A native of San Antonio, TX, and a non-traditional student at Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in San Antonio, Adán Medrano needed a name for the food he grew up eating, a name that was NOT Tex-Mex.
Adán Medrano has a history of big projects. He started the then-Chicano, now Latino, Film Festival in 1977. "Medrano is a food author and chef, specializing in the indigenous foods of Texas and the Americas…He spent 23 years working throughout Latin America, Europe and Asia, and during his travels came to recognize the cultural importance of food. He returned to the US in 2010 to focus his attention on the culinary traditions of the Mexican American, Native American communities of Texas and the indigenous cooking of the Americas. He is currently President of 'The Texas Indigenous Food Project.'" As emphasized in the New York Times article from 2019 "Don't Call it Tex-Mex:"
"Tex-Mex is a cuisine that should be respected and celebrated, he said. It's just that Tex-Mex standards like queso and combo fajitas piled high with chicken and shrimp don't speak of home to those whose Texas roots go back some 12,000 years."
This may come as a surprise if you thought Tex-Mex was a historical term. And, of course, it is. But there are always different genealogies to shared historical narratives. Tex-Mex was Mexican food made, "by Anglos, for Anglos."
Don't Count The Tortillas by Adan Medrano