I’m not quite sure whether The Texas Cookbook should be called a cookbook or a history book. Mary Faulk Koock of Austin’s Green Pastures tells the story behind almost every recipe, which she says were given to her by friends and patrons. She sweeps through the state, defining areas and cuisine by using menus from parties she attended. At the King Ranch, she visits the old Ranch House, where Dick Kleberg and his wife, Mary Lewis, live with their family. “Dick is the grandson of Captain Richard King, founder of the ranch; Mary Lewis is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Z. T. Scott of Austin, and the sister of Zachary Scott. . . . They often use the recipe for Venison Roast of Alice Reynolds, Dick’s sister who lives in Austin.” The recipe for Venison Roast follows. Another example: Helen Corbitt promoted fine food in Texas. As the director of Neiman-Marcus’ restaurant, the Zodiac Room, she had little time to know her neighbors. She put an invitation in each of their mailboxes that read: “I live on your street and being a small town girl would like to know you better. Won’t you come by for a drink and a snack on Saturday, August 8 from 7 till—?” Koock then describes the menu:

Beef Fondue Bourguignonne
Party Barquettes filled with Chicken Hash au Gratin
Cold Curried Cooked Vegetables
Cold Baked Ham, sliced and jellied with Cumberland Sauce
Salt Rising Bread and Butter Sandwiches
Iced Olives and Pickled Okra with lime juice sprinkled over

on the second table
Coffee Angel Food Squares rolled in coffee butter icing and toasted almonds

Koock turned her Austin home, Green Pastures, into a restaurant that would become an institution. Flipping through the pages of The Texas Cookbook, we learn that one night after Van Cliburn dined at Green Pastures, he played “The Twelve Days of Christmas” on the piano while everyone sang. We also learn that despite the fact that Governor and Mrs. Connally usually served fancy food at parties, the governor’s favorite supper was corn bread crumbled in sweet milk
(“. . . also Mr. Sam Rayburn’s number one choice, and which he called ‘Crummin. . . .’”).

The following is a list of some of the popular menu items served at Green Pastures:

Olga Crawford’s Orange Nut Bread
Lobster Bisque
Filet of Red Snapper with White Grape Sauce
Plantation Chicken Shortcake
Baked Steak Stuffed with Wild Rice
Orange Rice
Mango Ice Cream