In 1983, after more than 10 years of research, a Texas A&M University horticulturist named Leonard Pike created an onion that did not make people cry. This alone was revolutionary, but Dr. Pike also conferred another attribute upon his plant progeny: a single center.
The much-anticipated Live Fire announced its chef lineup this week, and if fast-selling tickets are any indication, this will be yet another stellar year for the annual culinary benefit. This marks the fourth year since the event was first launched by the Austin Food & Wine Alliance to raise funds for culinary grants, and since 2012, the Alliance has distributed over $45,000 to local artisans and purveyors.
The most popular cocktail in the state, the frozen margarita should be counted among the icons of Texas patriotism, alongside the Lone Star flag and the bluebonnet. Ubiquity, however, does not equate with quality, and therein lies a conundrum. The slushy drink is everywhere, and yet it seems to have lost its way.
What! No Russian caviar? No experiments in modernist cuisine involving burnt hay and foraged reindeer moss? No pterodactyl-size lobsters?! I’m looking at the menu at La V, one of Austin’s most-anticipated new restaurants, and I am not seeing the hoary hallmarks of fine dining. As we all know, there are certain eternal verities, one being that restaurants with plush venues and remarkable wine lists serve elegant fare.
Before the advent of air-conditioning, on summer afternoons Texans would sit on the porch to keep cool. They would sip tall, cool glasses of iced tea or lemonade, and if they were feeling especially industrious, they would crank up a batch of ice cream, too.
One autumn, my mom was on a business trip in the Northeast, and we decided to meet halfway at a Connecticut farm and go apple picking.
Scones have long been a favorite addition to our family’s breakfast table. My mom is quite famous, in fact, for her scones, and she has been known to make up new scone recipes on the spot, depending on what is available.
The morning after my grandma Ashner’s funeral, the family met at her home to begin going through her things. We were all exhausted from the day before, and the prospect of dealing with her stuff was a bit daunting.
Even though she is an expatriate, Lisa Fain is the most Texan Texan I’ve ever met. Her roots go back seven generations, and her identify has only solidified since she moved to New York, following a life-long dream, in 1995. In 2005, she started a blog in which she waxed nostalgic about her Texas childhood and posted recipes that reminded her of home (she loves to cook). The blog became so popular that it led to The Homesick Texan Cookbook, published in 2011.
For Lisa Fain, it may have started with a cheese log. She was eight years old when she watched her grandmother make one for a party.
"It was her aunt’s recipe, and I was just blown away," says Fain. "I never realized you could make a cheese ball. I thought it was something you got from the store. That was a moment when I realized, just about anything can be homemade!"