Flip through a church cookbook and you'll find recipes that tell a story - a turkey and dressing recipe passed down from grandma, or a time-tested artichoke dip perfect for a potluck.
Quail Ridge Press publishing company is looking for some of the best recipes from these local cookbooks to be included in a new anthology - "Best of the Best from Georgia Cookbook: Selected Recipes from Georgia's Favorite Cookbooks." Quail Ridge published the original "Best of the Best from Georgia" in 1989, and it has been a beloved source of recipes since.
The book, part of the Best of the Best State Cookbook series, scours cookbooks from Georgia restaurants and publishers as well as books produced by community clubs, churches and individuals.
"We enjoy finding that little cookbook from a small community that includes wonderful family-favorite recipes," said cookbook editor Barbara Moseley.
Church cookbooks, which often list the cook's name right next to the recipe, are a reliable source for great recipes, Moseley said.
"No woman in her right mind is going to submit a recipe, to a book, that would make her look bad," Moseley said. "She's going to send in her very best recipe. People take pride in sharing a cooking heritage, and this is something we can pass down from generation to generation."
Groups can submit cookbooks for consideration through Nov. 30. After that, Moseley and her co-editor, Gwen McKee, will narrow the entries down to the best books. The groups who submitted the top cookbooks get to pick a few of what they consider the best recipes in the book, Moseley said.
"They know more about their book than anybody," Moseley said.
Then, Moseley, McKee and their team of taste-testers prepare the top recipes and decide which ones should make the cut and be included in the book. The team is looking for the recipes that best
represent the state, she said. For example, she expects to see lots of entries using the state's signature products - peanuts, pecans and peaches.
Some of her favorite recipes from the first volume were Savannah Crab Stew, Vidalia Souffle and Southern Peach Cobbler.
After it's published in June 2006, the cookbook will be available for sale in bookstores, at Cracker Barrel restaurants and in local gift shops.
The name of each Georgia cookbook chosen will be listed under each recipe, and a picture of the cookbook cover along with ordering information will be printed in the back of the book. Any club, organization, church or individual wishing to submit a cookbook for consideration can send a copy of their book to Quail Ridge Press, P.O. Box 123, Brandon, MS 39043. There is no cost for submission, and cookbooks not selected will be returned. For more information, call Terresa Ray at 1-800-343-1583.
Savannah Crab Stew
1 quart milk
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1⁄4 cup sherry
1⁄2 pound crab meat
Dash Tabasco sauce
Combine flour, salt and pepper. Add mixture to milk. Add butter and stir until smooth. Cool over low heat until slightly thickened. Add remaining ingredients and serve at once.
6 ounces stale or day-old French or Italian loaf, cut into chunks
1⁄2 cup butter or margarine
3 large sweet onions, but into thin slices
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup Swiss cheese, grated
1 pint light cream
3 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F. Place bread chunks in a 11⁄2-quart souffle dish. Melt butter in a large skillet. Cook the onions until slightly limp, or translucent. Pour butter and onions over the bread. Scatter thyme and cheese over the top. Blend cream into eggs until mixture is light and frothy. Add salt and pepper if desired.
Pour over mixture in souffle dish. Press down to make sure bread is thoroughly soaked. Bake 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve with a salad. Add ham or bacon for a different flavor, or more onions, if you like. Serves 6-8 servings.
Southern Peach Cobbler
1⁄2 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup water
6 or 7 peaches, peeled
4 tablespoons margarine
1⁄2 cup sugar
11⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 cup milk
1⁄2 cup plain flour
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
Mix together sugar and water and boil for a few minutes to make syrup. Slice peaches into syrup. Put margarine into Pyrex dish. Melt in 375 F oven.
Mix all crust ingredients together. Pour into Pyrex dish over melted butter. Pour peaches and syrup over this. Bake at 375 F 30 to 40 minutes until brown. The crust will rise.
Source: "Best of the Best from Georgia Cookbook" (Quail Ridge Press, $16.95).