The Homesick Texan's Family Table: Lone Star Cooking From My Kitchen to Yours

Cookbooks and cultural conversation starters top our summer reading list

Food, Foodies, Foodways

The Homesick Texan's Family Table: Lone Star Cooking From My Kitchen to Yours

by Lisa Fain 
Ten Speed Press, 288 pp., $29.99

Food blogger Lisa Fain, a Texas native who moved to New York in the mid-Nineties, started her blog ( in 2005 as a way to share recipes and stories from her Texas upbringing. Since then, Fain published her first blog-to-cookbook in 2011. Fain's second book, The Homesick Texan's Family Table, doubles down on her claim that cheese enchiladas are just food – it's the act of sharing them with family that makes them special. Indeed, I imagine serving the Crazy Nachos featured on the cover at a Friday Night Lights-watching party and reveling in deep layers of nostalgia for bygone fall days under warm Texan skies. 

Most of the recipes in the cookbook are special-occasion or splurge meals. While the chicken spaghetti is rich and flavorful, with four cups of cheese, it is very much a "sometimes food." But I will definitely be adding the beer-battered catfish tacos into rotation for the summer months. The batter had excellent flavor that wasn't lost when I opted to bake, rather than fry, the fish; the accompanying cabbage slaw was exceptional, helping to round out a light evening meal. Great Grandma Blanche's Chocolate Muffins combine deep chocolate flavor with a touch of cinnamon; while they turned out a bit dense, they make for a nice lunchbox or afterschool treat. Bring Mom's Raspberry Bars to your next dinner party and prepare to win hearts and minds. 

Fain's personal stories and brightly colored photographs of Texan life and landscapes poignantly flank the regional recipes; we've all got a relative (likely a grandma, mother, or beloved aunt) whose recipes we associate with growing up in this state. If nothing else, this Family Table will inspire a deeper appreciation for the meals those women served with love.

Get ready for Best of Austin: Restaurants! Voting begins June 30 in the Readers Poll. Find out more at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 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 cookbook reviews
In Print
In Print
Colette Rossant's The World in My Kitchen

Kate Thornberry, Jan. 12, 2007

In Print
In Print
The Brass sisters' Heirloom Baking

Kate Thornberry, Jan. 12, 2007

More Food Reviews
Restaurant Review: Birdie’s
Restaurant Review: Birdie's
A neighborhood restaurant, for some

Melanie Haupt, May 6, 2022

Restaurant Review: JewBoy Sub Shop
Restaurant Review: JewBoy Sub Shop
Remembrance of subs past

Melanie Haupt, Feb. 18, 2022

More by Melanie Haupt
The Return of Hot Luck
The Return of Hot Luck
Aaron Franklin’s food and music fest is about more than just chilling with your homies

May 20, 2022

Five Years After Miguel Ravago's Death, Fonda San Miguel Names New Chefs
Five Years After Miguel Ravago's Death, Fonda San Miguel Names New Chefs
Blanca Zesati and Carlos Monroy tasked with expanding classic menu

May 5, 2022


cookbook reviews, cookbooks, summer reading, Texas Hill Country Cuisine: Flavors from the Cabernet Grill Texas Wine Country Restaurant, Ross Burtwell, Julia Celeste Rosenfeld, Cotton Gin Village

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

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

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