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The Homesick Texan Cookbook, an introduction

Here’s my recipe on how to make a cookbook, The Homesick Texan Cookbook to be exact:

1. Be born in Dallas, the newest member of a long line of Texans that have been living in the state since the mid 1800s. But do you care about your esteemed Texan heritage? Heck no! You tell your parents at a very young age that you want to live in New York City. They take you to Herrera’s, order you tamales and pray for the best.

2. Now, how does a young Texan become enamored with New York City? Let’s blame Maurice Sendak, E.L. Konigsberg, E.B. White, Rhoda, Woody Allen and Sesame Street. At nine, your family moves to Houston and you fall in love with its green sauce, Gulf seafood, ice-house hamburgers and dewberries growing along the bayou. You even reconsider your desire to move to New York City, but in your early 20’s a job in Manhattan beckons and you heed its call.

3. In 1995, you arrive in New York and realize that you’ve been hoodwinked; there is no decent Mexican food in the whole city! And let’s not even begin to discuss the lack of Ro-Tel, barbecue, chili, chicken-fried steak, queso and everything else you’ve been eating your whole life. You are hungry. So now what do you do?

4. In your tiny Manhattan kitchen, you attempt to recreate your favorite Texan dishes for your New York friends as it’s important that they learn the joys of your homeland’s cuisine. You also buy a camera and start taking photos of food and words and such. One day, you decide to combine these two joys into a blog. You name it Homesick Texan.

5. You meet lots of wonderful people on the blog, a mix of food lovers from all paths—both Texan and non-Texan alike. And sure, some of the Texas food issues in New York City may have improved over the years, but it’s still not home. One day, you receive an email from one of your readers who is both a homesick Texan and a literary agent. She thinks that you should write a book. Fast forward a few weeks and you discover that others believe you should write a book, too. You happily accept an offer from Hyperion and start cooking. The Homesick Texan Cookbook is born.

Now, allow me tell you a little bit about my book. It’s going to be hardcover and will have lots of stories, photos and recipes—just like the blog. There will be about 150 recipes in total and while a few will be some of my favorites from the site, most of the recipes will be brand new.

The book is coming out in fall 2011, which means that I’m going to be very, very busy for the rest of the year. But I don’t mind as I can’t think of a finer way to spend my time. If you like, I’ll be giving you updates as I write the book. And don’t worry—I’ll keep blogging, too.

But as for now, I’m just going to keep pinching myself. And, of course, writing and cooking as well. Thank you so much for your support! I couldn’t have done this without you. Now please excuse me—I have a book to write.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I wrote to you once a long time ago and told you how much I loved your blog and that it is the only blog I follow. It is still my one and only blog read!

    I swore off buying cookbooks about 5 years ago because recipes are so readily available and easy to find on the internet. Guess what? I am going to break my rule!

    I couldn't be more excited to buy your cookbook when it comes out. I have made many of your recipes and loved each and every one of them!

    Much success to you!

    Cathie K., Barrington, Illinois

  2. Mariel Was Here says:

    How exciting and Yum! Better save me a copy: I want Buster's little paw print stamped next to your name because I'm sure he helps out 🙂

  3. Anonymous says:

    My partner and I were talking a few months ago about food blogs with cookbooks and which ones we thought should have books and which shouldn't bother. We both decided that your blog really needed one – despite us being vegetarian we love your blog (your queso has become a staple in our house) and will definitely be buying the book.

  4. I, too, am a displaced native Texan (Dallasite) in NY, and I can't tell you how much this blog speaks to my soul. Like you I've searched high and low to find Ro-Tel (found it at a Walmart) and Wolf Brand chili (no dice), and of course forget about the Tex-Mex (though the real Mexican food you can find is pretty damn good).

    I was hoping you'd publish a cookbook- I'll be counting the months until November 2011! Keep cookin' and writin'!

  5. Lisa,

    I have been following your blog for about a year. Though I was a displaced Texan for years, it is good to be home.

    Whether this Texan is at home or displaced, I definitely look forward to a copy of your book!

    Thank you for sharing.