It might actually surprise you to find out what the official state food of Texas is.

In Texas, food is more than, well, food. It's a part of the culture. We've got our Tex-Mex, our barbecue, and our fried everything. Texans are passionate about what they eat.

So passionate, apparently, that they wanted to make it official. Are you aware that Texas actually has a state food?

Everyone knows that the state flower is the bluebonnet and the state animal is the longhorn. We all celebrate Texas Independence Day like it's the Fourth of July. The history of Texas and the symbols behind it are, like food, an integral part of the culture.

I surveyed eight Texans and none of them had previous knowledge of the state food of Texas. Furthermore, none of them guessed the state food in two tries.

So here it is.

In 1977, the Texas legislature named chili the state food of Texas. (For people who don't know the difference, this is chili with meat, not chile that goes in salsa. However, red chile is often used in chili.)

Some people are probably like, "Yeah, that's definitely Texas." But personally, I think there are several other options that make more sense. For instance, steak. I have met people from Louisiana whose second question was, "Do you eat steak every night for dinner?" (The first questions was, "Do you ride a horse to school?" LOUISIANA. Literally one state away.) Perhaps even a variation of steak would be okay, like chicken fried steak. I realize Texas can't claim barbecue, since that's clearly a Tennessee thing, but maybe with some negotiation we could split it.

But no, all logic was thrown out the door when they chose the official state food of Texas. They were pretty serious about it too. There's even a song about it.

If You Know Beans About Chili,
You Know That Chili Has No Beans

by Ken Finlay, singer, songwriter,
and owner of Cheatham Street Warehouse
(a music hall in San Marcos), written in 1976.

You burn some mesquite
And when the coals get hot
You bunk up some meat
And you throw it on a pot.
While some chile pods and garlic
And comino and stuff
Then you add a little salt
Till there's just enough
You can throw in some onions
To make it smell good
You can even add tomatoes
If you feel like you should
But if you know beans about chili
You know that chili has no beans

If you know beans about chili
You know it didn't come from Mexico
Chili was God's gift to Texas
(Or maybe it came from down below)
And chili doesn't go with macaroni
And dammed Yankee's don't go with chili queens;
And if you know beans about chili
You know that chili has no beans

Let us know what you would choose as the state food of Texas.

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