MISS MARY'S DOWN-HOME COOKING: Traditional Recipes from Lynchburg, Tennessee by Diana Dalsass

MISS MARY'S DOWN-HOME COOKING: Traditional Recipes from Lynchburg, Tennessee

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Miss Mary"" was the late Mrs. Mary Bobo, long the proprietor of Bobo's Hotel and Boarding House in Lynchburg, the home town of Jack Daniels. The present collection appears to be a tie-in with the reopening of the place under the auspices of the company. It represents Southern cooking at its most undistinguished--though it's hard to tell whether the trouble is in the restaurant originals or Dalsass' handling of the material. The ""Tennessee Bar-b-que"" chapter is probably the best part of the book, with directions for real pit-barbecued pork and accompaniments like fried catfish, charcoal-grilled onions, and black-eyed peas. The simple main-dish recipes--creamed chicken with corn muffins, ""fried steak"" (braised sliced round) with buttermilk gravy, meat loaf with green peppers in tomato sauce--generally though not inevitably tend to rely on the unsubtle effects of Worcester-shire sauce, grated cheddar, floury cream sauces, and condensed canned soups. There are scads of very sweet desserts, ranging from Southern classic (buttermilk pie) to Southern Gothic (Coca-Cola-marshmallow cake). The salads and side dishes contain some simple fare like corn in a sweet and sour bacon-dripping sauce or fried cornmeal-dipped okra along with the Jell-O extravaganzas. The biscuits and yeast rolls are a nice selection, but Dalsass never mentions the critical importance of the very soft Southern flours to the ""exceptionally light biscuits"" for which, as she says, ""Southern cooks have long been renowned."" The presentation, indeed, could have come from package labels or magazine ads--and is indicative of the general lack of real regional insights.

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1984
Publisher: New American Library