Texas Food Companies Review


Original Cookbook Review by

Made in Texas

What is so special about food from Texas? There are many possible answers to that question. What is undeniable is that the great state of Texas produces lots of delicious specialty foods from both large and small companies all over the state.

Austin writer Rhonda Cloos has brought together information on 118 different companies, most creating delicious delectibles that can be ordered from anywhere in the world via their website. These foods burst with personality, and Cloos does nicely in capturing not only information about the business, but the people behind it.

The New York, Texas Cheesecake Co. in Athens, Texas is a great little cheesecake shop that has captured the attention of national newspapers and been featured on the Food Network. Among their many choices, owner Bud Hicks sells his cheesecakes in the shape of the state of Texas.

Where else can you find the local food companies creating their cheesecakes or cookies or fruitcakes in the shape of the state? Only in Texas.

Some of the companies are small, however others are large businesses like Blue Bell Creameries. Since 1907, the creamery in Brenham, Texas has expanded its delivery to thirteen different states. Their most popular flavor, Homemade Vanilla, was specifically designed by CEO Howard Kruse to posses that real home hand cranked porch flavor.

Perhaps that is why many consumers of Blue Bell feel that they are eating a scoop of nostalgia. Besides nineteen year-round flavors, Blue Bell produces a host of revolving favorites using seasonal items, like Texas peaches.

Another famous company represented in the book is the Colin Street Bakery of Corsicana, Texas. World-famous for its fruitcakes, it dates back to the 1890s. In fact, the original Ringling brothers of circus fame tasted the fruitcake in Dallas, and wanted to order it after leaving town. From that request, the company started its now-famous mail order business.

At the heart of the system were the fines collected from lawbreakers for a standard list of offences ranging from being drunk and disorderly to prostitution, fighting, carrying a gun and so on. For non-violent crimes, the typical fine handed down by the local courts was either $5 or $10. In a wide-open town like Fort Worth, fines against prostitutes, dance houses and gambling dens were collected so routinely that the practice amounted to virtual licensing.
This style of law enforcement, which became characteristic of Fort Worth for many years afterwards is well-documented by Selcer. The reader sees how this practice worked:
Sample Entry:
Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods
Fredricksburg, Texas - www.jelly.com

If you have driven down through Fredericksburg during the summertime you have seen the colorful peach stands lining the main highways. People come from all over to bite into those fresh, sweet, and succulent Fredericksburg peaches. If you drove through the area back in 1969, you might have stopped at a roadside peach stand owned by Mark Wieser and his family.

The Wieser's peach business was a popular one, and eventually the family bought a log cabin situated on a farm. Total cost was one hundred fourty dollars, plus ten dollars for some rocks on the property! That location was and still is called Das Peach Haus, which sits on sixty-five acres of beautiful Hill Country land. In Das Peach Haus, Mark's mother made her delicious peach preserves.

Fischer & Weiser's first product was - take a guess - peach preserves. The company has ripened faster than peaches in the summer, offfering over one hundred products in their modern 32,000 square-foot production facility. A test kitchen is the hub of experimentation where new products get their start. The owners are inspired by everything from restaurant chefs to everyday consumers and believe that innovation is important... and fun!

Fischer & Wieser's products reflect a deep knowledge of foods and a refinement of flavors. Their most popular item, Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce, has received rave reviews and top honors. When it was introduced in 1997, consumers were immediately drawn to the distinctive pepper-raspberry combination with its unique sweet and smoky flavor. A versatile sauce, it can be blended with cream cheese and served as an hors d'oeuvres or brushed onto beef tenderloin, pork or fish.

The FW Gourmet line features a range of distinctive sauces giving any home a gourmet touch. Specialty items include cooking sauces, unique preserves, mustards, salsas and soups. The line includes products such as Whole Lemon Fig Marinade, Seville-Orange Cranberry Horseradish Sauce, Sweet Sour and Smokey Mustard Sauce and Jalapeño Sauce.

Speaking of gift giving, Fischer & Wieser offers a number of delightful sets. Like their products, a lot of thought and creativity goes into developing them.

Everyone knows that firefighters make great chili. In Corpus Christi, these heroes make theirs available on the grocery shelves with their Texas Firehouse Chili and Salsas. Products include a liquid chili mix, salsas and barbecue sauces. The Search and Rescue Chili Mix label states that if you're searching for the perfect chili, you've just been rescued.

Texas Food Companies also includes information on which operations offer tours and visits, great stops for the family. There is also list information on the state's many busy non-profit food advocacy organizations, like the Texas Beef Council and the Texas Pecan Growers Association.

Texas foods can arguably be a saving grace to the increasing amount of similar, national foods. We get requests at Texas Cooking and Texana all the time from folks around the country looking to purchase their favorite foods from the days they lived in Texas. This book is a great collection of what is available, and easy methods to order what you like conveniently, no matter where you live.

Rhonda Cloos also wrote Texas Wineries

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Texas Food Companies
249 pages
Republic of Texas Press 2001-12-01
Purchase Book on Amazon.Com