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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