University Press of Kentucky Releases A TASTE OF HISTORY
Kitchens serve as more than a place to prepare food; they are cornerstones of the home and family. Just as memories are passed down through stories shared around the stove, recipes preserve traditions and customs for future generations. Archivist Deirdre A. Scaggs and chef Andrew W. McGraw combine these two traditions in their new cookbook, The Historic Kentucky Kitchen: Traditional Recipes for Today's Cook, which the authors say "arose from a small recipe and a lot of curiosity."
Scaggs and McGraw have assembled more than one hundred dishes from nineteenth and twentieth-century Kentucky cooks. They scoured handwritten books, diaries, scrapbook clippings, and out-of-print cookbooks from the University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections to bring together a variety of classic dishes. According to Scaggs, "While processing the Logan English papers, held by the University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections, Andrew McGraw and I pulled a box to get a general sense of what was in the collection. Inside an arbitrary folder from a randomly chosen archival box, we found our first recipe."
Each recipe complete with descriptions of each recipe's origin and helpful tips for the modern chef. The authors, who carefully tested each dish, provide recipe modifications and substitutions for rare and hard-to-find ingredients. According to McGraw, "Finding the recipes was just part of the process. Cooking them was the lure."
This entertaining cookbook also serves up famous Kentuckians' favorite dishes, such as John Sherman Cooper's preferred comfort food (eggs somerset) and Lucy Hayes Breckinridge's "excellent" fried oysters. The recipes are flavored with humorous details such as "[for] those who thought they could not eat parsnips" and "Granny used to beat 'em [biscuits] with a musket." Accented with historic photographs and featuring traditional meals ranging from skillet cakes to spaghetti with celery and ham, The Historic Kentucky Kitchen presents a novel and tasty way to experience the history of the Bluegrass State.