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5 Essential Houston-Born Cookbooks to Buy While Stuck at Home

Learn how to make some of the city’s most iconic dishes — and cocktails

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Make the Korean braised goat and dumplings from Chris Shepherd’s Cook Like a Local
Julie Soefer

Now that local officials have shuttered restaurant dining rooms across the city and ordered Houstonians to stay at home in an effort to stem the spread of novel coronavirus, there’s no better time than the present to dig into some excellent cookbooks from some of the city’s best chefs.

From cocktails to iconic enchilada dishes, these five Houston-born cookbooks offer a slew of exciting new recipes to try. And, to sweeten the pot, buying one (or more!) of these books will also throw a few bucks to chefs, who are seriously struggling now that they’re not able to operate their businesses at full capacity.

Cook Like A Local by Chris Shepherd & Kaitlyn Goalen

Released in 2019, Cook Like a Local is as much a history of Houston’s culinary scene over the past decade or so as it is a resource for some of Chris Shepherd’s most beloved recipes. Learn how to make pastry chef Victoria Dearmond’s famous vinegar pie, and Shepherd’s legendary Korean braised goat and dumplings, along with advice from some of Houston’s finest chefs, including rice tips from Kata Robata chef Manabu Horiuchi. Take a peek inside the book here.

How to buy it: Available at most major booksellers in hardback and e-book format, including Amazon and Bookshop.

Julep: Southern Cocktails Refashioned by Alba Huerta & Marah Stets

In this book that shares a name with her acclaimed Sixth Ward bar, Alba Huerta lays out everything Houstonians need to know about making everything from a classic mint julep to modern cocktails invented by this local cocktail legend. It’s an excellent choice for both beginners and cocktail experts looking to level up their drinking game.

How to buy it: Available at most major booksellers in hardback and e-book format, including Amazon and Bookshop.

Houston Cooks: Recipes From the City’s Favorite Restaurants and Chefs by Francine Spiering

This collection of recipes spans across Houston’s dining scene, including dishes from The original Ninfa’s, Poitin, Pondicheri, and so many more local favorites. A portion of proceeds from sales of the book will also benefit Second Servings of Houston, which “rescues” prepared and perishable foods to put them in the hands of charities providing meals to those in need.

How to buy it: Available at most major booksellers in hardback and e-book format, including Amazon and Bookshop.

Paulie’s: Classic Italian Cooking in the Heart of Houston’s Montrose District by Paul Petronella

Everyone wants comfort food right now, and there’s nothing more comforting than a big bowl of pasta and sauce, and recipes for everything from Paulie’s “perfect” marinara to eggplant parmigiana are in this book. Bonus: recipes for the shop’s sweets, like cream cheese brownies, are also included.

How to buy it: Petronella’s book is only available in physical copies, but the restaurant is giving away a limited number of free copies of the book with $50 takeout orders at Paulie’s. It’s also available for purchase via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Bookshop.

The Enchilada Queen Cookbook by Sylvia Casares

Now is a truly great time to fine-tune the perfect enchilada recipe, and there’s no one better to guide home cooks on that journey than Sylvia Casares of Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen. Learn this Tex-Mex icon’s recipes for carnitas, crab enchiladas with salsa de Jaiba, tamales, and so much more.

How to buy it: Available at most major booksellers in hardback and e-book format, including Amazon and Bookshop.

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