Last Sunday I was invited to speak to a local book club whose latest selection was my first book, The Old Buzzard Had It Coming. I love speaking to book clubs. The setting is always intimate and friendly, the company is always congenial, and everyone there has read my book. What more can an author ask from life?
The hostess provided me with the particulars of date, time, and place, along with directions, and I arrived at her home at the appointed hour, ready to hold forth. The setting of the house was beautiful, by the way, located on the bank of an urban lake overhung with trees, a splashing fountain in its midst, white ducks going about their business. I was already impressed by the visit before I even got to the door.
So imagine my delight, Dear Reader, when I walked in to find that the club members were providing a pot luck supper created entirely from the recipes at the back of my book! Each woman had chosen a different dish to make. The menu included brown beans and ham, meatloaf, buttermilk biscuits, cornbread, winter squash casserole (from The Sky Took Him), peach cobbler, molasses pie, and pecan pie, as well as butter, honey, vanilla ice cream, and buttermilk on the side. The hostess provided iced tea made from sweet tea syrup (from Hornswoggled), and fresh fruit.
May I say that, for me, it was the best book club event EVER! I would suggest that if ever your book club wants to do something, special select a book that features food, then make and eat said food at your meeting. Talk about setting a mood!
I was quite interested to note the women’s reactions to the dishes. The book club members themselves were younger women than I, and most of them had never cooked food like this before.
So for any of you Dear Readers who are thinking about trying some old-timey recipes, allow me to offer a couple of observations:
Homemade biscuits don’t rise as high as Poppin’ Fresh, so don’t expect them to.
If you’re used to a little sweetening in your cornbread, Southern cornbread will be a shock.
If you’re used to unsweetened iced tea, Southern iced tea will really be a shock.
If you use dark molasses instead of light molasses in molasses pie, you’d better like the taste of molasses. (Which I do, actually. Just be sure to brush your teeth after you eat it. Besides, molasses is great for anemia. )
Don’t do your baking in a glass pan. Your grandma probably didn’t have a glass pan, and besides, glass pans cook much faster than metal and will dry the dish out if you’re not careful.
I would love to hear from anyone who has attended a book club event like this one. How’d it go? I can think of dozens of books that would be wonderful to read ... and eat from!