Texan Versus Southern Cuisine

Texan Versus Southern Cuisine

Dear Readers,

I need your help.

In the last few weeks, I've found myself attempting to explain the difference between Texas food and traditional Southern cuisine. Since I was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, I consider myself something of an authority on the latter, but I find that there's quite a bit of overlap with what Texans call "their" food. (Pronouns don't really work here, as I'm proud to have been adopted by Texas but am still a Southern girl at heart.)

Even if we have a Venn diagram here, there are bound to be differences we can agree on. Texas has distinct cuisine that cannot be found elsewhere -- for example, I advise you not to eat Tex-Mex in my hometown unless you want to cry -- but that distinctiveness means that while Texas may carry some Southern characteristics, it's not part of the South proper.

Where I'm from, we barbecue pork...down here, it's beef. Down here, you only put beans in your chili if you want to get shot, and it's easier to find game meats (dove, quail, pheasant) on restaurant menus. But pecan pie, buttermilk biscuits, cornbread, and chicken fried steak seem to have favor on both sides of this debate.

So, what's what? Y'all help me out here. (At least we can agree that "y'all" is acceptable while "you guys" is not, right?)


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