While browsing through piles of cookbooks this past weekend at my favorite place for book sales, the Fremont Public Library, this darling little book caught my eye. It just looked like spring – the color of flowers and Easter eggs. And I certainly wasn’t disappointed when I noticed that it was a book about sweets from the South. Southerners make the best desserts – pies, cakes, candy, cobblers, crisps, and bread puddings. Maybe that’s because Southerners take their desserts very seriously, almost as a part of daily family life and tradition.
I called my Southern friend Roxanne, who of course makes wonderful desserts, and told her about this book. We started discussing jelly rolls. Does anyone make those anymore? Do you ever find them at restaurants? Maybe in the South, but not here around Chicago. Roxanne talked about how her family made jelly rolls, with the cake more fluffy than dense, how it would melt in your mouth. I told her how I remember my mom and grandma making jelly rolls, (even though they are Yankees!) and how I loved it when they scattered the powdered sugar all over the tea towels and the whole area around the towels looked like snow falling. Were they linen towels?, asked Roxanne. She knew everything about jelly rolls. I knew she would. What Southern baker wouldn’t?
The author talks of a long ago beau, who loved to play the guitar, sometimes more than be with her. So she did what any Southern lady would do – she baked a pecan pie – and good-bye guitar. Besides the classic pecan pie, the book has charming names for the recipes such as Miss Trixie’s Candied Popcorn; Muzz’s Lemon Chess Pie; Aunt Leecie’s Custard Sauce; and Mom’s Cherry Pudding. The “Real Whipped Cream” has butter in it, which I have never heard of before. The recipe says that “butter adds texture and body to plain whipped cream, and resembles old-timey heavy cream.” I must try that. Do you think a dollop of it would be good on a jelly roll? I’ll have to ask Roxanne.