With all the get-up-and-go we expect from Texans, Bob Phillips and the film crew for "Texas Country Reporter" hit the open trail to find Texans and the food they eat. Loping around that very big state, they hit back roads that led them to small and large towns. They poked around campfires, barbecue pits and home kitchens of the many immigrant groups that settled in Texas. When they looked at the recipes they had collected, a cookbook was born.
There are recipes here that speak of Texas, from chili to Q, from a Cowboy Stew to Chicken Fried Steak. Being a border state, there are lots of Mexican-inspired recipes. There are side notes on the recipes, many of which begin with "my grandmother/mother taught me..." There are meat loaf recipes, and burger recipes, including the prize-winning Doc Evens's Six Flags Over Texas Bunburgers. There is a game section which includes ostrich and venison, even a rattlesnake chili which has instructions on cleaning the snake which begin "Take the dead snake..."
Part of the wit of the book is in the Texan propensity to give colorful names to the recipes. There's an End of Paycheck Salad, a pasta salad made lively with wit and ingenuity. There's a Scripture Cake and a Better Than Sex Cake, a fried dough the size of a fifty-cent piece called sputniks. And would the desserts be complete without Texas Yum-Yum a cream-cheese and pudding mix that incorporates pecans.
The book is comprehensive. There are muffins and biscuits, preserves and relishes, vegetable sides and main course meats. There are candies as well as a stack of desserts of every type. Each page has a sidebar which brings special verve to the recipes and sometimes shows the face of history: "In the old days, the housewife would get up extra early and mix this dough for cookies, then put it in the icebox to chill while doing the weekly washing. In the evening, when the wood stove was hot from cooking supper, she would bake the cookies."
About the author: Since 1972 Bob Phillips has traveled the back roads and told the stories of real Texans - ordinary people doing extraordinary things on his Texas-based show. "Texas Country Reporter" celebrates the history, emotion and beauty that make Texas and Texans so unique. Every week you're invited to hop in and travel along with Bob as he reminds us that the back roads isn't just a place, it's an attitude.