The Austin Chronicle

Cookbook Bar & Cafe Celebrates Texas Cookbook Month

By Emily Beyda, September 25, 2018, 3:35pm, On the Range

Cookbook Bar & Cafe, whose mission since day one has been making recipes accessible to diners with their library of menu-referenced check-outable cookbooks, is staying true to form by announcing the first Texas Cookbook Month. October will feature free and open-to-the-public programming celebrating Texas food and culture.

The event – which kicks off Tuesday, October 2 with an official party – is especially near and dear to our hearts here at the Chronicle because it honors the legacy of our late Food Editor Virginia B. Wood. Her personal collection of over 500 cookbooks will be showcased and the shelves will house the Virginia B. Wood Memorial Cookbook Collection, where gourmands, chefs, and food lovers from all over Austin will have open-access to her beloved library. After Wood’s passing in March 2018, a group of her friends and admirers – spearheaded by Claudia Alarcón, MM Pack, and chef Pamela Nevarez-Fischer – organized the collection and bequeathed it to Cookbook, so it would be accessible to the food-loving Austinites that Wood devoted herself to throughout her long career. At the opening event, guests are invited to explore the collection and learn more about Wood and her lifelong love of Texas food culture.

Throughout the rest of the month, weekly chef demos by culinary superstars like chef Drew Curren of ELM Restaurant Group and chef Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due will take place in the Central Library’s kitchen demo space. At each event, the chefs will create a dish that will be listed on a special Texas Cookbook Month menu at their restaurants, and there will be an onsite reception where guests can chat with the chefs, purchase their latest cookbooks, and taste the dish cooked during the demo.

Every Thursday there will also be a Meet the Maker panel, featuring Texas beverage specialists who have helped shape the industry. Each week, three leading distillers, winemakers, or cider and beer brewers will host an evening of conversation, speaking about their challenges, successes, and inspiration in the world of Texas beverages. (Think Real Ale, Austin Eastciders, and Treaty Oak Distilling!) Following each panel will be a special tasting event where guests can try free samples of the beverages being discussed. Throughout the month there will be special cocktails from the makers featured on Cookbook’s beverage menu.

And that’s not all! For the whole month of October, Cookbook will be hosting Saturday Date Night, where patrons can share a prix fixe menu and a half bottle of wine for $50 a person ($40 for you nondrinkers), featuring bottles from some of the makers from those weekly talks. The month of events concludes on October 28 with a party celebrating the one year anniversary of the Central Library, closing with a cake competition judged by ELM Restaurant Group’s own pastry chef Mary Catherine Curren.

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