mosaic plate of Tex-Mex foodTex-Mex

mosaic by Lynn Bridge

I grew up eating Tex-Mex cuisine.  At the time, ‘cuisine’ was considered too fancy a word for what was served up in Texas restaurants with woven sarapes and over-sized sombreros hanging on the plaster walls, but now scholars of cooking study and categorize what we eat in those hallowed halls.

Tex-Mex is the flavor of Mexican food and culture as developed in the state of Texas, and it can be plenty spicy, if you ask your waiter.  Because I grew up in an Anglo family, we did not prepare Mexican tortillas and tamales at home, but ate them at favorite restaurants often.

Tex-Mex Cookbook cover

My venerable (since 2004!) book on the subject of Tex-Mex is The Tex-Mex Cookbook by Robb Walsh.  It includes some history of tejanos, as well as wonderful recipes developed here over the decades.

One of my favorite passages from the book states, “Lard has half the cholesterol of butter and one third the saturated fat.” Apparently, this only applies to leaf lard, which is the fine fat that forms over the animal’s kidney.  Of course, the cookbook includes instructions for rendering this healthier form of lard right in your own kitchen.

The historical photos of people and places in Texas make the book worthwhile, even if you never intend to lift a cooking pot.

oblique view of a mosaic plate by Lynn Bridge "Tex-Mex"In this oblique view of Tex-Mex, you can see the little millefiori-style crosses forming a graveyard in the center-left, and you get a good view of Roberta Mitchell’s glazed ceramic ‘pond’ in the lower-middle of the composition.

Along with many works by my friends in the Austin Mosaic Guild, Tex-Mex will appear in showcases near BookPeople in Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, starting in late January, for a couple of months.