You’re Cookin’ It Country: My Favorite Recipes And Memories
First you trap the possum. From what we know of Loretta Lynn’s early life, it’s no surprise to find a possum recipe, here, accompanied by a tale of how her mother would set a possum trap once a week. First, though, Mommy had to figure out where a possum was lurking, and even then the trap might snare a ‘coon or a rabbit instead. No matter. Mommy’s rabbit recipe was a personal favorite, one also relished by Patsy Cline. In fact, Lynn tells how Cline scarfed leftover rabbit from her table the Thursday before she died.
Accompanying the chicken recipes is a story about the Lynn family’s production line for slaughtering chickens. Loretta enjoyed plucking and gutting even when times were good at her own Hurricane Mills farm. It was her chicken and dumplin’s that won over Dinah Shore’s audience, we learn, as well as the White Stripes’ Jack White, whom she impressed even more with three fresh loaves of her homemade bread.
These 129 recipes and 25 stories, which began as a legacy for Lynn’s progeny, are a tour of her remarkable journey, baggage intact. Family anecdotes are mixed together like succotash — the humorous (the chocolate pie that introduced her to her husband Doolittle), the poignant (her young husband’s pecadillos), the tragic (the drowning death of their eldest son). The language is conversational, the ingredients easily available, and the recipes simple enough for the greenest cook; Lynn learned most of them as a new bride at age 14. Her sturdy, rib-sticking cooking is not for the faint of heart, however. The recipes are so fearlessly laden with cholesterol that the book should come with a warning label: “Pop a Lipitor before opening.”
The content we’d likely expect is accompanied by a number of surprises, including marinated asparagus, Chinese beef casserole, salmon croquettes, and lemon whippersnapper cookies that start with cake mix. There’s also the happy story of Lynn’s years as a Crisco spokeswoman; the brand shot many of its commercials in her own kitchen.
Still, what gives this book its unique flavor is Loretta’s down-home perspective, seasoning her tales of the first time she had peanut butter, or the first-snow joy of Mommy’s Snow Cream, or the candy Santa brought the year they knew he wouldn’t come. “I think it’s nice to want just a little bit,” she says. She makes it a heady aperitif.