JAN KARON'S MITFORD COOKBOOK & KITCHEN READER
Jan Karon, , edited by Martha McIntosh. . Viking, $29.95 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-670-03239-6
"Food is a great way of communicating," says Mitford series author Karon in her charming cookbook brimming with comforting recollections, quotations, homespun kitchen wisdom and more than 150 mouthwatering recipes for foods that have appeared in the author's books. Characters in Karon's close-knit Mitford, N.C., community often get into challenging situations, and foods rich with Southern-influenced flavors of hearth and home are always close by: Marge's Deep-Dish Apple Pie, Father Tim's Beef Tenderloin, Cynthia's Lemon Squares and Uncle Billy's Sweet Potato Pie. Karon includes full-flavored classics like Louella's Cinnamon Rolls, Lottie Greer's Fried Chicken and Country Biscuits, Cynthia's Lasagna, Puny's Macaroni and Cheese, and Lew Boyd's Chocolate Cake, all with nary a calorie counted. There's even a recipe for dog biscuits and one for creating a "Christmas Smell" right from the stovetop. What makes this cookbook distinctive is that fans are treated to the exact scenes in Karon's stories where each dish was enjoyed. There's also a bonus Mitford story and recipes inspired from Karon's upcoming novel, along with plenty of sage cooking advice from how to season an iron skillet and stock a spice cabinet to pointers on saying grace and a rumination on the meditative effects of washing dishes by hand. Uncomplicated ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions will afford cooks, guests and fans plenty of time to savor the generous novel excerpts from the author's inspirational work. Color photos.
Reviewed on: 08/30/2004