First Fêtes and Old Classics

My mother gifted me my first cookbook when I was 13. On the inside cover, she inscribed, “Keep your pages clean, and don’t burn your fingers or the cookies.”  While great advice, I must admit that at some point over the last two decades, I have been unsuccessful in complying with all of the above. My collection of culinary manuals has grown tremendously since then, but my first remains my most treasured.

   Another first cookbook for me was the one we recently published to celebrate the Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival’s inaugural event happening March 27-30. It was such an exciting project, as many others and I have been hungering for a food festival of our very own for several years.
   The Festival will infuse historic venues and homegrown flavor with celebrated local chefs, culinary professionals and winemakers into one taste-filled weekend. Go to page 52 of this issue for complete details about the Festival, including where to get tickets for the signature events.
   Festival Co-Founder Russell Kirkpatrick has blogged for the magazine for the last year, updating readers on Festival developments. In his guest column this month (page 88), Russell takes us on the journey of how his ideas materialized into Fort Worth’s first food festival. Over the last year, he worked closely with us on compiling information for the Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival Commemorative Cookbook.
   It highlights favorite recipes submitted by the chefs as well as wine pairings, chef profiles and other food features. The recipes range from simple to complex.
   You can get your copy at fwtx.com/cookbookfw. Ten percent of the proceeds from every cookbook sold goes to our friends at the Fort Worth Food + Wine Foundation, who work to raise funds for local grant programs and culinary sponsorships.
   One of the Foundation’s primary goals is to institute a series of culinary scholarships for local high school students to attend culinary school or to earn a restaurant management degree, with the stipulation that they return to a Fort Worth hotel, restaurant or kitchen when they graduate and work locally for at least a couple of years. The second component is to set up a series of grants for anything that can enhance the culinary industry in Fort Worth.
   The Foundation is important for the continued success of our already vibrant culinary scene. It’s a sad fact that the failure rate for restaurants is 60 percent within the first three years. But this month in our cover story (page 60), we focus on 20 local restaurants that have stood the test of time, some of which have been  around for nearly nine decades.
   From the lines of business folks waiting for Bailey’s sinfully good barbecue served up by speedy ladies in a little shack downtown to crowds wanting their 2 a.m. fix of lemony Dutch babies at Ol’ South Pancake House, Fort Worth diners know what they like, and these places have the goods.
   So after the dust settles from all the excitement the Festival brings, take the time to visit all the new establishments that come to Fort Worth. But let's not forget about the places that have been feeding us for generations.

Jennifer Casseday-Blair
Executive Editor