My fondness for community cookbooks is well known, and I've just received two that I can recommend for holiday gift-giving; plus, holiday tamales!

Local Stocking Stuffers

My fondness for community cookbooks is well known, and I've just received two that I can recommend for holiday gift-giving. Both of these local recipe collections are designed to raise funds for worthy local nonprofit organizations. The Soupie Cookbook (self-published, $10) is the brainchild of Soup Peddler David Ansel and the community of soup lovers who've grown up around his unique South Austin business. The "soupies" of the title contributed to this delightfully low-tech, spiral-bound volume of inviting handwritten recipes, making it feel very much like something shared between friends. All proceeds benefit Mobile Loaves & Fishes, a nonprofit that provides hot and cold food and clothing to Austin's homeless. From what we hear, it's flying off the shelves at BookPeople.

Meanwhile, the vegetarian cookbook Sit! Stay! Savor! (self-published, $10) is the handiwork of Animal Trustees of Austin, designed to benefit their vital rescue, spay, and neuter programs. Many of the recipes were donated in honor of and dedicated to members' beloved pets, and the sweet headnotes add a whimsical touch to the book. Look for this collection of vegetarian treats at the Animal Trustees Spay/Neuter Clinic at 5129 Cameron Rd., Urban Living, West End Grooming, Mother's Cafe & Garden, Mr. Natural South, Bark 'n Purr, and the Westlake Farmers Market at Sunset Valley.

Lilly for Company

Jane Lilly Schotz has self-published a collection of recipes from her days as proprietor of the West Austin gourmet catering shop Lilly & Company Delectables. "The Lilly" was quite the popular spot in its day, with hungry folks dropping by the charming old Clarksville cottage to grab a black-pepper brownie, get some food to take home for dinner, or make arrangements for a catered event. The book is all about entertaining: Chapters are arranged according to eating styles – finger foods, fork foods, menus requiring knives and forks, and finally soups. If you were a die-hard fan of one of Jane's signature dishes, chances are good it's in the book. Lilly for Company: Austin Casual Menus for Palm & Plate (self-published, $16.95) is currently for sale at, BookPeople, Pitchforks & Tablespoons, BookWoman, and Women & Their Work. The former Lilly & Co. customer on your list will love you for it.

Holiday Tamales

The folks at Santa Rita (1206 W. 38th, 419-7482) want to make your holiday tamales. Call at least 24 hours in advance to order Chicken Tomatillo or Pork tamales to be picked up Dec. 23 and 24; $18 gets you a dozen tamales and a pint of delicious fresh sauce, all packed and ready to go.

Listen Up

The most fun I've had recently has been chatting on the radio with Alex and Madison on Majic 95.5FM every Friday morning at 6:40 am. I love being on the radio! We dish about all the current news in the Austin culinary scene: restaurant openings and closings, interesting events, opinions, and recommendations. Tune in and join us.

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David Ansel, Sit! Stay! Savor!, The Soupie Cookbook, Animal Trustees of Austin, Lilly for Company: Austin Casual Menus for Palm & Plate, Santa Rita, Majic 95FM, Alex & Madison

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