Texas Caviar. Snack Cowboy Caviar
The Way Cowboy Caviar Became An Important Texas Standard
By Jasmine Hanner
You may have heard of cowboy caviar on social media, but despite the name, no actual caviar is involved, cowboy or otherwise; instead, the dish consists of black-eyed peas mixed with other ingredients to be served as a dip, topping or on its own, but although it’s delicious and versatile, the dish took a while to achieve its beloved status.
Cowboy caviar is traditionally credited to New Yorker-turned-Texan Helen Corbitt, who created the dish in the 1940s when she was challenged to make a menu using only Texas-based ingredients. Corbitt chose black-eyed peas — a staple for cowboys and a common Texas crop — which she pickled along with garlic, onion, vinegar, and oil, and it quickly became a hit in the state.
Tiktok user Bria Lemirande brought Corbitt's dish to national attention when she created a modern version with black beans, corn, bell peppers, olives, mango, and feta. However, some have called the dish's origins into question, accusing her of appropriating Latin dishes like pico de gallo and ceviche or Hoppin’ John, a Southern dish created by enslaved Black people.