GIANT: A Tex-Mex Dinner – May 2016

Just Phyllisophy (150x67)By Phyllis Galowitz

On Saturday evening, April 9th, Bobbi and Mark Howell hosted a Table of Contents fundraising event, a real Texas-style dinner in their beautiful home on Forest Road, for 16 people. Never having been to Texas, but having tasted what we call “Tex-Mex” food and loved it, I looked forward to this dinner, the theme of which was based on the book, Giant, by Edna Ferber and, as you may remember, the blockbuster movie of 1952, starring James Dean.

As we entered the foyer, there he stood, a life-size, cardboard cutout of the man himself, standing in front of a huge movie poster, with a large Texas flag hung over one wall and a DVD of Giant playing concurrently in the library on a large TV screen. It was like stepping into the infamous Hotel Paisano in Marfa, where many in the cast lived during filming.

We had our choice of drinks: wine, Lone Star beer, soda, or whiskey and water or iced tea, then went into one of two rooms set up for dinner. A paper Texas flag placemat was a constant reminder of the Texas-style dinner being served by volunteer wait staff: Judy Garrison and Mary Davis, with sous chef, Dorothy Lyman and the host and hostess, Mark and Bobbi, in charge of the extraordinary cooking.

The first course was a tortilla soup, served in a large red mug, a thick, complex layer of ingredients in a tomatoey chicken broth concoction of shredded cabbage and garnished with strips of tortillas perfectly seasoned—hmmm, delicious! Along with the soup were cast iron casseroles of corn bread, wrapped in calico napkins to keep warm. Next came a classic wedge of iceberg lettuce, topped with ranch dressing and bacon. The main course was barbequed brisket, mouthwateringly tender and delicious, served with ranch style beans and roasted potatoes. The dessert was a marvelous biscuit pudding, swimming in a whiskey sauce.Picture1

We all ate more than we should have of this most delicious Texan food. The guests were all lovely people, who came in whatever they had in their closets that seemed to fit the occasion: western boots, peasant blouses, jeans and bandanas.  Picture2

After dinner, there was a raffle drawing of Texas-themed items, and an auction of the James Dean cutout, the Giant movie poster, a collection of Austin-based musician CDs, a beautiful cowboy hat and more! We all went home with a gift bag containing one of Edna Ferber’s books. Mine was Giant, which I can’t wait to read.Picture3

Thank you, Bobbi and Mark, for your wonderful hospitality, generosity, for the great Texas dinner and for a spectacular evening, the proceeds of which directly benefit our Andes Public Library!~