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.

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:

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Katharine Shilcutt