I did two food demos at the Taste of Dallas a couple of weeks ago and found the crowd quite lively despite the humid hot weather. It appeared that everyone in the crowd came from Texas and at least half from Dallas itself (unlike my audience in Atlanta where not one person came from Atlanta). It also became clear that these Texans sure do like to eat (interesting – there was not one vegetarian in my audiences.) As someone in the group said – “We do everything big in Texas” I actually thought that described the whole U S of A, but I guess Texas does it even bigger.
Also, to my delight, I found out that Texans like their food hot, a.k.a. spicy. So I could add as much Tabasco as I wanted to the peanut sauce in my Asian style turkey tacos. Hot sauce is an important ingredient in the peanut sauce not only because it contributes heat but also because it balances the sweetness in the sauce (coming from the peanut butter and hoisin). Hot sauce and sugar do a happy dance.
What I appreciated most about the crowd though was that most of them cooked as well as grilled and smoked. They reminded me of my southern callers from “Cooking Live.” Based on the questions from those callers I determined that southerners cook more, bake more, can more, and even make candy more, — than the rest of the country. On my way to the airport my driver was describing a typical thanksgiving in Texas, which involved multiple proteins being cooked in multiple ways on multiple cooking devices. Phew, I can’t imagine. It made me feel like a cooking wimp!