The Homesick Texan's Family Table: Lone Star Cooking from My Kitchen to Yoursby Lisa Fain
Nobody knows and loves Texan food more than Lisa Fain. With The Homesick Texan's Family Table, Fain/i>/b>
From beloved food blogger Lisa Fain, aka the Homesick Texan, comes this follow-up to her wildly popular debut cookbook, featuring more than 125 recipes for wonderfully comforting, ingredient-driven Lone Star classics that the whole family will love.
Nobody knows and loves Texan food more than Lisa Fain. With The Homesick Texan's Family Table, Fain serves up more of the appealing, accessible, and downright delicious fare that has made her blog so popular. Featuring a mix of down-home standards and contemporary updates, all of the recipes are made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, yet still packed with real Texas flavor. With recipes ranging from Fried Eggs Smothered in Chili over Grits and Mexican Chocolate Pancakes to Brisket Tacos to Cochinita Pibil, The Homesick Texan's Family Table has something for everyone--whether you're in Dallas or Detroit, Houston or Honolulu.
—Crystal Cook and Sandy Pollock, authors of The Casserole Queens Cookbook
“Lisa Fain’s new book, The Homesick Texan’s Family Table, takes readers back to the origins of her inspiration—the family celebrations and community gatherings where platters of enchiladas, bowls of ranch-style beans, and great conversations combine to create lasting memories. It’s a magical place that’s changed the way we entertain—bring on the chiles, the masa, the chorizo!”
—Matt Lee and Ted Lee authors of the Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen
“Who doesn’t want to wake up to chilaquiles, enjoy a spicy soup for lunch, dive into a plate of peppery ribs, and finish up with a delicious, zippy version of cowboy cookies? With Lisa Fain’s recipes, anybody, anytime, anywhere can rustle up down-home Tex-Mex fare—be it for an everyday meal or a special celebration. Now I just need a Texas-sized table to hold it all!”
—David Lebovitz, author of My Paris Kitchen and The Sweet Life in Paris
“I’ve always admired Lisa Fain’s remarkable ability to express sentiment through flavor—and with her latest book, this talent is on full display. Her beautifully photographed recipes inspired me to not only revisit some of my own family favorites (which I dressed up with the help of the salsas, jams, and pickles in her ‘Accompaniments’ chapter), but also introduce her family’s classic flavors into my home. Hello, Frito Salad!”
—Martha Foose, author of Screen Doors and Sweet Tea and A Southerly Course
On the heels of her best-selling debut, The Homesick Texan Cookbook, popular food blogger Fain (homesicktexan.com) offers a new collection of comfort foods with unique Texas twists. She updates traditional macaroni salad by adding cumin, chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, and homemade sorghum mustard pickles and reimagines banana pudding as a scratch-made jarred dessert with crumbled peanut butter oatmeal cookies and vanilla custard. The author claims she's cooked these recipes in her tiny New York kitchen and assures readers they can also prepare them with minimal space and equipment. VERDICT Fain enlivens popular dishes with cheese, chiles, bacon, cilantro, lime, and other bold ingredients. Highly recommended.
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Read an Excerpt
There’s this recurring dream that I have. I’m in a field—my great-grandma’s Texas cornfield to be exact. A long table loaded with dishes, bowls, and platters full of good food stretches through the green stalks, and surrounding the table is most everyone I’ve ever known, both family and friends. My great-grandmother is there, and she waves me over. “Mighty fine food and mighty fine people to eat it!” she says as I take a seat. I then begin to eat a most memorable meal.
It’s been said that if you ask a Texan about their most memorable meal, they won’t tell you about a coveted reservation at a five-star temple of dining, or an exotic feast served after an airplane flight halfway across the world. Nope, most Texans will say that their most memorable meal was home-cooked, shared at the family table.
At least it’s that way for me.
But to be honest—despite my recurring dream—I hadn’t really pondered the question until some New York friends and I were having dinner at my apartment. Now, before I continue, let me say I’m a seventh-generation Texan who happens to live in New York, and one of my favorite pastimes is to share the joys of my home state with my non-Texan friends.
That particular evening was Tex-Mex night. As we sat around dipping tortilla chips into salsas and quesos, my friends talked about elaborate meals from fine establishments located in places such as Napa Valley or Spain. But when it was my turn to answer the question, even though I’ve enjoyed eating in a fair share of fancy restaurants, I realized my most memorable meal was the potluck we had for my grandparents’ fiftieth anniversary.
“A potluck?” said my friends.
“Yes, a family potluck,” I said. Then I told them about the meal.
It was early July, and while Texas is notorious for being hotter than heck during the summer, that day was blessed with a gentle breeze. The party was held at my grandparents’ North Texas farm—a beautiful spread of green pastures, rolling hills, and a pond—which has been continuously owned by my family since the 1840s.
Through the course of the party, more than one hundred people came by to pay their respects—a lively gathering of folks young and old. I had recently moved to New York, so for me, a visit to the peaceful farm was a much-needed tonic from the craziness of city life. But beyond seeing the beautiful land, it was a treat to visit with dear family and friends, many of whom I hadn’t seen in years.
The food at the anniversary party was typical mid-summer Texan fare—cold salads, hot rolls, chicken, cake, and pies. The food was good, as it was all made with love. But what made the meal truly special were the connections made with family and friends, old and new.
Whether it was getting to hug cousins I hadn’t seen since we were kids, hearing stories about my grandparents’ wedding from guests who had been there that day, or eating homemade pies rolled out with a pin that had been a hand-carved wedding gift fifty years earlier—the meal made me smile. It was a most memorable meal.
And that’s what The Homesick Texan’s Family Table is all about—making memories at the table with those whom we love. No matter if they are memories of sitting together for a simple weeknight dinner or jostling for space during a large holiday gathering, some of my fondest moments have occurred at the family table. Perhaps you feel the same way.
Sure, Texans spend time at the table for the major milestones such as births, weddings, anniversaries, and deaths. But we’re also inclined to break bread together just because it’s a clear evening, and our friend’s back porch has a spectacular view of the sunset, or it’s a Sunday afternoon in spring, and we want to toast the arrival of our state flower, the bluebonnet. No special occasion is ever really needed: Texans gather at the table simply to reconnect with our family and friends.
This is not to say that food isn’t also important. On the contrary, we love to eat and we love to eat well. And what we eat plays such an important role in our lives, if you’re a homesick Texan such as myself, you’ll find that cooking and eating certain dishes will instantly take you back home.
For instance, on cold winter nights I’ll brighten people’s spirits with ranch-style beans and jalapeño cheese enchiladas. Or to commemorate Texas Independence Day, I might offer bowls of chili and slices of pecan pie. Fiery wings, peppery ribs, and choriqueso are always welcome before the big game. And when the world begins to awaken in spring, thick slices of balsamic-tarragon glazed ham along with strawberry shortcakes are a fine way to celebrate the world in bloom.
The recipes I’m sharing with you are inspired by old favorites that I culled from recipe cards, dinners, and conversations with family and friends across the state, dishes that are as wide and varied as Texas itself. Whether it’s seafood from the Coastal Bend, beef dishes from the arid west, Mexican-influenced dishes from the Rio Grande Valley, or traditionally Southern dishes from the east—Texas’s food reflects the diversity of its regions and people.
If you’re familiar with my first book and my blog, you might be aware that I have been known to take certain liberties with Texas cuisine. For instance, I tend to eschew processed and packaged ingredients in favor of their fresh equivalents. I also try to cook with fruits and vegetables that are in season as much as possible.
Simply put, my approach to cooking is to make each dish as flavorful as possible. This can be achieved, for example, by using fresh ingredients, by adding an extra squeeze of lime juice, or by throwing in a jalapeño slice or two. But while I may tweak the classics and create new dishes from old standards, their spirit and soul is always Texan.
But enough about the book—let’s get cooking. Please pull up a chair and join me at the table, where’s there’s plenty of mighty fine food, and mighty fine people to eat it.
Meet the Author
LISA FAIN is a seventh-generation Texan. When she's not on the hunt for chile peppers, she writes and photographs the popular food blog Homesick Texan. Lisa's writing has appeared in Saveur and Edible Austin; and on the blog Serious Eats, and her photographs have been exhibited worldwide, with two in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress. An active member of Foodways Texas and the Southern Foodways Alliance, Lisa is also a certified barbecue judge. Visit www.homesicktexan.com
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I love to cook. However, at the same time, I'm very picky about the recipes that I'll use when I'm cooking. I love comfort food as much as the next person, but when I make it I want to be sure that it's something that my family is going to love. One way to be sure of that is to make sure that someone else's family loves it as well. 'The Homesick Texan's Family Table' by Lisa Fain does just that. The recipes in this cookbook do just that. They pull you in and make you say to yourself, 'This is something that my family will adore'. I haven't actually gotten to try any of the recipes yet (I'm making Jalapeño Pesto-Stuffed Pork Roast tomorrow night, pg. 155), but I've got almost every page of the book marked. Lisa Fain does a wonderful job of taking you into her family as she's telling you about the recipes. Each chapter starts out with wonderful stories about her own family and her recipes. She makes you feel like you are part of her family and for someone like me that's the best part of a cookbook. No one wants to make something that you don't feel like your family will eat. Ms. Fain takes you into her world, it feels like you are in her kitchen with her helping her make each recipe. This cookbook is topnotch and should be on the bookshelf of anyone that loves to cook, especially someone who loves to cook comfort food that they know their whole family will enjoy. After the pork roast the next recipe I'm going to try is Stacked Jalapeño-Cheese Enchiladas (pg. 194). What are you excited to try? I received this book for free from the publisher’s Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.
Being a transplant from Houston Texas to Massachusetts, I was very happy to hear about this cookbook. It is Texas just like I remembered! I can't wait to make the Chicken Spaghetti and Butterscotch Brownies. Yum!! Beautiful pictures makes me want to go back to Houston and visit my family. I would highly recommend this cookbook - even to those non-Texans!
Title: The Homesick Texan's Family Table - Lone Star Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours Author: Lisa Fain Published: 4-1-14 Publisher: Ten Speed Press Pages: 288 Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine Sub Genre: Cookbooks; ISBN: 9781607745044 ASIN: B00FO61A1S Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley My Rating: 5 Stars . I lived in Donna, Texas of the Rio Grand Valley for over three years and each off day I would head across the border to explore the lands that I had learned about in high school Spanish classes. Imagine learning Spanish a German teacher in a predominantly Cuban and military dependants learning Castilian Spanish. I learned to love Cuban food from visiting with my friends, but still got my Mexican and South Western food from fast food restaurants. Then my family moved to the Valley and I never looked back. Now I know the difference, perfected my accent and my cooking technique from those who were kind enough to share their time and recipes with me. I was shocked to see the Black Bean Refried Beans as most people use pinto. It was then I knew I had to have this book. Add in the Buttermilk Bacon-Fat Tortillas ( which taste better when placed in an adobe oven) and I was ready to spend some quality time with Ms Fain's recipes and my kitchen. Thank you so much for The Homesick Texan's Family Table. I did not realize how much I missed Texas until I was reading and saw the field of bluebonnets. These are classic Texan recipes I just gravitated to those with the Mexican influence. They are well written in a easy to follow format with clear instructions. Once you try these you will be staying home making your own Texas and Mexican dishes. Let me suggest the Jalapeno Pimento Cheese and Shredded Beef Enchiladas. Better yet, let me advise you to try any of the recipes . My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.