Texas is another country...

Texas is another country...I have driven into Texas from all four directions and can affirm that after crossing that imaginary state line you just know you are in Texas . The world becomes wide open space, the sky feels higher, you can stretch out and rest a spell.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

MESQUITE: THE TEXAS STATE SMELL

Post by Alana Cash

Last week I was riding my bike down the street and suddenly became aware that I smelled Texas.  I turned toward the right and saw a restaurant called Mesquite Barbecue.  Ha! 

Mesquite is used for barbecue because it’s so dense (called Texas Ironwood) and burns slowly.  If you’ve ever smelled it at a barbecue joint, you won’t forget the aroma.  Not really beautiful, besides being great for barbecuing, the trees provide shade, kind of pitiful shade, in desert areas.  The hardwood is also used for making furniture and bees seem to like mesquite flowers.  

I used to live next to a park in Austin that was filled with mesquite trees.  They are thorny trees that can live through drought conditions because their roots go deep to find the water table.  That’s a good thing for keeping trees around, but they can suck up the well water when people and cattle need it.  But the good news is that mesquite trees don’t deplete the soil of nitrogen, they enriches the soil by returning nitrogen to it. 

Mesquite is part of the legume family and its bean flour can be used in baking – I would like to taste that some time, but have never seen it for sale.  It’s supposedly high in minerals.  Another culinary treat that comes from the mesquite tree is an alcoholic drink called atole made from fermenting the beans in water.  Another culinary adventure for my future.

If Texas has a state smell, it’s the smell of meat roasting over burning mesquite.  




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