Chew on This

Factoids about Texas foodstuffs.

• In 1995 the San Antonio Express-News ran a contest to name the color of the new central branch of the San Antonio Public Library, a 240,000-foot space designed by Mexico architect Ricardo Legorreta. The winning entry: “enchilada red.” The building got a new coat of the same hue this past winter.

Catfish “whiskers” are actually slender tactile organs called barbels, which contain taste buds and are used to search for food in murky water.

On January 1, 2011, Texas recorded 5 million beef cows, which is 16 percent of the national total of 30.8 million beef cows. There are more than 135,000 beef ranchers in Texas.

In 1883 the town of Buffalo Gap lost its designation as the seat of Taylor County to a rival growing city, Abilene. When the citizens of Buffalo Gap found out that their own local judge had voted in favor of the change, they were so incensed that they stole all his chickens and fried them up for a big party.

The word “tamal” comes from the Nahuatl word tamalii, which translates roughly to “wrapped food” or “food for travel.” In his sixteenth-century cultural research work La Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva España, Spanish priest and chronicler Bernardina de Sahgún wrote about eating tamales filled with frog, pocket gopher, tadpole, mushroom, and rabbit. They were, he wrote, “Tasty, very tasty.”

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