Recipe Box: The queen of queso shares her recipe for an upscale take on the Texas party food

It wasn’t until this last decade that our nation achieved widespread queso familiarity. Before that, queso—for people outside of Texas—was a nebulous concept. Most knew it as the Spanish word for cheese, but few understood it as a stand-alone dish.

I am one such Tex-Mex noob. A friend from Houston once said she’d bring a pot of queso to a party. My Upper Midwest Yank friends and I reacted with blank stares. When we finally tasted this mysterious queso, it was glorious—hot, peppery liquid cheese with tortilla chips as its delivery vehicle.

Hoping to expand my queso know-how, I reached out to the authority on the subject: Homesick Texan writer Lisa Fain, who’s written an entire book (out September 26) devoted to the art and culture of the chili-cheese dip. In one 30-minute conversation with her, my appreciation for queso quadrupled.

The A.V …

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