Every fall, college campuses are positively teeming with pert teenage girls, all of them wearing inappropriately short shorts and skirts, somehow sensing that the freshman 15 is going to put a stop to that VERY QUICKLY. Make hay while the sun shines, right? And every fall, thousands of teenage boys make their ways to those same college campuses, frantically trying to make connections with upper classmen, who usually have homes where they can crush Keystone Light cans against their foreheads in the ultimate display of indigent machismo. The dangerous bit comes when the two meet, usually at a party in one of those houses. You know the ones, right? Where the floor is so sticky that it feels like it’s been mopped with Gorilla Glue, and with Bob Marley posters on the walls and two cracked bongs in the sink. Both the girls and the boys end up completely inebriated, and the girls end up sleeping with boys who have been around the block a time or two, and a week after this party, they experience itching and burning. They’ve gotten a fierce case of PUFFY TACO.
Hahahahaha, I’m kidding of course! Because “Puffy Taco” is not an STD, as you would rightly assume. No, it is the ACTUAL NAME of San Antonio’s signature dish!!
What. The. F*CK.
And that is one of the litany of reasons I have chosen Texas to be the final country that has pissed me off recently. “But waiiit,” you snivel, “Texas is a staaaaate!” Yeah, well, not if they can help it. Texas has been famously trying to secede for the past 100 years, and frankly I’m not sure who’s stopping them. So I will give the people what they want and treat them as a sovereign nation. Thereby my choice is legitimate, and you can step off, mmmkay?
How has Texas pissed me off recently? Hmmm…well, I guess the correct question is how has Texas NOT pissed me off recently. And there is only ONE answer to that question, and that answer is: There aren’t as many wasps as there are in Colorado.
You may think that’s a silly reason, but you don’t know my paralyzing fear of wasps and other flying stingers. In Colorado I had to actively hide from them, sometimes shrieking and crazy-dancing across a crowded park to escape them. When I moved to Texas, I was concerned that I would be attacked by killer bees. They have those here, you know. But nay! Instead I have seen a smattering of honeybees here and there (which I love, from a very wide berth. I love honey. I give the bees their space. I buy Haagen-Dasz to support them.), and more than a few bumblebees, which are not at all threatening, and kind of remind me of chunky, winged Ralph Wiggums. “Mrs Krabappel, I stung a flower and my butt fell off.” Not a killer bee in sight, thus far.
What I HAVE seen in Texas is:
–rampant fire ants
–spiders the size of Aragog from Harry Potter
–UFIs (Unidentified Flying Insects)
–Double-wide grocery carts and an incredibly high rate of obesity
–Stray dogs running in packs
–Sarah Palin bumper stickers
–a “heat index” which is like windchill, but way, way shittier
–Dress Barn (this is an actual place)
–Ticks the size of hummingbirds who latch on to my puppy and bite him before his Advantix can kill them, leaving bite marks on his tiny puppy body that develop into raw, oozing hot spots
–and a host of other unpleasant shit, including the fact that it has been over 100 degrees fahrenheit for the past several WEEKS. Ugh.
I have found some things in Texas that are nice enough:
–a few new friends
–cool, ethnic grocery stores
–cheap housing (also cheaply made)
–really nice employees
The employees are astonishingly nice here. The Terminix guy, the maintenance guy, the lawnmower guy, the main gardener guy, the maids, the carpenter are all extraordinarily friendly and nice. Oh, and everyone who works at either of the two gyms I use (I just got a job as a personal trainer/nutrition advisor at a pretty hardcore gym, but I’m keeping my old backup gym because the people are so sweet).
Oh, and Seaworld used to have free beer, but they canceled that this year. Sad news.
See how I’m offering a fair and balanced perspective?? I’m such a kind, well-adjusted soul.
And my kind, well-adjusted soul actually bit the bullet and made puffy tacos for dinner tonight, just to bring something authentically Texan to the table, without rehashing my recipes of chile and BBQ. And we can figure out if Texans have it so good that they’d want to succeed from the United States, which is an important scientific question.
I’ve seen the puffy taco Throwdown with Bobby Flay. It was held right here, in San Antonio! What they do is take masa, make raw tortillas, and then instead of baking them on a comal, they FRY them. Frying them from a raw state means that they puff up like a pita, and then you use some tongs to make a dent in the center and scalding your hand, usually. Great, right? Except for that adds countless calories and 50% extra labor to the taco shells. But I did it. For you, and for science.
Then you make a taco filling and some condiments. Now, I was willing to fry the shells, but I drew the line at a traditional ground beef filling, guacamole, and sour cream. My arteries can only handle so much at one time. I made a filling out of ground turkey, onions, tomatoes, garlic, cumin, and extra-hot chili powder. And then I made a slaw with a dressing of buttermilk, yogurt, cilantro, lime, apple, honey, and roasted peanut oil. Sounds crazy, but it was really, really good, and it served the purpose of cutting through the spice of the filling and the grease of the fried taco shell. Then I added some crumbled cotija cheese for salty texture.
The end result was fair. I don’t like puffy tacos, it should be said. I had them once in a restaurant down here, and I thought they were greasy and soggy and coated my mouth in an unappealing layer of oil. These were better, with less oil and coating factor, but still not my favorite thing. Chris really liked them, though, so maybe they’re just man-food. This concludes my review series of countries that have pissed me off recently. We have looked at North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, China, and Texas. What we’ve concluded is that North Korea is a pit, Iran has great food, Venezuela is whatever, Chinese soup is cool, and Texas is way too hot. You are welcome.