Texas Traditions


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This is a little booklet I created for Rotarians and friends with little tidbits of Texas trivia, some recipes and a little history, too!

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Texas Traditions

  1. 1. A look at the culture of The Lone Star State By Lauren Williamson Ambassadorial Scholar 2009-2010 Rotary District 5790
  2. 2. A Glance Back in Time….. Between 1519 and 1865, Texas was claimed by six countries including Spain, France, Mexico, the Confederate States of America, the United States of America, and itself. It was its own country for a time, called the Republic of Texas. This history led to the naming of the popular modern-day amusement park, Six Flags Over Texas. Texas was first explored by Alonso Alvarez de Pineda in 1519. It wasn’t settled until many years later, but became popular because of its cotton and cattle ranching industries. In 1901, oil was found deep in Texas soil, permanently changing the economy of the state. Cowboys and Indians Cowboys, or vaqueros in Spanish, were “hired ranch hands” who rode horses, tended cattle, and often led cattle drives across the U.S. The character gained popularity during the 1800s, particularly during the time when settlers were having serious problems with Native American Indians, though the problems started in the 1600s when settlers began encroaching on Indian land. Oliver Loving is the Texas Cowboy who inspired the famous Pulitzer-Prize winning novel-turned-TV series Lonesome Dove. Only a small number of Texans consider themselves “cowboys” today. Most don’t own horses or drive cattle, but they do typically like cowboy hats, enjoy the outdoors, and many practice shooting and hunting.
  3. 3. Watch your WORDS!!! Howdy = hello, greetings, hi Y’all = you all, you guys, you people Ain’t = am not, is not, are not Fixin’ to = about to, going to, getting ready to (do something) Take a gander = look, glance, gaze Not my first rodeo = I’ve been around a while, seen this before Heavens to Betsy = expression of exasperation Give him the boot = get rid of him, show him out or to the door Twangin’ Tunes Twang is usually described as a very nasal tone of voice; the speaker often draws out the vowels of his words. Texas Country Music originated in the late 1960s. The style combines acoustic and electric guitars, often incorporating bluegrass style. Lyrics usually contain an underlying “common working man” theme. Popular artists of today include Pat Green, Cory Morrow, Kevin Fowler, Eli Young Band, Tanya Tucker, and Kelly Willis.
  4. 4. Fun Facts -Texas- The name comes from a Caddo Indian tribe named the “Tejas,” or “those who are friends.” Because of the flag, it’s called the Lonestar State. -State flower- Bluebonnet; State bird- Mockingbird -State mammal – Armadillo, also called “Texas speed bumps” since they’re often hit by cars on the roads -State tree- Pecan tree; Texas is known for pecan pies -Battle of the Alamo – In 1863 almost 200 Texans unsuccessfully defended the Alamo against thousands of Mexican soldiers in the fight for Texas Independence. The structure still stands in San Antonio, TX. Texas Two Step For the gentleman, who leads the dance, the basic steps are left-right- left, to a rhythm of quick-quick-slow, during two full beats of music. The pattern repeats, right-left-right. The lady reverses the feet, but keeps the rhythm pattern. Another variation of the two-step is stepping quick-quick-slow-slow, to three full beats of music. This is easier to master and allows the dancers a little more rest time. This is usually danced to country music in 4/4 time, but sometimes 2/4, or cut time. The dancers
  5. 5. proceed counterclockwise along the dance floor. This dance style was inspired by Mexican fandangos and German and Hungarian traditional dances from the 1800s. Texas, the United Kingdom, & Europe Texas is roughly 696,200 square km. Nearly three United Kingdoms could fit inside the state, or more than five Englands. -35.5% of Texans are Hispanic, largely due to the Spanish occupation of Texas from 1716 to 1821 -10.9% of Texans are of German descent – Tejano music is a mix of polka and Hispanic music with accordion instrumentation -Yearly rainfall in England=700-2,000mm; Texas=200-940mm -UK population 60,943,912; TX population 24, 326,974
  6. 6. STEREOTYPES REALITIES Everything’s bigger in Texas. Women’s hairstyles often are; everything is more spread out geographically so it appears bigger; food portions are larger. Texas is God’s country. TX is in the Evangelical Protestant Bible belt; predominantly Christian and conservative beliefs. Everyone’s a cowboy or There are ranchers and cowgirl. plenty of ranch land, but that is a small % of the population Texas has extremely hot, dry It’s very humid along the weather. coast and in N.Tx. Snow is common for winters in the panhandle. It can average 25 to 98 F or -4 to 37 Celsius. N.Tx often has 100+F temperatures in summer. Texans are friendlier. Old-fashioned Southern courtesy, especially toward women, is still taught, but it’s fading quickly from the culture. Texans ride horses. Some do; it’s an expensive hobby and usually done only at specific riding stables or on ranch lands. People are uneducated, 26% of entire population backward “hicks.” holds bachelor’s degree or higher. Texans talk with an accent. Many do have a “twang,” but that is less true of people in more urban areas.
  7. 7. Black-Eyed Peas or Texas Caviar *Said to bring good luck if eaten on New Year’s Day *If diced jalapeno is added during cooking, we call it “Hoppin’ John” 3 cups dry black-eyed peas 3 pounds smoked ham hocks (10 small) 1 1/4 cups chopped onion 1 cup chopped celery 1 bay leaf 1 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon cayenne 1 (10 ounce) pkg. frozen cut okra Rinse black-eyed peas. Place in 6-quart Dutch oven. Add 12 cups water and soak overnight. Stir in ham hocks, onion, celery, bay leaf, salt and cayenne. Bring to boil. Cover; reduce heat and simmer until ham hocks are tender and beans are done (about 1 1/2 hours). Stir in okra. Cook until okra is tender (about 10 minutes). Remove bay leaf. Season to taste. Cornbread Muffins *Often called “soul food,” commonly paired with black-eyed peas or pinto beans for a complete meal 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 cups cornmeal 1/4 cups sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup skim milk 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1 egg, beaten Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease 8 or 9 inch square pan. Combine dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil and egg until moistened. Pour into pan or pour into individual muffin tins. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cut and serve with butter or honey spread on top.
  8. 8. Southern Collard Greens *Southerners often add bacon to cooked vegetables 1 bunch collard greens 20 strips bacon Salt and pepper to taste Cut up and wash greens thoroughly. Cook 10 strips of bacon in oven until crispy, reserve. Place remaining 10 pieces in a pot with about 4 cups of water. Put greens in the pot. Add drippings from the oven cooked bacon to the pot. Cook until greens are tender (up to an hour). Add salt, pepper and water as needed. Serve the greens with crumbles of the crispy bacon on top. Chicken Fried Steak *Typical “comfort” food, smothered in gravy 2-4 beef round steaks 2 cups of all purpose flour 1tablespoon sugar Salt and pepper to taste 2 cups milk Pure vegetable shortening/butter/oil for frying Place the round steak on a cutting board, trim and discard bone and excess fat. With a meat mallet, pound each piece on both sides, going over meat twice in opposite directions. Set aside. Combine flour with salt and pepper and sugar. Place a 10 inch, skillet over a medium flame and add shortening to start heating. Dip the steaks in milk, then cover both sides in the seasoned flour, patting to work in the flour and seasonings. Test temperature of shortening by sprinkling a few drops of milk into it. The milk should sizzle. Add steaks, taking care not to crowd them, and cook until golden brown on both sides and fully cooked. This will take 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Serve with cream gravy. THE GRAVY 3 cups milk 2 to 3 tablespoons all purpose flour 4 to 5 tablespoons pan drippings or ¼ stick of butter Salt and pepper to taste In pan where you fried the steak, gradually add flour and pan drippings or butter. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly until desired thickness is obtained. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve Chicken Fried Steak with mashed potatoes and biscuits.
  9. 9. Texas Chili *Official state dish *Invented in mid 1800s in San Antonio *Originally made from native South Texas ingredients: meat, chili peppers, oregano, garlic Ingredients: 3 pounds cubed beef 2 tablespoons paprika 1 tablespoon onion powder 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper 2 teaspoons boullion, Beef granules 1 teaspoon boullion, Chicken granules 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce 4 teaspoons ground cumin 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper 6 tablespoons chili powder 1 split jalapeno chili pepper Briefly sear meat and then add chili pepper tied in cheese cloth sack, paprika, onion powder, cayenne pepper, boullion granules, tomato sauce and water to cover. Simmer, covered, for 1-1/2 hours or so. Add cumin, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and chili powder. Cook for another 30 minutes or until meat is tender. Remove cheese cloth sack with jalapeno pepper and serve. Pinto beans and bell pepper can also be added to the dish. Serve in a bowl and top with cheddar cheese, onions, etc. Another variation includes serving on top of Frito corn chips for a Frito pie!
  10. 10. Pecan Pie 3 eggs, slightly beaten 1 cup Karo light or dark corn syrup 1 cup sugar (can do half brown sugar) 2 tablespoon butter, melted 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 1/2 cup pecan halves 1 unbaked (9 inch) pie shell In large bowl stir first 5 ingredients until well blended. Stir in pecans. Pour into pie shell. Bake in 350 degree F oven for 50 to 55 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. Cool. Serves 8. Chocolate Pecan Pie: Follow recipe above. Melt 4 squares (1 ounce each) of semi-sweet chocolate with the butter. Fruit Cobbler *Commonly done with peaches, cherries, apples (and cinnamon), or blackberries 1 cup flour 1 cup sugar + 3 tablespoons sugar 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1 stick butter 3/4 to 1 cup milk 1 lg. can sliced peaches (or 10 ounces fresh) Melt butter in a 2 quart casserole dish in 375 degree F oven. In separate dish, combine flour, sugar, and baking powder. Add milk to the dry ingredients and stir until blended. Arrange peaches and juice in melted butter. Drizzle batter back and forth over fruit. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons sugar on top. Bake 30 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with a scoop of ice cream! It is illegal to take more than three sips of beer at a time while standing. It is illegal for one to shoot a buffalo from the second story of a hotel. One can be legally married by publicly introducing a person as your husband or wife 3 times. It is illegal to milk another person's cow. One must acknowledge a supreme being before being able to hold public office.
  11. 11. Americans consider themselves cousins of the United Kingdom, particularly England. After disagreements on taxation and government representation, the 13 original colonies of America won their freedom from British rule during the American Revolution in 1776. However, it wasn’t until World War II that America forged a strong political alliance with England. “To have the United States at our side was, to me, the greatest joy. Now at this very moment I knew the United States was in the war, up to the neck, and in to the death. So we had won after all!” Prime Minister Winston Churchill, regarding the bombing of Pearl Harbor My grandfather, Leroy Williamson, is a Texas native and was a 1st lieutenant in the Army, Company H. He arrived on the Queen Mary in Shiptam, Northern Norwich, England in 1943 to fight in World War II. In 1944, his plane was shot down by Germans and he remained in a Prisoner of War camp near Barth, Germany until the war ended. The BBC recently included him in an article during a commemorative ceremony for pilots who flew in food and supplies to the Germans during the Berlin Airlift. SPONSOR Rotary District 5790 www.rotary5790.org Located in North Texas, USA Includes 64 clubs, 3,300 Rotarians 2009-2010 District Governor John Miller 2008-2009 PDG Jerry Parr Sponsor Club: Rotary Club of Gainesville, TX Counselor: Jan Russell HOST Rotary District 1130 Ealing Club of London, UK Counselor: Helen Cox
  12. 12. • World’s largest privately-funded international scholarship • started by the rotary foundation in 1947 • More than 38,000 scholars froM 100 nations • past scholars o bill Moyers- proMinent us journalist o sadako ogata- past un high coMMission of refugees o bill ferris- past head of the us national endoWMent for the arts • Mission of scholars: o spread goodWill, international understanding o engage in service, “service above self” o use the 4-Way test in education and future career (is it true? fair? build better friendships? beneficial to all?) • in 2009, trf had to cancel cultural and Multi-year scholarships…. tfr desperately needs donations froM rotarians like you • aMbassadorial scholars = toMorroW’s coMMunity and World leaders • More info at WWW.rotary.org
  13. 13. I am blessed with a wonderful family! My parents live in Highland Village, Texas, which is about 30 minutes north of Dallas and 45 minutes south of Gainesville. My dad is a banker for Capital One. My mom used to teach Spanish for 1st -12th grades. My sister is married and works as an environmental interpreter at a nature conservation site. She and her husband live in Jacksboro, Texas, which is about an hour and a half west of Highland Village. = The WILLIAMSON CLAN! From left to right: my mom Carol, sister Erin, dad Roy, and me, Lauren.
  14. 14. As for me, I am working on my Master’s in International Studies and Diplomacy at the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies. I previously received a Bachelor’s in Radio, Television, Film from the University of North Texas and graduated from the Honors college. I have worked as a reporter for NBC in Corpus Christi, TX, an anchor/reporter for an ABC affiliated radio station in Arlington, TX, a producer for FOX in Dallas, TX, and an anchor/news director for the radio station affiliated with my university. On a personal level, I enjoy playing piano, learning guitar, attending live theatre and music theatre shows. I also enjoy dancing and used to dance competitively through high school. I love traveling and learning about new cultures and trying exotic foods! I’m a huge fan of coffee and tea, wine, poetry, and outdoor adventures like hiking. I hope to improve the quality of journalism in the United States. I am very interested in humanitarian issues and believe American coverage needs to be stronger, more balanced and more ethical. I am interested in using media and journalism as educational platforms and resources to promote international understanding and goodwill. Political and travel journalism pique my interest, as well. In another decade I could see myself becoming a professor and teaching the next generation of journalists. I’d also like to lend my time and talents to Reporters Without Borders, an international non-profit organization that works to defend journalists, fight against censorship, improve journalism safety, and offer aid to imprisoned journalists and their families. During my year abroad, and for the rest of my life, I will strive to value service above self and improve the quality of life for every person I meet. The opportunity to further my education would not have been possible for me without Rotary. I am forever grateful to Rotarians for their generosity and impact on my life. I’m eager to give back to the next generation in the same way.
  15. 15. Gainesville Club, my sponsor The Panhandle 25% US Oil Reserves Top wool-producer in the U.S (also cotton) Top wind-power producer in US 14.2% of US cattle Gulf of Mexico, tourist spot Chihuahuan Desert My former employer Big Bend National Park Shiner beer, made in Shiner, TX Caddo Lake, the only natural The Alamo in San Antonio, TX lake in TX Big D, or Dallas, 2nd biggest city in TX 1.2 million people Stereotypes Comanche, Caddo, Cherokee, Kiowa, Lipan, Shawnee, Wichita, Waco North Texas is part of “Tornado Alley” April-June Dallas Cowboys, popular American football team Austin, state capital Waco, birthplace of Dr. Pepper soda