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Texas Preserved: 2012 Foodways Texas Symposium

We all wondered how this year’s Foodways Texas Symposium would top last year’s amazing event in Galveston. But there is no doubt that the 2nd Annual edition was bigger, better and even more delicious than the first.

The Foodways Texas Symposium theme this year, “Texas Preserved,” was intentionally ambiguous. Our speakers talked about preserving Texas food history through new oral history initiatives and documentary films, preserving heritage breeds through a new approach to agriculture, and, well, preserving fruit and vegetables in Mason jars.

Preserved meats served up at the Artisan Market didn’t last long…

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Oysters, Brews and Blues

Oyster and wine pairing events are pretty popular, I’ve done three of them in the last couple of weeks. But in Texas, we are also fond of drinking good beers with our oysters. That’s the theme of the party on March 27, Oysters, Brews and Blues at Armadillo Palace will feature a variety of […]

Gulf Oysters Got Class

On Monday, I was in New Orleans leading an oyster and wine tasting that featured oysters from Redfish Reef and Slim Jim Reef in Galveston Bay; Pointe aux Pins rack-grown oysters from Mobile Bay, Alabama; and oysters from Christmas Bay in lower Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. We tasted the oysters with Girard Sauvignon Blanc […]

$10,000 for Your Spaghetti Story

Sacred Heart Past President, Dominic B. Cuccerre

Skinner Pasta will be donating a couple of hundred pounds of spaghetti to the Sacred Heart Society Spaghetti lunch this week. I’ll be there on Thursday March 8 signing my new book Texas Eats and telling spaghetti lovers about a contest Skinner is sponsoring.

Skinner Pasta started selling spaghetti in Texas in 1912. For most of the last hundred years, it was the only brand widely available in Texas grocery stores. To celebrate their anniversary, Skinner has hired me to help publicize the “100 Years of Mealtime Memories” Essay Contest. The writer of the winning essay gets a Grand Prize of $10,000. Four “First Prize” winners will receive $1,000 each. You’ll find the contest rules here.

$10,000 is a nice chunk of change. But there’s another reason you might want enter Skinner’s “100 Years of Mealtime Memories” essay contest. After the winners are announced, Skinner will share the essays that describe Lone Star food memories with Foodways Texas. Collecting stories about Texas food history is what that organization is all about.

Foodways Texas won’t make the essays public, but the oral history group will sift through the entries looking for information about Texas food traditions that might be worth exploring further. So even if you don’t win, your essay about your grandpa’s spaghetti sauce might end up changing food history. It’s a pretty cool contest. Skinner Pasta is giving away fourteen grand in prize money for family food stories and helping Foodways Texas at the same time. I’ll be giving a portion of the money Skinner pays me to Foodways Texas to help fund the oral history projects.

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Foodways Texas: 2nd Annual Symposium

From Foodways Texas: Over the course of 2 1/2 days during Texas Preserved , our second Foodways Texas symposium, we will explore the ways we preserve Texas (as a region, as an idea) in our food and the ways we preserve food in Texas. We’ll talk about preservation in our pastures, on our […]

Franklin's Beats Snow's: TM BBQ Fest

Snow’s brisket is famous. It comes with the somewhat dubious Calvin Trillin seal of approval. Ever since Texas Monthly rated Snow’s the best barbecue joint in Texas, I have felt it my duty to join the crowd and make a pilgrimage to the hamlet of Lexington. Yesterday, I got lucky–I scored a sample of their brisket at the Texas Monthly Barbecue Festival without a pre-dawn drive in the country.
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More on Foodways Texas BBQ Summer Camp

From Foodways Texas: This Houston Chronicle story by Greg Morago about our 1st Annual Barbecue Summer Camp brings back tasty memories. Stay tuned for details on our 2nd Annual Barbecue Summer Camp planned for Summer 2012 in College Station. We expect the 2012 camp to sell out, so become a member of Foodways Texas for 10% off registration and to make sure you get first chance to purchase tickets. We had a blast at Texas A&M this year and can’t wait for next summer. Hope to see you there.

Greg’s story after the jump:
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Foodways Texas BBQ Summer Camp


Dr. Jeff Savell, the head of the Meat Science program at Texas A&M, led the whole hog demonstration at the first annual Foodways Texas BBQ Summer Camp last weekend. In fact, the pit was located in Dr. Savell’s backyard. The three day crash course in barbecue arts and science included some thoughts about BBQ culture from me, a sneak preview of a new Foodways Texas movie about pit master Vencil Mares of Taylor Cafe, and a whole lot of hands-on seasoning, smoking and work in the meat science lab.
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Texas Whelks, Escargot-style

In the cookbook published years ago by Antoine’s restaurant of New Orleans, the author claims that when the dish known as Oysters Rockefeller was first invented, the French chef was actually looking for a substitute for escargot. Had that chef looked a little harder, he might have found a much closer cousin to the European snail.
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Bycatch of the Day: Texas Whelks

At the Foodways Texas Gulf symposium P.J. Stoops spoke at a bycatch panel. He explained that somebody is interested in eating nearly everything caught in a fishing boat. For lunch, Chris Shepherd demonstrated the point by serving the sea snails variously known as “oyster drills, biganos,” or “whelks.” Shepherd boiled these in crawfish boil for an hour and a half. They were nice and tender with a flavor not all that different from escargot. I would have liked them in garlic butter sauce–but I applaud Shepherd for allowing us to taste them unadorned first. To eat them, you pull the sea snail out of the shell with a nail and then peel off the tough foot.

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