Editor's Note: The following is The Big Spoon, an opinion column on San Antonio's food and drink scene.
It’s a simple enough booklet. A folded tan cardstock holds together five 8.5 by 11-inch pieces of copy paper, bound by three staples. This is the Crossroads zine. It might not look like the glossy cookbooks put out by celeb authors like Joanna Gaines or Chrissy Teigen, but for a pair of San Antonio women, the book holds some of their most popular recipes and captures parts of a culinary moment – Crossroads Southern Kitchen’s three-year tenure at Faust Tavern.
Best friends and business partners Drew Morros and Roberta Marques first opened Crossroads inside an 18-by-10-foot nook in Faust Tavern in 2014 after hosting a series of plated pop-up dinners in the area. Crossroads served up freshly made comfort food until the wee hours of the morning, and gained fans for their smoked gouda mac n’ cheese, a velvety and nuanced dish, as well as their hearty fried chicken sandwich.
They drew inspiration from their childhoods spent in Florida and South Carolina, and their food backgrounds that included several of San Antonio’s best kitchens.
“There was a lot of sitting outside on the tables at Faust with coffee and talking over recipes,” Marques said.
The first edition, complete with a singular coffee stain to mirror their recipe moleskines, nearly sold out before the first pop-up this summer at their old stomping grounds. And it’s not hard to see why. The zine gives step-by-step instructions on how to recreate those classic recipes from the loaf of bread used for sandwiches to the mayonnaise that served as a base for Crossroad’s luxurious ranch dressing.
Over the course of three days, the co-chefs-turned-historians reworked a handful of recipes for the home cook. Regulars, friends and former employees all ordered copies, as did local archivists: both UTSA’s Special Collection and the San Antonio Zine Library purchased a copy for their records.
Isabel Ann Castro, who collects zines for the SAZL, worked at Faust as Crossroads was about to launch. She recalls Morros’ warmth and prowess in turning a hole in the wall into a functioning kitchen. Even after moving on from Faust, Castro frequented Crossroads and was sad to see it go in July 2017 when Morros and Marques finally called it quits.
“It was good eating,” Castro said.
As one of the founders of the San Antonio Zine Festival and St. Sucia, Castro notes how rare it is to find recipe zines. As is, prying recipes out of chefs’ hands can be, shall we say, difficult.
“It’s not like she’s old and wants to preserve these for other generations. They’re sharing the most beloved recipes,” Castro said. “They’re still chefs and could easily hoard them, but that’s not their attitude. The food was made with love and shared with love.”
And there will be more zines to come. Volume 2, which will focus on meatloaf, will debut with another temporary resurrection on October 16 at 6 p.m. at Faust. But there are plans in the works for a pot roast zine, a brunch zine and a charcuterie zine, all drawing from recipes developed over the previous three years.
Marques and Morros now focus on the daily grind of managing Lowcountry in Southtown. Though they don’t miss the hustle of a scratch kitchen, they miss the daily end result — full bellies and happy customers. The Crossroads zine helps them tap those creative juices while securing the tiny restaurant’s legacy, and ultimately, gaining closure.
“When all of this is done, it closes the door on this thing that was Crossroads. The food’s been recorded – it’s all been put out into the world,” Morros said.
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