Being a Homesick Texan

Being a Homesick Texan
Photograph by Ryan Dorsett

NAME: Lisa Fain |  AGE: 42 |  HOMETOWN: Houston |  QUALIFICATIONS: Seventh-generation Texan who moved 
to New York City in 1995 / Started the food blog Homesick 
Texan ( homesicktexan.com) in 2005 / Wrote The Homesick 
Texan Cookbook , which will be in stores this month 
( read an excerpt )

● My great-great-great-great grandpa John
 Coffman emigrated from Tennessee in 1840 
to one thousand acres on the Peters Colony, in 
what we know today as Collin County. He was 
the first person in the area with an iron stove. 
And Chambersville, another community in 
Collin County, was named for my great-great-great grandpa Elisha Chambers. He was nicknamed “Taters” Chambers because of his sweet 
potatoes. My grandma still lives there today.

● The first thing I eat when I return home 
from New York is Tex-Mex. There was a place 
by my mom’s house in Houston called Amalia’s that had the best enchiladas verdes, which were stuffed with carnitas and Monterey Jack, 
smothered in a tomatillo-and-poblano salsa,
 and topped with avocado slices and sour cream.

● A while back some Austin friends living 
in New York said, “Let’s do Mexican tonight!” 
We all went out and couldn’t find anything. So 
it became a quest. I would read about a place in New Jersey, and I’d go by myself on the PATH train and walk five miles to a restaurant, and it would 
be terrible. So I started cooking, because that was the only way I could get it to taste like it should.

● One of my first posts on my blog was titled 
“To bean or not to bean?” in regards to Texas 
chili. Of course, there were lots of passionate 
responses. One person insisted that I move 
back to Texas if I even had to ask the question.

● I enjoy arguing with people about why Texas chili is superior to all others. And when I serve my chili to non-Texan friends in New York, they tend to agree.

● My chili recipe was created 
from watching my dad and other 
family members. But in New York I discovered that the chili 
powders tasted like dirt, so I started 
making it with dried whole chiles. I realized that they have such an 
intense, vibrant flavor that I never 
went back to chili powder.

● One time when I served 
chicken-fried steak to some 
New York friends, a few were like, 
“Uh, wouldn’t this be better if it 
was made with a ribeye?” To which 
I replied, “No!” A thick, marbled 
ribeye doesn’t need any help. 
I’m not a fan of chicken-fried 
steaks made with high-end cuts. 
They’re silly and miss the point.

● After I’d been blogging for 
a couple years, the Times of 
London named Homesick Texan 
one of the top fifty food blogs in 
the world. It was about that time 
I started thinking that maybe this could be more than a hobby.

● You just can’t find decent 
refried beans in New York City.

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