Thursday, March 25, 2010

Four Great Southern Cooks

"Four Great Southern Cooks" was my first southern cookbook. It was published by Dubose Publishing in 1980. The four cooks, all African-American, were old-fashioned cooks. The book's preface has this to say-" Unlike many of their successors, they are not perpetrators of canned soup and cool-whip cuisine, but creators of mouth-watering dishes that are made lovingly from scratch".

I have decided to cook from this book for the next month. Last evening I made Ruth Jenkin's Sweet Potato Casserole. I followed her recipe almost to the letter, leaving out only the marshmallow topping. My sweet potatoes were the purple variety. Purple because of their skin, but white inside. Instead of mashing them I put them through my ricer, one of my favorite kitchen tools. The casserole was easy to make, and was very tasty. Mrs Jenkins was a private cook for an Atlanta family who summered at a North Carolina mountain resort. The cookbook says that guests there stood in line to beg Mrs. Jenkin's recipes.

Sweet Potato Casserole-

3 cups of mashed or riced sweet potatoes- 2 large sweet potatoes should do.
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of butter
3 eggs,beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1 cup of sour cream
pinch of salt
pinch of soda (I omitted this.)
Marshmallows,pecans, or raisins for topping. (Optional per Mrs. Jenkins)

Set oven at 350 degrees. Boil the peeled sweet potatoes till soft. Mash or put through a ricer. With a wooden spoon stir in the sugar, butter,eggs, vanilla, and sour cream. Mix well.Stir in salt and soda. Spread the mixture in a casserole or 1 1/2 qt baking dish and bake uncovered 35 to 45 minutes. Serve with toppings. The book suggests this as a holiday dish. How about trying it with baked ham for Easter!

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