Summer of ’78

In the summer of 1978, my son and I stayed three months on the Mississippi Gulf Coast waiting to join my spouse in Germany. My Uncle Claude had recently passed away and Mother suggested we stay in his home for our summer visit. The house was two blocks from Hwy 90 and the beach in Gulfport. Rob could go to the beach on his own. We got up at 3 AM and met the shrimping boats to buy shrimp for dinner. Although, my uncle wasn’t a cook, the kitchen was fully equipped.

I ran across a cookbook  from the Junior League of Jackson, MS named “Southern Sideboards.” I can  imagine this book took quite awhile to assemble as each recipe has to be tested and retested and finally accepted by the selection committee. The committee wanted to represent as many members as possible and expected to receive only the top recipes by each member. this is southern cooking at its best. The first poultry recipe with copious notes  is “My Mother’s Chicken Spaghetti” by Craig Claiborne, another native of Mississippi.My favorite line is as follows: One of the stipulations in the original recipe for this dish is that all the ingredients be combined at least 4 hours before baking. Even today, that command still works.

Remember, the ladies who shared these recipes entertained often, had housekeepers, and did lunch. Then ladies still wore white gloves to most events and a microwave wasn’t in their vocabulary.

With 414 pages, they have a wide choice, including game and recipes for large events. One recipe was cut down from for 350 people to 50. I have cooked a meal for 30, but 50 staggers me just to think about it.

There is a lovely Introductory Article by Wyatt Cooper named “Of Food and Fellowship.” Mr Cooper, a native Mississippian,  was the husband of Gloria Vanderbilt and the father of two sons. Shortly after submitting the manuscript for the article, he died at the age of 50 during heart surgery.  His son, Anderson Cooper is a well-known news anchor for CNN.

My book is getting pretty ragged after 34 years. I went online to see if I could find a copy. It is still in print and sells for $45.00. I paid $7.95 for mine  At Amazon, I saw used copies on Amazon up to $100.00. Maybe it was a first edition.

I made Cabbage Rolls yesterday from this book, probably  for the 34th time as I normally only cook it once a year. I have decided to devote my blogging for the next week or so to “Southern Sideboards.”as you just can’t go wrong. October and fall makes home cooking really special.


2 thoughts on “Summer of ’78

    • Thanks ever so much. (Just had to say that in a Southern style.) You know that meals are a big deal around here as they are an expression of love for my family and friends. Barb (Rob’s fiancee) told her youngest that they were going to eat dinner with me. Maddie got all excited and then it dawned on Barb to tell her we were meeting at a restaurant. Although she is an inherited granddaughter, she loves to eat at Nona’s. Hope you will soon.

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