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By Cecilia Nasti
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. —Annie Dillard
Remember January when you made those promises, a.k.a. resolutions? Mid-year is a good time to take stock and review your progress. Unfortunately, for a growing number of us, this evaluation process results in emotional and intellectual self-flagellation for allegedly falling short, or being otherwise deficient, in thought, word and deed during the previous months. Somehow our many accomplishments throughout this time period pale in comparison to our glaring perceived failures.
By Veronica Meewes
Photography by Jenna Noel
As condos continually rise to meet our skyline and rush hour seems to start a little earlier each day, we watch as our quaint little city slowly morphs into a bustling metropolis. Yet amidst the background hum, Austinites old and new are forging a brave new cultural landscape—reinventing, readapting and reinterpreting our city to fit a new set of needs and desires. Enter one of Austin’s latest reincarnations: the wine bar.
By Lucinda Hutson
Photography by Lucinda Hutson
It can strike in the dead of night—the gnawing obsession for something profoundly desired or missed. It’s an almost desperate craving for a certain food, something usually unattainable at that very moment. Perhaps you’re dying for a beefy burger smothered in blue cheese, bacon and grilled onions, or an extravagant indulgence of crisp-seared foie gras with white nectarines. Often, though, the yearning is simply a hunger for comfort—for food that conjures sentimental memories or a sense of place.
By Paula Angerstein
Photography by Andy Sams
Growing up in Central Texas, my family, like many others, had the tradition of a hearty midday Sunday dinner (which translates to “Sunday lunch” for most others). This usually included a roast beef in the oven while we went to church, and vegetables and salads made up upon our return. After a lazy afternoon and a filling dinner-lunch, our “supper” later that evening would be something easy like bacon and eggs gobbled up in front of The Wonderful World of Disney, or maybe a handmade hamburger down at the domino club as a special treat.
Central Texas is lucky to be home to one of the only chemical-free commercial apiaries in the country. BeeWeaver Apiaries, managed by Danny Weaver, represents four proud generations of beekeepers and producers. Danny and his wife, Laura, have focused the business on a bee-breeding program that produces mite-resistant bees.
Edible Austin: What inspired the Weaver business?
Laura Weaver: In 1888, my husband’s great-grandparents were given 10 hives as a wedding present from the bride’s beekeeping brothers. Zachariah and Florence Weaver grew their apiary and sold honey from the back of their horse-and-buggy wagon each week at a farmers market in Houston. Their oldest son, Roy, took over the apiary and began producing queens commercially in the 1920s. BeeWeaver’s commercial package bee, queen and honey production business grew under Roy’s son, Binford, and later his grandson, Danny.
New Works: Buster Graybill: Progeny of Tush Hog
On view at Austin Museum of Art – Laguna Gloria
3809 West 35th Street
November 21, 2011 – February 19, 2012
Matthew and Rachel Buchanan’s The Leaning Pear Café & Eatery in Wimberley is pear-centric—walls painted the many russet shades of pear flesh, two fruit-bearing trees in back of their 1870s-era building, and an ornamental specimen in front.
“We respect pears for their taste, whimsy and sophistication,” says Rebecca, who has clearly embraced the concept.
Ironically, though, the name was supposed to be Leaning Pair, to reflect the support the Buchanans gave each other during the first half of 2007, when they remodeled their building into a 50-seat restaurant, weathered Matthew’s diagnosis and treatment for testicular cancer, and kept going anyway.
Another impressive cooperative effort has been a solid commitment to acquiring the quality local food and produce Matthew learned to love at culinary school.
“Basically, we make gourmet food, salads and sandwiches,” he says, “and it’s the daily specials that showcase the bounty of the season.”
By Elizabeth Winslow
Photography by Jody Horton
The sun comes up much earlier on a farm—at least it sure feels that way. With the first crow of the rooster on Sunday morning, my children tumble out of bed and run out into the misty morning light to the fields in pj’s and rubber boots to help with the lettuce harvest. We’re staying at Montesino Farm in Wimberley, in the just-completed farm studios that owner Scott Mitchell built to weave agritourism into the farm’s operational model. The studios are more than just a way to bolster the bottom line, though.
By Laura McKissack
There are many reasons to save seeds from your harvest. The first, of course, is an economical one, but other reasons include quality control and self-sufficiency. By saving seeds, you can even choose and manipulate preferred genetic traits—such as taste and productivity—and take the growing process to a whole new level.
First it’s important to understand which plants to harvest seeds from.
I won’t lie to you. Sharpening a knife on a stone takes a bit of practice and a whole lot of patience—and the skill doesn’t develop overnight. It’s the sort of process you have to love or it will frustrate you to no end. But the practice is worth all the effort, because sharpening your own knives saves money and makes cooking more efficient and enjoyable.
Ask 10 people how to sharpen a knife, and they’ll probably give 10 different answers. Whetstone, oilstone, left to right, up and back, little circles—everyone has their own tool of choice and technique. I prefer a whetstone for sharpening, and I try to retain the original shape of the blade by applying equal pressure to each part of it, section by section.
Unlike honing a knife on a steel, which takes off the burrs and straightens the edge, sharpening will shave away part of the blade and help maintain its edge for a longer period of time. I’ve tried several methods and this is the one that works best for me.
By Soll Sussman
Photography (above) by Soll Sussman; Photography (below) courtesy of Red Caboose Winery
When asked at what point green design became an important part of the plans for the Red Caboose Winery and Vineyards in Meridian, winemaker and vineyard manager Evan McKibben doesn’t hesitate for an instant. “From day one,” he says. “My dad was going to design this to be as energy efficient as possible.”
By Ellen Zimmermann
Summer is here and the garden is robust and calling to you. Here are a dozen dynamic ways to feel better while using, and enjoying, our delightful green friends.
By Elizabeth Winslow
Photography by Jody Horton
A family sits down to a dinner of fresh, locally grown greens and vegetables and grassfed, pastured meats—a simple picture of a meal that represents connection to community, reinvestment in the local economy, concern for the environment, stewardship of our natural resources and attention to personal health. Fortunately, as our local food economy expands, it’s a scene that occurs more and more often in homes. But as the demand for local foods grows exponentially, so does the difficulty in getting that food to the table.
By Andrea Bearce
Photography by Dustin Meyer
"Do you want to try some of this stuff?” asks Chip Tate, president and head distiller of Balcones Distillery in Waco. Without waiting for an answer, Tate leads me to the tasting room in the corner of his small but mighty distillery, where he lines up several bottles and explains the nuances of each as I taste. He tells me to breathe in the aromas slowly—pointing out the distinct scents in his award-winning whiskey, Baby Blue.
By Jam Sanitchat
Fall is the perfect time to think about pickling in Texas. Summer (and even some spring) vegetables—like cucumbers, summer squash, onions, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers—are still in season, and as the breezes of fall finally make their way through Austin, we also welcome cooler-weather vegetables—like cauliflower, broccoli, hardy greens and cabbage. Such bounty calls for ways to preserve and use those vegetables for just a little while longer.
By Amy Crowell
Photography by Dustin Meyer
Winter is a good time to fill your pantry with wild spices. The smell of juniper-flavored meat slow roasting in the oven is a wonderful treat for holiday guests. Eating it is pretty amazing, too. After whipping up the spice mix for my brisket recipe, my five-year-old son remarked, “It smells like Christmas!” I think ground juniper berries smell like the Hill Country forest after a rain. Our options for wild Texas spices go way beyond juniper, though.
By Polly Ross Hughes
Photography by Sandy Wilson
Twenty-one years ago, as Frank Arnosky and Pamela Hiebert twirled around a dance floor to the “nuclear-polka” beat of Brave Combo, neither suspected they were destined to one day move step-by-step into the lost art of Texas cut-flower farming. Both graduate students at Texas A&M University, Frank and Pamela had met, but it was that first dance that ignited a spring romance followed by a summer of letters—hers from Hong Kong, his from a camping trip in Michigan.
By Sam Hurt <>