Years ago, a Houston magazine asked me to write about Texas food. Before then, I had never stopped to think much about the subject.
It was kind of like asking a pig about bacon — I was too close to the subject to really see it and wasn’t sure I’d have a lot to say. But I went on enough about the meals of my childhood that my husband surprised me with an “I love gravy” T-shirt.
Clearly, I had a lot to say about Texas food and still do.
In my younger, more naïve days, I thought everyone ate the way Texans did. When I found out they didn’t, I felt sorry for them.
Frito pie or buttered cornbread and beans were familiar family meals. I grew up on chicken-fried-everything, and Gulf-caught fish, always fried in cornmeal. On most Sundays, barbecue brisket was on the menu. We ate chili without beans. Blue Bell Ice Cream. Whataburger. Dome Dogs.
Texans I knew ate sliced pickles on a sandwich, never as a spear on the side. Hot sauce, I thought, was the state condiment. And a biscuit from a can was a sin.
We ate tamales on Christmas Eve and Texas caviar on New Year’s Day. I can’t think of a wedding or a funeral that wasn’t improved by banana pudding.
We washed it all down with Dr Pepper or sweet iced tea.
Each September, Coast Monthly focuses on food. Tex-Mex is a Texas food category all its own, and was the star of our food issue last year. This year, we took a down-home approach and amassed what we hope is a coveted collection of recipes.
We hope you enjoy.