What kolaches, African-American cooking, and chili queens can teach us about women’s influence on Texas cuisine.
The director of Foodways Texas, Marvin Bendele, asked me to come and lead a couple of panel discussions at the organization’s annual Camp Brisket, held last weekend at the Rosenthal Meat Center on Texas A&M’s campus. And even though I was presented as an expert to…
Four highlights from "Texas Preserved," Foodways Texas' second annual symposium.
Foodways Texas, which was founded in July 2010 “to preserve, promote, and celebrate the diverse food cultures of Texas," held its second annual symposium in Austin this past weekend. A couple of hundred participants listened to talks on the theme of “Texas Preserved”—a deliberately wide-ranging topic that covered cocktails, the drought, cattle, sugar plantations, heritage pigs, beer, shrimp boats, oysters, “trash fish,” and even mayhaw jelly. Attendees also ate, very, very well, from a brisket dinner catered by Austin ‘cue maestro John Mueller (with sides by Hoover’s Cooking) to the recreation of a Texas farm dinner circa 1840 at Boggy Creek Farm. The main course at the latter feast consisted of succulent grilled Red Wattle pigs (a heritage breed) provided by Revival Market in Houston; the chef for the occasion was Sonya Cote of Austin’s East Side Showroom and the brand new Hillside Farmacy. Here are four choice moments from the nearly two-dozen presentations at the symposium: "Two generations ago Texas housewives could buy sugar grown, refined, and packaged in Texas. The brand was Imperial, and it was downright disloyal to buy anything else. But gradually the thriving Texas sugar cane industry collapsed. The cause of its slow death was a perfect storm of cane disease, bad weather, and cheap sugar from other countries, to name just three reasons. But today, sugar cane may be making a comeback in the Rio Grande Valley. Could Texas once again become a sugar belt—or sugar bowl?" - MM Pack, food writer and culinary historian, Austin, speaking on “A Short but Not Always Sweet History of Sugar in Texas.”
The second annual Texas Monthly BBQ Festival was held Sunday, October 30, at the outdoor terrace of Long Center in Austin. Some 3,000 people attended to sample barbecue from 22 vendors (all of whom had been named to our Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas in 2008), listen to music (Jimmie Vaughan and Asleep at the Wheel), and vote for the people’s choice in four categories. The prizes were won this year by Franklin Barbecue of Austin (best brisket), Louie Mueller Barbecue of Taylor (best beef ribs and best sausage), and Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q of Tyler (best pork ribs). Last year’s best brisket winner was Snow’s BBQ of Lexington. Here are some random observations from an assortment of well-fed attendees. It’s kind of like drinking from a fire hydrant. There is so much here!—Seth Dockery This is Texas, so the temperature could have been 40, it could have been 95. But today was perfect.—Jen Pencis, Stanley's Famous Pit Bar-B-Q, Tyler Cooking’s easy. The hardest part is figuring out the amount of meat. –Todd Ashmore, Opie’s Barbecue, Spicewood This event is definitely off the ground. Yesterday I was telling people I was in town for the barbecue festival and everybody knew what I was talking about. Last year they had no idea.—Daniel Vaughn, Full Custom Gospel BBQ blog