They’re different, of course, though, admittedly, the borderline separating the two cuisines is becoming blurrier and no wall of any height will likely ever separate them again. Still, there are some restaurants in the area that lean more to the authentic cuisine of Mexico and less to the dishes developed in the Lone Star state. The Foodster Awards nominations were designed with that in mind.
What’s the difference? Well, broadly, anything that includes yellow cheese, such as shredded cheddar, or wheat flour, especially in tortillas. Ground beef is more Texan than Mexican. Specifically, certain dishes like fajitas, chili con carne, quesadillas — these are American inventions (USA! USA!). But it isn’t uncommon to find these things on the menus of restaurants leaning toward traditional Mexican. Mex-Tex?
And Tex-Mex cuisine isn’t even based on the foods of the entire nation but rather just a portion of the Northern part of the country.
Tex-Mex cuisine developed when Texas settlers discovered the foods of the Mexicans near the border. They liked what they tasted, but the ingredients at hand weren’t the same. Wheat was more abundant than maize, so that’s what they made their tortillas out of.
Certainly, Mexican cuisine isn’t the only one in this country to be largely Americanized. Just about any Italian restaurant throughout the U.S. features dishes that were changed by immigrants. Italians settling in Brooklyn had to use what they had on hand. We really should have a category for Italikyn cuisine.
So, please vote for your favorite in both categories, and I hope you’ll pay special attention to the restaurants attempting to be more authentic. Not that Tex-Mex is inauthentic, but you know what I mean.
And I will not remove write-in candidates for one category that really should be in the other. You can make that call. But keep in mind, the Foodster Awards are for Independent Restaurants only — restaurants with more than three locations are not eligible.
Voting will continue through May 4, just in time to announce the winners for Cinco de Mayo, which is another Americanized holiday.