The Top 12 Texas Junk Foods: 1981 and Now

Categories: Get Lit

Photo by Troy Fields
The Frito pie has earned its place on both lists.
Assistant music editor Craig Hlavaty recently purchased a 1981 edition of The Genuine Texas Handbook, a guide to all things Texan. It's an often-tongue-in-cheek look at the people, places, outfits, songs, foods and more that made someone Texan 31 years ago. Incidentally, the book and I are the same age, so we'll be featuring excerpts from the handbook's food chapter (entitled, fittingly, "Love & Lard") over the next few weeks to see how Texas has changed during the course of this food writer's lifetime.

At the beginning of The Genuine Texas Handbook's food section, author Rosemary Kent points out that there are only three truly Texan food groups -- barbecue, Tex-Mex and chicken fried steak -- to which the majority of the coverage in "Love & Lard" is dedicated. "The Big Food Three," as she calls them, "are Texas's most distinguished contributions to American cuisine."

"All are basic, unpretentious, genuine and cheap," Kent writes, attributes which we, as Texans, still admire to this day.

However, in an opening sidebar, Kent admits a preference for what she calls the 12 Texas Junk Foods:

Photo by Chris Devers
Moon Pies and RC Cola: Junk food of the past?
1. Peanuts in Dr Pepper
2. Beef jerky
3. Frozen Snickers
4. Moon Pies
5. Corn dogs
6. Cream gravy poured over white bread, dotted with catsup, and cut into pieces
7. Frito pie
8. Pickled pigs' feet
9. Corn bread crumbled into a glass of buttermilk and eaten with an iced tea spoon
10. Jalapeño-stuffed olives
11. Hot dip made with Ro-tel tomatoes and Velveeta cheese
12. Hot okra pickles

Although it wasn't called queso at the time, we can all recognize the 11th entry on the list, which would still remain on a current list of favorite Texas junk foods. (Probably in the very first spot, at that.)

But others haven't stood the test of time as gracefully...

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Cornbread in buttermilk is ambrosial


Mmm...I love mashed up pinto beans with miracle whip on white bread.  My grandmother taught me to eat that. I also love cream gravy on Texas toast with ketchup.  So good.  Ketchup is good on chicken fried steak w/gravy too.  My parents were from West Texas, in the country so we ate a lot of country style foods.  My husband is a LONG time Houstonian (familiar with Telge Road? That's his family) so he thinks we're a little crazy. Now I'm hungry for Texas food that I can't get seeing as to how we're living in AZ, at the behest of the US Army.


Buttermilk with cornbread is Depression food, like leftover pinto beans on a sandwich.  


The snippet "nuts in Dr. P" made me giggle out loud.


 Born in Texas, raised in Texas and have never left the great State of Texas and I love beans in my chili. 


i always thought texas sheet cake was chocolate cake with real chocolate frosting/icing (none of that from the canister crap) that you put on while the cake was still warm from baking.

Justice Tirapelli-Jamail
Justice Tirapelli-Jamail

Rudyard's Pub frito pie all the way. Just buy a bag of fritos next door at Al's Quick Stop and bring it to your Rudz bartender. They'll get it t the kitchen and make it awesome for you.


 Your name should be dumbassfattyfatbastard 'cause all you have to do at JCI is tell them to hold the beans.

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