Wednesday, December 26, 2007

National Dish of the Lone Star State

The first time I remember eating chicken fried steak was in Houston, in the early 70’s. Covering over half the dinner plate it looked like a flattened piece of fried chicken. I didn’t know exactly what I was eating, but it was very good.

Since then I have enjoyed chicken fried steak in more than a few Texas restaurants. Tenderized beef, dredged in flour that has been seasoned with salt and pepper and maybe something else, then pan fried in lard in a heavy skillet, not deep fried. Served with a side of green beans, mashed potatoes covered with cream gravy and a small cup of cream gravy on the side just in case you need more.

Goodson’s Café in Tomball was our go to place for chicken fried steak. In the 1970’s smoking was still permitted, and there was always a thin layer of smoke hanging over Goodson’s small dining room from cigarettes and the chicken fried steaks frying in cast iron skillets. Also, it wasn’t unusual for a waitress to have an inch of cigarette ash cantilevered over the tray of plates she was carrying to your table.

Now days for outstanding chicken fried steak I go to the original Hoover’s Cooking restaurant on Manor Road in Austin. In fact, in my opinion, Hoover’s is the all around winner when it comes to Texas style southern cooking. Also, I have not yet found a better slice of coconut cream pie in Texas than that served at Hoover’s.

No comments: