Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Homesick Texan Q&A: Liz Smith

I had an idea that it would be fun to do a series of quick Q&A’s with fellow Homesick Texans on their favorite Texan foods. My goal? To learn what others miss the most, and how we satisfy our needs outside the state. Today begins the first in what I hope will be a long and enjoyable series. But first, a bit of background.

In my job, not only is it important to read The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, but it’s key that we keep abreast of all the gossip columnists as well. I have been reading fellow ex-pat Texan Liz Smith in The New York Post for longer than I can remember. And, yes, she dishes as good as the rest. But the one thing about her column that always struck me was the inclusion of Texas—if there’s something to say about The Lone Star State, without fail, it’ll be said. And it always makes me long for home.

In her most recent book Dishing—a simmering pot of savory anecdotes mixed with recipes—she makes no bones about how much she adores Texas cuisine. She’s also recently penned a couple of very poignant remembrances of her dear friend Ann Richards that illuminates the true spirit of these two lively and adventurous ladies. I just knew she would be a natural for this new series. And so, without further ado, it’s my great pleasure to introduce my first Homesick Texan Q&A subject, Liz Smith.

Where are you from? Do you still have family there?
Born in Ft. Worth in 1923 when it was a hick town. I have good friends there still. My friends in Ft. Worth are my childhood chum Louise Lewis Barnhart...we were born 3 months apart...and Dan & June Jenkins and the Thurmonds and Wingos...I know Sid & Mercedes Bass but I see them mainly in NYC.

When and why did you leave Texas? get to the top in NYC.

What do you miss the most about Texas?
Chicken Fried Steak.

What's your favorite Tex-Mex restaurant in Texas?
Mi Tierra in San Antonio. Joe T. Garcia in Ft Worth.

What's your favorite barbecue place in Texas?

Any place in Lockhart.

What do you order?
All of it!

Your chili: beans or no beans?
Just beans.

When you go to Texas, and you go to the grocery store, what's the
first thing you grab that you can't get where you live?

Rotel spiced tomatoes.

What's your favorite place to eat Texan food where you live now?
At home. There's no place I know of that's any good.

Ah...home. It's always the best place to get a good meal. And Rotel tomatoes? Always at the top of my list, too. Thank you, Liz. In any case, that concludes my first Homesick Texan quick Q&A. If you are a Homesick Texan or you know of any Homesick Texans that would like to participate, let me know!

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The County Clerk said...

For the love of civilization, someone send that woman some Rotel! My sister FedExes me Fajitas. Surely someone down south of Oklahoma can help Ms. Smith! Come on people! The woman needs some help.

I think we should start a not-for-profit dedicated to such worthy endeavors: the

Also... I could use some enchiladas.

Luisa said...

How about Dan Rather for your next interview?! Isn't he from Texas?

S to the L said...

I love that you are from Texas and the minute I did a google on Homesick Texans you came up! I am SO missing Texas and my good eats. It's hard to get my "eat on" as we Texans say...especially up here in the Northwest where they "try" to cook Mexican. It still PALES in comparison to the magnificent TEX-MEX of Mexican Manhattan in San Antonio. I immediately thought of that when you said you lived in NYC. Is there Tex-mex up there? I plan to move to NYC once I finish my doctorate. Laterz...S to the L! I need me some PICO DE GALLO!

christine (myplateoryours) said...

Rotel is a Texas thing? Really?

Julie said...

Great idea for a series! Looking forward to more.

Homesick Texan said...

County Clerk: Good idea!

Luisa: He'd be perfect, wouldn't he? His Ratherisms are so colorful.

S to the L: There is Tex-Mex in NYC, but it's not very good.

Christine: It's a Con-Agra brand now, but Rotel was originally a Texan company.

Julie: Thanks! Hopefully I'll have my next one soon.

UnGourmetGal said...

Thank you for listing beans in your chili! I don't understand Denton, it's a no-bean chili kind of town. Next time I go to Babe's I'll have a plateful of chicken fried steak just for you :)

Elise said...

Okay, so I admit I've only been to Texas once, for a wedding in Vernon. Enjoyed the most amazing barbeque ever. I only remember that and how everything seemed bigger in Texas - the hair, the smiles, the food, the cars, the hours needed to get somewhere. But I didn't encounter a Rotel-spiced tomato and have no idea what it is. Can you help me out?

Also, cool score on Liz Smith. The interview was a fun read.

Homesick Texan said...

UnGourmetGal, What's Babe's? It sounds delish.

Elise--Vernon? What a random Texas place to have visited! I used to have family there--good bbq indeed. And Rotel brand tomatoes are canned chopped tomatoes with green chili peppers.

vlb5757 said...

Count me in. I would love to participate! I am a homesick Texan in every sense of the word.

matt said...

Count me in!

NYcowgirl said...

Liz's reference to Joe T.'s has left me dying for some of their sizzling fajitas. I've gone without a bite of Tex-Mex for a month now (just moved to NYC from Ft Worth) and was wondering if there were any half-way decent Mexican restaurants around?

Jacky Mixson said...

Ro-Tel Sauce originated in the Rio Grande Valley in Donna, Texas many years ago. It was produced in a processing plant owned by Knapp-Sharell Co.

I moved to New England in 1960 and couldn't find it or tortillas or anything like that and I used to always insist that anyone coming to visit with me, had to bring me a couple of cases of Rotel Sauce and a couple of cases of Dr. Pepper along with with several dozen tortillas.

Today, I live in Alexandria, Va and at Christmas time when my brother comes up from the DFW area, he always brings me a couple of dozen Tortillas and tamales from some little "hole in the wall" bakery down there and the tortillas and the tamales are the best!!

Anonymous said...

I have still not eaten Rotel, however, my sister-in-law from Kansas City makes me bring them back when I travel. The good news (for me since they are heavy) is that they finally have them here in NY. The Waldbaums in Bayside Queens in the Bay Terrace shopping center sells them.....ENJOY!!!

Anonymous said...

I just moved here from Arkansas. Can I buy rotel anywhere in the city?????

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