Monday, November 10, 2008

Sharing Recipes and Stories

Nancy Simpson posted a comment saying no one has ever asked her for a recipe. Somehow I don’t believe her, but her real talent lies in her poetry. I follow her site Living above the Frost Line. It is filled with wonderful poetry and pretty pictures of her garden in the mountains.

Her comment about sharing recipes made me think of my husband Meakin’s late step-mother Wanda. She was probably the best cook I have ever known and was never afraid to tackle even the most complicated of foods. Her daughter Marilynn ran a successful catering business in Buffalo, NY for years. Anyway, years ago Wanda served a fabulous Clam Zucchini soup as a first course and I asked for the recipe. I was out of luck because she didn’t share recipes. That was a shame because, as a new cook at the time, I certainly could have learned a lot from her. I vowed to myself that day that I would always share and so I have.

Nancy and I belong to the North Carolina Writers Network and Netwest. Glenda Beall, Netwest Coordinator, wrote a post about sharing recipes and included fellow writer Peg Russell’s yummy Rum Cake. Click on the above link for Peg’s recipe.

A friend of ours, David Dabney, owns a beautiful antebellum tour home, The Martha Vick House, in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He tells a wonderful southern story of recipe sharing in the Vicksburg cookbook, Ambrosia, which is out of print now but can be purchased from used booksellers on the internet.
Ambrosia is a coffee table cookbook filled with rich food, gorgeous pictures, amusing stories about the south, and is an excellent tour guide of the city of Vicksburg. Vicksburg’s finest cooks share their recipes for entertaining for special occasions throughout the seasons.

David’s mother had a wonderful cook named Esterine for forty years. In those days ladies entertained with bridge clubs at home and served lunch. Esterine made a scalloped oyster dish that the ladies loved but she had no recipe. Everything was just pinches or dashes of this and that. All of the ladies wanted the recipe. One day they caught her in a good mood and she gave them the recipe. They were very proud of themselves for finally getting her to share her secrets.

About a week or so later, Esterine was at the Piggly Wiggly doing David’s mother’s marketing and one of the ladies was in line with her. The lady said, “Esterine, Honey, I did those scalloped oysters just like you told me to, but, you know, they didn’t taste like yours.”

Esterine drew herself up and said, “I didn’t ‘tend for ‘em to be.”


  1. Sam, Nancy Simpson has one recipe I want - her great cheese ball recipe. She used to take it to our Netwest Christmas Parties and I couldn't get enough of it. But I keep forgetting to ask for the recipe. Maybe you could get her to share it on your blog.

  2. Nancy, the pressure is on. Like Glenda, I love cheese balls. In fact, I may have a fat tooth instead of a sweet one.

    Would you share your cheese ball recipe with us? Pretty please.

    Sam and Glenda

  3. Hi Glenda, I will try to come up with a recipe for the cheese ball. Truth is, there isn't one. That is the way I cook, without a recipe. But, I will do it for you. Yes, I will. I love to make the cheese ball and give it as a gift with a small cheese knife and a pretty plate. I love to make it for any Netwest Writers' gathering within driving distance. Stay posted. I will give you all that recipe.

    But Glenda, remember, I once asked you for a recipe and you said you would give it to me. You never did.

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  5. Sam ... Moms cheese ball is fantastic ... the only problem is that there seems to be never enough of it! We eat it on crackers, on white bread and even on celery! YUM!

    PS ... she makes a killer deviled ham in her Magic Bullet too. **grin**

  6. Great news. Nancy gave me her recipe for the cheese ball and you are right, it is terrific.

    She brought a cheese ball to the Netwest Prose Group meeting last night at Tri-County College and everyone raved about it. When she presented it, Jerry Hobbs made the first comment. "Anything with pecans in it has to be good." He was right.

    Stay tuned. I'll be posting the recipe complete with a picture and Nancy's suggestions for gift giving.


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