Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader
Edited by Martha McIntosh
My mother recently “discovered” the Mitford books and is thoroughly enjoying them. Included in her discovery is this cookbook. On a recent visit I sat down and read it completely. I gained ten pounds just reading the book. And then there are the recipes. This is down-home cooking, especially if down-home means Mitford.
The idea for the dishes come straight out of Jan Karon’s nine Mitford novels. Martha McIntosh developed the recipes to match the dishes in the books. For example, in Book 2 – A Light in the Window, Edith Mallory is keen on getting Father Tim’s attention. She has matrimony on her mind. For a meeting at her house, she prepares Beef Tenderloin, Father Tim’s favorite. The cookbook has a recipe for Edith’s Beef Tenderloin.
There are 150 recipes in this book and they are wide-ranging. In addition to Father Tim’s favorite Tenderloin, here are a few of my favorites:
- Puny’s Cornbread
- Rector Meatloaf (Old Faithful)
- Jan Karon’s Banana and Peanut Butter Sandwiches (She does have a great sense of humor.)
- Marge’s Chicken Pot Pie
- Esther’s Orange Marmalade Cake
- The Lord’s Chapel Communion Bread
- Helene’s Roast Poulet with Currents
- Christmas Smell (you don’t drink this)
- Barnabas’ Dog Biscuits
The book is divided into chapters, one for each of her books and the food mentioned there. In each chapter there are excerpts from the book, recipes to match the food item mentioned, and some kitchen tips.
In the beginning of this cookbook is an introduction by Jan Karon in which she explains a little about her writing and why she included food in her books. In the back of the cookbook you’ll find a section about her mother with a couple of her recipes. And last, you’ll find some snapshots from different times of Jan Karon’s life.
A bonus comes in the center of the book. There is a story, titled The Right Ingredients, which has never before been published in a Mitford Book. It’s twenty pages of a Jan Karon story set right in Mitford. It’s a super story.
This book can stand alone as a good cookbook of old-fashioned American foods. But, it is certainly a delight for anyone who is a fan of Jan Karon’s Mitford series. If you are a die-hard Mitford fan, you have to have this one. If you are unfamiliar with the Mitford books, check out Jan Karon’s the website here.