My family went on spring break and all they bought me back was a stack of new cookbooks.
Two of which belonged to Pat’s grandmother. These gems, “Boilin’ n Bakin’ in Boogar Hollow” and “Ma’s Cookin'” are self-described ‘country’ cookbooks full of mountain recipes. Both are written in a country vernacular – the letter ‘g’ is left off quite a bit. There are intentional misspellings carrying home the point that these cookbooks are ‘spiced with mountain customs, saying and superstitions’ as the cover of Ma’s Cookin’ proclaims.
There are recipes for wild game in both.
As well as how-to’s on how to cure your own ham.
Upon further inspection however, I noticed that many of these recipes are well written, even the possum and coon recipes. That’s right. Possum. And Coon. And Rabbit. And a few other treasures like mincemeat (with beef or venison tongue) and paw paw pie. These little gems are a fun addition to my cookbook collection, definitely.
I also was the lucky recipient of two new to me bread books. My running request whenever anyone stumbles upon used books for sale are cookbooks – preferably vintage ones. When Pat handed them to me, he pointed out one of them had some issues with the spine.
After all, it came with recipes torn out of magazines used as bookmarks. With notes on them.
A recipe for “Arab Bread” calls for the bread to be served warm, torn open and wrapped around bit of lamb. In the corner margin above the recipe, there is a handwritten note for marinated steak strips – I am guessing the marinated steak works just as well. There are stained pages, starred recipes, adjusted cooking times notes, and even a “NO” next to one recipe, all marks of a well used cookbook.
Both bread books, “The Complete Book of Breads” by Bernard Clayton, Jr. and “Homemade Bread” by the Editors of Farm Journal bore the same imprint of one woman’s library. Judging by the looks of “Homemade Bread”, she didn’t give it the workout of “The Complete Book of Breads”, as the spine is intact and there aren’t as many notes.
Perhaps it was that image of ‘pizza bread’ that influenced the lack of use. Who’s to say?