Although Foodways Texas’Second Annual Symposium doesn't take place until the weekend of March 23-25, tickets went on sale this week to the general public with the hopes of bringing together like-minded individuals from across the state who have a vested interest in preserving the state’s food heritage.
Foodways Texas was founded in 2010 by “scholars, chefs, journalists, restaurateurs, farmers, ranchers, and other citizens of the state of Texas who have made it their mission to preserve, promote and celebrate the diverse food cultures of Texas.” Although headquartered in Austin, the organization draws participation from a range of Texas towns, demonstrating that there is a wealth of knowledge and history waiting to be shared and documented.
Having taken its model largely from that of the Southern Foodways Alliance, Texas Foodways was born out of the reality that although some may consider the Lone Star State a southern entity, it's a state whose story is made up of bratwurst and beans in addition to barbecue and biscuits. In other words, the cultural fabric of Texas is vast enough to support its own separate organization.
The subject of the Foodways Texas’s first symposium, held last year in Galveston, was an exploration of Gulf Coast cuisine and culture.
This year’s series of events will take place in Austin and focus on the more general theme of “Texas Preserved,” addressing not only the figurative idea of upholding state-wide food culture but the very literal issue of how to master preserving techniques like canning.
Understanding that chronicling the stories and traditions of Texas food culture is fundamentally an academic endeavor, the University of Texas has partnered with the organization to support oral history projects, documentary film creation and other scholarly research on the subject via its Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. The Blanton Museum of Art auditorium will host the daytime panel discussions.
Of course, the meals are likely to be a significant draw in and of themselves, given the fact that acclaimed chefs for the weekend include Tom Perini of Perini Ranch Steakhouse in Buffalo Gap, Justin Yu of Houston's Oxheart Restaurant and Sonya Cote of Austin’s East Side Showroom. After all, no foodie event in Texas would be complete without a serious show of culinary talent.
Tickets are $250 each (for non-members) and can be purchased here. There are also a limited number of panel-only tickets (read: no food included) available for $85 each.