The official state snack of Texas, tortilla chips and salsa, was adopted in 2003 based not only on the popularity of the snack throughout the state, but on the cultural, historical, and even economic importance of the foods and the ingredients used to make them.
The 78th Legislature adopted the state snack at the request of second-grade students in Mission, Texas.
Texas, obviously, has some pretty good ideas for official foods. The official desert is peach cobbler. The official pie is pecan pie (pecan is also the official “health nut”). And, lo and behold, the state dish is chili, and has been since 1977. Only a handful of other states have actually designated official state snack foods.
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION No. 16, 2003
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.
Other Official State Foods of Texas
The state bread of Texas is Pan de campo or “camp bread,” otherwise known as cowboy bread, named in 2005. It is a simple bread made with baking powder and, in the early days of settlement, was often baked in a Dutch oven over a fire. The cast iron Dutch oven is, in fact, the state’s official cooking implement, also adopted in 2005.
The state fruit is the Texas red grapefruit, adopted in 1993. The state fish is the Guadalupe bass, a type of black bass. There are two different chile peppers designated by the state as official peppers. The state pepper is the jalapeño (1995) and the state native pepper is the chiltepin or chile tepin (1997).
The state vegetable is the Texas sweet onion (1997) and pumpkin is the state squash, a recent entry from 2013.