Lots to chew on at the Texas Book Festival

The culinary aspects of the Texas Book Festival evolve from year to year, with Texas chefs and cookbook authors sharing their passions some years while national names take precedence in others. This year, for instance, Chronicle wine writer Wes Marshall is the lone Texas author in the Cooking Tent. He and fellow wine expert Mark Oldman are part of a national lineup that includes New York Times culinary columnists Amanda Hesser and Melissa Clark, Food Network personalities Alton Brown and Claire Robinson, Brooklyn bakery owners Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, and nationally respected cookbook authors Deborah Madison and Diana Kennedy. Each has something worthwhile to share with Texas cookbook lovers.

Central Market cooking school staffers will be on hand to assist Lewis and Poliafito (Baked Explorations), Clark (In the Kitchen With a Good Appetite), and Robinson (5 Ingredient Fix) with demonstrations of recipes from their books. Hesser will talk to Corby Kummer of The Atlantic Monthly about the process of selecting the recipes for the new century that appear in The Essential New York Times Cookbook. Marshall (What's a Wine Lover To Do?) and Oldman (Oldman's Brave New World of Wine) will explain making wine more accessible to the average consumer in a discussion with award-winning Four Seasons sommelier Mark Sayre. Madison will be joined by a group of Texas organic fruit growers to talk about her Seasonal Fruit Desserts, and Texas Monthly Food Editor Pat Sharpe will interview the legendary Diana Kennedy about Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy, the crowning glory of her literary career. Both Hesser and Brown will be feted at special events around the city on Saturday evening after the festival (see "Saturday Night Fest Enrichment Activities").

Perhaps the most interesting food-related appearance not taking place in the Cooking Tent will be Stephen Fried, author of Appetite for America: How Visionary Businessman Fred Harvey Created a Railroad Hospitality Empire That Civilized the Wild West, who will speak in the new Lone Star Tent. Our MM Pack reviewed the fascinating and informative biography of America's first restaurant tycoon when it came out (see "Complete Summer Reading," May 28), and Fried's presentation about the history of the American West is one we'll be sure to attend.

After considering this year's schedule of authors, Claudia Alarcón, MM Pack, and I each chose a "can't miss" book for review. See a complete schedule of authors and events at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Texas Book Festival
The Texas Book Festival's Read Warriors
The Texas Book Festival's Read Warriors
Book lovers charge the Texas State Capitol this weekend

Robert Faires, Oct. 25, 2019

The Highs and Lows of Houston Life in <i>Lot: Stories</i>
The Highs and Lows of Houston Life in Lot: Stories
Bryan Washington depicts residents with warmth and discernment as they live, fight, work, and love in a city that can be both a home and a challenge

Rosalind Faires, Oct. 25, 2019

More by Virginia B. Wood
Top 10 Savory Bites
Top 10 Savory Bites

Jan. 1, 2016

Open Secret
Open Secret
The not-so-hidden pleasures of dine

Dec. 25, 2015


Texas Book Festival, Wes Marshall, Mark Oldman, The New York Times, Amanda Hesser, Melissa Clark, Food Network, Alton Brown, Claire Robinson, Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafito, Deborah Madison, Diana Kennedy, Central Market, Baked Explorations, In the Kitchen With a Good Appetite, 5 Ingredient Fix, Corby Kummer, The Atlantic Monthly, The Essential New York Times Cookbook

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle