Glad you found me.
I’m a Texan.
More specifically, I’m a West Texan, but I’ve lived and worked all over the state.
I’m not from Marfa, which is just an extension of Austin, and I’m not from El Paso, which is a region unto itself. I’m from Barstow, a tiny speck on the map just outside of Pecos, which is a slightly larger speck on the map.
There ain’t many of us out here. Everybody else is way off to the East. We have a running joke out here that everything is a five-hour drive from home.
Growing Up in West Texas
Growing up in West Texas, we were poor, so we rarely ate dinner out. My mother cooked every night of the week.
Her mother wasn’t much of a cook, so my mother learned from our friends and neighbors in our community. Most of those friends and neighbors were Mexican families. We were among the few white families in the area at the time.
On the other hand, my father’s family was a traditional Southern Family. They were the descendants of people from Tennessee and the surrounding region. My grandfather moved them to West Texas during World War II due to being stationed at Rattlesnake Bomber Base in Pyote, Texas.
His family brought Southern cooking to the table, so we had a mix of Southern-style food at our house. We had plenty of fried chicken (including gizzards and livers), cornbread, greens, buttermilk biscuits, and other traditional southern fare.
With both the Mexican and Southern influences, it wasn’t an odd occurrence to eat enchiladas with a pile of braised collard greens on the same plate.
We truly ate Tex-Mex fare at my house. Just maybe not what other Texans consider Tex-Mex food. Heck, rolled enchiladas were a rarity in my household. Enchilada night for us consisted of stacked enchiladas piled high on a screaming hot plate that would burn a blister on your forearm if you accidentally touched it.
Traveling Throughout Texas
My father was an oilfield worker. With the oilfield, you go where the work is. So, by the time I was in junior high, we had moved to Giddings, Texas, halfway between Austin and Houston, on Highway 290.
Giddings was one of the sites of the earliest German Settlers to Texas, and they still very much maintain their traditions and gastronomy. It was a whole new way of eating for me.
Although it was very different, there were some familiar elements to the food. The German Community had to adapt over time to the ingredients available to them. Every German dish I ate there had a touch of Southern in it.
However, it was still a melting pot with plenty of African-American, Mexican, Cajun, and other cuisines and cultures in the mix.
When I graduated high school, I also joined the oil industry (it was good money, and there was no chance I would become a doctor) and sometimes found myself in a new town every week or even every day.
I traveled along the Gulf Coast to eat the giant shrimp fished out of the Gulf of Mexico, to Port Arthur, where the Vietnamese culture is strong, to cotton country up by Lubbock, over to cattle country around Ft. Worth, and into the Piney Woods, where African-American, Southern, and Cajun cultures are strong.
Now I’m back in West Texas and retired from the industry, rediscovering my roots after traveling and working all over the state.
I hope to share some old favorites as well as some new discoveries I made along the way.
This is my Texas.