When it comes to food, Texas may be best known for its beloved barbecue and tacos. But at more than 29 million people, the state is one of the most culturally diverse in America—and so is its culinary scene. From the kolaches introduced by Czechs settlers to the Hill Country in the 1800s to the Viet-Cajun crawfish that Vietnamese immigrants blessed Houston with in the early 2000s, the tastes on offer here are as vast and varied as the 268,596 square miles of earth they spring from.
In The Big Texas Cookbook, the editors of the award-winning magazine Texas Monthly have gathered an expansive collection of recipes that reflects the state’s food traditions, eclectically grouped by how Texans like to start and end the day (Rise and Shine, There Stands the Glass), how they revere their native-born ingredients (Made in Texas), and how they love the people, places, and rituals that surround their favorite meals (On Holiday, Home Plates). Getting their very own chapters—no surprise—are the behemoths mentioned above, barbecue and Tex-Mex (Smoke Signals, Con Todo). With recipes for über-regional specialties like venison parisa, home cooking favorites like King Ranch casserole, and contemporary riffs like a remarkable Lao beef chili, The Big Texas Cookbook pays homage to the cooks who long ago shaped the state’s food culture and the ones who are building on those traditions in surprising and delightful ways.
Packed with atmospheric photos, illustrations, and essays, The Big Texas Cookbook is a vivid culinary portrait of the land, its people, and its past, present, and future.