Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Book Review: The Disciples & Friends Cookbook

A Book You Can Buy From Me

Book Title: The Disciples & Friends Cookbook

Author: Jim Darden and other members and friends of "The Disciples"

Publisher: Cookbook Publishers Inc.

Date: 1984

Length: 60 pages

Illustrations: color photos (of food)

ISBN: none

Quote: "Things I wish I had known before I was twenty-one: That my health after thirty depended in a large degree on what I put into my stomach before I was twenty-one..."

The Disciples & Friends Cookbook belongs to the special genre of privately printed books sold as fundraisers. Recipes are the main attraction; poems, stories, and brief philosophical reflections make these books more interesting, especially when they're marketed as souvenirs of family or class reunions, social clubs, or (as in this case) bands.

The Disciples are a Southern Gospel quartet based in Church Hill, Tennessee. The recipes they've collected here are classics of "real, down-home" American cooking. Heavily marketed fad foods, novelty recipes, brand names, and expensive items are sprinkled through the book, but they're not the main theme. In fact, more of the recipes feature cheap and familiar ingredients.

Sample of the cheap-and-familiar category: "CABBAGE, MACARONI AND BACON: 1 lb. bacon. Cabbage. Macaroni. Cut up and fry 1 pound bacon. Cut and boil cabbage. Cook macaroni and drain. Mix all together and add salt and pepper."

Works just as well with turkey and rice, if you're planning to invite me...and it's a great camp recipe idea.

I'm sorry to report that two of the three cornbread recipes in this book include flour and sugar, and are not even identified as "muffins" or as Northern innovations. The third recipe includes cheese, which is acceptable to me because it's identified as a Mexican innovation. So, this is probably not the way your Blue Ridge or Smoky Mountain grandmother cooked; it's certainly not the way my grandmothers cooked. It is, however, here documented as being the way some authentic Southern mountain people cook today, after prolonged exposure to television and other importations.

This souvenir of "The Disciples" has no noticeable connection with any of the half-dozen bands Google shows as currently performing or maintaining web pages under that name. These "Disciples" were Jim and Evon Darden, Sandy and Jerry Carter, Bobby and Polly Fleenor, and Roger and Judy Winegar. If you buy the book from me, I'll try to trace these people, since they lived about twenty miles from the Cat Sanctuary.

Nobody's even offering this now-obscure book for resale on Amazon, so I can't even guarantee clean copies. The best way to buy it is to look in the Mountain Treasures store in Gate City. If you do buy it online, I'll have to charge the minimum price for Books You Can Buy From Me--$5 for the book and $5 shipping. E-mail: salolianigodagewi@yahoo.com.