Get a free copy of the cookbook this weekend. Click here
I’m not good at writing non-fiction. That’s one reason I have a hard time trying to do blog posts. Whenever I have to write an article or an essay, whatever, I have to struggle with it. I couldn’t be a journalist if my life depended on it. But when it comes to fiction, I was born to be a storyteller. Stories filled with fictional characters are my cup of tea when it comes to a being a writer.
A couple of years ago, I decided I wanted to put together a cookbook filled with the recipes that I’ve cooked for several years, along with recipes from my mother and my aunts. One of the reasons I wanted to do this is that I’m practically the only one left in my family who knows how the women in my Southern family cooked.
However, the idea of typing a bunch of recipes bored me. I didn’t have any enthusiasm for it. Until one day and I thought about Darlene, a comic character I created who became one of my most popular characters. She’s a redneck Marilyn Monroe/Lucille Ball. Outspoken, naughty, and ambitious. Wheels started turning in my mind and I thought why not let this be Darlene’s cookbook? Let her narrate it and tell little stories related to food and cooking in the South.
That’s when the cookbook became fun for me. All the anecdotes/names in the book are all fictional, but they are based loosely on some family gossip or things that were commonplace or some things I experienced. For example, whenever there was a big meal cooked, the men always got to eat first. The women would cook, put it on the table and they were the last ones who got to sit down and eat. That used to annoy me so much. LOL.
My one criteria for the recipes is that they be simple and made of basic ingredients because that’s how the women I grew up with cooked. My grandmothers both had twelve children and lived on farms. They didn’t drive and there were no supermarkets handy. They cooked what they raised on the farm. There are no fancy ingredients needed to make any of the dishes. And I leave it up to the cook to get creative with herbs and spices if they want to add those.
If you’re looking for holiday desserts, I will say that my pecan pie is one of the best ever. I make it for Christmas gifts. Also I included my mother’s old-fashioned chocolate pie recipe. It is so good. And my aunt’s chocolate cake recipe. I called up friends and gathered recipes from them. One had a local ladies club cookbook from 1956 that she loaned me. I went out to my friend’s country beauty shop on a Friday when she does weekly shampoo-and-set for her elderly clients. I took a notebook and talked with them about their memories of their mothers cooking, the old kitchens, and got recipes from them. I ended up with over 200 recipes in the book.
The rest is history. My family has a cookbook for future generations. Goal accomplished.
This weekend, June 18-20, the cookbook, ebook version, is free on Amazon. If you like it and prefer, there is a print version too. For some reason, I can’t get them to link on Amazon, but it has the same title so it is easy to find.