The Country Mothers Cookbook

Although this is technically a cookbook, the many reminiscences of bygone eras, collections of poetry, and precious illustrations nearly obscure the recipes. Much of this is not only distracting but also ingratiating. With verse and narratives titled “The Patter of Little Feet,” “Let Loose The Sails of Love,” and “Kindness Is Such A Very Simple Thing,” the reader is likely to suffer from sugar shock before ever tasting the food.

Recipes such as “Raymond’s Banana-Nana Nana Pudding,” “Little Darlin’ Cookies,” and “The Widow Boyle’s Sunshine Cake With A Simple Old Fashioned Lemon Sauce” offer little refuge from this overbearing adorableness. Others, however, like “Home-Cured Ham Baked in Milk,” “Venison Pot Roast With Vegetables,” and “Aunt Fanny’s Arkansas Black Apple Cookies” are appealingly straightforward.

Regardless of appeal, these recipes are nearly impossible to locate without the index because they are arranged not by genre or course, but by season of the year. To further complicate accessibility, many are clustered under headings; as might be expected, Mother’s Day and Easter are especially popular.

This book of old-fashioned American cooking is dedicated to mothers everywhere, provided, one suspects, they are White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. The kitschy nostalgia and bland homogeneity of the recipes is enough to give anyone indigestion.