Cooking in Texas: Recipes to Savor

CookinginTexasSocialMediaAdJan2015 (2)Are you hungry for dinner yet? Prepare to salivate, because we’ve got some delicious dishes to share with you! As we prepare for our Cooking in Texas event, we asked our panelists to share some of their favorite recipes with us, and boy, do they sound good! Today we’ll share a few entries, and we’ll post a couple more next week. If these tickle your taste buds, please join us at Bennett Auditorium on Thursday, February 12, at 3:30, to talk Texas food and cuisine—and then head to the Texas Collection reading room for a reception featuring regional cuisine prepared by culinary students at Texas State Technical College, more foodie discussion, and cookbook signings. The event is free and open to the public.

Cooking in Texas panelists include Lisa Fain, founder of the award-winning blog “Homesick Texan”; Marvin Bendele, Executive Director of Foodways Texas; Mary Margaret Pack, private chef, food historian and author; Beth White, cookbook collector and author of Sweets and Meats: Early Texas Cook Books: 1855-1936; and moderator Addie Broyles, blogger and food editor for the Austin American-Statesman. The panel will discuss the quality, bounty, preparation and uniqueness of Texas food and cuisine.

Can’t make the event? Follow the discussion on Twitter at #cookingintx.


FainLisa_DSC3842DLisa Fain is the James Beard Award-winning creator of the food blog Homesick Texan, and the author of The Homesick Texan Cookbook and The Homesick Texan’s Family Table. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Texas Monthly, Southern Living, and Saveur, and she’s a founding member of Foodways Texas. A seventh-generation Texan, Lisa currently resides in New York City.

Grandma’s Chocolate Pie from Lisa’s The Homesick Texan Cookbook

There are pies, and then there is my grandma’s chocolate pie. It’s a luscious chocolate custard resting on a flaky, almost salty crust, topped with a springy meringue. Whether times are good or times are bad, it’s always welcome and appropriate. It is my favorite dessert.

Pie Ingredients

  • 1 unbaked pie crust in a pie pan
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa or 1 1/2 squares of baking chocolate
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten slightly
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

Meringue Ingredients

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp. granulated sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Poke holes into the unbaked pie crust with a fork and bake it for 15 to 20 minutes or until it’s lightly browned. Some people prefer to weigh it down with pie weights or beans as it may bubble a bit.
  3. Meanwhile, mix together the sugar, flour, salt, cocoa, egg yolks, and milk with a whisk. Cook in a pot on medium heat while occasionally stirring until it bubbles and thickens, about 7-10 minutes. If it starts to become lumpy, just beat out the lumps. (It will not get any thicker in the oven so cook it in the pot until it’s your desired thickness.)
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and butter.
  5. To make the meringue, beat the egg whites with salt until they are smooth, light and fluffy; they should have soft peaks like whipped cream. This can take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, a strong arm with a whisk or an eggbeater can accomplish this task, too. Please note that by hand it will take much longer than 10 minutes.) Stir the sugar into the meringue.
  6. Pour the chocolate custard into the baked pie shell and top with the beaten egg whites. Bake it until the peaks on the meringue are lightly browned, about 10 to 15 minutes.

BendeleMarvinMarvin Bendele is the Executive Director of Foodways Texas.  He is a Ph.D. Candidate in American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches a class on American Foodways.  He contributed to the 2009 book Republic of Barbecue, and has completed multiple oral histories for the Southern Foodways Alliance’s Southern Barbecue Trail & the Foodways Texas oral history archive at the Briscoe Center for American History. Bendele comes from an Alsatian-Texan family that settled in Castroville in 1848.

Deviled Eggs (Provided by Marvin’s mother-in-law Margaret Anne Mitchell)


  • 6 eggs, hard-boiled
  • 1 tbsp. softened butter
  • 2 tbsp. mayonnaise or more (to your liking)
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh chives or parsley (or both)
  • 2 tsp. capers plus ½ tsp. caper juice
  • Dash of dry mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Slice eggs, Scoop out egg yolks. Mash yolks with a fork and add remaining ingredients. Stir mixture together completely and put back into the egg whites. Garnish with paprika or small sprigs of parsley. Chill.


PackMaryMargaretMary Margaret Pack is a fifth-generation Texan who grew up on the Gulf Coast eating shrimp, blue crabs, and rice and gravy. She’s a food writer/historian and private chef who divides her time between Austin and San Francisco. A former librarian and technical writer, she’s a graduate of Rice University, the University of Texas, and California Culinary Academy, and has been writing about food since 1998. A regular contributor to The Austin Chronicle and Edible Austin, she’s published in Gastronomica, The San Francisco Chronicle, Sugar & Rice, Oxford Encyclopedia of Food & Drink in America, Nation’s Restaurant News, Scribner’s Encyclopedia of Food and Culture, The Dictionary of Culinary Biography, and Southern Foodways Alliance’s Cornbread Nation 1. She’s presented on food and foodways to various museums and food history groups, as well as to IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals), Les Dames d’Escoffier International, CIA-Napa, Southern Foodways Alliance, Foodways Texas, Texas Folklore Society, and the Historic New Orleans Collection.

Sky Terrace Shrimp and Avocado Salad 

I grew up in Houston and, as I’m sure was the case for many little girls in the ’50s and ’60s, it was a huge treat to shop downtown with my mother at Sakowitz Department Store and have a grown-up, elegant lunch at the Sky Terrace. I often ordered the shrimp salad with avocado, and as I recall, so did my mother.

 This dish was served at least since the 1960s at the Sky Terrace Restaurant in the Sakowitz Brothers Department Store in downtown Houston, Texas (1950-1985). The popular Sky Terrace never published a cookbook, but this recipe was printed in the Houston Chronicle, and many versions are available online. It’s a great example of a mid-20th-century dish for ladies who lunched, yet it remains fresh, timely, and delicious.

  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, cooked, peeled, and deveined
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 avocados
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce, shredded


  1. Lightly mix shrimp, celery, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and salt.
  2. Combine with remoulade sauce, cover, and chill.
  3. Halve avocados, remove seeds and peel and slice each half into four wedges.
  4. To serve, divide shredded lettuce among six plates.
  5. Fan four slices of avocado on each plate and top with generous portion of shrimp salad.

Remoulade Sauce

  • Makes 1 ½ cups
  • 1 hard-cooked egg, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 shallots or green onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cooked spinach, finely chopped and well drained
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon or Creole-style mustard
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. anchovy paste
  • Dash of liquid hot red pepper sauce, such as Tabasco


  1. In food processor, blend egg, shallots, garlic, spinach, mayonnaise, Worcestershire, mustard, lemon juice, anchovy paste, and pepper sauce.
  2. Can be made one day in advance.

Research Ready: January 2015

Each month, we post a processing update to notify our readers about the latest collections that have finding aids online and are primed for research. Here are January’s finding aids:

      • Elizabeth Borst White papers, 1905-1995, undated (#3910):                       Contains cookbooks produced by Texas utility companies as a service to their patrons, postcards of various places in Texas, and photographs of rice harvesting and processing machinery. White has also generously given The Texas Collection many historic cookbooks of Texas, which can be found in our online library catalog.
Truett Seminary Faculty Competition Advertisement
During finals, some Truett Seminary faculty participate in a Fight Club Wii boxing competition series–a chance for students to unwind by watching their professors compete! Students help campaign for and cheer on their professors with flyers like this one. BU records: George W. Truett Theological Seminary #BU/298, box 38, folder 10.


        • Lou Ann Sigler East Waco Community Photograph collection, 1925-1961, undated (#3916):                                                                                             Contains photographs of African American life in Waco, including Paul Quinn College and A.J. Moore High School students. Most of the people in the record group are unidentified.
Texas Carrots Cookbook page
In the mid-twentieth century, the Texas Department of Agriculture began distributing cookbooks to the public in order to support Texas grown products, such as beef and carrots. Elizabeth Borst White papers #3910, Box 7, Folder 3, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Texas over Time: Galveston Causeway

Texas has changed quite a bit over the years, as is readily seen in our vast photograph and postcard collections. To help bring some of those changes to life, we’ve created a “Texas over Time” series of GIFs that will illustrate the construction and renovations of buildings, changing aerial views, and more. Our collections are especially strong on Waco and Baylor images, but look for some views beyond the Heart of Texas, too.

GalvestonFinalBlack and white image from Edward C. Blomeyer photographic collection #3886; Series II Texas 1906-1920; Gulf Coast, Box 3, Folder 7. Postcards dated 1940-1954.

  • There are two causeways connecting Galveston Island to the mainland. Both have been renovated over time with changes consisting of wider lanes and a drawbridge replacement.
  • The original Galveston Causeway was opened in 1912 and is now restricted to railroad use only. The companies, Gould Lines, Harriman Lines & Santa Fe, originally owned it. This railroad bridge is considered one of the greatest accomplishments of engineering in the United States and was put on the list of the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
  • The second causeway debuted in 1939 at an approximately $3,000,000 price tag and is 8,194 feet long. The bridge was replaced and completed in 2005, and it is the only access for northbound and southbound traffic on the Interstate 45.


Federal Writers’ Project “279.” Texas: A Guide to the Lone Star State. Place of Publication Not Identified: Scholarly, 1990. N. pag. Print.

“The Galveston Causeway, Galveston, Texas.” Galveston and Texas History Center. Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Nov. 2001. Web.

“Old Galveston Causeway.” BNSF. James Baughn, 23 Apr. 2014. Web. 20 Jan. 2015.

See all of these images on Flickr. GIF and factoids by Haley Rodriguez, archives student assistant

From a Newspaper to Milk: The Borden Family Legacy in Texas

By Casey Schumacher, Texas Collection graduate assistant and museum studies graduate student

Map of San Felipe, Texas, 1876
The extent of John Borden’s property is shown in this 1876 land tract of San Felipe, TX. Land deeds in the collection indicate that the four Borden brothers purchased several hundred acres in the Austin County region, often from one another. Borden family collection #78, box 1, folder 1.

The Borden family collection at The Texas Collection has nothing to say about Lizzie Borden, the infamous Massachusetts ax-slinger. Believe me, I checked. However, in 1908, another notable Lizzie Borden, daughter of John P. Borden, wrote a brief history of her family’s deep Texan roots. Together, Lizzie’s father, her uncles, and her brothers helped create a family legacy that played a key role in establishing the Republic of Texas.

Gail Borden Sr. had four sons who were all very proud, upstanding Texans. The family owned extensive property in Austin and San Patricio County, some of which we can see in the land plots and deeds included in the collection. All four sons were landowners and prominent businessmen in south Texas, but their devotion to the Republic had a ripple effect across the state and into the ports of Galveston.

Gail Jr., the oldest of the four brothers, partnered with his closest brother Thomas and a family friend to establish Texas’ first newspaper, the Telegraph and Texas Register in San Felipe de Austin in 1835. Circulation increased rapidly and within a year, they had 700 subscribers. After encroaching Mexicans threw their press into Buffalo Bayou, Gail traveled to Cincinnati to purchase a new press. The next issue, dated August 2, 1836, included a reprint of the Constitution of the Republic of Texas. Even after the Borden brothers left the printing company, the newspaper continued to publish important documents that organized the Republic of Texas.

Telegraph and Texas Register, 1921 reprint of October 1, 1835, first edition
This 1921 reprint celebrates the first edition of the Telegraph and Texas Register, published by the Borden & Baker printing company on October 1, 1835.

The Borden family didn’t just write about their Texas pride, however. In 1836, Gail Jr. presented Captain Moseley Baker with a flag he helped design for San Felipe. After leaving the newspaper, he went on to prepare the first topographical map of Texas. Soon after, he became the first collector of the port of Galveston and eventually founded the Borden Company.

At the same time Gail Jr. presented the flag at San Felipe, his younger brother John, Lizzie’s father, was a First Lieutenant under Captain Baker. John fought in the Battle of San Jacinto when he was 24 years old, and he was later appointed by Sam Houston as Commissioner of the General Land Office of Texas. Both of John’s sons would also leave home to fight for the Republic. The oldest son, Thaddeus, joined the Confederate Army at age 17 and was killed. John’s second son Sidney joined the Confederate Army at age 19 and eventually returned to establish the river port at Sharpsburg.

In her family history, Lizzie tells her nieces and nephews about each of her uncles and their dedication to the Republic of Texas. Naturally, she favors her father’s accomplishments and pays special homage to her brothers, Thaddeus and Sidney. She closes with a story of her and Sidney’s trip to the Philadelphia Centennial. Needless to say, the Bordens were a very close-knit and proud Texas family. The Borden family collection sheds some light on their influence in the Austin County and San Patricio County areas, as well as their dedication to the Republic of Texas.


Barbara Lane, “Sidney Gail Borden,” Find A Grave, Aug 6, 2006.

Joe B. Frantz, “Borden, Gail Jr.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 16, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on October 28, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Leonard Kubiak, “San Felipe de Austin,” Fort Tumbleweed. 2007.

University of North Texas Libraries, “Telegraph and Texas Register,” The Portal to Texas History, December 14, 2014.