TEX (AS) + MEX(ICAN).
Tex-Mex is a highly spiced and vibrant style of cooking that developed as an evolution of Northern Mexican cuisine in Texas . The name is derived from the names Texas and Mexico .
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, although the cuisine itself existed long before that (since 1836 when Texas ceased to be a part of Mexico ).
Award-winning Texas food writer Robb Walsh updated Kennedy and put her comments regarding Tex-Mex cooking into historical and sociopolitical perspective in The Tex-Mex Cookbook: A History in Recipes and Photos (New York: Broadway Books, 2004).
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, chili gravy, and fajitas are all Tex-Mex inventions. Serving tortilla chips and a hot sauce or salsa as an appetizer is also an original Tex-Mex combination.
Tex-Mex, less often, can refer to a hybrid type of restaurant that serves Texas-style cuisine such as ribs and chili alongside Mexican-style cuisine like that mentioned above.