influencing the cuisine of Mexico (while also being influenced by Mexico’s food).

Tex Mex cuisine comes to us, in part, from the days of Spanish control over Mexico.

Most of the foods that would eventually become known as Tex Mex, actually come from the Tejanos, who are Texans of Mexican descent. Tex Mex cuisine is a melding of native Spanish and Mexican foods.

However, one’s understanding of “Tex Mex” is likely to vary depending on which part of Texas you reside in.

For example, Tex Mex food in the South Texas region of the state hasn’t changed much since making the leap into popular culture. That’s mostly because it’s historically always been largely influenced by the foods found in Mexico’s northern states.

Fast forward a bit and the cuisine starts taking on a more Americanized flavor in the 1900s. By then the trend expands as new ingredients such as cheese get added to the mix. It’s about this time we also start to see meat become a main ingredient rather than as a side dish. reports that the first known usage of the term “Tex Mex” in reference to the cuisine was found in a 1963 article in New York Times Magazine. The terminology really took off, Wikipedia reports, when the well-known – and influential – food author Diana Kennedy discussed the difference between true Mexican food and Americanized Mexican food in her book (1972), The Cuisines of Mexico.

When the need strikes for great Tex Mex food – and believe us, we know how strong that need for a great taco, fajita, enchilada, burrito, or margarita can be – get yourself over to the Mattito’s location nearest you for some delicious Tex Mex cuisine. Contact us today!