Head of Fantastic Food at Abel & Cole
I grew up in Texas but I didn't appreciate the food of my homeland until I left. As a child, I was always after what was beyond my reach, never fully appreciating was on my doorstep. When I first started to cook, it was always the food of different cultures that inspired me: Chinese, French, Italian… .Ranch-style beans, cornbread, chile rellenos, buttermilk biscuits with cracked pepper gravy... these were everyday foods and now, even as I write this, they seem exotic and wonderful. The food from America's deep South is now trendy in London. When I was growing up, it was just what you ate and nothing more. But when I moved away from home these foods were more than just something to eat. They define who I am and where I came from. What I love about this book and Grady Spears is that he shines light on the food of West Texas, noting what makes it so special and unique, drawing on it's roots (dishes that were made to be cooked over campfires after a long, hot day rounding up cattle), and putting it in context. Most of the other cookbooks on my list have taken me on journeys. This is the book that brings me back home.