He’s homesick for Texas

We cook a lot at the Frantz abode. Most of our favorite recipes originate from a tall stack of grilling-type cookbooks. Yep, and as a result, a few of our books are literally falling apart. For years, each new recipe we have tried has been marked with a date and star rating system right on the page. Lots of five-star winning dishes are repeated often. Four-stars … never. But, as they say in the Wild West, there is a new sheriff with a couple of six-shooters in town and a cookbook in his saddlebag. Ka-pow, ka-pow!

Right before Christmas, the hubster found this cookbook in our local hardware store and purchased it for our son. It is entitled, “The Homesick Texan,” and written by Lisa Fain, a seventh-generation Texan. Have to say I was pretty impressed by the author’s seven-generation credentials right out of the cow barn.

I saw the title as a clever subliminal message that his parental units wouldn’t mind it if our son and lovely daughter-in-law headed to Texas anytime in the future after being stationed what feels like a million miles away. It seems Ricky’s sister, Katie, musta had the same thought as she also purchased her brother “The Homesick Texan” cookbook for Christmas. A little friendly reminder right there in the kitchen couldn’t hurt … right?

I recall thumbing through the book a couple of times before liberally applying the festive wrapping paper and sticky tape. It looked interesting at first glance, but I didn’t get the full flavor of the cookbook until a month or so later. We were FaceTiming with our son and daughter-in-law when Ricky gushed forth about all the recipes he had tried. Apparently, the dude is becoming quite the chuck wagon chef.

“The Tomatillo Cheese Grits were amazing … and the Pork Chops with Salsa Verde Rice were simply delicious!” Ricky gushed.

I was stunned. It seems this Christmas gift topped the year before when I came up with the “Breaking Bad” cutting board from the Etsy website. The kitchen board has the likeness of Walter White etched into it with the words “Let’s Cook.” How exactly does anyone top that gift?

Ricky ran through a litany of eight or nine other dishes he had tried. Each dish had been designated with a five-star rating except for one. There is always a runt stray in the herd. Wow … could it be that our son was really missing his Lone Star State?

“The only disappointment so far has been the Dr. Pepper Ribs. They did not impress. However, the Tex-Mex Meatloaf with Chipotle-Tomato Glaze is one of my favorites,” Ricky added.

So of course now we also had to acquire the book to see what all the fuss was about. They were out of it at the hardware store, so I had to wait for Amazon to hurry up and deliver a copy to our front door. I rocked out five recipes the first week. My first attempt was the crab cakes with chipotle chiles and corn. Yum! I’ve already made them twice. Now we were driving the cattle herd in the right direction.

The reoccurring theme of ingredients in Fain’s dishes seems to be lots of spices, cilantro, lime juice and chorizo. My only challenge has been my lack of personal experience with chorizo. Actually, this gringo doesn’t even know what chorizo is … or where to find it in the grocery store. Just the word “chorizo” sounds kinda spicy to me. My lame excuse … I wasn’t born here. But I am a quick learner, even if I don’t own a pair of cowboy boots.

Family and great food … they are just a few of the things that lasso a family together. Excuse me a second while I straighten my 10-gallon hat.

Dixie Frantz is a Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist for the past 19 years. Email comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also visit Dixie’s blog at lifesloosethreads.com.   

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