Packed with information on the history and culture of Houston, The Star of Texas Cookbook reads like an encyclopedia of cuisine from the Bayou City and the surrounding areas. The ladies from the Junior League of Houston really know their stuff—food included.

The book begins with a helpful guide on choosing wine and a list of menu suggestions, most of which you can find recipes for in the following chapters. Next, add a little Texas: The chapter on game—which includes recipes for Grilled Quail, Venison Mincemeat, and Roast Goose With Cumberland Sauce—is preceded by one with Mexican standards such as Chalupas, Enchiladas Verdes, and Picadillo. And don’t forget the seafood (think Shrimp Tetrazzini, Seafood Chantilly, and Red Snapper Italienne).

The introduction to each chapter is interesting—a brief explanation of some aspect of Houston history accompanied by an illustration, usually related to the chapter’s content. Chapter 5 on fish features Galveston Bay, for example. Yet the cookbook itself lacks visual appeal. Interior black and white sketches of Houston landmarks accompany the cover photo of a silver spoon on a field stitched with stars, but they do little to distract from the straightforward layout of the recipes. However, the lack of attractiveness will only mean you won’t mind when the stark black and white pages become stained with overuse. This cookbook is destined to be continually referenced for old favorites and skimmed for that next great idea, still undiscovered within its three hundred plus pages of recipes.

Here are some selections to start off with:
Chicken Andaluza
Steak Soup
English Toffee Ice Cream
Savory Cheese Loaf
Flank Steak Florentine With Wild Rice
Cold Stuffed Zucchini