Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Gimme Some Sugar Darlin'

"Filled with tongue-in-cheek Southern humor, here's a cookbook worth reading... and it's got good recipes too." ~Tripleheart Press
"Southern cuisine is the ultimate comfort food... created by people who had to use whatever limited resources were available during tough times, and we've had more tough times than not in the South." ~Laurance Triplette

I had the pleasure of corresponding with Laurance Daltroff Triplette for the first time a few months back, when she wrote me the sweetest email about my website, and after a few exchanges, kindly offered to send me a copy of her new cookbook, Gimme Some Sugar Darlin', to review. After corresponding with her several times since, I believe that Laurie, as she is known to her friends, and I, are indeed kindred souls of the Banana Pudding Republic.

I loved Laurie's cookbook from the moment I opened it and found myself quickly wrapped up in what was more like looking through a well worn, loved one's recipe box, served up with a side scrapbook of memories. I felt instantly connected to Laurie and if I know the readers here, and I think I do, you will want to order a copy of this cookbook yesterday.

Laurie, a native of Memphis, Tennessee, lived in North Carolina for 38 years before relocating in 2007 to Oxford, Mississippi, with her husband, Jeff, children, Gabrielle and Joshua, dog, Alex, and fish, Alexis, and a box of more than 1,000 recipes from her mother and grandmother. Between 2007 and 2008, Laurie wrote her first cookbook for family and friends, and over the next five years, compiled all those recipes, spanning two centuries, and from four extended families, over several southern states, into what is now Gimme Some Sugar Darlin'.

Indeed, in what Laurie calls One Old Bride’s Guide to Cooking Southern, are 787 favorite heirloom, traditional and modern-day recipes, ranging from Tex-Mex and Cajun, to Delta, Appalachian, and Low Country.

You'll find everything from Pickled Peaches to Mississippi Cheese Crackers, Church Punch to Beignets, Cranberry Freezer Salad to Three Bean Rotini Salad, Classic Corn Pudding to Creole Eggplant, Carolina Sour Cream Squash to Fresh Tomato Tart, Oyster Casserole to Crab Souffle to Mississippi Tamales, Henry Bain Sauce to Aunt Sheila's Cream Puffs, Chocolate Icebox Pie to Caramel Brownies, Hummingbird Cake to Chocolate Cola Cake,  and everything in-between. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find many of our southern favorites missing from this collection.

Dutch Cocoa Cream Cake
There are also tips on how to modify recipes, how to stock your kitchen, and how to eat economically ... along with housekeeping and culinary advice, tips and tricks, many targeted to these precious, home-ec deprived 19-year-olds of ours. Laurie's book is much more than even this. It's a testament that stretches deep into her rich Southern roots.

Presented in a two-color, retro cover design and black and white format, this wire-bound book with a hard, wrap-around cover, lays conveniently flat in the kitchen for easy reference. You'll find plenty of vintage photographs, that are sure to drum up some memories of your own.

Laurie includes "The Secret Lexicon of Southernness" - an entertaining and humorous manifesto of Southern philosophy. You'll find loads of fun stuff including definitions on types of Southerners from "Aggies" to "Ricecakes," to "Ridgerunners" to "Yellow Jackets," and Southern locations, ranging from the Appalachians to "Where Yonder Is" and how we southerners define time, often in terms of hunting or sporting events.

Weaved within these pages, you'll also find essays and commentary on essential Southern topics and our folkways, like how our food is so solidly integrated into death, religion, and, even politics. You'll find great reference points on Southern Personality definitions, ranging from "Aggravating" to "Someone who Wouldn't eat Pie in a Pie Factory" and what a "Coot," a "Hoot," and a "4-60" is, along with what it really means to be "In a Fix," to "Circle the Wagons," be "Addled," or to "Dog" somebody's steps. You'll also be refreshed on those important life lessons - like how wearing blue eye shadow before a certain hour is considered tacky-tacky (meaning really really tacky), and what between "4 and plumb" actually means.

Apple Stack Cake
Gimme Some Sugar Darlin' really is a great testament to our life in the south, what feeds us, both literally and figuratively, and really, just exactly what it is that makes Southerners different. I just know you'll love adding Gimme Some Sugar Darlin' to your collection.

Cucumber Sandwiches
Laurie will be traveling to many of these various independent shops and retailers in Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and southern Virgina, promoting her book this summer. For those of you who live locally, you can find her at Main Street Books in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, this Thursday, July 19, 2012, at noon, for a reservation-only luncheon. Besides a menu using recipes from her book, they will also be featuring local farmers market produce.

The luncheon will be followed by a talk by Laurie at 4:30 p.m. about how families can preserve their heritage and stories by saving old family recipes. You can find out more details by calling 601-­584-6960.

To keep up with Laurie be sure to like her page on Facebook.

"We believe that to be American is a privilege, to be Southern is divine. ~Laurance Triplette

Laurance Triplette is a writer, art curator and accredited appraiser of fine arts when not experimenting in the kitchen. Triplette holds a B.A. degree from Salem College and an M.A. in art and arts management from Vermont College of Norwich University. Triplette privately produced a family cookbook in 2007 in a limited edition of 100 copies, and later edited a tailgating recipes cookbook in 2010 for the National Football League Referees' Association (NFLRA).

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Gimme Some Sugar Darlin' to review. Special thanks to Laurie and Tripleheart Press for sharing this delightful book that I will treasure forever, and for having the patience of a saint, waiting for me to get around to writing my review.

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