It’s Texas-Mexican, not Tex-Mex

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Chef explores the Texas-Mexican culture and demonstrates his favorite traditional eats.

Amanda K. Tetens

Chef Adan Medrano shared his book “Truly Texas Mexican” during a cooking demonstration Thursday afternoon at Palo Alto College in the student annex center. Not only does this book include recipes but also the culture and heritage behind the food, Medrano said.

Medrano said he decided to make gorditas because they are a dish that has been prepared for thousands of years in the Texas Mexican culture.

“(They) remind me of who I am,” Medrano said.

Medrano prepared two types of gorditas on a flat top grill: one with refried beans and queso fresco and the other with sautéed cactus, shrimp and fresh chili sauce.

Medrano does not classify any of his dishes as ‘Tex-Mex,’ which he describes as a more commercialized version of cuisine from this area.

Medrano said ‘Texas Mexican’ is his style of cooking, meaning foods that combine indigenous ingredients of what is now South Texas and the northwestern region of Mexico with ingredients brought by European settlers around the 1500s.

Those European ingredients include garlic and onions, which Medrano pairs with native ingredients like chilies and cactus.

Medrano said his love for cooking started with family, and he has always had a passion for food since he was very young.

“I loved to eat my mother’s cooking,” Medrano said.

He said eating his mother’s food inspired him to attend the Culinary Institute of America.

“Food is central to who we are as a community,” Medrano said.



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