The forty nine states that are not Texas have some catching up to do in the official state food category.

California is pitiable for any number of reasons but especially when it comes to state food as they have zero.

Maine has the whoopie pie, the old timey dessert enjoying something of a renaissance at the moment.

We’re not sure what spawned this revival but we’re all for it. Particularly now that some restaurants are offering homemade versions.

Georgia has designated grits as their state food. It’s one of the perfect foods in this world and any steps that are taken to further its consumption are wise ones.

It’s amazing to me that Kentucky hasn’t designated burgoo as the official state food. But then with the prevalence of bourbon in the state we can imagine that any official who may have had the ability to ram the measure through the senate probably chose to get drunk instead.

Which brings us to Texas. Glorious Texas. The Great State. So great that we can’t have just one food. We have to have a smorgasbord of delicious food[s]:

Chips and salsa: the Texan’s birthright, it must be free and it must be brought to our table by a smiling Mexican girl along with a quart or so of ice water-the moment we sit down in the restaurant.

The sweet onion: Giver of life and delicious in any way shape or form. When I hear someone say “hold the onion” I know that that person is my enemy.

The sopaipilla: Done correctly this warm dome of pastry gives out a quiet whooosh when punctured at table. Then a warm rush of cinnamon scented air fills the table with the most divine aroma. This is one of the great pastries of the world. And Texas.

The strudel: Another wonderful concoction. This pastries inclusion into our canon of state foods must be due to the large contingent of Germans in Texas. Pulled from the proper German grandmother’s oven and served with a piping hot cup of Sanka…there is no better way to start your day.

The jalapeno: Surely the most versatile chile on the planet. Of course we normally just stuff it with cream cheese and shrimp, wrap it in bacon and deep fry it.

Chiltepin: These tiny chiles grow wild in ditch lines all over the state and they give genuine fire to any dish. At 18 dollars a pound in the market we hope you have some growing near your house. Our bush in the backyard finally succumbed this past winter to a particularly brutal cold snap.

Pan de campo: This classic cowboy bread is the simplest recipe on earth. It was born of necessity as it was a campsite staple for cowhands all over the state. A Dutch oven, flour, water, fat and baking powder are all you need to have a loaf of pan de campo.

And finally the king. Chili con carne. We’ll sit around and talk chili all day long. We love it in any form as long as it’s skillfully executed. We love Texas Red [ we wrote “the rules of Texas Red” ]. We love Chicago Style, we love Southeastern Ohio style. Hell, we love it with beans, without beans, with onions, without onions. We generally cook up a big kettle at least once a week, 52 weeks a year.

It’s only fitting that Chili con carne reigns supreme over all food in the state of Texas as our official state dish. Go out and get a big bowl of Texas Red tonight and tell us it how it was.

What state are you from?

What is your official state food?

RL Reeves Jr

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