Queso, that beautiful, cheesy confection that is part of a number of TexMex dishes such as nachos and enchiladas, is as part of Texas culinary tradition as is barbecue and chili con carne. Though there is no documented time when queso, or as it is correctly named, chili con queso, was first, it is thought to have originated in Mexico and then spread northward through Texas and then throughout the southern United States. Now, however, the Wall Street Journal reports that Arkansas is laying claim to the invention of queso, which it calls by the uninspiring name of “cheese dip.”

The basis of the Arkansas claim is that queso was being served in a chain of Mexican restaurants called Mexico Chiquito located in Little Rock since 1935.

The confection that people in Arkansas call cheese dip has become quite popular and is even featured in country food competitions.

In one sense, melted cheese that contains such additions as chili peppers, tomatoes, and various spices can be considered universal, with regional variations. Barbecue is popular across the United States, with at least four regional styles, Carolina, Memphis, Kansas City and, of course, Texas. There should be room enough for TexMex queso and Arkansas cheese dip. Of course, the two states will fight until the end of things over which one is best and which state adopted the dish first.

Naturally, TexMex queso is the real, authentic brand and anything that another state adopts, renaming it to make it seem as if it was invented there, has to be but a pale imitation of the real thing. This writer is a queso expert who has dipped mountains of chips in bowls of queso in his brief time on this Earth.

Why should Arkansas try to steal another state’s confection and try to make it its own?

The fact that Arkansas is best known as the birthplace of Bill Clinton, one of the biggest grafter and scoundrel to ever obtain the presidency is all one needs to know about the mindset. Arkansas would be well advised to find something that authentically belongs to the state and not try to steal away culinary traditions for elsewhere.

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