The Top 12 Texas Junk Foods: 1981 and Now
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.
Photo by Troy Fields The Frito pie has earned its place on both lists.
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...