Rachael Ray talks new book, cooking quickly and Austin eats

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Rachael Ray’s 26th cookbook, “Rachael Ray 50: Memories and Meals from a Sweet and Savory Life: A Cookbook,” is more than the standard pen-to-paper, recipe after recipe affair.

It’s a rite of passage of sorts for the TV show host and Food Network star.

“This is the first book where I ever sat down to literally, write, other than food,” Ray said.

Ray was at Central Presbyterian Church in Austin Wednesday promoting the book. She also reflected on “30 Minute Meals,” her longtime Food Network show, which returned earlier this year.

Beyond the traditional show, though, she says her smartphone application is like having a stationary bike fans and foodies can work on in the kitchen.

“It’s fun to be relevant at Food Network in a new way for a new generation,” she said.

Ray, a longtime South by Southwest party host, is no stranger to new when it comes to Austin’s food scene either.

She quickly rattled off trying Swedish Hill on Sixth Street and the wontons at Loro on South Lamar.

And with the return of “30 Minute Meals,” what about “$40 a Day” — her early 2000s show where she tries to stay within a $40 food budget in a different city?

“I beg them all the time,” Ray said of Food Network on a new travel show.

That $40 budget may need to be updated, though.

“That’s, like, half a bar bill, right?” Ray says laughing.

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