Spring break in Texas

Spring bluebonnets e1513307332157

The other night I dreamt that I was in Texas. It was the end of my visit, and I hadn’t seen many wildflowers while I was there, but as we pulled into the Austin airport, suddenly the surrounding fields were blanketed with our beautiful state flower. I gasped and then I cried.

In real life, my recent trip home wasn’t much different. It was cold, rainy and grey most of the time, and the bluebonnets I did see were few and far between. But if you looked, there were still signs that it was springtime in Texas and plenty of reminders that I was indeed back home.

My first order of business was a book signing at the Texas State Capitol, where I looked up and saw this:

Then I spent the next couple of days at Foodways Texas’ annual symposium eating, pondering, and discussing this:

As much as I love barbecue, after two days of smoked meat I had a huge craving for this:

I then popped into Central Market, where on display was this:

Then I paid a visit to my grandma’s farm, where to celebrate its being named the official pie of Texas we enjoyed a slice or two of this:

The next day, I drove back to Central Texas and stopped in Taylor for this:

My last night in Texas was spent with good friends, and we slurped oysters, shared stories and felt lots of love and, of course, this:

As always, it was good to be home.

  1. trillbilly

    just got tears in my eyes! yum! ^_^

  2. Anonymous

    why did you have to do this to me? So homesick now.

  3. Kathy - Panini Happy

    That was a pretty awesome Texas postcard. 🙂 You're making me even more excited for my trip to Austin in June (queso and blue bell just got added to my must-try list!).

  4. Such a wave of homesickness just hit me. I miss Texas most in the springtime.

  5. Yup, this post made me cry. I love Texas in springtime. For some reason we always end up visiting in the winter.

  6. Heartsies. That's what we'll be doing this weekend… bluebonnet hunting and barbecue eating. Though we LIVE in Austin!

  7. Barbara H

    Groan…love the Northeast but dang, we miss all of the above!

  8. Oh thank you for that! It's always this time of year that I miss Texas the most. I can still close my eyes and see the Bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush and smell the beef jerky at the little stores between Houston and Austin. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm………

  9. Misplaced Texan

    Awww…thanks for sharing. My heart is heavy with homesickness.

  10. Anonymous

    I would be staying for a big fortnight..more than 2 weeks and eat myself into oblivion.Oh my what a way to start the week with pictures of texas and its great great food and the flowers well one can only conclude there ain't no place on earth but TEXAS, and I have never lived there but visited, I find the people hospitable, kind, loving and some of the best food in all of the USA…your making me nuts for TEXAS, OH, well our only child is considering moving from NYC to work and live in Austin, to her the best place on this USA if she does, we will visit so much, easier to fly there than NYC and warmer..have a great week! ciao

  11. Crystal in Texas

    Beautiful post! Especially since we live in Fayette Country and it looks like this everywhere! And the food is soooo good!

  12. I'm just like you are, after a few days of meat/bbq, I always need my Mexican food fix. We're in N Texas and have just started seeing some pretty bluebonnets. Not a lot of them, but some good patches. I love Texas like you do!

  13. Sarah Summerlin

    So fun to read about your adventures and see your pictures. I'm another transplanted Texan. I think Blue Bell is what I miss most (food-wise).

  14. Wish I had known you were here. I'd of come downtown and got my book signed. Of course its well used by now. My grand kids love the sour cream chicken enchiladas. We didn't get near enough rain last fall for there to be very many flowers this spring. Hopefully that will change.

  15. Mueller's in Taylor? Yum!

  16. purpleranger

    What you need to do is see if you have anyplace where you can grow bluebonnets — even if it's only a window box.

    And you might have to make a side trip to Kentucky for this, but you need to try the Blue Bell flavor Kentucky Delight.

  17. The Romer Family

    I love Blue Bell….homemade vanilla, mint choc, and banana pudding.

  18. Man, I love TEXAS! Blue Bell Lemon Bliss is fantastic. Love your blog too.

  19. Mali from ATX

    Glad you were able to see the Bluebonnets. I didn't think we'd have a good year but they sure are lovely right now. My old friends who have moved away from TX, then finally get Blue Bell in their new town have big honkin' Blue Bell Ice Cream Socials introducing their new friends to the wonder of BLUE BELL! What fun!!

  20. longhornsandcamels

    You really know how to spread around the homesickness, don't you? 🙂 What great highlights – I so miss springtime in Texas! What I wouldn't do to have any one of those dishes delivered to my doorstep right now…

  21. Amy Jordan

    From a Corpus Christian living in Minnesota indefinitely (which I love by the way), you just made me cry. In 13 years I haven't been homesick, at least not beyond what a good plate of Texas food at my table couldn't fix. But, that Texas nutshell you just shared gave me a longing I both love and hate.
    Thanks. Keep it comin'

  22. I've always been to Texas in the summer, but you've just convinced me I NEED to go in spring!

  23. I sure wish I could have seen you when you were here! Can you make it back in late April for our shindig?

  24. I love your stories about my home state. The photos of the Bluebonnets are beautiful. Every March I feel the draw to see fields of Bluebonnets in bloom. The homesickness explodes and I wish I could find a way to grow Bluebonnets in western North Carolina mountains. The year MUST always start with Hoppin' John in Jan., Rodeo in Feb. and Bluebonnets in March!
    Thanks for the stories of home and the photos to accompany them.
    Love you Lisa….

  25. Am sharing blog with a BlueBell employee.
    Cooking pies with a Granddaughter is a
    precious gift.

  26. Anonymous

    Thanks so much for all the great photos! I miss Texas so very much and hope to move there sometime in the near future. Love the blue bonnets!!!!!!!
    Diane M.

  27. Those are some of the things I miss most too 🙁

  28. Anonymous

    Kathleen, Native East Texan: And THAT'S why we love and live in Texas. I am continuously grateful.

  29. Anonymous

    The bluebonnets are everywhere now, as well as the other wildflowers. I'm making a brisket this weekend. I can't imagine living somewhere else and longing for Texas. I hope I never have to find out what it feels like.
    Laurel in Austin, TX

  30. Great post Lisa, but I still don't miss El Paso…

  31. Anonymous

    Perfection. Just add a chicken fried steak and it would be enhanced perfection.

  32. Anonymous

    We met you while you were at the capital for your book signing – we had brought my sister-in law and brother-in law from Manhattan to visit the Austin area. Glad you got to enjoy bbq and tx mex and blue bell and some bluebonnets while you were here in spite of the cold and rain 🙂 Cathy from Dallas

  33. Welcome home, girl. Glad you enjoyed your visit.

  34. Blair Campbell

    I'm living in spain right now studying abroad, and I know I shouldn't complain, but I miss Texas. Thanks for the post.

  35. Hi, I live in Taylor, where did you get the pie? also try the BBQ at Davis grocery on Walnut his brisket is to die for and makes real BBQ sauce.

  36. Anonymous

    I just got back from Texas about a month ago & am soooo homesick (as always). You brought a smile to my heart.

  37. Anonymous

    I do miss Spring in Texas. We have lovely sights in Arizona . . . but nothing equals a field of bluebonnets!Joyce

  38. Anonymous

    There's no place like the home of the heart and Texas will always be mine no matter where I am. Bluebonnets get me every time!


  39. I was supposed to go to Texas at the end of the month, but work/life got in the way. It would have been my first Fiesta since I left San Antonio 6 years ago. I'm hoping next year works out better (although I'm sure to be there at Christmas — it's not the same as being there for Fiesta!).

  40. Lisa Fain

    Trillbilly–Yep, bluebonnets can definitely make you teary!

    Kathy–Have you never been to Texas? You're going to love it!

    Kara–I do, too.

    Tara–Hopefully you make it next year!

    Shrie–That's a fine way to spend your weekend.

    Barbara–Yep, there's nothing like that here in the Northeast.

    Rebecca–Love Texas beef jerky!

    Misplaced Texan–You're very welcome!

    Crystal–How wonderful that must be!

    Nicolle–Usually, Tex-Mex is my first stop but since I was at a barbecue conference it got priority this trip.

    Sarah–It's good stuff!

    Susan–I'll be back!

    Sara–Indeed it was!

    Purpleranger–I tried growing them but it didn't take.

    The Romer Family–They make the best vanilla.

    Brdhntr–Thank you!

    Mali–They were slow to start, I hear, but are finally putting on a good show.

    Longhornsandcamels–Just doing my job! Hope you make it back home soon.

    Amy–There are some wonderful things in Texas you just can't find outside the state.

    Celeste–Yes, you definitely need to go in the spring!

  41. Lisa Fain

    Cata–Hey lady! I don't think I'll make it to Big D next weekend since I'm on deadline for another book. But I'll definitely be back in Texas this summer and would love to see you!

  42. Lisa Fain

    Kevon–Thank you for the kind words! Let us know if you figure out a way to grow bluebonnets in North Carolina.

  43. Lisa Fain

    JJ–Thank you, Grandma!

  44. Lisa Fain

    Diane–May you be able to move back soon!

    Angela–Yep, I know what you mean.

    Kathleen–There's no place like TExas.

    Laurel–Trust me, it's hard!


    Cathy–Yes! I remember you! My trip turned out to be a great one.

    Jan–Thank you!

    Blair–I did a junior year in Spain, too, and I also missed home. That's totally okay!

  45. Lisa Fain

    Wanda–That was homemade pie, made by my grandma. And thank you for the tip about Davis. I'll be sure to stop there next time.

  46. Lisa Fain

    Adrina–Aw, I'm glad the post brought a smile to your heart!

    Joyce–There's no comparison.

    Melody–Yep, they get me, too!

    Janna–I hope you make it back for Fiesta next year!

  47. purpleranger

    Sorry to hear about your bad luck planting bluebonnets. Several years ago, I planted some bluebonnet seeds, and I got bluebonnets. Of course, I'm not quite as north as you, so that might have something to do with it.

  48. Anonymous

    I gotta send this to my baby girl in Boston – I gave her your book. Now if she could read your blog, I'm sure I could get her back to Texas.

  49. I, too, was a misplaced Texan in NYC. Your blog really hits home and I enjoy it very much. I did want to say that we found a good (especially for NYC) more or less Tex-Mex restaurant across the street on the north side of Grand Central Station. It is called Tequilaville. It was the best I could find seven years ago. Glad to be back in Texas. Sorry we missed you in Austin.

  50. Well, for once, I'm not crying after I read your post. I just got back from my own trip to Texas and it looked a whole lot like yours! As usual, I feel like I got my SOUL back after visiting. From the food( Katy Trail Ice House, Hook, Line, and Sinker, Van's Barbecue in Oakville, Mattito's in Dallas -Bob Armstrong Dip..oh, hell yes!Bluebell ice cream, Bordon's chocolate milk- great Mexican food at Mama Chole's in Leakey to the flowers (found the best bluebonnets between Marble Falls and Austin) to the people (everyone, everywhere) it was a much treasured trip. I love your blog and it has made me appreciate Texas even more than I already did..and that was A LOT! Proud to be a Texan living in California!

  51. Thanks so much for this post. I've been living overseas for 13 years and usually only make it back to the Houston area in summer or for Christmas. Sadly, my first spring visit in all that time was this March for my mother's funeral. There were a few bright moments, though, enjoying the beautiful spring sunshine, getting my fill of BBQ and Tex Mex, catching a glimpse of the occasional bluebonnet and spending time with Texas family and friends.

  52. Anonymous

    Was already crying, missing TX this morning. Then this. Thank you. Now will go make some kolaches to honor the people of West.


  53. Anonymous

    I wanna go home now 🙁

  54. Margaret

    Just pulled out your cookbook and MUST make Kolaches in honor of the people in the wonderful town of West, Texas. I too enjoyed stopping to stretch my legs and get a wonderful "snack" and a box full of Kolaches for breakfast the next day or for hostess gifts to whom-ever I was headed to visit! I was born and raised in Texas and now live in Indiana. Use your CB all the time…boy I think you wrote it with me in mind…because I am a "Homesick Texas"!! But you can take a girl out of Texas…you just can't take Texas out of the girl!!!! Everything recipe I make gets rave reviews!!!! Thank You!

  55. Rocky Mountain Woman

    hah! It's always soooo nice to go home, isn't it?


  56. Tracey Meinecke

    Oh! You are making me so homesick! I am a displaced Texan living in England. I received your cookbook for Christmas, but sadly can't find many of the ingredients here. I'm working on substitutes so I can get as much flavor of Texas as possible. Thanks for the great post!

  57. Never thought I could have nostalgia for the film on the top of the queso. 🙂 Missing those bluebonnets, too.

  58. Thanks for the photos of your visit! It's been 13 years and I am going back on Wednesday. Bluebonnets will prolly be gone, but all other goodness will remain!

  59. What an amazing treat. I got homesick for bluebonnets while living in England. Someone took me out and showed me the bluebells. They weren't the same, but the daffodils around London were a nice consolation prize.

  60. willowcaroline

    SOOO glad Blue Bell is now sold in North Carolina… always a little taste of my childhood in the freezer!

  61. Sigh. Blue Bell. I live 2.5 hours from the nearest grocery store that sells it. Must … go … sooooon …

    Also, another proud Texan living in California!

  62. Anonymous

    It's never too late to come back. We were gone for 34 years, but now live in Taylor. The Texas coast is preferable, but it's all home.


  63. With a spread like this to remind me, it's hard to say what I miss the most! Also, every time I go back, I take about a dozen pictures of the capitol, as if I'd never done it before. What a beautiful dome…

  64. southernspoonbelle

    Bookmarking this beautiful post to come back to whenever I'm homesick! I was back in central Texas (home) last month for my first Texas spring in 8 years, and soaked up those carpets of bluebonnets– aren't they gorgeous?!
    I received your cookbook for Christmas this year and have enjoyed being able to whip up authentic Texan dishes in my Aussie kitchen. Thanks for sharing your recipes…your Fancy King Ranch Chicken is the best!

  65. Anonymous

    I spent 6 years in ATX during and after college. I miss it dearly. Mexican food in Northern California leaves something to be desired. Tex-Mex is nonexistsent. I asked for Queso and they brought me cold shredded cheese! You have no idea how grateful I am for your recipes! I'm a vegetarian now, but I adapt what I can.

  66. Candie Yoder

    My family moved to San Antonio last August and now I never want to live anywhere else… I love it here!

  67. Anonymous

    Y'all are braver than I am. I could never move out of state. I'd starve to death without my San Antonio cheese enchiladas and puffy tacos. I'm homesick when I go on vacation. All I can think about on the way home is how I'm going to get my Tex-Mex fix!

  68. Anonymous

    I love that you mentioned Taylor, that's where I'm from! I just moved to Montana and am a newly homesick Texan, although Montana has been somewhere I've always wanted to live. It has just made me realize how awesome Texas is. I guess I took for granted little things like Blue Bell and HEB, and now I miss them so much. Thanks for your recipes and stories, I'm so glad I found this website!

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