Two-and-a-half years ago after an appearance at the Texas Book Festival, I was visiting with some dear friends in an Austin backyard. We’d been drinking Lone Star and eating queso, and when they asked me what my next book was going to be about, inspired by that good feeling you get in the presence of good friends, cold beverages, and liquid gold, I decided then and there it should be about chile con queso. They all agreed that it was a fine idea.
It took me a few more months to convince my publisher there was enough content to fill an entire book on the subject, but after spending time exploring the history, culture, regional variations, and quirky interpretations of chile con queso, I soon had more than enough material. So, with great fanfare, today I present to you the cover of my next book, Queso! Regional Recipes for the World’s Favorite Chile-Cheese Dip, a full-color hardcover celebration of queso that will be published on September 26.
It’s now available for pre-ordering at these online bookstores:
Now some of you may wonder how this one differs from my first two books. Primarily, it’s a smaller book, in both trim size and length. My publisher, Ten Speed Press, pointed at other single-subject books it has published, such as Fried Chicken and The Mac & Cheese Cookbook, and felt that would be a good model to emulate. It’s an appealing size that feels like a fun gift, yet it’s still substantial enough that I had enough room to share a host of recipes, stories, and lore. This time I also didn’t take the photos. Instead they were done by the extremely talented and fun Aubrie Pick, who’s also worked with Luisa Weiss and Chrissy Teigen, among others.
Finally, the book is a single-subject book, so every recipe has to do with chile con queso in some fashion. Because I like to be inclusive, there’s not only a host of historical recipes, regional variations from both sides of the border, and Tex-Mex classics, but there are also two (!) vegan queso recipes for my non-dairy friends, along with dishes that aren’t dips but still incorporate chile con queso, such as enchiladas, tacos, biscuits, and even an ice cream sundae.
Over the next few months, I will be telling you more about the book and the process that went into making it. I’ll also have some web extras for you. But for now, I’m just happy to finally share with you this adventure I’ve been on the past two years. While I’ve learned more than you can ever imagine about chile con queso, the most important thing is this: queso is a joyful food that brings people together. Indeed, it’s impossible to have a bad time when queso is around.