Ashley Strickland is an associate producer with CNN.com. She likes tackling English toffee, channeling summer with sunflower cheesecakes, sharing people-pleasin' pizza dip and green soup, cajoling recipes from athletes and studying up on food holidays.
There is a grace in the harmony of simple flavors and taking the time and care to introduce them to one another. I like to think it’s embodied in a perfect pound cake.
Take a moment to get to know the grand dame of Southern desserts.
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.
The Southern Foodways Alliance has a pretty solid collection of community cookbooks in their office—and many more in their staffers' home libraries. And the holidays seem like the right time to whip them out and share some choice recipes with you, our readers. So fix yourself an eggnog, pull up a seat, and check back often between now and New Year's for their Holiday Throwback Recipes.
Talk about Good!
"Le Livre de la Cuisine de Lafayette"
Published by the Service League of Lafayette, Louisiana
First edition 1967; annual subsequent printings 1968–1971
It's game time, folks - and no, we're not talking about the college football post-season. Think wild game from land, air, and marsh: venison, quail, duck, and the like. We're not exactly avid outdoorsfolk here at SFA world headquarters, but you don't have to have a Mossy Oak wardrobe to notice that hunting season is in full swing. And really, we think it's pretty darn festive to serve up a holiday main dish you bagged yourself.
The NEW Lovin' Spoonfuls
By John and Ann Egerton and family
published in 1980; 1982; 1984; 2009
In 1980, Southern Foodways Alliance founder John Egerton and his wife, Ann, came up with a much better holiday dispatch than the much-mocked Christmas letter: a hand-typed, spiral-bound cookbook of some two dozen recipes from their family and friends. That was the first edition of The Lovin' Spoonfuls, and the Egertons published volumes 2 and 3 in 1982 and 1984, respectively.
Twenty-five years later, they bundled the original three Lovin' Spoonfuls with an all-new fourth edition. The NEW Lovin' Spoonfuls boasts some 100 recipes, from civil rights activist Rev. Will Campbell's "All-Purpose Sauce" to the late Hap Townes's famous stewed raisins.
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