From Virginia, I have VIRGINIA HOSPITALITY by the Junior League of Hampton Roads first published in 1975 and reprinted many times since, and THE MOUNT VERNON COOKBOOK by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association of Mount Vernon, Virginia, first published in 1984 and from WEST Virginia there is an excellent cookbook titled MOUNTAIN MEASURES (1974) and the sequel, MOUNTAIN MEASURES, A SECOND SERVING (1984) both by the Junior League of Charleston, West Virginia. Many years before, the Charleston (as in West Virginia) Woman’s Club published CLUB HOUSE COOKBOOK, grandiosely subtitled “COMPILED BY YOUNG WOMEN’S DEPARTMENT, CONSERVATION DEPARRMENT, AMERICAN HOME DEPARTMENT OF THE CHARLES WOMEN’S CLUB (1929)—another old cookbook that makes for good reading, while from the State of Arkansas, I have not one but TWO copies of SOUTHERN ACCENT by the Junior League of Pine Bluff, Arkansas (because my 1976 copy bore so little resemblance to the 1993 edition that I got fooled into thinking it was one I didn’t have—you know you have too many cookbooks when you start buying duplicates). I also have EVENING SHADE COOKBOOK which also falls into the celebrity category , and a cookbook titled RECIPES FROM HOPE, ARKANSAS, BIRTHPLACE OF BILL CLINTON, which offers lots of neat photos and presidential trivia, along with recipes.
What’s left? Kentucky! I must confess, I seldom think of Kentucky as truly Southern—I was born and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, only a few miles from the Ohio River, across which is Kentucky. (In fact many people don’t realize that, when you FLY to Cincinnati Ohio, the airplane LANDS in Kentucky. Greater Cincinnati Airport is located in the State of Kentucky!) Over the years, whenever I have flown to Cincinnati, you get the feeling you are home when you cross the bridge over the Ohio River, into downtown Cincinnati.
Helen Lawson, Courier-Journal staff writer, in commenting on Marion Flexner’s book OUT OF KENTUCKY KITCHENS, wrote “Kentucky food is a happy combination of both Northern and Southern cooking. Since this is a border state, our food was influenced by the hot-tasty food of New Orleans and the bland food of New England…”
In the introduction to the same cookbook, Ms. Flexner writes, “It was said in the old days that if you had examined the contents of a Kentuckian’s pockets, you would have found a bowie knife, the précis of a lawsuit to defraud his neighbor and a copy of ‘Paradise Lost’. There would also probably have been a sheaf of invitations to a ball, a New Year’s Day ‘Open House’, a formal hunt dinner, a Derby breakfast or, in summer, a burgoo or a barbecue party. For Kentuckians have always loved to entertain and have always been overly fond of good ‘vittals’.
Flexner further explains how Kentucky’s cuisine was shaped by “unknown culinary artists”—early settlers, English and Scotch, French émigrés, Austrian and German refugees, and African slaves who came to “Kentuck” (Land of tomorrow) to make their homes Other recipes, she explains, crept in with Yankee traders, steamboat passengers, Southern planters, and foreign dignitaries who passed through the State or made long visits.
OUT OF KENTUCKY KITCHENS was published in 1949 and copies may still be found in used bookstores. There is also a 1993 reprint of this famous title, published by the University Press of Kentucky. (I was excited to discover, when I Googled the 1949 title, that copies are still available for the original and Amazon.com has copies at a most reasonable price, around $5.00.
Another of my favorite Kentucky cookbooks is a little book titled WHAT’S COOKIN’ IN BARBOURVILLE KENTUCKY. Published in 1948, it was compiled by the Younger Woman’s Club of Barbourville, and my copy used to belong to my best friend’s mother, who came from that State. When I googled the title, I discovered it was reprinted in 1964. This one may be a little more difficult to find. There is no ordering information provided by Amazon.com for either the 1948 or the 1964 edition.
For those of you who think of Texas as southern, I offer my apologies. I’m not including Texas in this post because I think of Texas cuisine as being more southwestern than southern. And I probably have at least several dozen Texas community cookbooks and intend to write about it at a later date, if this is something my readers would like to see. My apologies, too, if I didn’t mention YOUR favorite cookbooks—but this was only intended to be a sampler and is based on the cookbooks in my own collection. I wouldn’t want to recommend a cookbook I didn’t have and had never read—and have anyone disappointed
Finally, I want to tell you about an offer that was recently made to me. Many—several hundred—community cookbooks, many of them southern, are available at Favorite Recipes Press, through their Marketplace Cookbook catalog. From now until January 31, 2012, the Marketplace is offering a 50% discount on the cookbooks of your choice, to Sandychatter readers. You must enter the code SCHAT-HOL at checkout . The books ship from Nashville, UPS ground.
The Marketplace is a great source for finding many of your favorite community cookbooks (southern and otherwise). They have nearly 300 titles from which to choose and color illustrations of the covers. You can get a catalog by writing to the Cookbook Marketplace at 2451 Atrium Way, Nashville, TN 37214 OR call them toll free at 1-800-269-6839. This offer is good to Sandychatter readers until January 31, 2012 – so this may be a perfect opportunity to obtain some of your most coveted cookbook titles.
This concludes THAT’S WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THE SOUTH but as soon as I get my head back on straight after Christmas, I would like to share with you some of my more recent southern cookbooks!
Happy cooking – and even happier cookbook collecting!