5 Weird Things Only Texans Know About

No matter where you grow up, home is always your normal. From the food to the weather and the traffic patterns, there’s going to be a bit of a culture shock when you transplant somewhere new. But it’s true what they say about Texas: it really is like living in a different country. Even in the age of the internet, I wasn’t fully prepared for how different the world is outside of Texas until I left it.

1. Kolaches

By far the thing I miss the most are kolaches, and no one here has ever even heard of them. It’s like walking up to someone and asking for a breakfast taco only to have them stare at you blankly. They can be bought in their own shops, but it’s also common to see them in a standard donut store all across the state. The buttery, yeasty bread is what makes this traditional Czech pastry what it is, and in Texas the most common fillings are sausage, sausage and cheese, or sausage, cheese and jalapeno.

2. Slang

Sure, you’re always going to have the occasional colloquialism, like the infamous pop vs soda fights of the north and the south, but I’ve said phrases that people outside of Texas have straight up misunderstood just because of the difference in how we use them. “Out of pocket,” for example, is used to mean “unavailable” in Texas. As an example, I may pop in and tell my boss that I’ll be out of pocket after my doctor’s appointment today. When I tell my friends here I’m going to be out of pocket for the day they tend to stare at me strangely and wonder why I’m letting them know I’ll be paying cash for everything today.

3. Chili Doesn’t Have Beans

That’s right, I said it. Real chili doesn’t have beans. I was shocked the first time I ordered a bowl of chili in Los Angeles and it came back mostly full of beans with only a minuscule amount of meat. Unless you specify that your dish is chili with beans, or that it’s vegetarian, this is seen as being cheap since beans cost a lot less than meat. Of course you could get into all kinds of fights about what kind of meat and seasoning should go into a good pot of chili, but no beans is a flat standard.

4. Homecoming Mums

This is another local custom that I was shocked to find out happens only in Texas. Before homecoming dances, girls go to craft stores and gather materials to make their homecoming mums. They can be as small as a saucer or as wide as the person’s entire body, but they always have flowing streamers and bells, football or cheerleading ornaments hanging on them. Their dates will have smaller corsages made as a miniature version of the girls’ overflowing monstrosity.

5. Whataburger

The In n Out of Texas, you don’t understand the iconic majesty of Whataburger unless you’ve lived there. While the chain has spread to a few other southern states, it’s heavy presence is still concentrated in the Lone Star State. These are the kind of burgers you have to eat with two hands, and they have their own brands of ketchup and mustard that you can pick up at your local HEB grocery store. I don’t mean to start a West vs South fight here, but In n Out just doesn’t measure up.