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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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The New Gulf Oyster Bar


At the time of the Civil War, oysters from Pepper Grove Reef in East Galveston Bay were very popular in oyster bars. So were the oysters from Lady’s Pass and several other spots. Galveston Bay oysters were always identified by place name back in the late 1800s.

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Foodways Texas: Fort Worth

Jonathan Savell demonstrates the whisky drinking rituals of the early cowboys at Nick Nickelson’s chuckwagon during the Foodways Texas Charreada on Sunday. The event was a sellout with over 300 people in attendance. There were five chuckwagons and a host of cowboy cooks demonstrating various traditional cooking techniques. Dutch oven sourdough biscuits and […]

Aw Shucks!

Many thanks to Greg Morago for the excellent article “Just Shuck It” in this Sunday’s Houston Chronicle on the subject of branding oysters by place names. And thanks to Brett Coomer for the awesome oyster photos.

The big oyster seminar and historic tasting of Texas oyster appellations are coming up this Saturday February […]

An Historic Oyster Tasting

For many years, Texas oysters have been sold as a commodity product–all of them dumped into the same shucker’s pile as it were.

Meanwhile, oysters from the Pacific Northwest, Cape Cod and Canada (as well as England and France) are marketed by place names. Northern oyster bars like Grand Central Oyster Bar offer consumers as many as 32 oysters to choose from.

So why aren’t Texas oysters sold by place names? Well it turns out they were…in the late 1800s. In a few weeks, at the Foodways Texas symposium on Saturday February 26, you will be able to taste Texas oysters from 6 of those famous old reefs side by side. This is probably the first time in a hundred years that Pepper Grove oysters, once the most famous in Galveston Bay, will be offered by their place name.

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Foodways Texas in Fort Worth

The Fort Worth Culinary Charreada will take place from 4 until 8 p.m. Sunday February 20th at Clear Fork Station, 4971 East I-20, Willow Park, Texas, just west of Fort Worth. Tickets are $45 per person or $80 per couple; kids 12 and under get in free. Click to purchase tickets.

Terry Chandler […]

Foodways Texas Urban Garden Initiative

Representatives from Houston Food Bank, Last Organic Outpost, Covenant Community Capital, the Harris County office of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, and Foodways Texas met on Friday to discuss some intriguing urban garden opportunities.
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Foodways Texas Does Dallas


On January 24th, Chef Tim Byres will host the first Foodways Texas event in Dallas at his red-hot new restaurant–Smoke. Barbecued seafood will be featured to highlight the theme of the organization’s first statewide symposium scheduled for February 25 & 26 in Galveston. The Dallas fundraiser will also offer live music, an oyster shucking contest and a short oyster primer by yours truly–autographed copies of Sex, Death and Oysters will probably be on sale too.
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The Ultimate Christmas Gift for Q-Heads

Looking for an extra special gift for the Q-head on your Christmas shopping list? How about a three day BBQ camp at the prestigious Texas A&M Meat Science Center?

This weekend seminar on barbecue cookery will feature sessions on butchering and the science of barbecue by Texas A&M Meat Science professors. It will also include a food lab on formulating rubs and sauces presented by a spice industry expert. Cooking demonstrations will include beef, pork and chicken. Seasonings, woods, and techniques like brining and injecting will be presented and the results will be compared.
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