Every state has their own traditions that you generally don't even know are traditions until stepping outside of state lines. The difference in acceptable, and even available, foods from Texas to Mississippi, and even to Tennessee completely blew my mind.
Yet, in the midst of not understanding how a restaurant could thrive, let alone exist, without brisket on the menu, I realized the state of Texas does a lot of things differently than the rest of the country, and they like it that way.
If you've ever been around a Texan outside the state of Texas, you've probably heard about one of these eleven foods Texans have instilled in their livelihoods. Welcome to the holy grail of Texas food.
1. Fletcher's Corny Dogs
The state fair isn't just one of mediocre proportions. Nope, not in Texas. But the fair itself is hardly what you remember when looking back. What you remember is getting a bigger-than-your-face corny dog at Fletchers at the fair. This American classic is a must-have after a spin on the tilt-a-whirl.
Whether you ate the whole thing or not is irrelevant (we don't judge).
Queso basically runs through the veins of every Texan, and has since birth. This Tex-Mex dip benefits from a hearty handful of green chilies and corn tortilla chips. Pour it on cheese enchiladas the next time you are at the local Mexican restaurant and you are good to go.
The rest of the country is just now becoming wise to our delicious scheme, but let it be known that we did it first.
Just the mere sight of these four letters makes a Texans heart explode with love, followed with immediate hunger. Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits, or HBCBs, as true Texans call them, are a Whataburger staple.
If you're not from here, you've probably been forced into eating this at 4 a.m., thus beginning your own love story with the HBCB.
4. Texas-Shaped Foods
It should come as no surprise that we have foods shaped like the great state of which we live in, and quite frankly, we think other states should carry Texas-shaped food. (Come on New York, what's the holdup?)
Salsa just tastes better out of these Texas tortilla chips from H-E-B, the grocery king of the Lone Star State.
5. Piñata Candy
Every birthday I ever remember was always based around piñata time and we can thank Mexico, our southern neighbors for this fun party activity.
By piñata time, I mean the time where the birthday boy or girl (or woman/man - never too old for a piñata) swings with all their might to bust open the Texas-shaped (more Texas-shaped things!) keeper of candy.
6. Pickle Juice
This counts as food because let's be real, Y'all, the juice didn't just fall out of the sky.
If it did, you'd know where to find a born-and-raised Texan (outside, the answer is outside).
What churros meant to me as a kid was Six Flags Fiesta Texas because that's where I'd always be allowed to have them.
Luckily as an adult, the churro movement has taken over the state, and decadent and elaborative spins on this simple deep fryer dessert have made way into the hearts of Texans everywhere.
8. Round Rock Doughnuts
If anything screams "Texas," it's the signature bigger-than-your-head doughnut offered up solely at Round Rock Doughnuts just outside of Austin.
Featured on an episode of "Man vs. Food" on the Food Network, this doughnut doesn't come up short to the "everything's bigger in Texas" standard.
9. Eggs and Salsa
There is no such thing as a breakfast involving eggs without the existence of salsa. Props for an addition of black beans.
If you've never tried this beautiful combination, we recommend you get on it, and quick. We're just lookin' out for you, here!
10. Brisket Tacos
It's one thing to know that BBQ rules all in Texas, but it's another ballgame when you combine two Texas traditions into one: the brisket taco.
Smoked brisket smothered in the sauce of your choice wrapped in a warm tortilla? Don't mind if we do.
11. Blue Bell Ice Cream
You didn't make it out of your childhood without a deep and dying love for Blue Bell Ice Cream if you grew up in Texas.
This is a love affair that extends into adulthood and is to be passed on to generation after generation. It just doesn't get much better than this, Y'all.