Robb Walsh sure is a charmer.
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He recently had the Homesick Texan in his kitchen, where he cooked the biscuit-loving gal some rabbit stewed in red chile sauce and inspired her to offer up these words about his latest book, The Texas Cowboy Cookbook: A History in Recipes and Photos:
If you’ve read his Tex-Mex Cookbook or Legends of Texas Barbecue, you will already be familiar with Robb’s extensive research into his topic at hand. The Texas Cowboy Cookbook is no different. Divided into sections that either showcase a region or an ethnic group, he provides an illuminating story about those particular cowboys, what their lives were like and, of course, what they ate. He also discusses current chuck-wagon culture, cowgirls and the rise of the Texas cowboy myth.
His books are also always beautifully illustrated with fascinating historical photos. Robb does all the photo research himself and he shoots what doesn’t come from the archives. I enjoy food photos as much as anyone, but what makes this cookbook stand out are the faces. These are people shots—cowboys, cowgirls and Texans taken in context as they cooked and ate food on the range.
The recipes run the gamut from how to create a starter for sourdough biscuits to how to pickle a watermelon rind. These are all Texan classics and while you may be familiar with some, what makes his presentation unique are the great stories that accompany each one.
As one of my readers has noted, his cookbooks should be required reading in Texas history courses. And since so much of a culture is defined by what we eat, his books are an excellent resource in understanding why Texas is such a uniquely wonderful place.