Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Homesick Texan gift guide 2011



Doing things for others is said to be a path to happiness and that may be why this time of year is filled with so much joy. While I’ve been searching for gifts for my family and friends, I’ve come across a few items that would be perfect for that Texan in your life. So without further ado, here is my 2011 Homesick Texan gift guide.

Texas gift towels, glasses, plates and more
My mom does this great thing where she wraps gifts in dishtowels, which means that I haven’t had to buy one in years due to a ready supply. That said, when I came across some mighty fine Texas dishtowels made by Catstudio, I knew I had to add one or two to my collection. Catstudio has also applied its design prowess to creating themed dishtowels for the cities Austin, Dallas, Houston and Fort Worth, along with fabulous glasses, plates and throw pillows. Cute, fun and practical!

Texas pecans
Last week when I was home for Thanksgiving, I probably ate over a pound of local pecans. Sure, pecans grow in other places, but those from Texas are definitely the sweetest, most flavorful pecans around. In New York City, it’s difficult to find Texas pecans but I’ve found a few places that do mail order, such as these organic pecans grown by Caddo Valley Pecans , which come from a grove near the North Texas town of Bonham. And if you’re looking for some pecan candy to go along with your nuts, there’s Oliver Pecan Co., which is based in San Saba, the pecan capital of the world.



Dublin Dr Pepper
Dublin Dr Pepper, everyone’s favorite Dr Pepper made with cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, has been accused by Dr Pepper parent company Cadbury Schwepps of not sticking to its agreement to sell only within a 44-miles radius from its Central Texas bottling plant. While the two are in litigation you can't order it online but if you call, I hear you can place an order for the highly prized beverage. Likewise, if you want to show your support for Dublin Dr Pepper, you can contribute to their legal defense fund and get a T-Shirt that proclaims, “Save Dublin.” But even though Dublin Dr Pepper is no longer offered online, they do offer other soft drinks in bulk syrup form (if you want to mix your own soda), such as a five-gallon bag of Big Red syrup made with cane sugar.

Friday Night Lights, The Complete Series
It’s Texas high school football playoff season, an occasion on proud display in many of the small towns I drove through while I was home for Thanksgiving. Seeing the numerous signs showing support for all the hometown teams made me nostalgic, not only for my own high school days but for the show “Friday Night Lights,” which ended this year. While I’ll never be 17 again, thanks to thiss DVD collection of all five season I can at least revisit this quintessential show about Texas small-town life.

Texas Waffle Maker
When I mentioned Texas-shaped baking pans last year, many of you told me about your Texas waffle makers. “Waffles shaped like Texas are the best,” you insisted. And indeed, I had the opportunity to try many Texas-shaped waffles myself this year as I traveled around the state staying at various motels that had them on offer at their breakfast buffets. And if you're wondering, yes it’s true—waffles shaped like Texas do taste better!



Signed copies of The Homesick Texan Cookbook
Okay, I realize I'm a bit biased in listing my book but I’ve been told by my mom that The Homesick Texan Cookbook makes a superb gift. (Though apparently others such as The New York Times, Epicurious and Amazon agree.) You can buy it wherever books are sold but if you’d like a signed copy, just call my local bookshop Posman Books (212-627-0304), tell them the inscription you'd like, I'll sign it and they'll ship it.

While you're book shopping, you should also check out two other Texas cookbooks that came out this year: Lou Lambert's and June Naylor’s Big Ranch, Big City Cookbook, a beautiful survey of Lou’s delicious West Texas-inspired cooking, and a reissue of Cheryl and Bill Jamison’s Texas Home Cooking, a classic that has recipes for just about everything.

Texas relief
This year has been a tough one for Texas. The ongoing drought has brought on a series of disasters, such as the loss of crops and livestock, not to mention the horrible wildfires that devastated parts of the state. In light of all this, a charitable donation to a disaster relief organization working to help Texas is an excellent way to give back to the place you love. There are many, but here are a few to get you started: Central Texas Red Cross or one of the other Red Cross chapters across Texas; Texas Episcopal Disaster Relief and Development, and the state government’s own fund, The Texas Disaster Fund.

Of course, there are many other terrific gifts for homesick Texans. For instance, if you're looking for grapefruits, barbecue, tamales or more, then check out this gift guide, this gift guide and this gift guide from previous years.

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37 comments:

Keeley said...

Your book is on my Amazon wish list and if I don't get it for Christmas I'll be buying it myself!

nicole @ iamahoneybee said...

I think I need to go on a vacation to TX for that Dr Pepper!

JustKJ said...

Shhhh. Keep the pecans a secret or only tell Texans.

The bad drought years have shrunk pecan crops. Additionally the supply is affected by China's new infatuation with pecans. Evidently in a good year, Texas marketed pecans internationally and got China hooked on them. I have seen news articles that say 30% of the crop is being sent overseas. Per pound prices over the past 18 months have risen to almost double.

Sarah said...

I found Dublin Dr. Pepper at a couple of stores here in San Diego...you're telling me I need to buy out the stock now, huh?

Terri Mayson said...

Even though I am your opposite (I am a Homesick New Yorker), I bought your cookbook. The guacamole recipe was a big hit at my jewelry party! Good job, Lisa

Terri said...

We just made a run to Dublin last weekend, and got 12 cases of Dr Pepper! (Not all mine - 4 for me, the rest for 2 of my sons) After the boys made their first Dublin run last Spring, I haven't had a "regular" Dr Pepper since. I'm fortunate we live within a few hours of Dublin! :D

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I am going to look for the Dr. Pepper, it's not my favorite, but I have a lot of rodeo friends who just love it. What is it about rodeo folks and Dr. Pepper?

Anonymous said...

Just got my Kindle Fire and would LOVE to see your cookbook available for it. Please..please...please.

Danielle F.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Keeley--Hopefully someone gets the hint!

Nicole--Indeed you do!

JustKJ--I did not know that about China.

Sarah--Yes you should!

Terri--Thank you! So pleased your friends enjoyed the guacamole.

Terri--Yep, I can only drink Dublin myself.

Rocky Mountain Woman--I didn't know there was a connection! Very interesting!

Danielle--There are supposed to be iBook and Nook versions, but I don't know if there will also be a Kindle version.

Aunt Jill said...

Well your cookbook is on my list to give to just about everyone I know. I am just hoping Julie sends me some Pecans.
Heard you had a great visit and hopefully someday you will make it out this way.

girlgonegrits said...

Great list-I will def be putting some of these in my Boston swap box. Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations of the listing of your cookbook in The New Yorks Times article "The Year’s Notable Cookbooks". Even Yankees appreciate your work. Now, if you could just teach them how to wave thank-you to you when you get out of the way for them to pass you.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Aunt Jill--Thank you for giving everyone you know my cookbook. And I sure hope to see you soon, too! Happy birthday!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Girlgonegrits--You're very welcome!

Anon--Thank you. And yes, the hidy wave is a must.

Kelly said...

There are some Texan transplants who just joined us in Kalamazoo (Yes!), and I think that we'll have to get a copy of your book for them this Christmas. Maybe we'll even have a six pack or two of Shiner as we flip through the pages. :)

DessertForTwo said...

I look forward to your gift guide every year! Another great one :)

Dee Davis said...

Just wanted to add my go to sources for NY folks missing Texas: texastamales@yahoo.com The Texas Tamale Warehouse. Great tamales shipped fresh. And Berdoll's pecan's in Elgin, TX just outside Austin. Also not Texan just Southern, but I do order Sister Shubert's rolls as well, since I can't get them in the city either.

Sarah said...

Hahaha! I agree with the comment to keep TX pecans a secret! ;-) I've had my mom shipping them to me in VT, then VA for years -- nothing compares.

Sarah said...

OH! Meant to say in my comment that Adams Extract, Adams Best Vanilla is always on this homesick Texan's list! Seriously nothing compares.

JeannineLee said...

If you're a homesick Texan raised on Mrs Baird's bread, you can go to their website http://www.mrsbairds.com and order bread. BTW...we have 16 pecan trees and this year's crop was so pitiful (and we watered as best we could!). Will be checking out your book on Amazon.

levavispatulas said...

Thanks for the great list! I love those dishtowels! And...I also have your book on my Christmas wishlist. Hopefully someone will get the memo. :)

Patrick said...

I am so bummed the Texas Foodways BBQ camp is sold out. Many years ago I had the privilege to attend the Texas Beef 101 for chefs at A&M and had a great time. Ill have to try to get in next year.

Stef said...

I received a birthday present from my friend in Austin - a sample pack of 6 sauce & salsas from Texas Wild - Meier Ranch, and I have to tell you that they #1 make the best salsa & a pecan BBQ sauce to die for, #2 are great people & #3 have excellent customer service. You don't have to post this - just wanted to point you in their direction. Stef

seventh sister said...

Just looking at those pecans made me homesick. There were 14 pecan trees lining the yard of the house where I grew up in NE TX.

Dr Dan said...

Thanks for the "Texas ideas". I'm just getting ready to shop for the homesick Texan side of the family.

Samba00 said...

Hey Lisa,

Congrats on the blurb in the NYT. I love the book and a couple of recipes (along with some that you've blogged) have made it into my regular rotation. In fact, I'm making the carne asado right now.

Samba00 said...

I also just noticed that you made Ruhlman's list.

Emily said...

Congratulations on the Times mention! May all your holiday wishes comes true.

Cate said...

(not really a comment--more of a personal note to you)
Hi Lisa ,

Don't know if you're one and the same Lisa Fain from Austin College, but if so, just wanted to say congrats on your awesome-sounding cookbook, Homesick Texan. I just read about it in the NYT holiday gift guide. That's a coup! I already know exactly who I'm buying this book for and I can't wait to read it/get behind the stove with it myself. For I, too, am a homesick Texan.

All best to you. So fun to read about you in the Gray Lady.

-Cate Latting

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Kelly--Sounds like a plan!

DessertForTwo--Thank you!

Dee Davis--Thanks for the tips!

Sarah--I agree, they're the best!

JeannineLee--good to knw!

Levavispatula--Fingers crossed!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Patrick--That is a shame. They'll have it next year, I reckon.

Stef--That pecan BBQ sauce sounds like a perfect match!

Seventh Sister--That sounds beautiful!

Dr Dan--You're welcome!

Samba00--Thank you!

Emily--Muchas gracias!

Cate--Yep, I'm one and the same! How are you? Thank you for the congrats and sure, I'm biased, but I think you'll get a kick out of the book.

kale @ tastes good to me! said...

I feel very slow on the draw here! The latest season of Top Chef (and my best friend being in Texas right now with her, yup, Texan husband!) has me newly curious about Texan cuisine. Can't wait to keep reading your blog and I am muy curiosa about your book!

Kassi said...

I think its all the buzz about this blog the last 3 or so years that inspired Top Chef to go to texas. Seriously! :)

Michelle said...

Hi Lisa! I am pretty sure your blog may ruin my marriage. My Bostonian husband doesn't understand the beauty of Tex-Mex and I want to make every single thing on your blog. What to do, what to do....

Linda said...

Love your blog and the recipes from it. Your cookbook arrived yesterday...YAY!!! It's difficult to source some of the ingredients here (Perth, Western Australia) but I've been on a mission to hunt them down from elsewhere! Can't wait to get stuck into these recipes too :)

Kat said...

My husband's gramma sends me pecans and honey from Texas around Thanksgiving time. Having pecan trees has been one of the things I've missed greatly since we got stationed in South Dakota.

Aaron said...

We found some Dublin Dr Pepper in a can here in Australia. Heaven! And at ONLY $1.50 a can it is half the price of everything else.

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