- Bluebonnets. I'm sure if you follow any Texan via social media, you'll see that we are deep in bluebonnet season. Bluebonnets are Texas' state flower and as kids, we were all told that it was illegal to pick them. While that isn't true, most people think it is and that means that the fields of bluebonnets on the side of Texas roads stay in tact as long as possible. It isn't uncommon to see families pulled over and taking pictures in fields along highways. It's just our thing.
Last year's bluebonnet pic - hopefully we can take another this weekend.
- Tex-Mex versus Mexican food. Hate to break it to you, rest of the world, but the food you call Mexican is actually Tex-Mex. Think queso, nachos, quesadillas, and things featuring flour tortillas and sour cream. Mexican food is richer, uses less cheese, and seems to focus more on the way meat is cooked and featured in the dish. So if I am learning about a new restaurant here that's described as Mexican, I have to follow up with "Traditional or Tex-Mex?" For the record, I typically prefer Tex-Mex.
- Kolaches. It makes me sad that the rest of America doesn't have these as a breakfast staple. Basically, there was a large Czech population that settled in Texas and they brought kolaches with them. Traditional kolaches are a sweet bun with a dollop of fruit mixture on top. However, for some reason, Houstonians also call meat-filled buns (think a pig in a blanket on steroids) kolaches, too. Pretty much any donut shop in town also sells the meat kolaches. They're staples here.
Left - the fruit kolaches. Right - the kind with meat inside. These are smaller than the ones available at most donut shops.
- The feeder road is the frontage road. I just learned a few years ago that the thing I have always known as a feeder road is a frontage road in the rest of the world. Apparently Houstonians are pretty much the only ones who call them feeders. Why, and why is it so widespread? So weird.
- Houston has no zoning. I don't even know how to properly explain this because I've only ever lived here, but the fact that Houston has no zoning laws baffles anyone who comes here. You might have a strip club down the street from a grocery store with an office building behind it. While I just see that as first come, first served when it came to buying property, others find that odd. Apparently pawn shops are seen as shady in other parts of the country, but here they are everywhere. There's one in the same shopping center as my dry cleaner. It might as well be a Walgreens as far as I'm concerned - I'm indifferent to it.
- "Don't Mess with Texas." For as long as I can remember, this has been a slogan to deter littering on Texas highways. Other people interpret it as being something slightly menacing - like ohhhh, Texas is too big to be messed with. Nope, it just means don't litter.
image from here.
- Whataburger. It's a fast food burger chain. My mom didn't really like it so I didn't eat it much growing up and don't particularly care for it now, but I'm in the minority; people love it. It's open 24 hours so it's notorious drunk food. People go crazy for their ketchup and it's now sold at HEB (Texas' best grocery store). It's considered blasphemy to say I couldn't care less about it, though, because there are people who crave it and have to eat it as soon as they cross state lines.
So those are just a few things that seem commonplace to me but might strike you as crazy. So tell me - what should I know about where you live?