Show me a Texan who doesn’t get all misty-eyed about home cooking and I’ll show you an extraterrestrial. You’re just not human if you can read a menu of the state’s best-loved home-style dishes—cornbread, pork chops, turnip greens, meat loaf, chicken-fried steak, buttermilk pie—and not feel a wave of nostalgia. Five months ago, our trusty SWAT team set out to scour the big cities and hit a smattering of small towns. We sought out cafes and eateries that carry the comfort food torch aloft and excluded bars that offer fried catfish and CFS as a sobriety aid or restaurants that serve designer cheese. First, the bad news: The number of cooks who know the way things are supposed to taste dwindles with each passing year. And quality is everywhere threatened by the specter of canned goods and prepared frozen foods. But there is happy news too: We found plenty of cooks who still take pride in every scoop of mashed potatoes and who bravely sustain a culinary tradition that stretches back to Texas’s deep and very Southern roots. Just don’t wait too long to check them out. You could find yourself getting misty-eyed for another reason altogether.