The Southern Foodways Alliance has a pretty solid collection of community cookbooks in their office—and many more in their staffers' home libraries. Check back often for their Throwback Recipes.
The Pick of the Crop
Published by the North Sunflower PTA of Drew, Mississippi
First edition 1978
The community cookbook most important to my development as a cook and, particularly, as a Southern cook, is "The Pick of the Crop." It was published the year after I was born in 1978 by the North Sunflower PTA of Drew, Mississippi. I do not know the details of the book’s journey out of the Delta and 100 miles east to the red clay hills of Mississippi in which I was raised, but it was hands-down the most constant source of recipes that sustained my family.
My mother’s copy is littered with her left-handed checks and notes like “try this!,” “soo good!,” or “easy!”. Mark’s Chicken, Cabbage Casserole, and Sausage-Rice Casserole were all in regular rotation on the McGreger supper table, but the first dish that I personally ever became known for was Mrs. Archie Manning’s Chicken Spaghetti I.
While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.
Sweet stuff: January 2 is National Cream Puff Day.
What do cream puffs, profiteroles and beignets have in common? They’re all made from the same type of dough – pâte à choux. Unlike beignets, which are fried, cream puffs are baked. This French confection doesn’t contain a leavening agent. Instead they puff up from steam that’s created when they bake.
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