Peace, Love and Chicken-Fried Steak Day
God Bless the Texas Legislature. No amount of political discord will prevent them from the serious work for which the people of this great state sent them to Austin. And it has nothing to do with cuts to a cash-strapped educational system. No, ma'am. Our state government has bigger things to worry about -- the complete neglect of chicken-fried steak and the lack of a Texas Chicken Fried Steak Day.
Well, my fellow Texans, I'm ecstatic to report, our lawmakers have fulfilled their mandate. The Texas House of Representatives, through the hard work of Representative Ralph Sheffield, owner of Las Casas Restaurant in Temple, declared last week that October 26 shall heretofore be Texas Chicken Fried Steak Day.
At last, the Legislature gets its priorities in order.
Sheffield isn't the only person we have to thank for his due diligence. The man behind the campaign for CFS Day is no other than a former nightclub and hospitality veteran turned marketing man Jeffrey Yarborough, founder and CEO of bigInk.
His inspiration? A food holiday for everything else: "There seems to be a food holiday for everything from maple syrup to almonds but not, it seemed, chicken-fried steak," he said. Yarborough's assumption was confirmed when he spoke with The Texas Beef Council, the and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and the Texas Department of Agriculture. All said there was nothing honoring everyone's favorite gut bomb. Suddenly, the man had a cause.
He took his new passion to Austin, where, Yarborough said, "Everyone was excited. Everyone was supportive. Everyone wanted it. Then, they showed me the 10 pounds of red tape I would have to go through before anything happened." Disappointed on his drive back, he stopped for a meal at Sheffield's restaurant and expressed his disenchantment with bureaucracy. Sheffield couldn't bear to hear such sad words. The politician took Yarborough's case to the House floor as a resolution. It passed.
Last Monday, Yarborough received a call requesting his presence in Austin the next morning, whereupon Sheffield would officially present the resolution. And, thus, on October 26, we can celebrate that most glorious of artery-cloggers, breaded and fried beef smothered in cream gravy.
"I want people to recognize how important chicken-fried steak is to Texas. People need to rally around the dish and support great, historic restaurants like Mary's Café," noted Yarborough. The Strawn restaurant is a Mecca for CFS aficionados and recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Look for me at All Good Café in late October, where I'll be channeling Jimmy Baldwin and his Lone Star musical classic, "Peace, Love and Chicken-Fried Steak."