Texan Expectations Met and Exceeded 

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Texas turned out to be really cool. There weren't as many American flags and hardly any nativity lawn ornaments. There were no Confederate flags anywhere at all. Very few cars had those empty "God Bless America" and "Support Our Troops" magnets. The few around were faded and my plans to steal them all (and attach them to a barb wire fence at city limits) were thus foiled.

Mind you, the ants are ferocious. But the cure is, when picnicking, to douse the periphery of your blanket with talcum powder. There are oil drill thingies everywhere and they look like donkeys. People do indeed have dark wood panelling in their living rooms, complete with animal trophies.

Texas has lots of ghost stories. One night I became aware of the possibility that outside the window was a chupacabra waiting to eat two little poodles. There is also Donkey Lady, La Llorana, phantom stampeding cattle and the wet puddle hitchhiker. I heard about two hidden classrooms in two different schools, one with a frightening secret behind it.

What I really didn't expect was that Texas would be a culinary experience par excellence. Texans know how to fix a good chili, not a pesky bean in sight. Great salsas, sauces, Mexican food, fleshy moist potatoes. And best of all, my new favourite food in the world: Shit on a Shingle (SOS). A military food, the "shit" is "chipped beef," or ground beef in a savoury sauce and the "shingle" is a piece of toast. Served with hash browns made out of those wonderful potatoes, a couple of eggs sunnyside up and a few drops of Cholula hot sauce, and you have the best start to a morning since work-free weekends.

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