Texas Hometown Cookbook Review


Original Cookbook Review by

Cookbook authors Sheila Simmons and Kent Whitaker have taken on an exciting task. They intend to create cookbooks for each of the fifty states. They began with Georgia and Tennessee (Whitaker's home state), and are moving along to what Great American Publishers describes as "A Taste of America -- One State at a Time".

It's a natural that Texas, with its diverse and delicious food cultures, would come early in the series, and that's what the Texas Hometown Cookbook is all about. The book contains over 300 favorite Texas recipes, but that's not all. It is also a compendium of Texas festivals and events held across the state every year, all of which are not only sprinkled throughout the book but also nicely indexed in a separate section.

However, Texas recipes are the main attraction of the Texas Hometown Cookbook, and there are plenty of them. You'll find Easy Chicken Cheese Enchiladas, Lone Star Chili, Grilled Texas-Style Beef Brisket, Baby Back Ribs with Coffee Bourbon BBQ Sauce and more in the realm of Tex-Mex and barbecue. The southern influence is certainly not overlooked, nor is the Cajun. Tribute is paid to the German-influenced Central Texas area and seafood from the bountiful waters of the Gulf Coast, as well.

The authors share many anecdotes and snippets of information picked up, no doubt, during their research. For instance, did you know this about Pearl beer?

Pearl Beer has been around since the 1800's in Texas but the original formula comes from Germany and was named "Perle." The name was changed to Pearl around 1886.

Here are two good recipes from the Texas Hometown Cookbook:

Trail Riders Barbecue Coffee Pork Butt

  • 1 pork butt or pork roast
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 3 tablespoons mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place pork in large bowl. Combine remaining ingredients, pour over pork, and marinate pork as long as possible. Cook over hot coals or on your covered gas or charcoal grill using medium-high heat. Wrap gently with foil if edges start to burn. When done, chop with a knife and sprinkle with pepper. Serve hot with your favorite sides.

Texas Brownies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons dark cocoa
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400°F. Treat a 17-1/2 x 11-inch jellyroll pan with nonstick spray. Combine flour and sugar. In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine butter, shortening, coffee, and cocoa; boil, stirring frequently. Pour over flour mixture. Add buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla. Mix well. Pour into prepared pan, and bake 20 minutes. While brownies are baking, prepare frosting. Combine butter cocoa and milk in a saucepan. Heat to boiling, stirring frequently. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; mix well until frosting is smooth. Pour warm frosting over brownies as soon as you take them out of the oven. Cool.

I am definitely going to make those brownies this week.

The Texas Hometown Cookbook is full of "keeper" recipes. Obviously, the authors have chosen recipes loved by Texans for generations, and they have been careful to make selections that are uncomplicated and straightforward. You do not have to be gourmet cook to turn out all kinds of Texas dishes that a gourmet cook would be proud to serve.

The book covers all the bases, including appetizers, bread and breakfast, salads, soups, stews and chowders, chili, a section on Dutch-oven cooking, vegetables and sides, beef, pork, sauces, gravies, marinades and rubs, poultry, fish and seafood, cookies, candies and snacks, and cakes, pies and other desserts. I don't think they missed a thing.

I do not know how long it will take to produce this series of cookbooks for all fifty states. It will probably be longer then the U.S. government’s recent popular action to mint quarters for all of the fifty states. Nevertheless, just imagine the recipe collection you would have if you had them all!

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Texas Hometown Cookbook
240 pages
Great American Publishers 2009-01-15
Purchase Book on Amazon.Com