Home with the Armadillo

As I have previously stated, everything here is subtly different in a way that serves to slightly unnerve the foreigner. What isn't at all subtle is a Texas summer. Whose idea was it to colonize this place to start with? Who had the original desire to make their home a place that would so overtly try to kill them? The Chuck Norris of settlers, obviously. That's to say nothing of the wildlife. With an intense fear of snakes, I probably picked a bad place to move to. Nevertheless, as my column hopefully illustrates, I am a man who embraces new experiences rather than does the sensible thing. My favourite reviews have been ones in which I am totally outside of my comfort zone, be it through heat, misunderstandings or intense overeating of a sort that would be banned in Europe. America is certainly a new experience, to say nothing of Texas, and I like it here. I reckon all y'all are darn tootin'. Am I doing it right?

Read the full story: An Englishman in BBQ Sauce: an Ex-Pat Learns to Love Texas

Never before has the excited child in my brain stopped going "THIS IS LITERALLY THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED" while at a Texas barbecue restaurant. I am a changed man.

I am not used to heat. It's warm in Texas. It is decidedly not warm in Britain. Here's a fact: I had never seen an air conditioning unit before moving to Texas. As soon as Britain hits 80, the entire population runs to beaches, which are often just a collection of large stones (not sand) near some ice-cold water. These are obvious and boring statements to make. Nevertheless, I feel as though this is something that anyone completely not used to heat, planning on spending several hours outside, standing up, in the middle of summer in Dallas, should probably take note of. I do not.

I relentlessly try to man up against the Texas heat. I completely refuse to submit to taking any of the necessary precautions. Water? For sissies! Shade? Who needs it! Irritability? Inevitable! Once you slap on a bit of sun cream, what's the worst that could happen? I always, without fail, spend the evening in the dark, groaning and drinking some garishly coloured sports drink. It's like a hangover, but without the fun part of the actual drinking before it to make it worthwhile.

I just wish that Texas would calm it down a bit, you know? Wow.

I can't express how long I've waited for the day when salad is simply done away with. Everyone was pretending they liked salad, and some hero stood up and said "No. No we do not like salad. It is for rabbits and dainty women. Take it away, and bring me three times as much meat as I had before." There should be a statue of this man somewhere in Texas. See the Review of Hard Eight on City of Ate

Basically, America, your bacon sucks. Well ... it doesn't suck. It's just not the optimum bacon. European bacon ... is a much better cut. It makes for a better sandwich. I think, what it is, is that American bacon serves a different function. It needs to be kind of sweet, and often an accompaniment for waffles and pancakes and maple syrup ... British bacon is, essentially, American bacon with more meat and less fat. You can't get mad about that. Right? Read also: THE OLYMPICS OF BRITISH FOOD: A USER'S GUIDE FROM A BRITISH GUY JULY 24

Broken car air con in Texas really is no joke, is it? I mean, in some countries, they'd pay you for a mobile sauna, but no one wants to be in a sauna during every trip. It gets monotonous.

Last week my dad emailed me. "As a parent the sheer amount of food you are eating in your food journalism quest is truly frightening. The way that your wife feeds you is slightly reminiscent of foie gras production, but it's not your liver that's growing." He might have a point. I'm starting to feel the same way. I am yet to be anything close to disappointed by Texan portion sizes. I think overwhelmed is a better word. By this point, I mainly miss Britain because I was much thinner in Britain. See also: An Englishman Reviews the BBQ of Off the Bone

[Dallas] appears to be some sort of tropical concrete structure full of people who drive huge cars and live only to kill me.

The latter part of that still confuses me, as I have never seen so little consideration for one's fellow man as my morning commute down Interstate 35. It may as well be Mario Kart's Rainbow Road for all the car safety others are practicing, although this time there will be no little creature on a cloud to pick the mangled remains of my vehicle up and replace them on the freeway. SMOKE, AUGUST 15

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Gavin Cleaver
Contact: Gavin Cleaver