The fascination of the fine art of cooking and passing down recipes from one generation to the next is not new. In fact, it has been around for thousands of years. Cookbooks not only pass down information but they give us an in-depth understanding into the lifestyles of those that lived centuries ago. In a sense, they are a history book, taking us back to a time long gone. Cookbooks are timely-documented chronicles of foods.
Experts believe the chronicling of recipes dates back to 1750 BC. But, instead of hardcover paper versions with stylized photographs that we have today, these were preserved on three clay tablets. Known as the Yale Culinary Tablets they are thought it be the oldest cookbooks in the world. These fundamental recipes included the ingredients sans the directions. Most likely they were written by educated scribes to record the culinary arts and not meant for ordinary folks and home chef enthusiasts to replicate. Which, is very much unlike the concept of today’s cookbooks.
Cookbook authors today are as passionate about sharing their food with family, friends, and the masses as they are about preparing it. Such is the case for Central Texas residents and cookbook authors Joanna Gaines and Aaron Franklin.
In her cookbook Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering, Joanna Gaines, of HGTVs Fixer Upper fame, cooks from the heart. Raised in Texas, Gaines is over-the-top famous for her down-home family values and chic farmhouse decorating style. Home is definitely where the heart is for Gaines who is known to turnout buttery melt-in-your-mouth biscuits for family celebrations and holiday gatherings.
In her first attempt, Gaines' book topped the list as the most popular in 2018. Its contents include unassuming simple comfort food recipes that we all grew up with and never seem to leave our dinner tables. Cherished family recipes (and those gathered from friends) offer meatloaf, apple pie, green bean amandine, and her mouth-watering recipe for Jojo’s Biscuits. There’s also Becki’s Mac and Cheese, Scalloped Potatoes with Gruyère cheese, and a soon-to-be-family-fave Brussel Sprouts recipe. By the way, all these dishes are perfect complements for another Texas passion—barbecue.
You can prepare BBQ effortlessly by following precise smoking methods from expert pitmaster and two-time author Aaron Franklin. His Austin restaurant, Franklin’s Barbecue is known for its long lines that stretch for blocks—a true testament to his mouth-watering brisket. His passion for smoked meats and barbecue started in his backyard. It came to fruition in 2009 when he started his first barbecue business in a food trailer. And, as they say, the rest is history.
His New York Times co-authored, best-selling book Franklin BBQ, A Meat Smoking Manifesto, transcends throughout the U.S. The book is an excellent resource for beginners to budding pitmasters and covers everything from choosing a smoker, wood type, stoking the fire, and buying the right type of meat. This bible of smoked meat preparation also includes recipes and plenty of tips and tricks for the perfect smoke-ringed, mouth-watering brisket ever. His second book hitting bookstore shelves this month is titled Franklin Steak: Dry-Aged. Live-Fired. Pure Beef. It seems he is very comfortable talking about steak since it is the meal of choice for the expert griller. The book is a knowledgeable A to Z guide for preparing steak. In other words, everything you need to know about selecting, prepping, and cooking the meat.
Craving a new cookbook to add to your collection? Find your next passion at one of four Austin area Breed & Company locations. Our shelves are filled with all the latest titles with an emphasis on Texas down-home comfort food cooking, barbecue, Tex-Mex, and southern cuisine. Enjoy!