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
- 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.