Texas is a state of mind.
I’m a month and a half shy of having been a resident of Texas for a year. I was kind of nervous moving to Texas, since I am an effete Yankee liberal. I have southern rootsâ€”my mom is from a hollow in Kentucky called Swan Pond. I learned to cook using an iron skillet and Crisco. But although I come from a town that was mostly blue-collar and rural, I am a pretentious, overly educated, left-leaning woman who fled for New York City as soon as I could.
Austin, thank goodness, welcomes people like me. Austin is the state capital and my next door neighbor has a Bush/Cheney sticker, and a bumper sticker supporting his church. Heâ€™s ethnically Asian. On the right, my neighbors are three generations of people from India living in the same house and I donâ€™t know their politics but the smell of their cooking is astonishing. Austin has the Texas cultural trilogy of food: great barbecue (Texas white food) great taco trucks (Texas Hispanic foodâ€”and if you want good Hispanic, itâ€™s probably happening on a taco truck where ever the Hispanic workers in your town eat their lunches) and great Vietnamese food (Texas Asianâ€”which doesnâ€™t get a lot of recognition but which is a much greater cultural force in Texas than most people seem to recognize.)
But a friend said to me recently, â€œTexans are the kind of people who buy their own souvenirs.â€ And you know, itâ€™s true. Bob likes malls, and occasionally we go to the mall and every mall we go to has a Texas Store where you can buy stuff with the Lone Star on it, and Longhorn shirts and second rate salsa and hot sauce with cute names. Every where else Iâ€™ve ever been, people who live somewhere donâ€™t buy souvenirs of where they live. People in Florida donâ€™t buy the schlock they sell to tourists. Souvenir is from the French word for remember. Whatâ€™s to remember if you live here? Continue reading