The Austin Chronicle

Holiday Cookbook Roundup

Gift Guide

By Claudia Alarcón, December 14, 2007, Food

Cooking with Marie: On Any Occasion!

by Marie Hejl
Bright Sky, 160 pp., $29.95

Reading Cooking With Marie made me think of my friend Crysol, a bright, fearless, tiny firecracker, who seems intimidated by one thing alone: cooking. She never learned as a child, and now, as a busy woman with a family and a career, she has little time – but lots of interest – for cooking new things. I realized then that Marie Hejl's beautiful cookbook is the ideal gift for beginning cooks and for the Crysols of the world but that it also deserves a place in my kitchen library.

An attorney by training and self-taught cook by passion, Hejl is the host of Cooking With Marie, an award-winning cooking show that features Austin guest chefs (such as Tyson Cole and Alma Alcocer) and airs in 80 markets across the nation and New Zealand, Canada, and Australia. She has appeared in Country Living, Food & Wine, and Southern Living, as well as on The Martha Stewart Show. But despite all the recognition and success, Hejl has remained a true Austinite, an approachable, friendly young woman with a sparkling personality that shines through her writing. Her kitchen philosophy is to keep things simple with easy, quick, and "healthy enough" cuisine for the everyday cook. Her Texas-tinged recipes for a variety of dishes draw from her diverse family background and range from childhood favorites like her mom's migas to her grandma's roasted-garlic shrimp cocktail and her own pork chops with cranberry-pomegranate sauce. Great job, homegirl!

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