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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Read With Welty: Southern Sideboards

Tracy Carr
Library Services Director

Our Read with Welty reading challenge encourages you to read 12 books from Welty’s home library at your own pace—over the next weeks, months, or even year! Each week, we’ll explore one of the books here.

Week Twelve: Southern Sideboards by the Junior League of Jackson

There is almost nothing on this planet that I love more than a cookbook, but two factors make my love grow exponentially: one, if it is from another era, and two, if it is a community cookbook, with recipes submitted from a variety of people. The Junior League of Jackson’s 1978 classic Southern Sideboards fits the bill.

I’m looking for something delicious, but truth be told, I’m looking for something disgusting, too. Part of the fun of an old cookbook is laughing at what someone thought was good. Bonus points are awarded for things that are dated, like pretty much anything involving gelatin and a mold. Look, maybe aspic is delicious. I’ll never know. Same goes for any dish that calls for a jar of dried beef. It is just not going to happen.

Mississippi author Wyatt Cooper wrote the introduction, and that is how you know that Southern Sideboards is something special: who wrote the introduction to your grandma’s community cookbook? (Probably no one, and probably not someone who was married to Gloria Vanderbilt and was Anderson Cooper’s dad.) Cooper muses on what makes food Southern, his own poor cooking skills (he says his sons politely decline his peanut butter sandwiches), but he ends with an anecdote about his uncle, who was looking for romance after the death of his wife. He really had one qualification for the role, summed up thusly: “The huggin’ and kissin’ don’t last forever. The cookin’ do.”

Welty contributed to Southern Sideboards with her delicious sounding Onion Pie recipe, which reads like poetry. I can only imagine that it tastes like poetry as well:

Some of the cookin’ (or at least assemblin’) that I look forward to taking on soon include this recipe, which wins the Awesome Name award:

Velvet Hammer
– submitted by Frank M. Duke

1 blender vanilla ice cream
2 ounces brandy
1 ounce Cointreau
½ ounce banana liqueur

Place ingredients in blender. Turn to medium speed. Mix to pouring consistency. Serve immediately in champagne glasses. Serves 4-6.

Southern Sideboards can be hard to find, but let us know if one of these recipes appeals to you and we can get you the full information:

Shrimp on Crackers
Emerald Soup
Congealed Broccoli
Mayonnaise Muffins
Mystery Casserole
Swiss Enchiladas
Impossible Pie

I hope you’ve enjoyed our Read with Welty reading challenge, and I hope next time you’re looking for something to read, you’ll consider one our selections from Welty’s home library. You can curl up with a champagne glass full of Velvet Hammer, a plate (or bowl? who knows) of Mystery Casserole, and read to your heart’s delight.

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