Glad you found me.
I’m a Texan.
More specifically, I’m a West Texan.
I’m not from Marfa, which is just an extension of Austin, and I’m not from El Paso, which is a region unto itself. I’m from Barstow, a tiny speck on the map just outside of Pecos, which is a slightly larger speck on the map.
There ain’t many of us out here. Everybody else is way off to the East. We have a running joke out here that everything is a five-hour drive from home.
Growing Up in West Texas
Growing up in West Texas, we were poor, so we rarely ate dinner out. My mother cooked every night of the week.
Her mother wasn’t much of a cook, so my mother learned from our friends and neighbors in our community. Most of those friends and neighbors were Mexican families. We were among the few white families in the area at the time.
On the other hand, my father’s family was a traditional Southern Family. They were the descendants of people from Tennessee and the surrounding region. My grandfather moved them to West Texas during World War II due to being stationed at Rattlesnake Bomber Base in Pyote, Texas.
His family brought Southern cooking to the table, so we had a mix of Southern-style food at our house. We had plenty of fried chicken (including gizzards and livers), cornbread, greens, buttermilk biscuits, and other traditional southern fare.
With both the Mexican and Southern influences, it wasn’t an odd occurrence to eat enchiladas with a pile of braised collard greens on the same plate.
We truly ate Tex-Mex fare at my house. Just maybe not what other Texans consider Tex-Mex food. Heck, rolled enchiladas were a rarity in my household. Enchilada night for us consisted of stacked enchiladas piled high on a screaming hot plate that would burn a blister on your forearm if you accidentally touched it.
Traveling Throughout Texas
Later in life, when I started working and traveling around the state, I didn’t recognize the food they called Tex-Mex.
The Tex-Mex food that people ate in other parts was influenced by the various cultures in each region. Cultures such as the German communities around Fredericksburg, and the Wendish communities around Serbin, the Vietnamese in Port Arthur (Vietnamese is the third most spoken language in Texas), the Acadian influence around Beaumont, or the African communities throughout East Texas and the coastal regions (the first African arrived in Texas in 1528).
Now I’m back in West Texas rediscovering my roots after traveling and working all over the state.
I hope to share some old favorites as well as some new discoveries I made along the way.
This is my Tex-Mex.