Carlye Jane Dougherty is the owner of Heirloom Bookshop, which sells rare and vintage cookbooks in Charleston, SC. Each month Carlye explores our readers’ favorite Southern Community Cookbooks.
Nashville has always been known as America’s music city and recently it’s been getting a lot of attention for hitting some high notes with its food scene. But, for Southerners in-the-know, country music and country cooking have always gone together like salt and pepper.
Like the theme of Barbara Mandrell’s, I Was Country (When Country Wasn’t Cool), singers like Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn were writing their own cookbooks long before celebrities like Gwynneth Paltrow made publishing one the thing to do.
Their “recipe books” were filled with beloved country cooking and, like their songs, stories inspired by the singers’ rural upbringings. Following the same success of their multi-platinum albums in the late 1970’s, these cookbooks were also run away bestsellers. Given this, it should come as no surprise that the Junior League of Nashville hit its own high note in 1978 with their cookbook Nashville Encore!
Encore!, is a testament to the golden pairing of country music and food. It opens with an ensemble cast of favorite recipes submitted by some of that time’s biggest country music stars. Who knew The Oak Ridge Boys made Caramel Corn in their spare time? Or that Tammy Wynette was famous for her Blueberry Buckle?
In addition to compiling an all-star introduction, the Nashville Junior League members also deserve applause for putting together a collection of recipes that simply sing. The featured recipe we chose for the May edition of the magazine, Crispy Cheese Wafers, gives any cheese straw a run for its money.The cover, Encore!, says it all as you will undoubtedly be reaching for this community cookbook again and again. We thank reader Sarah Havens who served as co-chair of the committee that compiled, tested and collected the recipes for this book for the submission that lead us to discover this gem.
Check out Southern Living’s May issue to find recipes for Fudge Pie and Crispy Cheese Wafers.
What are some of your favorite recipes and tips from cookbooks over the years? Send in your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org to win a chance to be our next featured community cookbook.