New blueberry cookbooks on sale
One tradition that has been maintained almost from the beginning of the Blueberry Festival has been the Annual Blueberry Cookbook.
As part of the upcoming event, the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce, decided to offer a cookbook to celebrate the past 35 years. It is now on sale at the Chamber office in City Hall. It contains the favorites over the years along with the names of the winners.
Some of the recipes featured tell stories of those who made it a family event to compete against each other in several generations.
One such family was Jo Coale, who was the 1988 Hall of Fame winner for her recipe for Blueberry Lemon Ribbon Cake. She and her daughters, Kay Bracken and Becky Jordan made it a family affair and entered their own recipes.
This cookbook was the brainchild of Peggy Bracken, who was with the Escambia County Extension Service for many years. She was writing a column for The Brewton Standard at the time and quite often she featured some of her favorite recipes. It seemed like a good idea to have a contest to showcase blueberry recipes during the Blueberry Festival. People were invited to submit a blueberry recipe and out-of-town judges decided the winners. Soon recipes were arriving from near and far.
According to Bracken’s daughter, Karen Cottrell, her mother never entered the contest herself, even though she had many excellent recipes.
“She couldn’t enter because of her connection to the contest,” Cottrell said. “I entered and even won in 1985 for my Spicy Blueberry Relish, but I didn’t want people to think I had an advantage, so I didn’t enter any more.”
After several of these contests, it was natural that a cookbook should come to mind. For years the book featured only blueberry recipes but over time other recipes were added. This year, for the 35th Annual Blueberry Festival, the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce decided to put together a book that features past winners. Even though the contest no longer is part of the festival, there is still an annual Blueberry Cookbook and many of the recipes have become favorites, including the one for Blueberry Crunch that was submitted by Pearl Fuqua. It mixes the berries with pineapple, nuts and a cake mix.
“It was one of my mother’s favorites,” Cottrell said. “It was easy to make and she served it to our family many times.”
The little fruit that will be honored on June 20, 2015 will grace many a dinner table for the next few weeks. The cookbook can be obtained through the Chamber of Commerce. For more information call their office at 867-3224.