Foodways Texas Is Getting Fat and Sassy
Foodways Texas, which was founded in July 2010 “to preserve, promote, and celebrate the diverse food cultures of Texas,” held its second annual symposium in Austin this past weekend. A couple of hundred participants listened to talks on the theme of “Texas Preserved”—a deliberately wide-ranging topic that covered cocktails, the drought, cattle, sugar plantations, heritage pigs, beer, shrimp boats, oysters, “trash fish,” and even mayhaw jelly.
Attendees also ate, very, very well, from a brisket dinner catered by Austin ‘cue maestro John Mueller (with sides by Hoover’s Cooking) to the recreation of a Texas farm dinner circa 1840 at Boggy Creek Farm. The main course at the latter feast consisted of succulent grilled Red Wattle pigs (a heritage breed) provided by Revival Market in Houston; the chef for the occasion was Sonya Cote of Austin’s East Side Showroom and the brand new Hillside Farmacy.
Here are four choice moments from the nearly two-dozen presentations at the symposium:
“Two generations ago Texas housewives could buy sugar grown, refined, and packaged in Texas. The brand was Imperial, and it was downright disloyal to buy anything else. But gradually the thriving Texas sugar cane industry collapsed. The cause of its slow death was a perfect storm of cane disease, bad weather, and cheap sugar from other countries, to name just three reasons. But today, sugar cane may be making a comeback in the Rio Grande Valley. Could Texas once again become a sugar belt—or sugar bowl?” – MM Pack, food writer and culinary historian, Austin, speaking on “A Short but Not Always Sweet History of Sugar in Texas”