“Tortilla chips and salsa” is the official state snack of Texas. Yes, there is an official state snack of Texas!
The combination is an obvious one, but it became popular with commercial products such as Doritos in the early 1970s. The state designation (in 2003) began with a push by an elementary school.
The Monitor (McAllen, TX)
School Children Visit Austin, Texas, Lobby for Chips and Salsa as State Snack.
From: The Monitor (McAllen, Texas) (via Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News)
Date: March 12, 2003
Byline: Steve Taylor
Mar. 12—AUSTIN, Texas—A group of Rio Grande Valley elementary school students showed their hunger to participate in the democratic process Tuesday by testifying in support of their favorite snack.
Sixteen third-graders from Marcell Elementary School in Mission toured the Capitol and spoke in favor of House Resolution 16, which would make tortilla chips and salsa the official state snack of Texas.
HCR 16 was filed by state Rep. Kino Flores, D-Mission, following a visit he made to Marcell Elementary.
“The kids have been involved every step of the way,” Flores said. “I know I have had some negative editorials in some newspapers, questioning whether this is a waste of legislative time. But this is all about the students getting involved in the democratic process.”
By: Flores (Senate Sponsor ‑ Hinojosa)
H.C.R. No. 16
(In the Senate ‑ Received from the House March 31, 2003; April 3, 2003, read first time and referred to Committee on State Affairs; May 15, 2003, reported favorably by the following vote: Yeas 8, Nays 0; May 15, 2003, sent to printer.)
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, The State of Texas has customarily recognized a variety of official state symbols as tangible representations of the state’s historical and cultural heritage; and
WHEREAS, Like the square dance, the guitar, and the rodeo, tortilla chips and salsa are deeply rooted in Texas tradition and enjoy popularity throughout the length and breadth of the state; stocked in countless kitchens, they are brought out for solitary refreshment and for social gatherings of virtually every description and level of formality; and
WHEREAS, The primary ingredients of chips and salsa have nourished the people of this land for centuries; corn, peppers, and tomatoes all originated in the Western Hemisphere and were being cultivated by Native Americans along the Rio Grande when the Spaniards, who introduced onions to the New World, arrived in Texas; tortillas, developed in prehistoric times by the Indians of Latin America, have likewise long been a staple in parts of the state; and
WHEREAS, In addition to their traditional importance as a foodstuff, peppers, onions, and tomatoes have played a significant role in Texas folk medicine, and their value in fighting illness is being increasingly recognized by modern science; and
WHEREAS, Together with corn, these three plants also play a notable economic role in the state; in recent years, onions have ranked as the number one cash truck crop in Texas, while corn has accounted for about five percent of the state’s agricultural economy; nationwide in 2000, Texas ranked 1st in the production of jalapeño peppers, 4th in the production of onions, and 16th in the production of tomatoes, while a 2002 report ranks the state 10th in the production of corn; and
WHEREAS, The importance of these crops in Texas is reflected by such celebrations as the annual Corn Festival in Holland, Hot Pepper Festival in Palestine, and Tomato Festival in Jacksonville, as well as onion festivals in Noonday, Presidio, and Weslaco; salsa itself enjoys a starring role at the Three Rivers Salsa Festival and at other hotly contested competitions in Houston and Austin; and
WHEREAS, Spectacular sales figures underscore what Texans already know: that tortilla chips and salsa enjoy popularity ratings in the stratosphere; moreover, Texas chip and salsa plants now command a major share of their respective national markets; joining the state’s oldest and largest salsa manufacturer, which began production in San Antonio in 1947, smaller new salsa firms continue to spring up, often inspired by a cherished family recipe and encouraged by Texans’ insatiable demand for this zesty concoction; and
WHEREAS, Folk foods that have become commercial giants, chips and salsa stand out among Texas snacks because of their historic origins and universal appeal; embraced today by Texans of every ethnic background, they constitute a much‑savored part of our shared cultural identity; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the 78th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby designate tortilla chips and salsa as the official State Snack of Texas.
13 May 1971, Los Angeles Times, “Dietitian Awarded $3,000 in Contest,” pg. G14:
An Arizona dietitian edged out a San Francisco State College employe to win $3,000 in a Mexican food contest open to college alumni as a benefit for scholarship funds.
Mrs. John J. Rhodes III of Mesa, Ariz., entered an appetizer of tortilla chips sprinkled with cheese and chile salsa, broiled and then topped with highly seasoned guacamole and sour cream.
27 January 1972, Los Angeles Times, “Mexican Sauces Are Versatile,” pg. I15:
Zesty Mexican sauces can be served as relished, as a dip for tortillas or as a topping to perk up refried beans, tacos and other dishes.