My Husband took me for another Texas adventure last night; we ate at Prairie House in Roanoke. What a historic town with a great knack for preserving historic buildings and promoting local businesses! With several locally-owned eateries, they are proud to call themselves a, "restaurant capitol". Having grown up in a small town, I have a warm, fuzzy feeling when I drive through Roanoke. There are little cottages, older stick-built homes and even a couple of Victorian "painted ladies". On Oak Street, there's a line of quaint restaurants and a book store/coffee shop. You can try to get into Babe's (there are often people waiting) if you want to eat fried chicken and watch the wait staff line-dance. On down the street, there's a variety of cowboy grub and authentic Mexican fare, too. What made me especially curious about Prairie House was the rustic look of the building and the name of the restaurant. I had to go in to see if Marshall Dillon or any of the Ingalls family were sitting at a table! It was unique and rustic inside, as well. The food was so good that midway through the meal, I looked across the table at my sweetie and said, "I am just in hog heaven!" I had smoked meat BBQ, homemade onion rings, cole slaw and a mason jar of brewed iced tea. Oh....and jalapeno corn muffins! Ronoake reminds me of a TV town called Mayberry and my favorite small town...Paden City. All of this is leading up to my book for review today; Aunt Bee's Mayberry Cookbook.
If ever there was a famous small town in the collective memory of baby boomers, it is Mayberry. And if ever there was an iconic cook it is Aunt Bee...you know, Bee Taylor, Sheriff Andy's auntie who toted him homemade food in a basket, just for lunch! Barnie, the deputy, always waited for that fried chicken and apple pie to show up at the jailhouse. I loved that show and still do! If you enjoyed it, you might want to look for this wire-bound cookbook from 1991. Ken Beck and Jim Clarck put it together with the editing done by Julia M. Pitkin. The publisher was Rutledge Hill Press from Nashville, Tennessee and its ISBN is 1-55853-098-3. I like the fact that a cookbook is dedicated to the memory of Frances Bavier (the actress who played Aunt Bee). I didn't buy my copy there, but I saw this cookbook being sold in gift shops when we visited the town that the TV show was based on. That famous little place is the town where Andy Griffith grew up-Mount Airy, N.C. If you loved the show, it's fun to visit Mount Airy.
This book is really full of good down-home recipes that you would typically find in a community or church group's cookbook, but it has names of characters from the show attached to the recipes. There's Barney's Salt and Pepper Steak; Goober's Secret Spaghetti Sauce and Opie's Oreo Ice Cream. Tidbits about the show, pictures of scenes from the show and character bios of Mayberry's well-known citizens are included. It's a fun read, especially if you're a fan! Here's a sample recipe from page 198:
***Cookbook hunter's alert: I saw 2 copies of this book at Antiques Mall in Keller, TX this past weekend. One copy was $10.00 and the other was $6.50!***
Mayberry Strawberry Pie
(Mary Ellis-Albuquerque, N.M.)
2 pints fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
1 C sugar
4 TBSP flour
1 C water
1 9-inch baked pie shell
In a saucepan, mash about 5 or 6 ripe strawberries, and combine with the sugar, flour and water. Cook until thick and refrigerate until cold.
Just before serving, place the strawberries in the pie shell, reserving a few for garnish. Pour the glaze over the berries. Cover with whipped cream and garnish with reserved berries. Slice and serve. Serves 6-8.