Homey recipes from UTSA, for a good cause
Before cookbooks became big business, and before food was overtly about something else altogether (cultural voyeurism, the ability to buy white truffle oil, the latest dietary trend), many home cooks corralled tried-and-true recipes in an index card box, or pasted into pages of a notebook. My mother had a Betty Crocker cookbook so bloated with additional recipes and notes clipped from other sources that the binding split and, if you didn't heft it carefully from shelf to counter, it would spill all over the floor and the notes for "Perfect Chocolate Fudge Sauce" might slip into the nether regions under the refrigerator.
A new cookbook published by UTSA in memory of staff member Vicki Banner captures the spirit of Junior League and co-op publications with homey recipes such as Quick Chicken & Dumplings (yes, quick dumplings: sliced tortillas replace rolled and cut dough), and a corn casserole to suit every nostalgic bias. And like a community cookbook, proceeds from its sale go to a good cause: the Women's Walk scholarship in memory of Banner.
Recipes & Remembrances is a labor of love for a San Antonio woman who loved to cook and share recipes, and it is a particularly San Antonio book, too. Included is a recipe for Shrimp Paesano, the delicious garlicky signature dish served at the local Italian restaurant. King Ranch Chicken has been spotted as far north as Duluth, Minnesota, but here it's close to its reputed roots. And that Gunter Hotel Cheese Spread is a breeze to make at home. Whether your mother made Hojarascas or 7 Layer Bars, UTSA has indexed a mouthful of your childhood. •
By Elaine Wolff