Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Estate Sale Cookbooks

I do not expect to find Julia Child or Richard Olney at Nashville estate sales, for either the heirs made away with them or the departed never owned them. I do expect diabetic cookbooks and weight loss cookbooks, but I am not interested in them. I want the Ladies' Auxillary ring binder cookbooks. Recipe collections from the United Methodist Church in Belle Meade. Anything the Junior League feels fit to print. He, or she, who comes upon "Charleston Receipts", "Nashville Seasons", or "The Cotton Country collection" has found a cookbook worth taking home. You shall never want for casseroles, and they will be the best that ever weighted down a sideboard-

Consider the two books pictured here.

"Doin' the Charleston", from 1982, is a tribute to that city's restaurants. If that was all this book was, it would be dated. How many restaurants live for thirty years? But this book has line drawings, and bits of history. And even better- a recipe for "Casserole of Drunken Fishes". French fish drink white wine, but in the South when fish drink, they pour themselves a bourbon. Happy swimming for the lobster, flounder, clams, snapper, and 8 shrimp in this recipe. This little book by Molly Heady Sillers was a bargain for two dollars.

"Tastes of Lace" is a book of recipes from the Ladies' Association for Christian Education in Atlanta. Its previous owner baptized it with butter and cheese bits - all over the appetizer section and the cheese ball and wieners in plum jelly recipes. It was a well loved book. Again, Two dollars. Yet what I like best are the first two lines of the homespun poem on the first page. Doggerel is no stranger to community cookbooks. Someone has always shoe-horned in a verse. But this is different:

"They talk about a woman's sphere

As though it had a limit".

Yeats could not have said it better.

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