The ingredients in Dining at the Governor’s Mansion include one part culinary history and one part social history, along with a generous helping of recipes cooked by Texas first ladies, or (in later years) their personal chefs, from the completion of the Austin mansion in 1856 down to the present.
Carl McQueary’s folksy cookbook offers a look at food and its preparation, entertaining at the Mansion, and the challenges the women faced keeping the old home together. It includes brief biographical sketches of the first ladies, who usually orchestrated food service for both family meals and social or political events, and considerable background on the mansion’s infrastructure challenges, interior decoration, landscaping, and restoration. The book also provides an intimate portrait of Texas life during the last century and a half, since the trends in food enjoyed by the governors and their families, especially in their private lives, have been surprisingly similar to those enjoyed by even the humblest of Texas citizens. Most of all, it presents dozens of tasty, appetizing, historic recipes tested by McQueary in his own kitchen and annotated for the contemporary cook.
No matter how you slice it up—as Texas history, food history, women’s hisory, or cookbook—Dining at the Governor’s Mansion offers a palate-pleasing smorgasbord for your reading, dining, or gift-giving pleasure.