Axios Austin

Picture of the Austin skyline.

November 23, 2022

🐪 It's Wednesday!

☂️ Today's weather: 20% chance of showers, and cloudy with a high near 61.

ğŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios Austin member Meghan Womack and happy early birthday to member Brian Beck!

⚡ Situational awareness: Twitter could be "dual-headquartered" in California and Texas, company owner Elon Musk suggested in a meeting with staffers, per The Verge.

Today's newsletter is 829 words — a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Holiday travel is back

Illustration of a turkey pulling a suitcase.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport officials are gearing up for a busier-than-usual Thanksgiving travel period, estimating that the number of passengers flying out of the airport this month will be the most in at least three years.

Why it matters: Holiday travel across the country is returning to pre-pandemic levels, and this year the number of Thanksgiving week sojourns falls behind only those in 2005 and 2019, per AAA, which started tracking in 2000.

By the numbers: Officials expect the daily number of passengers flying out of the Austin airport to reach roughly 30,000 today, according to data provided to Axios.

  • Officials do not yet have an estimate for this month's total, but a spokesperson said 2022 numbers will likely exceed 2019, 2020 and 2021 because airlines are offering 35% more seats for sale this month.

Driving the news: Nearly 55 million Americans will travel 50 miles or farther this week.

  • Most people will travel by car, but road-tripping for the holidays remains 2.5% below 2019 levels.

Zoom out: Nationwide, 4.5 million people are expected to fly during the holiday week, which starts today.

  • And 1.4 million people will travel by train or bus or take a cruise, an increase of 23% compared with last year.

Travel tips: Airport officials have already warned travelers to arrive two and a half hours before their flight.

  • Passengers parking at ABIA can reserve a space and check for real-time availability before arriving at the airport.
  • And if you are obligated to bring cranberry sauce to Thursday's dinner, the canned version is allowed in your checked luggage, per the TSA.

💭 Our thought bubble: This might be a good time to brush off those New Year's resolutions and finally try meditation.

2. 🦃 How not to fry your turkey

A fireball erupts after a frozen turkey is dropped into 500-degree oil.

Before and after pictures. Firefighter Rashard Montgomery drops a frozen turkey into super-hot oil. Photos: Courtesy of Austin Fire Department (left) and Asher Price/Axios (right).

If you're deep-frying your turkey this year, be careful.

  • Yes, you want a crisp, juicy bird — but you also want to keep your eyebrow hairs unsinged.

What's happening: The Austin Fire Department on Tuesday demonstrated how not to fry your turkey.

The big picture: U.S. fire departments respond to more than 1,400 fires on Thanksgiving, more than three times the average of any other day during the year.

  • Texas ranks first among states for the most grease and cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day.

What not to do: The main causes of deep-fryer fires include:

  • Too much oil in the fryer pot. Oil spilling out of the pot can hit the burner and cause flare-ups.
  • Dropping a frozen or partially thawed turkey — which has a lot of frozen water inside it — into oil. "Water and oil are explosively destructive together," Angela Martin, a lieutenant with the Austin Fire Department, told reporters at the demonstration.
  • Frying too close to buildings. Cook away from flammables and keep your distance from wooden structures.

What they did: "We did pretty much everything you're not supposed to do to get an amazing, cool flame," Martin said.

  • They overfilled the fryer pot and heated it to 500 degrees — and dropped a frozen turkey into it.
A deep-fryed but undercooked turkey sits on the pavement.
The deep-fried turkey, post-fireball, ready for its close-up. Nice color — but probably not particularly edible. Photo: Asher Price/Axios

Be smart: Martin recommended deep frying with an apron.

  • "Nobody wants to cook bacon naked. It's the same thing."

3. 🤠 The Roundup: Wrangling the news

Illustration of a mustang wearing glasses and reading the news on a phone.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

👩‍💻 Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is laying off a total of 222 workers on Jan. 13 across its West Sixth, McAllen Pass, Alterra Parkway and West Third locations. (KXAN)

📚 Austin officials are seeking national historic status for the former Faulk Central Library, at Eighth and Guadalupe. (Austin Towers)

😔 Indie bookstore Malvern Books, which became a hub for writers in Austin, will close Dec. 31. The store's closure comes after owner Joe Bratcher died from COVID-19 complications. (Austin American-Statesman)

4. Your long weekend lineup

Illustration of a cherry pie with "weekend" cut out of the crust.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

If you're staying put for Thanksgiving, we've got you covered. Here are a few events we're eyeing for the long weekend:

🛍️ Get your holiday shopping done during Small Business Saturday. Many Austin-area shops, restaurants, breweries and other businesses will offer deals and specials this weekend.

ğŸŽ­ Catch Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" on stage at the Long Center through Sunday.

🤠 Wrap up your turkey day at the Continental Club, where Dale Watson and his Lone Stars will perform their Thanksgiving show and dance. Doors open at 9pm. $15 cover.

🏀 Watch the Texas women's basketball team take on Princeton at 1pm Sunday at the Moody Center.

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Plan your future

💼 See current open positions on our Job Board.

  1. Legislative/Admin Associate - Temporary at PoliTemps.
  2. Director Sales at Aimbridge Hospitality.
  3. People Operations Generalist at Diligent.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a job.

5. 🧈 Charted: Our butter consumption

Data: Instacart; Map: Sara Wise/Axios

Even as Texans are world-famous eaters, we're not all that big on butter.

The big picture: We love butter on our mashed potatoes, but we noticed that butter consumption lags in Texas, the Southwest and the West.

Between the lines: "The butter 'divide' is not surprising considering that much of the Midwest and East Coast was settled by Europeans who brought with them a long tradition of dairying and buttery cuisine," Elaine Khosrova, author of "Butter: A Rich History," tells Axios. "In the West and Southwest, of course, you have more settlers from Hispanic cultures, where butter was not a prominent ingredient in their dishes."

Yes, but: Deep fried butter won the Most Creative award at the 2009 Texas State Fair.

Thanks to Lindsey Erdody for editing and Kathie Bozanich for copy editing this newsletter.

Programming note: We're off Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday, but we'll be back in your inbox bright and early — and still quite full — Monday morning.

ğŸŽ§ Asher is listening to this catchy new song from the Austin band Wild Child.

😬 Nicole is headed to Omaha, Nebraska, for Thanksgiving. Send happy thoughts.