Great Desserts of the South

Mary Leigh Furrh, Author, Jo Barksdale, With Pelican Publishing Company $19.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-88289-682-3
The over 300 recipes here have emerged from family larders, out-of-print cookbooks, well-fed friends and Southern restaurants, as well as the authors' own repertoires. The most venerable? Colonial syllabub. The latest thing? Mississippi First Frost Pie (circa 1988), replete with pecans and watermelon rind preserves. The territory includes previously unpublished recipes (``Alice Reilly's Secret Caramel Icing''); the Southwestern genre ( empanaditas ); Creole cookery (New Orleans Mardi Gras king's cake); and plantation and frontier recipes (hummingbird cake, tombstone pudding). Apple pie and the like honor good old Americana. But the authors' all-too-Southern view of slavery doesn't. Furrh and Barksdale casually observe that ``creative slaves used their talents for combining spices to flavor Creole sweets'' and ``the planter's wife was usually an excellent manager. . . . Her mentor was her black cooka genius at improvisation.'' Was slavery no more than an opportunity for black cooks to use their imaginations? Furrh is food editor of Missippi Magazine and Barksdale a freelance food writer. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
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