Who says cooking is for homebodies? Veteran Texas food writer Robb Walsh served as a judge at a chuck wagon cook-off, worked as a deckhand on a shrimp boat, and went mayhaw-picking in the Big Thicket. As he drove the length and breadth of the state, Walsh sought out the best in barbecue, burgers, kolaches, and tacos; scoured museums, libraries, and public archives; and unearthed vintage photos, culinary stories, and nearly-forgotten dishes. Then he headed home to Houston to test the recipes he’d collected back in his own kitchen. The result is Texas Eats: The New Lone Star Heritage Cookbook, a colorful and deeply personal blend of history, anecdotes, and recipes from all over the Lone Star State.
In Texas Eats, Walsh covers the standards, from chicken-fried steak to cheese enchiladas to barbecued brisket. He also makes stops in East Texas, for some good old-fashioned soul food; the Hill Country, for German- and Czech-influenced favorites; the Panhandle, for traditional cowboy cooking; and the Gulf Coast, for timeless seafood dishes and lost classics like pickled shrimp. Texas Eats even covers recent trends, like Viet-Texan fusion and Pakistani fajitas. And yes, there are recipes for those beloved-but-obscure gems: King Ranch casserole, parisa, and barbecued crabs. With more than 200 recipes and stunning food photography, Texas Eats brings the richness of Texas food history vibrantly to life and serves up a hearty helping of real Texas flavor.
Having authored five previous Texas cookbooks, and with a decade's worth of restaurant reviews written for the Houston Press, Walsh knows a thing or two about the Lone Star food scene. Along with more than 200 recipes, he serves up plenty of state history, profiles of quintessential eateries, and a surprising look at just how many international cuisines have claimed territorial footholds in the region. The book is divided into six sections, with the first five broken out geographically. There are seafood recipes, like shrimp stew, taken from the coast, and German and Czech offerings, including stuffed cabbage, culled from central Texas and the Hill Country. The section on East Texas includes an important look at the foods surrounding Juneteeth, "the biggest holiday in the state's African American community," while the West Texas section surveys several of the area's best barbecue shacks, burger joints, and chicken-fried steak emporiums. The final section is a state-wide multicultural roundup of immigrant dishes. Walsh could not resist titling the last chapter of this section "Indian Cowboys," where the emphasis is on chutney and samosas, not buffalo.