Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Gourmet Texas on a Budget

There are certain delicacies without which a trip to Texas is just not a trip to Texas. Here are a few of them.

1. Good Mexican food made with fresh ingredients from scratch.
You can find plenty of that here in Austin, and don't forget to order The Bob. Or the Guacamole. I'd better stop there.


2. Forget Krispy Kreme. It's Shipleys Donuts or none at all. You can find these in most major Texas cities, for sure Houston and San Antonio.


3. My favorite hamburger used to be at Prince's Drive-In on Main Street in Houston, with a tall, frosted mug of root beer. My current fave these last thirtysomething years was introduced to me by my Dear Professor down in South Texas. They are now everywhere.


4. Mexican Coca Cola. Bottled in Mexico in REAL bottles, and made with pure cane sugar, not that high fructose stuff that they use in the States. It has a wonderful bouquet and a smooth finish. Currently appearing at your local HEB. (Texas grocery chain)

5. I saved the best for last. (Drum roll please.) It just ain't a trip to Texas without bluebonnets or Blue Bell Ice Cream. After hearing DP wax eloquent about it in class, one of his students, after graduation, had two gallons shipped to us in western PA. Wherever that student is, God Bless him!!

blue bell

I'm salivating just remembering it all.

My Worst nightmare

I have a recurring dream that strikes terror in my heart. Magically I am transported back to high school. Keep in mind that must be some major time machine voodoo to take a sixtysomething back fortysomething years. I walk into class and there is a final exam for which I did not prepare. In the immortal words of Buck Owens and Roy Clark, Hee Haw characters and songwriters, "gloom, despair and agony on me."


This is always followed by waking up in a sweat, then a sense of relief as I regain some semblance of reality. At least, that's how the nightmare has played itself out.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday I accompanied my beautiful Principessa to her school for the final two periods of the day. Principessa is a social studies teacher in a humongous high school in a large Texas city. May I brag? Our little Principessa is the new chairwoman of the social studies department. Way to go, Principessa!


Seventh period began harmlessly enough. The initial students entering class were momentarily taken aback by my presence (fearing I was a substitute teacher). Some were excited to see that Principessa was indeed the result of normal human reproduction. I think they viewed her as springing fully formed from the History Channel, or perhaps an alien. Teachers have normal human lives?


Principessa led her students through a rapid review of the last twenty chapters of study and then handed out a 25 question test. As the kids were quietly working away at sharpening their pencils and answering the questions, my darling daughter, the joy of my life next to my computer, grandchildren, and grandkitties, nonchalantly turned in my direction and said, "Mom, would you like to take the test?" How else could I respond but, "OK".

She handed me the innocent piece of paper and then it hit me. (Dun dun duh!!!!!)

It was my worst nightmare. Only it was REAL! Here I was taking a test for which I had not prepared, even though Principessa had gone over the questions beforehand. I vainly went down the list, trying desperately to remember what she had said. I did pretty well until the final eight. It was then my sixtysomething brain ran screaming from the room, leaving me to sit there blankly staring out the window.

When I mumbled a pathetic "I just can't remember this", Principessa retorted, "but Mom, you LIVED through this period of history."

"Yeah, but that doesn't mean I paid ATTENTION to what was going on!" I replied.

Have you any idea what it's like to have your DAUGHTER make you stay after school and write 500 times, I WILL pay attention in class?