Saturday, December 23, 2006

Fried Baloney and a Little of the Ol' Domestic Violence

or: Notes on Texas

I guess maybe I've been out of Texas too long because when I heard that my brother tried to make a fried baloney sandwich, I thought that was the punchline of the story right there. But apparently fried baloney is a Thing. A Thing that exists and that people know about. I have lost touch with my gastronomical roots. Blue states: this is what the heartland people are apparently eating! Fried baloney! Look upon the lunchmeat, ye mighty, and despair.

The punchline of this story, in fact, was that he was trying to make a fried baloney sandwich and kept heating the oil to insane temperatures because he was waiting for it to boil. Nearly burned his house down; I scribbled "Fry Daddy" on the holiday shopping list real quick-like. A friend of mine in high school burned her kitchen to a crisp in a ill-fated attempt at jalapeno poppers, so this is a genuine concern. We were supposed to go see a performance of Stravinsky's Firebird Suite that night at the symphony, so it was kind of a theme evening.

* * *

As long as I've been in Dallas, the place had some sort of identity crisis. Probably dates back to the oil boom, if I had to guess. There's a real yearning there to take its place with the cool kid cities, to have the restaurant scene and martini bars and high-end shopping and high culture accouterments of the Manhattans and the L.A.'s, even though each and every resident of Dallas would claim they'd rather be buried alive than live in either city. And at the same time, the place can't get too far away from just being down-and-dirty Texas, and kind of likes that too.

So when you're in Dallas, you can kind of kick it either way. You can hit the see-and-be-seen circuit, or you can do like we did last night and just head on over to the bowling alley, and break up a little domestic violence in the parking lot on the way in. Seems more fitting, somehow. Seriously, this couple was wailing on each other, and the man had several marked bruises on his face, and seemed to be pushing her towards the open trunk when we walked up to interrupt. She was howling something about their five kids and why'd he gotta wail on her like that. We called bowling security on 'em and wondered if there was some kind of deal, like, break up a domestic fight and get a free pitcher or something. We were sorry for the couple of course, but it sort of felt like a nice and proper homecoming. Undiluted Texas, yes sir.


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