SHAKESPEARE’S JULIET ASKED,
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
WHAT’S IN A NAME? A lot when you are coming up with the title for a community cookbook! I love a clever name, something that makes the title stand out and makes you want to learn more about it. This is exactly what I thought when I saw
PUTTIN’ ON THE PEACHTREE by the Junior League of DeKalb County, Georgia – or
COLLARD GREENS, WATERMELONS AND “MISS” CHARLOTTE’S PIE by the Swansboro United Methodist Women – or –
SUGAR SNIPS & ASPARAGUS TIPS, by the Woman’s Auxiliary Infant Welfare Society of Chicago.
Intriguing titles, aren’t they? Do you want to learn more? I hope so!
First in this trilogy of community cookbooks is PUTTIN’ ON THE PEACHTREE subtitled Dining in Atlanta Style, compiled by the Junior League of DeKalb County, in Georgia, and first published in 1979. By the time the sixth edition was published in 1991, over a hundred thousand copies of Puttin’ On the Peach Tree were sold.
In the Introduction, the Junior Leaguers write, “Our forebearers brought to this country a knowledge of sensible, life sustaining food. They combined that knowledge with the bounty from the Georgia soil and called it “Southern Cooking”.
The native Indians added appreciation of the gifts of woods and waters.
Country folks taught us that good food shared with good friends is reason enough for a celebration.
Shy mountain women proved to us that food speaks clearly of love when the tongue cannot.
City sophisticates helped us find creative expression in cooking for the sheer fun of it… Elsewhere, they write,
“Wherever you cook. There’s a phrase for it:
In the city, it’s putting on the ritz,
In the country, it’s puttin’ on the dog.
In some places in between, it’s puttin’ on your best bib and tucker
and in Atlanta, it’s PUTTIN’ ON THE PEACHTREE!
It speaks of entertaining people you care about and doing it well. It’s Dining In, Atlanta Style”
The Junior Leaguers who compiled this oh-so-southern- cookbook did a fine job; they must have been enormously gratified that this cookbook—their project—has done so well—and no wonder!
Starting with Appetizers and Beverages, I found recipes I have not seen elsewhere – recipes such as Antipasto Spread and Artichoke Spread, Homestyle “Boursin” and Beer Cheese Dip, Hot Cheese Puffs and Crab Meat Hot Dip, as well as unusual recipes such as Fried Gyoza (Pot Stickers), which reflects on how much this country has broadened in its culinary endeavors, with recipes from other countries wending their way into community cookbooks!
In the chapter for SOUPS you will find a Puree of Asparagus Soup (which I look forward to trying), as well as a Cauliflower Ham chowder, Clam Bisque, and a New England Style Clam Chowder that I most definitely will make. There is an unusual recipe for Chicken Soup with Meatballs that really sounds interesting and a Hangover Soup that also sounds like fun (hangover or no) and a Vegetable Soup made with Ground Beef…these and other recipes are sure to whet your appetite.
In addition to many southern favorites, you can broaden your horizons with an inclusion of Cold Hungarian Tomato Soup, Stiriai Meteit (noodle pudding), Bogracs Guiyas (Kettle Goulash) and Erdelyi Zsivanpecsenye which translates to Bandit’s Meat—plus a recipe for Pork Paprikash which perhaps needs no translation. I was delighted to also find a recipe for Ron Cohn’s Palacsinta, a kind of crepe that I have written about before on this blog. My siblings and cousins and I grew up on Palacsinta, which we referred to ignominiously as “German Pancakes” as we spread them with jam and rolled up, to eat on our way back to school after having lunch at Grandma’s.
Amazon.com has copies of this cookbook starting at one cent and going up to 3.63 for pre-owned copies. New copies are available starting at 6.50. Alibris.com has hard-bound pre-owned copies for 99c! I think the 1979 edition may have originally been published in a hard bound copy. **
Next, COLLARD GREENS, WATERMELONS AND “MISS” CHARLOTTE’S PIE by the Swansboro United Methodist Women is a thick spiral bound cookbook first published in April, 1993, with additional copies being published a few months later, in August, 1993 and a third printing taking place in July, 1994.
In the Introduction, we are asked “Who are these women that took on such a challenging task? The names and faces have changed throughout the years, but they are the ones who have helped pay or paid the preacher’s salary, light bills, painting bills, and maintenance and repair bills: replaced furniture, cleaned the church, provided altar flowers, visited the sick and poor, provided food trays, clothed the needy, supported the Methodist Orphanage, and countless other things!
How did they accomplish so many things? Traditionally, these women have held a variety of fund raisers, such as turkey dinners, bazaars, flea markets, silent auctions, homes tours and others to help support the church, community, individuals, missions, and outreach ministries. Nothing changes with the publication of this cookbook – their work continues!
From Collard Greens, Watermelons and “Miss” Charlotte’s Pie we present to you a collection of recipes from parishioners, friends, former members, family members and other generations of the Swansboro United Methodist Church.
Each tested recipe has been carefully edited in an effort to clarify both ingredients and instructions…” The church members also shared with us recipes from three earlier cookbooks published by the United Methodist Church in 1968, 1977, and 1985…”
I haven’t taken the time to count all the recipes in “Collard Greens, et al” but at a guess, I’d say there must be over four hundred.
Look for Lemon Cake Pudding, as this is something I was making years ago and can vouch for. Mexican Lasagna is another. If you have the patience for it, making Watermelon Cookies is a good project to do with children (or in my case, grandchildren) – they are sure to be a hit at any party. Another easy one with only four ingredients is Almond or Pecan Roca. “Miss” Charlotte’s Strawberry Glaze Pie is certainly a wonderful dessert to surprise dinner guests with. Speaking of “Miss” Charlotte, there is a fascinating biography on her to be found on page 3. “Miss” Charlotte, who was in the first graduating class at Duke University in 1925 and married Alton Fields in 1933.
“Miss Charlotte’s” life reads like something Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings or Lee Smith might have created as a character in one of their books. I believe I found the grave sites for both “Miss” Charlotte and her husband, Alton, by doing a Google search. If my calculation is correct, they were married for 65 years and she lived 9 years after him.
What delights and charms me most about COLLARD GREENS, WATERMELONS AND “MISS” CHARLOTTE’S PIE is the dedication to the people of Swansboro United Methodist Women while composing a cookbook that is chock-full of wonderful recipes and unexpected newsy tidbits such as the history of newspapers in the area.
COLLARD GREENS, WATERMELONS AND “MISS” CHARLOTTE’S PIE by the Swansboro United Methodist Women is available on Alibris.com starting a $2.95 for a hard bound copy. It is also available on Amazon.com starting at $2.67 for a pre owned copy.
*I want to point out that sometimes a private vendor has a new copy of a book priced at the most scandalous ridiculous prices. Whenever I see prices such as these, I totally ignore them. I can’t imagine anyone being interested in spending hundreds of dollars on a single book when a perfectly good pre-owned copy, often in like-new condition, can be had for far less. Just letting you know – if I don’t post a NEW price on a book, it’s because the new prices are ridiculous.
The third cookbook I want to share with you today is “SUGAR SNIPS & ASPARAGUS TIPS” compiled by the Woman’s Auxiliary Infant Welfare Society of Chicago and published in 1991. The organization alone is enough to pique anyone’s interest, including mine and I was not disappointed. In 1911, the Chicago Milk Commission joined with the Children’s Hospital Society to combat the city’s spiraling infant mortality rate. The new organization was named the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago and its mission was to provide well baby care and to instruct mothers how to feed and care for their infants…today the Infant Welfare Society operates pediatric, dental and gynecological clinics and a Home Based Visiting Program…in Chicago. The services continue to expand every year as does the demand for high quality preventive and affordable health care.
I can’t help but wonder how many young lives might have been saved if, back in 1911, programs like the Woman’s Auxiliary Infant Welfare Society of Chicago had been available in hundreds of other cities throughout the U.S.A. One of the claims of the Infant Welfare Society is that no one is denied care because of inability to pay. The Woman’s Auxiliary, composed of 34 centers and a membership of more than 1200 volunteers, also offers a Teen Clinic to meet the increasing needs of adolescent boys and girls for medical care, health information and psychological counseling. Other services include laboratory screening and testing, pediatric, cardiology, vision and hearing screen, nutrition counseling and a learning-through-play program.
The photography for Sugar Snips & Asparagus Tips was provided by Laurie Rubin Photography and is spectacular.
The many recipes in Appetizers range from cold appetizers, spreads and dips to hot appetizers, dips and spreads and include such tantalizing dishes such as Asparagus Canapés, Chutney Party Pinwheels, Sesame Chicken Wings, and Phyllo Spinach Diamonds, a recipe I used to make and thought would be great to serve again at a party. These and other appetizer recipes will whet your appetite and provide inspiration for your next dinner party or family get-together.
There are soups and salads which include a recipe for Rich Cream of Asparagus Soup and Old Fashioned Oxtail Soup, both recipes I plan to try, but you may also be interested in the Jamaican Pumpkin soup, or Fabulous French Onion Soup. Under Salads there is a recipe for Orange Asparagus Soup, and A B C Salad (Avocado, Bacon & Chicken Salad) and others with ingredients you may be aware of, such as Jicama, but don’t know how to use; Try Jicama, Mango and Papaya with Citrus Dressing. Perhaps one of the most enticing things about a community cookbook is the discovery of foods we might not know about, with recipes that give you an idea of how it can be used. I have always thought Jicama tasted like a cross between a potato and an apple. I like the salad dressings of Mock Caesar Dressing, Onion Chutney Dressing and Hazelnut Vinaigrette, just to name a few.
Under the chapter titled Eggs & Pasta, be sure to check out Scrambled Eggs with Asparagus and Sweet Red Pepper or consider the Spinach and Ricotta Tart (I love anything made with spinach or asparagus!) There is also a recipe for Marbleized Eggs that you might want to try – it only requires two ingredients! And a cookbook with “Asparagus” in the title wouldn’t be complete without Asparagus Quiche, would it?
These and many, many more recipes from the Woman’s Auxiliary, Infant Welfare Society of Chicago, are just waiting for you to discover them. Amazon.com has the book priced at $12.94 for a new copy, or 35 cents for a pre-owned copy. On Alibris.com, I discovered numerous pre owned copies for 99c. Take your pick!
What’s in a name? Everything, if you are putting together a fund-raiser cookbook.
Happy Cooking and even happier cookbook collecting!
Sandra Lee Smith