The Rio Grande Valley: Where I Grew Up Eating

It’s said to be that the Rio Grande Valley has the best restaurants in Texas, being from the valley, I’d have to agree. Not only does the Rio Grande have the best restaurants in our state, but that food tells a story. The culture and the sense of togetherness that every bite has brings a family closer together. Whether it’s during the holidays or just on a simple weekend when you’re in the south, you’ll learn that food brings the family together. From family owned businesses to nothing but comfort food, the Rio Grande Valley really leaves its mark on you. According to National Geographic, “…the association of food with love will continue throughout life…” (Pope). The connection that food has with a person is impeccable. If you really dig your mind into it, a person gives someone else food, no matter the situation. This is just something someone does to show their emotions, whether it’s for someone that is grieving, celebrating, or even giving to the homeless. Through this photo essay, I will show many restaurants that the Rio Grande Valley only has. Attempting to convey the different types of comfort foods and family owned restaurants, this essay will come together and explain the way food and families come together as a whole, just as my family does. Throughout this essay, you will be able to analyze the photos I chose to show the connection between the food I grew up eating in the Rio Grande Valley and with my family. These photos will tell a story that makes family come together along with showing that comfort foods have a lot to do with showing the emotions that make my family put aside the tougher times and make new, greater, and happier memories.

In this first photo, a thanksgiving feast has been set up. Thanksgiving is considered a day where families come together for a feat to express what they’re thankful for. In my family, after we serve ourselves, we go around the table and state what we’re thankful for. This is a very special event that occurs in my life because of the fact that my family lives further away than most. Holidays like this, which involves a whole bunch of different types of foods, really brings my family together.

In this second photo, tamales are shown. These specific tamales are from a very popular restaurant which is only located in the Rio Grande Valley. This restaurant also happens to be a family owned business. Delia’s Tamales is a restaurant where families get together, the most popular days are on Sundays, after church. My family in particular always get together every Saturday.

In this third photo, a restaurant named Siempre Natural is being shown. This restaurant also happens to be located only in the Rio Grande Valley. My family and I always get together at this place on Tuesdays just because of a particular special that they offer. A lot of families get together here on Saturdays because of the little league baseball tournaments that happen to be across the street.

In this fourth photo, the Whataburger building is in the background with the big sign in the front with an additional sign that says 24 hours directly under it. This particular restaurant has the most business that anyone can imagine. Not only is Whataburger extremely famous in the Rio Grande, but in other parts of Texas as well. Families gather here every day to share their childhood burgers with their own children, making many lifetime memories.

In this fifth photo, shows a classic barbecue that almost every Rio Grande Valley family does on Sundays, especially during football season. My family usually gets together on the Sundays that the Dallas Cowboys are playing. Also, my family gets together for a barbecue when it’s one of our family members birthdays. Meat markets get extremely crowded when it gets closer to Sunday because of all the families that are buying meat for their own get-togethers.

In this sixth photo, a home cooked meal is shown. There is nothing that means more to a parent that cooks a homemade meal for their family. The feelings really come into play here because of the fact that parents that make homemade meals put all of their emotions into their food to show how much they actually care about their loved ones. Most families come home from either work or school to a hot meal that their parents have made with their love and care.

In this seventh photo, a restaurant names Wing Barn is shown. This particular restaurant is only located in the Rio Grande Valley. At this restaurant, a lot of families and friends come together to have their signature wings. This place is more of a loud environment, which is a great place for big families. My family gets together here to make big plans and to have a day to relax since it’s a bar and grill type of restaurant.

In this seventh, and final photo, a restaurant named Stars is shown. This particular restaurant is also only located in the Rio Grande Valley and has been around for a great number of years. Many families bring their children here to enjoy the old fashioned burgers and milkshakes. The days that almost every family gets together at stars is on Tuesdays and Thursdays because of the special that they have. Till this day, my family always tells me the memories that they made at this restaurant.

While I have realized that the combination of food and family always leads to happy memories, I am very fortunate to have a family that shares those wonderful memories at the most delicious and particular restaurants around the Rio Grande Valley. Realizing that those memories are now limited because of the fact that I live in San Marcos, almost three hundred miles away, the homemade meals and the restaurants that are only in the valley greatly missed. As time flies, the sooner I get to have a mouth-watering meal all over again.

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