A Tex-Mex Timeline

  • 1598: The first Thanksgiving feast in America is celebrated in El Paso (23 years before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock). Spanish explorer Juan de Onate held the festival to give thanks for a safe passage across the Rio Grande River.
  • 1875: The Texas and Mexican Railway is built to connect the Mexican border at Laredo with the Texas seaport of Corpus Christi.
  • 1880s: Chili Queens gain worldwide attention.
  • 1893: Tex-Mex food first gains popularity in the Midwest when a San Antonio chili stand is set up at the Chicago World's Fair.
  • 1899: German immigrant William Gebhardt patents the first line of chili powders to be sold in the United States. Gebhardt later writes the first Mexican cookbook in the U.S. (1911)
  • 1900: the Original Mexican Restaurant of San Antonio opens, offering the first authentic Mexican dishes in the United States.
  • 1910-1930: Mexican immigrants fleeing the Mexican Revolution sell tamales and chili gravy from carts-from San Antonio to as far away as Chicago or New Orleans.
  • 1922: Cincinnati's first chili joint opens. More chili joints spring up throughout Midwest as Depression-era havens for cheap food.
  • 1941: First use of the phrase Tex-Mex appears in Time magazine, 'Tex-Mex Spanish, that half-English half-Spanish patois of the border...'
  • 1962: The first Taco Bell fast food restaurant is opened by Glen Bell.
  • 1960s-'70s: American companies take to using advertisements featuring Mexican revolutionaries (i.e.: The Frito Bandito), offending many Chicano groups.
  • 1973: The term "Tex-Mex" is used as a food description for the first time in print, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
  • 1970s and '80s: Mario Martinez's frozen margarita helped spark a Tex-Mex comeback.
  • 1980s: Tex-Mex becomes the hottest food trend in Paris, prompting a world-wide Tex-Mex craze by the early '90s.

Buy the Book!


The Tex-Mex Cookbook
A History in Recipes and Photos

by Robb Walsh
Broadway Books
Trade Paperback Original
Price: U.S. $17.95 / $25.95 Canada
ISBN: 0-7679-1488-0
Reprinted by permission.


The Tex-Mex Cookbook



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This page created September 2004

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