Chile con queso
The history: Queso, affectionately dubbed “liquid gold,” likely has its roots in a Mexican staple, queso flameado or queso fundido, a dish of hot, stretchy cheese that is often mixed with chorizo and served flambéed. The Tex-Mex version, however, is a bit gooey-er, mostly because processed cheese is used in lieu of fresh cheeses like Oaxaca or Chihuahua. Velveeta, known for its smooth, velvety texture, entered the American food scene in the 1920s. In the 1940s, Carl Roettele started a family canning company in Elsa, Texas, one of his products being the canned tomato and green chile concoction that is married with Velveeta at pretty much every Texan potluck today.
According to Serious Eats, recipes for chile con queso began to appear in regional cookbooks as early as 1949; Even Lady Bird Johnson got down with the queso, contributing a recipe to the San Antonio Symphony League's community cookbook in 1976. Things seem to stick, as the liquid gold is the state’s nosh of choice to this day.
Where to get it: Use these handy queso guides for Austin, Dallas, and Houston; just don’t use your actual hands when eating it, that would be pretty messy.