Dori Sanders’ Country Cooking

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

DORI SANDERS’ COUNTRY COOKING reflects the unique combination of gentle humor and profound wisdom that made the novels CLOVER (1990) and HER OWN PLACE (1993) so popular. As one of ten children on a South Carolina family farm, Dori Sanders was taught not only to work hard but also to enjoy life. DORI SANDERS’ COUNTRY COOKING shows that in her family, eating had an almost sacramental significance.

Appropriately, the book begins with memories of a great cook, Great-Aunt Vestula, who brought from the Low Country the habit of using such ingredients as shallots, sherry, and nutmeg to perk up ordinary dishes. Some of her creations sound wonderful, such as the chicken fricassee with meatballs and tiny noodles, originally inspired by the need to stretch Sunday dinner. While Sanders undoubtedly includes such recipes as “Pickled Pig Lips” primarily as curiosities, she is very much aware of contemporary cooks’ preferences. At the Sanders Farm Stand, where she and her family sell the produce of their farm, there is an ongoing exchange of recipes, such as those in this volume.

Although Sanders bows to foreign tastes in “Cooking for Northerners,” she obviously hopes to persuade health-conscious immigrants of the virtues inherent in such traditional Southern foods as greens, wild honey, and molasses. Her inventive vegetable recipes prove that Southern cooking does not depend on fat, though, admittedly, if one is drawn to “Crybaby Cookies” or “Sweet Potato Custard Pie in Orange Crust,” cholesterol must not be a primary concern. There is something for all tastes in DORI SANDERS’ COUNTRY COOKING. Perhaps most important in an age of anxiety, it is a sunny book.