OK, so maybe these dishes don’t strike you as something you want to rush into your kitchen to make. But Rick Bragg’s The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma’s Table is worth checking out; its an entertaining food memoir and a loving tribute to 3 generations of Southern cooks. Starting with his great-grandfather, Bragg tells the story of his family and what they ate from 1919 to the present day.
He reckons his momma cooked more than seventy thousand meals in her first eighty years and wore out at least 13 stoves! From biscuits to baked possum and sweet potatoes (yes, they did eat possum if they had to!), Margaret Bragg cooked what her family could grow, raise, hunt or forage from the Northern Georgia land. She has never used a recipe or a cookbook; a “pinch” of this and a “handful” of that are her measurements. She doesn’t own a mixer or a blender; a battered spoon and a bent fork are the tools of her trade and her nose is the only timer she needs to tell when something is done. In an effort to preserve his food heritage, Bragg and his mother collaborated over several years to write down her stories and the recipes so that we can share a taste of their South.
Of course, there are plenty of other food memoirs available to you at the Dillsburg library if you’re looking for something a little more familiar to bring from the page to the table. In Making Piece: a Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie, Beth Howard writes about recovering from the loss of her husband, one slice of pie at a time. Picnic in Provence is the story of Elizabeth Bard’s move – “lock, stock and le Creuset”- to the French countryside to open an ice cream shop. Molly Wizenberg describes the process of opening Delancy, her restaurant in Seattle, and includes wonderful recipes for familiar favorites like meatloaf and apple crisp. Go online to reserve your copies of these or other food memoirs or stop by the library today. No possum, pig’s feet or turtles required!