I love cookbooks.
This fact is so evident at my home that my husband wishes not one more chef would put out a cookbook. He'd like it if organizations would stop creating books as fundraisers. He doesn't mind helping out a charity, but when it adds one more book to my already over-flowing collection of books, he has a little bit of a problem.
My love for cooking and cookbooks comes from my mother. She had a whole passel of books (that's a bunch, for you city-slickers) in the house when I was growing up. She had one book that she used more than any other. It was a copy of “The Joy of Cooking.” When her home burned several years ago, the book was destroyed.
On one of my many trips to flea markets (that's another thing I enjoy but have woefully little time to do), I found a copy of “The Joy of Cooking” from 1963. Now the copy that my mother lost was a 1961 edition, but I thought this one was close enough. I bought it for her (at a premium price, mind you) in an attempt to replace something she dearly loved. She was, needless to say, very happy with this new old acquisition. I'm still looking for a similar copy to put into my collection.
Just over a year ago, the folks at Southern Pine Electric Cooperative took on the massive task of creating a cookbook, “Southern Traditions,” in an effort to raise money for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life project. To say that they have been successful in this venture would be an understatement.
I spoke with Melanie Harrison, the head cook in charge of the project, recently and she said that the project had generated several thousand dollars in donations for the Relay fundraiser. If you didn't get a copy when they were first presented publicly, you've missed a great treat.
Melanie did say there were some limited copies still available and the money paid for the book will still go to the American Cancer Society. Give them a call at Southern Pine and inquire about the book. Adding one of these huge books to your collection would be a great benefit.
The following recipes are taken from this cookbook. The ones I'm presenting here are just a couple of my favorites. They have been delightfully added to my family's list of favorite dishes.
By Scott Thomas
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
Mix together and press into bottom of 9×13-inch pan.
Sprinkle: 1 cup chopped pecans and two cups coconut on top of mixture.
2 eggs, beaten
2 packages cream cheese, softened
1 box powered sugar
Pour over pecans and coconut. Bake at 325 for 30-45 minutes.
I tried that one out on my church family and it was very well received. It was super easy to put together and took very little prep time. Your family will be happy to have this one around for dessert.
This next recipe can be found on page 141 of the book. The page should be nice and white when you get your copy, but for some odd reason, my page has some little brown spatter marks and a few sticky spots on it. Must be because I've prepared this recipe many times since I got my copy, and I guess I'm a messy cook. It's the easiest and tastiest recipe for this dish that I have ever used. I make this in an 8×8 dish and have even done the “make ahead and freeze” thing with this one with great success.
Sweet Potato Casserole
By Anne Brown
3 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
1 cup sugar
One-half cup butter or margarine
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla (I triple this)
One-third cup milk (You can use evaporated milk here)
Mix all ingredients.
1 cup brown sugar
One-half cup flour
One-third cup butter
1 cup pecans, broken
Sprinkle on top and bake 25 minutes at 350. (This can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to cook.)
If you think these sound like good recipes, you'll be wonderfully surprised by the other selections published in the book. There is even a wild game category for those wives who have to cook what their husbands kill. Some sound very tasty. If you get a little extra deer meat or even some quail, give me a call. I'd like to try a few of the dishes in that section.
Again, if you're interested in cooking, cookbooks, or simply helping out The American Cancer Society, don't miss this book. It's called “Southern Traditions” and is available from Southern Pine Electric Cooperative. If you need more information on the book, call their offices at 867-5415. Melanie and the rest of the helpful folks at Southern Pine will be glad to “hook you up”.
If your organization has a cookbook for sale, please let me know. I'd love to review it in this column and help you with your fundraisers in the process.
Until next week, Happy Cooking!!!