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Taste of Country Cooking by Edna Lewis

Taste of Country Cooking (original 1978; edition 1976)

by Edna Lewis

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203157,794 (4.39)8
Title:Taste of Country Cooking
Authors:Edna Lewis
Info:Knopf (1976), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:cooking, history, American

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The Taste of Country Cooking by Edna Lewis (1978)



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This is a really wonderful book. Edna Lewis grew up in Freetown, a town that was founded by emancipated slaves. I believe she's first- or second-generation free person. She talks fondly about the farm her family ran, and about her time with family members, friends, and neighbors. She writes fantastically.

The book is organized by the season. Don't be scared off by the fact that a lot of the sweets call for lard. One can substitute Crisco or similar shortening if lard is not available.

I can't speak to the recipes but they look very authentic. My grandparents are farmers and many of the recipes feel so familiar to me. There are green beans with ham, chipped beef gravy (and chipped pork gravy), watermelon rind pickles, and lots of cakes, pies, greens, vegetables, meats, etc. Ms. Lewis talks about the seasons and how her family prepared for each. In the winter was the hog butchering--she describes it in great detail. It made me ask my 81-year old grandmother what she remembers about hog butchering, and her account was very, very similar to Edna's. I like to read this book and think of my grandparents way back when they first were farming, and their parents before them. So much tradition has been lost to convenience.

I loved reading the memoir part best of all. I look forward to reading her other books. What a great service Ms. Lewis has done by writing her memories down. ( )
1 vote carrieprice78 | Dec 29, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307265609, Hardcover)

In recipes and reminiscences equally delicious, Edna Lewis celebrates the uniquely American country cooking she grew up with some fifty years ago in a small Virginia Piedmont farming community that had been settled by freed slaves. With menus for the four seasons, she shares the ways her family prepared and enjoyed food, savoring the delights of each special time of year:

• The fresh taste of spring—the first shad, wild mushrooms, garden strawberries, field greens and salads . . . honey from woodland bees . . . a ring mold of chicken with wild mushroom sauce . . . the treat of braised mutton after sheepshearing.

• The feasts of summer—garden-ripe vegetables and fruits relished at the peak of flavor . . . pan-fried chicken, sage-flavored pork tenderloin, spicy baked tomatoes, corn pudding, fresh blackberry cobbler, and more, for hungry neighbors on Wheat-Threshing Day . . . Sunday Revival, the event of the year, when Edna’s mother would pack up as many as fifteen dishes (what with her pickles and breads and pies) to be spread out on linen-covered picnic tables under the church’s shady oaks . . . hot afternoons cooled with a bowl of crushed peaches or hand-cranked custard ice cream.

• The harvest of fall—a fine dinner of baked country ham, roasted newly dug sweet potatoes, and warm apple pie after a day of corn-shucking . . . the hunting season, with the deliciously “different” taste of game fattened on hickory nuts and persimmons . . . hog-butchering time and the making of sausages and liver pudding . . . and Emancipation Day with its rich and generous thanksgiving dinner.

• The hearty fare of winter—holiday time, the sideboard laden with all the special foods of Christmas for company dropping by . . . the cold months warmed by stews, soups, and baked beans cooked in a hearth oven to be eaten with hot crusty bread before the fire.

The scores of recipes for these marvelous dishes are set down in loving detail. We come to understand the values that formed the remarkable woman—her love of nature, the pleasure of living with the seasons, the sense of community, the satisfactory feeling that hard work was always rewarded by her mother’s good food. Having made us yearn for all the good meals she describes in her memories of a lost time in America, Edna Lewis shows us precisely how to recover, in our own country or city or suburban kitchens, the taste of the fresh, good, natural country cooking that was so happy a part of her girlhood in Freetown, Virginia.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:30 -0400)

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