First impressions of Joanna Gaines’ new ‘Magnolia Table’ cookbook

It’s a big year for Texas cookbooks.

Last month, two Austin authors released books that you’re going to want in your collection — Paula Forbes’ “The Austin Cookbook” and Jess Pryles’ “Hardcore Carnivore” — but few books are more widely anticipated than Joanna Gaines’ debut cookbook, which hits stores on April 24.

Joanna Gaines’ debut cookbook comes out on April 24. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

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The former star of the home makeover show “Fixer Upper” is now overseeing a magazine, a homegoods line at Target, a restaurant and the second-most-visited tourist destination in the Lone Star State. Her handyman-turn-bestselling author husband, Chip, is also involved in all those projects, but let’s be real, Joanna is the captain of that ship.

Oh, and she’s also pregnant with the couple’s fifth baby.

It’ll be a busy year for the family, even without the cookbook coming out in a few weeks, but it marks Gaines’ entry into a crowded field already packed with established “lifestyle” food stars, including Ree Drummond, Deb Perelman and Lisa Fain.

On first glance, Gaines’ “Magnolia Table” cookbook feels like a mashup of all three. With Drummond’s unapologetic enthusiasm for family cooking and the farm life, Perelman’s mastery of filtered light and elegant food styling and Fain’s passion for Texas culture, the book will make you feel good about serving store-bought saltine crackers that you’ve doctored up with Italian dressing mix one night and South Korean bulgogi with cucumber kimchi salad the next. (Gaines’ mother is South Korean.)

I haven’t had a chance to cook from “Magnolia Table” just yet — and the publishing house did not want me showing you any of the pages from inside the book until its release date — but it’s beautiful and the recipes definitely look functional and appealing.

Have you eaten at Magnolia Table? What do you love about Joanna Gaines? What are you looking forward to about the new book?

Author: Addie Broyles

Food writer for the Austin American-Statesman and

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