The Austin Chronicle

The Texas Holiday Cookbook

By Virginia B. Wood, November 21, 2013, 3:15pm, On the Range

This fall, former Dallas Morning News food editor Dotty Griffith has come out with a new edition of The Texas Holiday Cookbook, just in time to contribute to the holiday table.

The Texas Holiday Cookbook by Dotty Griffith

(Taylor Trade Publishing, $29.95, ppg. 254)

Griffith's new book couldn't be better timed to speak to this year's historic convergence of Thanksgiving and Chanukah - deemed Thanksgivukkah. Depending on your turkey preference, she offers simple instructions for roasting, smoking, or frying birds, plus sharing a recipe for preparing wild turkeys, and another for creating appetizing turkey nuggets from left-overs. There's a complete meat menu for Chanukah as well as one for a dairy meal, and some of the recipes in those menus look like they'd satisfy any hungry interfaith crowd; sweet or savory kugels, rich, buttery applesauce, or sweet potato latkes made with fresh Texas produce - what could be better?

I'm partial to her simple holiday dessert suggestions, such as pralines, fudge, divinity, several basic kinds of pie, and a cookie/candy/sweet/salty Margarita ball that's bound to be a popular holiday gift. Griffith's Christmas section reflects both Tex-Mex and Southern influences, with a tamale dinner for Christmas Eve and quail with biscuits, grits, and gravy for Christmas breakfast.

The new updated edition includes holiday memories and recipes from some of Texas' tops chefs: Hoover Alexander and Jeff Blank of Austin; Dean Fearing, Stephan Pyles, and the late Matt Martinez, Jr. of Dallas; Sylvia Casarez, Monica Pope, and Robert Del Grande of Houston; Johnny Hernandez of San Antonio; and Tim Love and Grady Spears from Ft. Worth. In addition to the chef's recipes, Griffith also offers a chapter on Texas wines, craft beers, and distilled spirits with some wine trail suggestions and a few reliable Texas cocktail recipes for the bar arsenal.

This slim volume manages to capture some of the historical culinary diversity of our regional cuisine with basic and practical recipes. It would make a good hostess gift, a comforting gift for a homesick Texas bride, or a functional addition to the Texas section of any Texas foodie's culinary library.

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