Big Bend cookbook explores foodways from the heart of West Texas

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bigbendcookbookYou might know Tiffany Harelik from her work with food trailers from here to Portland, but in the past few years, she’s been spending a lot of time in West Texas.

All those months out near Big Bend, Marfa, Marathon, Fort Davis and Lajitas inspired her to write a cookbook about the foodways of this particular region of Texas.

As with most books about food culture, “Big Bend Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of West Texas” (The History Press, $24.99) is as much about the people who are carrying on the food traditions as the traditions themselves. We learn about how the couple behind Fat Lyle’s food truck in Marfa make it through the slow winter season and what it’s like running a historic hotel in Alpine.

Harelik compiles both the recipes and the stories in a way that will make your fingers itch to grab that steering wheel and head west. Until then, find a chile pequin bush (the one at my house is overloaded with bright red chilies right now) and try this recipe for spicy scrambled eggs.

Chile Pequin Egg Breakfast

Maurine Winkley’s 94-year-old grandmother Maurine Thomason was the first to introduce her to the chile pequin. One of her tried-and-true breakfasts involves chile pequins and the fluffiest, tastiest scrambled eggs you will ever put in your mouth.

1 Tbsp. milk
1/8 tsp. cornstarch
2 eggs
1 tsp. butter
1 to 2 chile pequins, finely chopped
2 shakes salt
Tortillas and salsa, for serving

In a small bowl, whisk the milk and cornstarch together. Add the eggs and whisk the mixture together until the clumps from the cornstarch disappear. In a small cast-iron or sauté pan over medium-low heat, add the butter and the chile pequins. Cook for 2 minutes and then move the butter/pequin mixture around in the pan to cover the bottom. Add your eggs and salt. Cook the eggs until they no longer show any translucence. Immediately remove from heat and enjoy. Serves 1.

— Recipe from Maurine Winkley in “Big Bend Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of West Texas” by Tiffany Harelik (The History Press, $24.99)


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