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…

–we also heard about brewing and distilling as a way of preserving grains by making them into alcoholic beverages.

We learned about the effects of this year’s devastating drought on the cattle herds, the oyster reefs and the cotton and wine grape growers.

We all considered the reality that our priorities for water allocation in Texas currently favor suburban landscape watering at the expense of agricultural irrigation and getting sufficient freshwater to the wetlands where our seafood is produced. The discussions were riveting, the company was delightful and the food was amazing!

Our meals were served outdoors by outstanding barbecue pitmasters and famous chefs. Salads were made from greens and vegetables and flowers picked the minute before they were served.And delicacies like goat chops, ribs and goat liver mousse were whipped up in the middle of the farm to a soundtrack of clucking chickens and lots of laughs. We also heard some stirring words about preserving Texas food culture, especially some of disappearing ethnic traditions like old-fashioned soul food.

We ate well, we learned a lot and we made a lot of new friends.

I wish you could have been there!

Thanks to my daughters Katie & Julia Walsh for the photos!

For a much more complete account of the 2012 Foodways Texas Symposium, and much better photos, check out this post by Kelly at the MeaningofPie.com

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