Books That Cook
IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO PREPARE a historic meal, then Carl McQueary’s Dining at the Governor’s Mansion will satiate your needs. This cookbook, which boasts more than 225 recipes, examines the mansion’s cuisine since its earliest residents while providing a historical context for each era. McQueary, who has spent some time dining at the mansion, explains the difficulties in compiling a cookbook of historic nature, most notably in this case that mansion chefs passed down recipes orally, leaving only a trail of obscure instructions behind. McQueary, who discovered the first ladies’ recipes while researching Governor Miriam Ferguson, experimented with the information he found, modernizing the ingredients and adding the missing details.
Dining at the Governor’s Mansion provides more of a lesson in Texas-cooking history than trendy fare; the recipes are practical and fairly simple, making this cookbook ideal for a novice in the kitchen or anyone who prefers a low-maintenance meal. McQueary groups the first ladies and their recipes chronologically into seven different eras beginning with Lucadia Christiana Niles Pease, and concluding with present-day’s Anita Perry. Each lady’s group of recipes begins with a brief biography, which includes a portrait, photos of historic Texas, and historical tidbits. Did you know that Sallie Harrison Culberson was the first to serve cranberry sauce in individual molds at the mansion?
The recipes in each woman’s archive represent her or her chef’s personal spin to traditional Texas dishes, including comfy eats like Cheese Corn Bread and Cherry Angel Pie. In case you need cooking references, McQueary includes an “Old-Fashioned Measurements and Their Modern Equivalents” section with cooking definitions such as a “pinch or dash,” a baking temperature conversion chart, and a can measurement conversion chart. Dining at the Governor’s Mansion provides readers with a peek into the kitchen where history takes place.
Here’s a sampling of what to expect:
Caramel Nut Pie
Wafflettes or rosettes
Roll Recipe of Mrs. Robert A. John
Artichoke Bottoms With Shrimp