In the last entry in this section, I waxed about my love for Tex-Mex; and how, if you love it too, then there’s something you love about Texas. This entry is sort of it’s own special subset of the last one. It’s about a special part of the Tex-Mex universe: the Frozen Margarita. Perhaps one of the ways we can judge that the Tex-Mex in general –and the Frozen Margarita specifically– has really become a part of the American psyche, is that the Smithsonian Museum has seen fit to acquire the very first Frozen Margarita machine. Like Fonzie’s jacket, or Walter Cronkite’s chair, it now rests in the hallowed halls of that great recepticle of history…
I have actually seen this machine many times. For years, it stood inside the original “Mariano’s Old Town,” another fine Tex-Mex place about five minutes from SMU. (Well, it WAS….it’s now closed. And the new one is at Skillman and Abrams. The family has also branched out into a new venture called “La Hacienda Ranch” which we also like, but which is a tad pricey…) You’d pass by this machine on your way in the door to have some fine food. Nobody knows the real history of the Margarita itself. But the history of the Frozen Margarita is that it was invented right here, in Dallas, Texas.
On May 11, 1971, Mariano Martinez –the owner of Mariano’s– got the brilliant idea to put Margarita mix inside a soft-serve ice cream machine. You should probably also know and remember that 7-Eleven was created here in Dallas too….and in those days, there was nothing bigger on a hot summer day than a 7-Eleven Slurpee. (perhaps a future entry?) So, one day after a visit to 7-Eleven for a cold slurpee, Mariano said to himself, “Why not do that for the Margarita too?”
And history was made. And it happened at just the same cultural moment that Tex-Mex was making its way from Texas, north across the United States, and eventually around the world. To use the theological word, it was the Kairos time for the Frozen Margarita to be invented. And so now, the original machine rests in the Smithsonian, and the drink itself has been, ahem, toasted by the likes of the Texas Legislature.
And I bet you like the Frozen Margarita. I bet you, or someone you know, has blended some up in your own home. And if you like them, then there’s one more thing that you like about Texas.