Texas is a diverse and great place to live, but we aren’t complicated. Despite that, there are just some things that non-Texans won’t ever understand until they live here.
1. Queso is not just melted cheese
When I travel “abroad” to any of the other 49 states, and I make my way in to a Mexican restaurant occasionally there will be menu item listed as “chips and queso”. I put that phrase in quotation marks because normally what I am served is not chips and queso as we know it. It is a sorry substitute consisting of stale chips and melted cheese.The chips are terrible and the “queso” is just melted yellow cheese. There is no flavor, and there is rarely anything else mixed in it.
The other 49 states take the translation of the word Queso a little too literally when applying it to this dish in my opinion.
2. Not all Tacos are created equal
Don’t get me wrong, I like a good Taco Bell taco as much as the next guy, but in reality they pale in comparison to a really good street taco. A good fajita or barbacoa taco from one of those little Mexican restaurants all over the state beats them all in a head to head competition. There’s no debating it. It’s truth. If you disagree, you’re probably from Maine or Idaho. Neither of which are places deemed authorities on Mexican food.
3. Bragging about Buc-ee’s bathrooms
I know it sounds weird to brag about how clean a rest stop’s bathrooms are, but seriously, have you used a Buc-ee’s bathroom before? They really are the cleanest bathrooms on the planet. I’m sure people from other states have no idea why we’d brag about such things, but Texas is a big state. We have to drive long distances to get around. We occasionally have to stop at some nice rest stops and, well, not-so-nice rest stops. Believe us when we say, Buc-ee’s bathrooms are the best.
4. How big the state is
I’m pretty sure the rest of the country thought we were crazy when we upgraded some of our highways to 85 miles per hour. The people who thought we were crazy have probably never had to drive between Beaumont and El Paso. If they had, they’d understand how big this state is.
Occasionally I’ll get a call from someone out of state who wants me to “just cruise on over to Lubbock from Austin” or “swing by Houston when I’m free” to do something for them. I have to remind them that unlike their puny state, ours takes time to drive across.
5. The way we pronounce certain words
Rio Grande, Boerne, and Guadalupe are just three of the many words that aren’t pronounced the way they look. Nothing makes a non-Texan who is visiting stick out more than hearing them try to pronounce em. The Texan language is a complex and diverse as the folks who use it. Just because a word may have spanish, german, or native American roots, doesn’t mean we still pronounce it that way.
6. “The Valley” is in south Texas, not California
With as many Californians moving here as there are nowadays, one thing needs to be said, and I’ll be the first to do so. When you’re in Texas, “The Valley” is not the San Fernando Valley, Silicon Valley, or any other valley in California. It’s the Rio Grande Valley. When your’e back home, your’e welcome to refer to whatever you’d like as “the Valley”. But when you’re in Rome, do as the Romans. When you’re in Texas, do as the Texans, and stop talking about California.
7. Texas state pride
We may be the most hated state in the United States, but who cares? I understand why. Their states just don’t hold their own when it comes to competition. They don’t understand state pride, because they don’t have much to be prideful of. It doesn’t matter where you travel in this world. EVERYONE knows where Texas is. It’s practically it’s own country.
8. Grilling is not BBQ
I’m sorry y’all, but putting some charcoal in a Weber grill and throwing some hot dogs on it is not “BBQ”. That’s grilling. If you want to BBQ, you smoke meats slowly using Post Oak, Mesquite, or one of the other wonderful woods for doing so.
Don’t get me wrong. Grilling isn’t a bad thing. But in the grand scheme of things, you’re basically just heating up uncooked meats while trying not to burn them. BBQ is a time honored tradition that takes hours and skill. It’s praised by all. Heck, Texas Monthly has a website solely devoted to the Texas BBQ Sciences.
Non-Texans thing anything with grill marks that they didn’t make inside is BBQ, but frankly they just don’t understand.
9. We don’t all ride horses to school and work
Despite popular belief, we don’t all ride horses everywhere we go. The population of this state is now primarily living in an urban area. As fun as it would be to do ride a horse around town, it’s just not practical and our streets would smell a lot worse, if you know what I mean. We appreciate the admiration for the cowboy way of life that everyone perceives us all of living, but it’s just not the way it is anymore.
That being said, there are still some people who do find a reason or two to saddle up in Texas and run some errands every now and again. Those people are awesome.
10. Homecoming Mums
I remember the first time I asked a non-Texan about homecoming mums. They cocked their head to the side like a confused animal and asked, “what the heck is a homecoming mum?” Needless to say, I was as dumbfounded as you probably are right now, hearing their response. Apparently not everyone practices this tradition.
Mums are a huge part of going to High School in Texas. The fact that many people in the other 49 states miss out on this exorbitant and over the top tradition is baffling. They don’t know what they’re missing out on.
11. High School Football
I had a conversation with a girl from New Jersey once who told me three terrible things. The first was that she didn’t know what a mum was (which we’ve already covered). The second was that she hadn’t ever been to a pep rally before, which is insane. And the third, and most baffling, was that she had never been to a high school football game. I was floored.
High School football is a huge part of Texan culture. On Fridays in the fall you can see caravans of school buses hauling students around the state for big match ups in local football stadiums. Dads are working the booster club BBQ’s, the band and drill team is getting ready for their halftime performance, and of course our favorite team is getting amped on the sidelines.
The fact that people in other places don’t regard high school football as highly as we do is baffling, and honestly, somewhat upsetting. Let’s change the subject.
We have our scientific proof that Texas, and for the most part, folks from the south, are nicer than people from elsewhere, even in situations that people might not expect. A friend of ours came to visit from the West Coast recently and kept saying, “I can’t believe how many people hold the door open for others”. I thought she was crazy for noticing, because I just expect it. It’s called hospitality, and folks from elsewhere just don’t get it.
13. Texas Weather
Rain one day. Freezing the day after. A sauna the next. It’s baffling to people elsewhere that we can have a cold snap in early December, and then get shorts weather for Christmas. I’m sorry it’s hard to comprehend folks, but that’s just Texas weather. If you don’t like it, just wait 15 minutes. It’ll change.
14. Mr. Pibb is not a substitute for Dr Pepper
Listen up Non-Texans. I don’t know what sludge for a cola you drink that you consider Mr. Pibb to be comparable to Dr Pepper, but they’re not even close. If I wanted a Mr. Pibb, I would have asked for one. The next time I have a non-Texan ask if, “Mr. Pibb is ok instead of Dr Pepper” I’m seriously going to flip the table over.
Honestly though. Mr. Pibb is just a regular guy. Dr Pepper is a Doctor for crying out loud! He’s got an education in taste. He’s the only one that can be trusted. You non-Texans just don’t get it.