Austin Entertains

Austin Entertains

Imagine you've been invited to lunch at an Austin Lakeside mansion. The hostess, who has chosen to devote herself to getting to know you, has purchased a wonderful spread from Central Market or Whole Foods. Her vast kitchen is immaculate, but on the counter, maybe a few feet away from the wine chiller, this book sits on a stand. It will most likely be closed, as your hostess's housekeeper knows that an open book messes up the particular feng shui here, but it's bookmarked with satin ribbons peeking timidly through the top. This is the book that every well-heeled Texan should own. Pretentious? No. Practical and elegant? Definitely. It's menu driven, so pick a chapter and you can cover your whole party from appetizers to dessert. Some of the easiest yet most used recipes from this book are jalapeno fudge ( bite size cornbread things, actually), chocolate dulces (rich, decadent condensed milk based cookie) and Texas Sushi -- a tortilla roll-up thing with nary a trace of raw fish. In the back of the book you will find a smattering of recipes contributed by some of Austin's top chefs. I get a kick out of picturing an overachieving Tri-Delt gathering ingredients for "Chiles Anchos Rellenos de Picadillo de Pollo" contributied by Fonda San Miguel chef Roberto Santibanez. Some of the best Texas hostesses actually like to do things themselves and this book is their guide. And here's another reason to buy this book. It's the official cookbook of Austin, TX. No, I'm not kidding. It has the city seal on the back. If you are an Austinite living somewhere else, you just have to buy this book. If you are not interested in Austin or Texas whatsoever, you will probably still love this book.