We packed up and moved to Texas 5 1.2 years ago, Jim’s birthplace and my first time here except for changing planes at DFW over the years. I started a Texas Journal to email friends and relatives and kept it up for six months or so.
Who knows where we’ll end up in the next few weeks, I may have to a Farewell to Texas party. Right now the Trail Riders are living right below us overnight, preparing themselves and their horses and wagons for the Rodeo Parade in the morning. We may walk over there as they’re closing our street.
I don’t remember if I told you this but as we drove to Texas, a 24-hour trip from fire-ravaged and smoke-laden SoCal, we lucked out and had three days to do it. The last day was a Sunday and Jim started work first thing Monday morning so I drove the final eight hours. It was the first day of deer season, and we stopped at a restaurant and half the folks were just coming in from church and the other half were wearing camo. Jim said the deer get pretty jumpy (with all the gunshots I would too) so I was extra vigilant driving, especially when he was sleeping in the passenger seat.
We finally left I-10 which we had been on forever and headed down 290 towards Austin. Jim awakened and said I looked much more relaxed than I’d been. I showed him the “ranchettes” we were passing, near Fredericksburg and Pedernales (LBJ country) and the wire fences and was happy. That’s when he told me that a fence of that height is merely a suggestion for a deer, who can easily clear ten feet. As you can see we made it, but he scared the heck out of me!
I wanted to tell you a story of TX BBQ. Our first year in Austin we flew to upstate NY to visit my aunts and I ordered a traditional Texas meal from the Salt Lick south of Austin, sent by Fed Ex. I believe we spent more for shipping than for the food. We had tons of food, the aunts froze some of it and ate it over several months.
A couple of years later Jim decided we could ship our own. Leave it to Jim. [Note: I'm writing this because I just read an article on Slate (www.slate.com) on shipping human blood.] We bought a cheap cooler. Jim drilled four holes in the top for gases to escape. I went to Luling City BBQ to pick up brisket, ribs and sausage for a good price. The night before we left for the airport, he went out to buy 10 lbs of dry ice, packed it up using leather gloves and we sealed and placed on it every sticker needed and not, for hazmat purposes.
That night we were 2# overweight but Jim said the ice would melt (I believe dry ice is about 140 degrees below zero) and the gases vent through the top of the cooler, so when the airline ticket counter person asked what was in the cooler Jim gave him a physics briefing on the rate at which dry ice sublimates. He was so bored with the explanation he passed the cooler right through. And we had great BBQ and every time the aunts ate it, we got an update on what they served with it.
That’s a long way to say that we’d miss Texas not only for the realy BBQ brisket, ribs and sausages but mostly family and friends. I thought I’d really hate it and did when I sold my car to get here and Jim was working 30 miles away and I had no transportation anywhere. So we got a puppy and I had to take her out eight times a day and that and cooking and bills kept me busy.
Job market seems to be coalescing for us, knock wood. I think over the next week or two we’ll have solid offers and choose our destination, which may be right here at home! Having the “Human Tornado” underfoot 24/7 is wonderful for a week or so but it’ll be nice to have him out the door and brain-challenged once again.
I must say a word or two about the BBQ of Jim’s maternal Uncle Bobby. He has a custom rig on a trailer and smokes his briskets 13 hours, babysitting them. He makes fantastic food. We did some research a few years ago about BBQ rubs and most competition chefs won’t divulge their secrets for anything. I read elsewhere than many use MSG to enhance flavor and even Chinese restaurants don’t use that in the US anymore. I use an all-purpose rub and add here and there, and since I don’t have a smoker or ability to use one, living on the 4th floor, I use the Alton Brown oven method, which is tasty.
Keep on cooking! Have a great weekend. Cheers! Dee