Observations from a Tex-a-sotan

Part of my intention with this blog was to not only chronicle places or activities, but to look at the differences of culture. I often find myself saying things like, “You don’t do that here?” or “What’s a (insert random New England phrase/item)?” It’s hard to be a Tex-a-sotan (someone from both Minnesota and Texas) and really not take pause sometimes. Here are a few things that I’ve noticed that I find fascinating about living in New England and what people have experienced or say, compared with the South and Midwest:

Lone Star in a Bottle

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If you’ve visited Texas or live there, you know that Lone Star beer is a staple. I’ve always thought of Lone Star as a beer on par with Natty Light or Keystone. It’s a lighter beer, mostly found in the can, that is pretty easy on the wallet and by the time you get to the bottom of the can, you probably don’t want to drink it anymore. At least, that was my perception after having lived in Texas for 15 years. (Apologies to any die hard Lone Star fans out there that disagree with this assessment.)

When I got to Boston, I found that Lone Star is only sold in the bottle. Now maybe I missed something along the way, but I had never seen Lone Star in a bottle. It seems so much classier – and it definitely stays fresher longer in bottle form. However, it just threw me for a loop the first time I experienced it. Thank goodness we get Lone Star though, since you can’t get Shiner up here (don’t even get me started on that).

What’s Frito Pie?

About a month ago, I got an e-mail from a friend asking me what Frito Pie was, as a friend tried to explain it to her and she was baffled. Of course, I confirmed the existence of the amazingly delicious treat, and upon asking around, found that East Coasters don’t know what the dish is. Seriously, friends. You’re missing out.

For those who are not aware, Frito Pie is a bed of Fritos with chili and cheese poured on top. It’s commonly found at sporting events especially high school football games. One of my favorite Texas bloggers, the Homesick Texan, has a great recipe for Frito Pie. I’m copying the link to her blog to give this dish true justice, as I don’t know if I can really describe it in words.

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The Coke/Soda/Pop Debacle

What do you call a soda pop? You know, the fizzy water with sugar and other flavors in it? Well, in New England, you probably call it soda. If you say soda anywhere around the country, you’ll be universally understood. However, as most Texans know, the word “coke” describes the same thing. Coca-Cola is a product made in the South, and the generic term for a soda in Texas is coke. So essentially, you can order a coke at most establishments in Texas and they will ask you what kind. I say most places, because I can’t guarantee that it’ll happen but it does happen a lot. Or it’s used in conversation.

Now in the Midwest, it’s called “pop.” My entire family says pop – and I’ve had to explain to guests or new visitors to the area what that means. It’s not that people in the Midwest don’t know what soda is, they just prefer to say pop. There is actually a running project called Pop v Soda, which tracks what regions say each particular phrase. It’s fantastic, and I’ve included the infographic below (which appeared on the blog FoodBeast) to give you an idea of where people say what term.

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There are always more phrases or items that truly stand out to me – and remind me, I’m not a native New Englander. However, I’m absolutely rooting for the Pats in the Super Bowl. I might not be from here but I can definitely jump on board the Brady train.  

If you have experienced culture shock in New England, or are curious about understanding the Southern/Midwestern variety, tell me about it below!

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2 responses to “Observations from a Tex-a-sotan

  • Beth K

    Chicken fried steak!!! These people don’t know what it is, and I’m not even in New England. I’m in DC! Ridiculous. Hello, it’s delicious cube steak dipped in batter and fried, then covered in gravy.

    Also, don’t get me started on the lack of Tex Mex and chicken/biscuit restaurants up here. There’s not a single place around here that serves just biscuits, gravy, fries, and chicken. WTF?

    I will commend the impressive food variety – I’ve got Thai, Ethiopian, Indian, burgers, Italian, and even a Dunkin Donuts within walking distance from my house.

  • Mike

    I found that tonic is also used for soda in New England. I think it’s especially popular in French-Canadian circles.

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