The Texas Book Festival in Austin has become one of the premier literary events in the country, and with over 40,000 bibliophiles expected to flood the Capitol to take in panels, readings, and signings, the experience can be a bit overwhelming. It’s hard to decide where to begin when there are more than 230 authors to see and hear, not to mention the live music and food vendors. That’s why we’ve created a series of streamlined itineraries to help you have a seamless Festival experience, grouping the events by category so you can dive right into the good stuff. We’ll be posting these itineraries in this space over the coming week, so check back daily for latest.
Today, we start with events of interest to foodies.
SATURDAY, OCT. 26
On Saturday, October 26, at 10 a.m., start the morning in the Cooking Tent for breakfast tacos with Jared Reece and Mando Rayo, authors of Austin Breakfast Tacos. Pick up a copy of the book and get ready to take a taco taste-tour of Austin’s best tortilla-tucked breakfast treats. Each entry includes the history behind the food and profiles of the people who make it, from authentic Mexican fare to Torchy’s contemporary creations.
At 11:30 a.m., hang around the Cooking Tent for the Texas Holiday Cookbook and author Dotty Griffith. Griffith has compiled classic Texan recipes, from fried turkey and green bean casserole to flan and enchiladas, that will make delicious additions to any dinner table this holiday season.
What food lover hasn’t found herself addicted to the Food Network? From 1 to 2 p.m. in the Lone Star Tent, journalist Allen Salkin presents From Scratch: Inside the Food Network and talks about how a lowly cooking channel became a pop-culture phenomenon. From Scratch is nonfiction, but reads like juicy fiction as Salkin traces Julia Child’s legacy to the modern faces of food, from disgraced Paula Deen and “Deep Fry” Guy Fieri to culinary artistes Tom Colicchio and Mario Batali.
If you’re a ’cue enthusiast, these next events amount to meat heaven. From 1 to 2 p.m., back at the Cooking Tent, check out Back by Popular Demand: The Salt Lick Cookbook, with recipes from Austin’s favorite non-snob BBQ purveyors. At 2:30, the meat appreciation continues with Tim Byres’ new cookbook, Smoke: New Firewood Cooking. This Texas chef and current co-owner of Dallas’ SMOKE restaurant teaches indoor and outdoor cooks how to impart smoky flavors into foods beyond your traditional smoked meats. Vegans beware, though—the recipes are indeed meat-laden, with recipes like Clay Pot Smothered Rabbit and Chorizo in Fire-Roasted Oysters.
Saturday’s last events take place during happy hour, a fine time to get your mixology fix. From 3 to 4 p.m. in Capitol Extension Room E2.106, join Lucinda Hutson, author of Viva Tequila!, a celebration of the agave spirit, from history and culture to food and drink recipes that celebrate Mexican cooking with a tequila-soaked twist.
At 4 pm in the Cooking Tent, David Alan talks cocktails from his new book, Tipsy Texan: Spirits and Cocktails from the Lone Star State. Tipsy Texan treats Texas booze culture, but the real treat here is the use of local, fresh ingredients to create Texas twists on classic cocktails (for instance: an Old-Fashioned sweetened with toasted pecan syrup). Take advantage of Alan’s expertise—he’s a charter officer of the Central Texas Bartender’s Guild and cocktail competition champion—and check out Tipsy to step up your game.
At 4:15 p.m., the women behind the popular beer blog “Bitch Beer” will be in Capitol Extension Room E2.010 to talk about local brews as well as their new book, Austin Beer: Capital City History on Tap. The book explores the history of beer in Austin and recent developments in local beer culture, but don’t worry, this is no textbook. The Bitch bloggers are known for their hilarious-but-informative style, and the book has a built-in drinking game.
Diana Kennedy has been crowned the “Julia Child of Mexico,” and at 4:15 p.m. she’ll be in Extension Room E2.016 to discuss the new reissue of her classic book, My Mexico, a leisurely stroll through some favorite places, recipes, and memories gathered from a lifetime exporing that vibrant country.
Now go get get some food, go home, grab some sleep and come back to the Capitol on Sunday for another afternoon full of food and cooking events.
SUNDAY, OCT. 27
In the Cooking Tent at 11 a.m., join renowned food blogger Addie Broyles as she discusses The Austin Food Blogger Alliance Cookbook, a compilation of favorite recipes from Texas bloggers that showcase the diversity of Texas food culture.
At 12:30 p.m., still in the Cooking Tent, the Beekman Boys showcase The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook. The Beekman Boys, aka Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Dr. Brent Ridge, are city-slickers turned farmers, and the Heirloom Cookbook is inspired by communal living. Home cooks are encouraged to join the conversation on the Beekman website, where you can post pictures and alterations of the book’s recipes. If you’re the type of foodie who posts you daily dish to Facebook, this cookbook might be for you.
It wouldn’t be a Texas festival without plenty of barbecue. At 2 p.m., stick around the Cooking Tent for Barbecue Crossroads with Houston food-writing eminence Robb Walsh. Crossroads is a road-trip through the South, with plenty of BBQ stops along the way.
Finally, at 3:30 p.m., (you guessed it, still in the Cooking Tent), cleanse your palate with Joe Yonan, author of Eat Your Vegetables, which aims to prove that veggie-eating-for-one doesn’t have to mean limp tofu burgers or wilted lettuce wraps. Yonan tells solo cooks how to scale down recipes, tackle the leftover problem, and cook vibrant meals for one.
Now go out to dinner to digest the day, prefereably with a friend.