Top Shelf in April:
The Homesick Texan’s Family Table: Lone Star Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours by Lisa Fain
Reviewed by Arian & Julie
Just as we love to fill our shelves with books, we love to fill our kitchens with the aromas of down home, Texas-style cooking. Lisa Fain is one of our favorite Texas chefs. Her blog, Homesick Texan, is one of our first stops when we’re craving something chicken fried, smothered in homemade gravy, or cooked up with some heat. Her second cookbook, The Homesick Texan’s Family Table: Lone Star Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours, is now on shelves. To give it a true bookseller test, we sent two very different cooks into their kitchens to give the recipes a whirl: a born and bred Yankee and a native Texan. Here’s how they fared.
“When Lisa Fain’s first cookbook, The Homesick Texan, hit our shelves, I (heroically) offered myself up as test chef with an ironic twist: I was the Yankee cooking from the home style cookbook the Texan wrote while living up North and missing her Lone Star State. Back then, I was proud to manage some kick ass enchiladas and black beans with only a few Yankee Mishaps along the way. This time, a few more jalapenos under my belt, I went for the Tortilla-Crusted Tilapia and Spanish Rice.
Maybe I’m a more experienced Texas chef at this point, or maybe (more likely) Fain knows how to write a clear guide to cooking up a fine southern meal; either way, my meal went from grocery bag to table in about an hour. I must have read the recipes five times thinking, But wait, there has to be more to it than this! Nope. My supper was simple and delicious. This Yankee even braved handling the jalapeno without gloves or goggles! Heck, I chowed down on raw jalapeno in tartar sauce. Lisa Fain, you have certainly revolutionized my palette.”
“I love Southern cooking. Grits? Yes. Biscuits? Always. Gravy on that? Please! So, when I saw an advanced copy of The Homesick Texan’s Family Table, I grabbed it. This is Fain’s second collection of mouth watering favorites inspired by the food of the Lone Star State. Texas is a unique place that blends flavors from the American South and Mexico with ingredients all our own. Our state’s tastes are as varied as its landscapes. There was a wealth of things that I would have enjoyed making from here, but decided on the warm and delicious-looking Apple Cake. I have fond memories of my Maw Maw making a similar dessert when I visited her in Arkansas, and remember how much I loved it.
I paired the warm Apple Cake with one of my favorite ice creams, but the cake was perfectly delicious on its own. Lisa Fain said her grandma called this a “sharing” cake. And it very much it is. One of my favorite parts of baking is sharing it with others. And so I did. Food totally equals love, and this book is a great representation of that. Wholesome, delicious and easy to make recipes for you and yours.”
Copies of The Homesick Texan’s Family Table are now available. What will you cook up tonight?