Tex-Mex cuisineTex-Mex is a highly spiced and vibrant style of cooking that was created as an extension and adaptation of Mexican cuisine to suit United States (specifically, Texan) tastes. The name is derived from Texas and Mexico, whose joint culinary heritage it is. Diana Kennedy, an influential food authority, first delineated the differences between Mexican cuisine and Americanized Mexican food in her 1972 book The Cuisines of Mexico. The first known recorded use of Tex-Mex in reference to food occurred in the Mexico City News in 1973.
The ingredients used are common in Mexican cuisine, although ingredients unknown in Mexico are often added. Tex-Mex cuisine is characterized by its heavy use of meat (particularly beef), beans, and spices. Nachos, crispy tacos, crispy chalupas, chili con queso, chili con carne, flour tortillass, chili gravy, fajitas and pecan pralines are all Tex-Mex inventions. Serving tortilla chips and a hot sauce or salsa as an appetizer is also an original Tex-Mex combination.
For an excellent example of a traditional recipe adapted with a Tex-Mex flair, see Crab Quesadillas with Mango Salsa.