Grayson cookbook serves up a side of history

GRAYSON - The city of Grayson is using a tastier approach to get people interested in the town's history.

The Grayson Cookbook, "From Trip to Grayson," was designed for a fundraiser for the Grayson Arts and History Center and features a plethora of recipes from many different time periods.

Barbara Hinkle of the Arts and History Center has been one of the driving forces of this project.

"We started compiling recipes and getting citizens involved in 2005," Hinkle said.

For a year, notices, fliers and newsletters about the cookbook circulated Grayson. Eventually, enough input had been received from the residents of Grayson, and in October 2006 the cookbook was ready to be printed and sold.

But buyers should be warned the Grayson cookbook is no average culinary aide.

The cookbook offers a variety of historical details about the recipes featured.

"Some of the recipes date back to over 100 years," Hinkle said.

Older recipes include stories and pictures describing the person who created the recipe and their relevance to Grayson. The cookbook also offers information about the town of Grayson during the time the recipe was created.

Take, for example, the aptly titled "Granny Cooper's Cornbread Dressing" recipe. The cookbook offers instructions on how to prepare the dish and then goes on to describe the recipe's creator, Maud Martin Cooper. The cookbook details that Cooper learned the recipe from her mother, making it 115 years old.

The cookbook later features a recipe by Aunt Jerry, who was Cooper's daughter. The recipe is for English Pea and Irish Potato Dumplings, and it explains how Aunt Jerry would have prepared and served the dish but provides faster and more modern solutions as well.

"It's a historical cookbook," Hinkle said. "It teaches about Grayson's history."

Other notable recipes include "Champagne of the South," a tried-and-true recipe for real, Southern sweet tea. The recipe, submitted by Tim "The Storyteller" Hall, plainly states that "not many folks know how to make iced tea the way it is meant to be made." The recipe also repeatedly advises followers "the key word is sweet."

Less than a year after its initial release, a second printing of the cookbook is already under way due to popular demand.

"It has been a total success," Hinkle said.

For information, call Hinkle at the Grayson Arts and History Center at 678-985-7775.