Tejano is the word for the culture and music of the Hispanic population of Texas, which has its heartland in the Rio Grande valley. Tejano culture has a 300 year lineage, and is unique because of the admixture of Mexican and Texan cultural elements over the course of that time.

Tejanos speak a unique dialect of Spanish, called Tex-Mex, or, more derisively, Spanglish, which consists of Spanish grammatical structures with many English loan words. Tejano cuisine is also distinct from that of Mexican, and is probably best characterized by more deep-frying and the use of flour for tortillas instead of the more traditional corn. Most "Mexican" restaurants in America serve Tex-Mex food, and many culinary ideas which started in Tejano cooking have since filtered back to Mexico, further confusing matters.

Tejano music is also quite unique, and very popular even among the Anglo population of Texas. It is a mixture of traditional elements of Mexican country ballads, waltz and polka forms brought to Texas by central European immigrants, the country-western music of the Scots-Irish Texans, and Mexican and American pop music.

Noder narzos accurately notes many important issues relating to Tejano. I suggest some additions and clarifications.

narzos suggest that "Tejano is the word for the culture and music of the Hispanic population of Texas,which has its heartland in the Rio Grande valley." It is worth clarifying that rather than using the overly broad term Hispanic, the correct term should be Mexican-American or Chicano. Hispanic is a term that encompasses far too many ethnic groups to be accurate in this particular case ( for example, one can be of Cuban, Puerto Rican, Guatemalan, Argentian, etc. heritage and be Hispanic, though none of these have much to do with Tejano culture.)

It is accurate that the heart of Tejano culture is the Rio Grande Valley. For purpose of clarity, the Rio Grande Valley encompasses the following Texas Counties: Cameron, Willacy, Hidalgo, and Starr. Other counties that might be included are : Zavala, Zapata, Webb and Kennedy, and King counties.

narzos goes on to note that Tejanos speak a "unique dialect of Spanish, called Tex-Mex, or, more derisively, Spanglish, which consists of Spanish grammatical structures with many English loan words." This is mostly correct. The characterization of the dialect is correct, though it is most commonly referred to as Pocho. Spanglish is a derisive term that does not serve to self-identify the dialect as well as Pocho does.

Where I believe there is serious error in narzos discussion is in his discussion of the Tejano culinary tradition, which he suggests "is also distinct from that of Mexican, and is probably best characterized by more deep-frying and the use of flour for torillas instead of the more traditional corn." There is no doubt that Tejano food is different from traditionally Mexican food, but that depends wholly on what kind of Mexican food we are using as a referent. Surely, Tejano food is very different from the food of central Mexico, where the corn tortilla is king. Mexican cooking from northern Mexico, however, has significant similarities to Tejano cooking. This is especially true when we consider that flour tortillas are ubiquitous in northern Mexico, as they are in Tejano cuisine. Additionally, I question whether ]deep fat] frying characterizes Tejano food, but even were we to grant that, there is plenty of deep fat frying in northern Mexican food. For example, Carnitas, a northern Mexican delight, is rendered pork meat, slowly cooked in its own liquified, boiling fat. Tripas, another nothern Mexican specialty, are similar to chittlins: cow tripe cooked in its own grease.

narzos if quite correct in noting the migration of Tejano cooking traditions and foods filtering back to Mexico, as well as the rest of the world. Case in point: Fajitas, which technically refers to a cut of beef, not a style of cooking (there is NO SUCH THING as chicken or shrimp fajitas.) Fajitas originated in the Rio Grande Valley, as they are made from a generally tough cut of beef which is marinated extensively to increase the tenderness of the meat.

Finally, I simply note that the Tejano music does enjoy waltz and polka influences, though the polka influence is already once filtered through Mexican music which was influenced by German immigrants.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.