A Wall Street Journal feature on Arkansas’s claim to cheese dip leadership has set off what you might expect — squeals of stuck Texas Longhorns bleating “queso.” And politicians have gotten in on the act.
* “Queso does not belong to you” — says Texas Monthly to Arkansas.
* “Melted cheese war boils over” — says Wall Street Journal.
This includes mention of a potential cheese dip-off by a couple of Republican dips, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas. (I’ll believe Cotton likes cheese dip when I see the beanpole do justice to a pot of Ro-Tel.) U.S. Rep. French Hill, the starchy ex-banker, also claims to know something about cheese dip — but he calls it “queso,” indicating he’s been infected by his wife’s Texas roots. No real Arkansan — and Hill claims to be about 17th generation Arkie — calls it queso. He probably wears a bib if he does eat it. And rubber gloves.
All these people are pretenders. I have the definitive word — and it won’t necessarily please either Arkies or Texans — about cheese dip. It’s from restaurant man and cheese dip maven Scott McGehee, one of whose joints, Heights Taco and Tamale, recently won the World Cheese Dip Chompionship (sic) in Little Rock.
Answer to Texas…. (because of their childish backlash over the WSJ article).
Now let me set all of you Texans straight, and listen carefully, I know it’s hard for you.
Melted cheese was not invented in Arkansas or Texas.
The earliest evidence of cheese dip-making in the archaeological record dates back to 5,500 BCE. There is evidence that the Greeks heated or melted cheese thousands of years ago. Swiss fondue, raclette, and melted cheese dishes litter human history.
In Mexico they started serving melted cheese with fresh-made tortillas centuries ago. Certainly all melted cheese concoctions in Texas and Arkansas derive from that grandparent.
Everything that we eat in Texas and Arkansas has roots in histories long forgotten.
What distinguishes Arkansas “Cheese Dip” from earlier versions of “Welsh Rarebit,” (a recipe from an early Texas cookbook that is used as an incorrect example of early Texas cheese dip), is two things.
1) Cheese dip is thinner and doesn’t coagulate as quickly as it cools, (so that you can continue to dip it with chips until it’s consumed). 2) And cheese dip is always dipped with crisp corn tortilla chips.
Fact: The first place this type of dip with chips was ever made was by Blackie Donnelly at his Mexico Chiquito Ark-Mex restaurant in 1935, North Little Rock, Arkansas.
I know you don’t care Texas, and we really don’t either. Keep enjoying that nasty thing you call “queso” and we will keep eating our delicious artery clogging cheese dip.
End. Of. Story.