Southern Cooking

I found a cookbook (pamphlet size, really) at a local church rummage sale a couple of years ago, a Southern cookbook of fine old recipes published in 1939.


1939.  From the illustrations and the little quotes accompanying these, you’d really think it’s a pre-civil war publication.  I won’t share any of the pages and the “cute” little ditties because they literally leave me a little breathless with shock.

The introduction claims that the carefully guarded secrets of Southern cuisine will be revealed.  Apparently the secret is to have a Black cook in the kitchen.  This quote is relatively mild is its careless stereotyping:

The very name “Southern Cookery” seems to conjure up the vision of an old mammy, head ties in a red bandanna, a jovial, stoutish, wholesome personage . . . a wizard in the art of creating savory, appetizing dishes from plain everyday ingredients.

Hence, the cover illustration.  Believe me, it goes down hill from there with the stereotypes and labels/ethnic slurs. 1939, a different era–at least one hopes so.


Some of the recipes:

  • Kentucky burgoo (makes 1200 gallons)
  • Sweetbreads and mushrooms
  • Pigeon pie
  • Chitterlings
  • Pendennis Turtle Soup (the soup that made Kentucky famous)
  • Florida guspachy salad
  • Tallahassee hush puppies
  • Batter bread, Mulatto Style
  • Sweet potato pone
  • Picaninny doughnuts
  • Chocolate Indians
  • Goober brittle
  • Cheese appetizer for the Master’s cocktail
  • Mint julep and planter’s punch

There are recipes for okra and grits and biscuits, but not one fried chicken.  I assume some secrets are just plain sacred.

Some of the recipes look interesting.  This is a piece of out country’s history although I find it more barb to the soul than proud.



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