Sunday, April 5, 2015

I am Houston Fed

On this date twenty-five years ago, the wheels touched down on the plane that took me from New York to Houston. Saddened to be leaving my childhood friends and still thinking of the Big Apple as home, I vowed never to say "y'all" or do anything that could be considered Texan. I pledged full allegiance to New York sports teams and thought this new city was just the pits. Before you start wanting to reenact the old Pace Picante "get the rope" commercials, I was only eight years old at the time- far too young to know what Houston would come to mean to me.

As years went by and New York became more of a memory, my affinity for Houston grew. While I still don't say y'all, one can't really detect a New York accent in me unless I'm around other New Yorkers for an extended amount of time. The boy who proudly wore his John Starks New York Knicks jersey during the NBA finals against the Rockets now cheers on James Harden and crew, though football is another story. I don't root against the Texans, but my football allegiance will always remain in New York.

It's with a bit of irony that out of our family of four that moved to Houston on that April day in 1990, I am the only one that is still here. I thought about leaving in the past, but one thing or another has kept me here and I don't plan on leaving anytime soon. It truly is a great city to call home for many different reasons, not the least of which being the dining. 

My love affair with Houston food evolved as I became an adult, of course. Exploring the city, its cultural diversity and wealth of different styles of cuisine grew from curiosity into obsession. My mother was an adventurous eater and always encouraged me to try new things. Though I gave her much resistance as a kid, I follow that advice stringently now. 

I suppose I've gone on long enough without getting to the meat of this post. I started this site to write out my thoughts on the wide variety of food I ate, searched out, stood in line for, researched, and enjoyed. I truly never thought of myself as a "food blogger." To this day the term is awkward to hear. Some of the food folks I've met along the way have referred to me as such, but the term blogger just seems to have such a negative connotation to it that I almost cringe at the thought.

 I've never considered myself any sort of authority on food, though I do like to think my views on the subject come from an honest and informed place. I spend more time and money on dining than most people I know, and it doesn't stop there. I often come home after a meal and research aspects of the dish to see if possibly I overlooked something or didn't have a proper understanding of what a dish was supposed to be. The last thing I want to do is post something on here that unfairly portrays a restaurant or chef. I have such great respect for the people that work in the food service industry and the sacrifices they make both personally and financially to do what they do; I'd never want some flippant, uninformed remark I make to have any impact on their jobs. I feel this way not because I think many people read my posts but because I think it's a writer's responsibility to form opinions based on a foundation of fact. That being said, if I feel I've properly vetted out a meal and have come to an opinion I feel confident in posting, I'm more than happy to explain my conclusions should someone ask.

I started off wanting to do this with some form of anonymity, mainly so that my opinions about a place would not be swayed by any personal relationships I had or would have with people in the industry. I quickly learned that anonymity is silly, and as long as there are humans cooking food and humans writing about food, bias would always come in to play. Enough has been written about the subject of a food writer's anonymity by people far more eloquent than I; feel free to research it for yourself. I have always wanted this site to be about the food and not the person writing about the food. This post aside, that is still the goal. While I don't begrudge anyone's personal rules for their food writing, I will continue to write about the good and the bad meals I have. 

If you see me out and about and want to say hi, please do. I'm a bit shy at first, but get me talking about food and the conversation will pick up quickly. If I've said something positive or negative about your food, by all means let's discuss. Some of you already know me and some may recognize me as "that guy they've seen in all of the barbecue lines." After having said all of that and losing any form of brevity I hoped to achieve when this post started, I'll just say hello. My name's Andrew, and I am Houston Fed. 

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