COME AND BAKE IT
How do we love pecan pie? Senator Charles Schwertner counts the ways.
Oh, yes, Texans love pecan pie. But do we love it enough to make it the state’s official pie? The Senate Committee on Administration does. On Monday, it voted Senate Concurrent Resolution 12, a piece of legislation by Sen. Charles Schwertner, out of committee. Because, as any Texan worth his spurs knows, and as the resolution states, “pecan pie is indeed the perfect ending to any meal.”
But do we really need the Legislature to make our relationship with pecan pie state-fact-book official? The pecan tree has been the official tree of Texas since 1919, the pecan is already the official state “health nut” (yes, we have an official state “health nut”), and calling lemon meringue or Boston cream pie more Texan than their pecan counterpart is like suggesting we all forget the Alamo.
As it turns out, Texas has a long history of claiming “official state (insert noun here),” especially when it comes to foods. Texas has nine official state foods, including a state bread (pan de campo), a state fruit (Ruby Red grapefruit), and a state vegetable (sweet onion). The number jumps to twelve if you’re open to eating the state plant, state fish, and state saltwater fish, which are the prickly pear cactus, Guadalupe bass, and Red drum, respectively. Legislators have even started adding adjectives to already-established categories so that we can celebrate more foods. Not only do we have an official state pepper (the jalapeño), but we also have an official state native pepper (the chiltepin).
Maybe Schwertner, a freshman senator from Georgetown, hopes to surpass Oklahoma, which is the only state to have declared more official foods than Texas. Our northern neighbor has twelve dishes that together make up its “state meal,” including cornbread, black-eyed peas, and, regrettably, our precious pecan pie, which the Okies brazenly laid claim to back in 1988.
Curiously, though the pecan was named our official state health nut in 2001, Texas has no official state nut. Maybe we were trying to avoid treading on the toes of Alabama, who declared the pecan their official state nut in 1982. Or maybe our legislators just prefer being specific about our state symbols. We have no state turtle, for instance, but if an effort made this session by Rep. Craig Eiland succeeds, Texas will have an official state sea turtle in the Kemp’s ridley.
It’s possible Schwertner just wanted to make clear what type of pie Texans should bake on “Texas Homemade Pie Day.” Provided the resolution by Rep. Wayne Smith which creates this holiday passes this session, Texans will have a reason to celebrate homemade pie every February 16 for the next ten years.
That’s right, Oklahoma. You may have a meal, but we have a day devoted to homemade pie. And as Schwertner points out in his resolution, “Texas pecan pies are, hands down, the best, especially made with Texas pecans by a Texan.” No matter what Oklahomans put in their fact books.