I'm pleased to turn over the blog to Rebecca Adler today. Rebecca writes the Taste of Texas Mystery series. Cinco de Murder, the third book in the series, will be released April 3rd.
3 Fun Facts about the History of Tex-Mex
By Rebecca Adler
Cinco de Mayo!
I don’t know what’s going on in your neck of the woods—but trees are blooming like crazy here in Texas! And there’s nothing that makes my heart sing like the beautiful white blooms of the dogwood tree and the soft purple blossoms of the redbuds. (Even though the name is redbud, the purple variety runs rampant in my neighborhood). A few flower varieties have begun to peek their heads out too. But I’ll know that spring has definitely sprung when the lovely lavender, pink, white, red, and deep purple blooms of the crepe myrtles appear…just in time to celebrate the Mexican and Latino traditions of Cinco de Mayo!
As you probably know, Cinco de Mayo literally means the fifth of May. On that day in 1862, against all odds, Mexico defeated the French forces led by Napoleon III at the Battle of Puebla. Here in the U.S. it’s a celebration to show pride for the wonderful Mexican culture with dancing, bright colored costumes, parades, traditional music, and eating lots of yummy Tex-Mex.
We’re all familiar with the term Tex-Mex; but did you know the word entered our American lingo in 1875 as a term that referred to the Texas Mexican Railway, which was abbreviated as TexMex? In the 1920s, a hyphen was added to describe not only the railroad but the people of Mexican descent that were born in Texas. Gradually, the term became synonymous with the Mexican food of the area.
The cuisine developed out of the Rio Grande Valley in the southern part of the state; but soon came into its own in San Antonio. Back in the 1870s wonderful cooks known as chili queens started becoming famous throughout the U.S. and internationally. That’s when Americans first became aware of the delicious, fun-filled eating experience we know as Tex-Mex.
In Cinco de Murder, the third book in my Taste of Texas mystery series, reporter-turned-Tex-Mex-waitress Josie Callahan, her feisty abuela, and even her spunky Chihuahua Lenny are polishing their traditional folklórico dances for Saturday’s big Cinco de Mayo parade. Not to be outdone, Uncle Eddie is adding his own spicy event to the fiesta menu: Broken Boot’s First Annual Charity Chili Cook-off.
But Uncle Eddie's hopes of impressing the town council go up in smoke when a cantankerous chili cook is found dead in his tent. And when Josie's beloved uncle is accused of fatal negligence, she, Lenny, and the steadfast Detective Lightfoot must uncover who ended the ambitious chilihead's life--before another cook kicks the bucket.
If you don’t live in Texas or have a local Cinco de Mayo celebration, why not follow my motto? Life is short. Eat more Tex-Mex. That’s why I made sure to include more delicious recipes in the back of this book. You’ll find some recipes a bit more Mex and some a bit more Tex, like Uncle Eddie’s secret nontraditional chili recipe as well as Josie and Senora Mari’s favorite appetizers and desserts.
May you have a beautiful spring, wherever you call home. And if you’re in the mood for a tasty, fun-filled mystery, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Cinco de Murder.
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