Tex-mex in the ‘Hood

Mosaic Mexican food plate by Lynn BridgeTex-mex Plate #5

by Lynn Bridge

If I want to eat corn tortillas with butter on them until I feel sick, I go to Matt’s El Rancho in the neighborhood.  When I was a child, it was a small restaurant on East 1st Street in Austin, but the Martinez family eventually opened a much larger restaurant south of the river, with tasteful Mexican atmosphere.

I had never heard the word ‘Tex-mex’ until I was well into adulthood, and here’s the reason why:

When Diana Kennedy wrote The Cuisines of Mexico in the early ’70’s, she told Matt Martinez, Jr. that she only wrote about authentic Mexican cuisine, not ‘Tex-mex’.  He had never heard that word before, and he decided to use what was supposed to be a derogatory term to his advantage, calling all his restaurant food Tex-mex.  This story came straight from the pages of Robb Walsh’s  The Tex-Mex Cookbook.  I like that scrappy attitude, taking what someone thinks is not worth time or the printed page, and turning it into an asset.

Mosaic Mexican food plate by Lynn BridgeTex-mex Plate #5

This Mexican food plate contains all the usual suspects: glass, glass, and more glass, and now I’ve added the colors of the Mexican flag for its border.  Ready for lunch?