Into every cookbook reviewer’s life comes a publisher who says “I saw this and thought of you.” And so it was that I was the recipient of Little Old Lady Recipes. It’s a charming book written by the aforementioned sassy gals, and is evidently considered a book to be enjoyed by this Little Old Lady.
It’s a small-format book with a portrait on the cover. Think of Uncle Ben on the rice packet and you have the idea. OK, so it’s a lady here and she is white but it gives the same message: a contented soul who has spent a lifetime cooking up a storm and is happy to spread the joy.
If you have ever been to the Mid-West states of the USA then you will be able to hear the voices of these ladies. There is plenty of traditional and comforting food here, but also great good humour and no-nonsense philosophy. You know what these ladies say is right and if you disagree you will be wise to keep it to yourself.
The recipes are peppered with witty asides that add rich colour to this cookbook. “When your budget is tighter than a bad facelift…”, and “Butter comes from cows. Tell me where the heck margarine comes from, and then maybe I’ll eat it.” But the dishes offered here are typical of old-fashioned goods that would have been enjoyed down on the farm in Iowa, Illinois or Nebraska. I have friends from that neck of the woods and I recognise the personal warmth as well as the hearty food.
A recipe that might not have been found down on the farm is that for Tropical Breeze Fruit Leather. Perhaps they made apple fruit leather in a low oven overnight but the fruit for this exotic version comes from a bit further away. Mango, banana and coconut combine to make a healthy, natural snack that the kids will love. A way of getting them to eat some fruit, but don’t tell them it’s good for them!
The recipe for Turnovers is perhaps my favourite from this little gem. It’s a good one for using up leftovers. Some seasoned minced meat encased in pastry and baked make handy little pasties. Eat them hot; they are also good at room temperature but in that case add extra spice.
Little Old Lady Recipes – comfort food and kitchen table wisdom is a great stocking-filler for anybody interested in the place of food in society. It’s fascinating to hear people comment on their lives and to see how food fits into their world.
Little Old Lady Recipes – comfort food and kitchen table wisdom
Author: Meg Favreau
Published by: Quirk
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018