Like many home cooks and cookbook collectors, we have a multitude of community cookbooks here at the John & Bonnie Boyd Hospitality & Culinary Library at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum. It seems that every time we open a new box of donated items, those ubiquitous spiral-bound recipe books—often created for a regional fund-raising effort—are well represented.
In these regional cookbooks, the name of each recipe’s contributor is usually included with the recipe that was given to the collection, but sometimes authorship is simply stated by town, such as, “Contributed from Rayville, LA, RFD.” These cookbooks are charming publications on their own, as they tell a story of a place and time, and the food that sustained and connected people. But what often can enhance the cultural richness are the notes left behind by the books’ owners.
Recently we came across several of these cook books that had writing all over their covers. Upon closer inspection, the scribbles reveal the book owners’ favorite recipes and where to find them easily inside the book. Sometimes, the note refers to a recipe that the owner has “edited,” with an ingredient removed with a pen stroke. Other times there is a note, such as “Remember for Christmas make this.”
The notes, scribbles, and recipe addenda provide valuable insight about the ways of the Southern home cook and serve as a tangible culinary record of the dishes and ingredients that fed the families of Louisiana. If you would like to see our collection of community cookbooks or anything else in our collection, please come by—check our hours and policy page on our website, here.
Here’s one of the noted recipes:
7 Minute Frosting
- 2 egg whites
- 1 ½ cups light corn syrup or ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1/3 cup cold water
- Dash of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Place all ingredients except vanilla in double boiler; mix thoroughly. Cook while constantly beating with rotary or electric beater until mixture forms peaks, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat; add vanilla; beat until of spreading consistency.
~Mrs. Joan Funderburk
From: Love That Cooking, published by Youth Choir, Istrouma Baptist Church, Baton Rouge, LA. (1972)