Friday, July 02, 2010

Crazy Ladies & Consuming Passions -Food For Thought

I'm joining Food for Thought

the brainchild of the very talented Jain from

Once in Blue Moon and of Food With Style.

This week, I'm cooking from two books

Crazy Ladies



Consuming Passions


the author of both being our

much adored Michael Lee West

creator of the beautiful blog

Designs by Gollum

Crazy Ladies is Michael Lee's first novel & it is a wonderful taste of pure Southern charm!

You can truly *hear* the different dialects beautifully in her descriptive style of writing.

It is the story of four generations of women from Crystal Falls, Tennessee

& the black woman who cared for them,

all enduring tough times with grace, humor & sometimes outrageous style.

After suffering many hardships,

Clancy Jane returns with her young daughter

to live with her mother, Gussie.

Clancy's resentful older sister, Dorothy lives next door

& it is the first meal upon their arrival

that the following scene takes place in her home.

Michael Lee captured the discomfort of being an unwelcome guest
& the horrible feeling of not being wanted
so very effectively in this chapter.

Your heart just ached for the young daughter & the way she was treated.

I tried to duplicate the picture of this meal,
using my Mother's American cut glass sugar bowl & butter dish,
right down to the ice tea spoon, paper napkin & the tall blue cup.

My favorite description of food was in the following paragraph:

I opted for grilled pork tenderloin in lieu of fried pork chops.
I did fry the yellow squash patties though,
with a wee bit of olive oil & onions.

From the book Consuming Passions,
you'll find the directions for making
"Perfect Iced Tea".

These lovely crispy home-fries were made in
my cast iron skillet, just like the one mentioned
in Consuming Passions.

You can read all about how to season one properly
HERE, on Michael's blog.

Their dessert in the book was blackberry cobbler.

This is my sad attempt with
"one whole section missing",
as mentioned in the book.

I want to emphatically state this recipe is NOT from Michael Lee!
It was awful because I'd forgotten to put the butter in the batter.

After only one or two bites, we pitched it &
opted for fresh fruit with sour cream & brown sugar.

Strawberries & Blueberries...YUM!

Served in my white strawberry basket!

I felt terribly sorry for Dorothy throughout the book, Crazy Ladies.
It was obvious that, due to strange circumstances,
she never got enough love & attention as a child
& it affected her deeply in all relationships during her entire life.

The book Consuming Passions reads like my own autobiography.
Our mother's could have been twins,
separated at birth.
I can soooo relate to Michael's early cooking fiascos, too.

"Fear of Frying" is one chapter! LOL
I laughed hysterically
as I nodded my head in recognition.
We are true foodies at heart.
Most of my fondest memories revolve around food
& the occasions that prompted their preparation.

The ending of Crazy Ladies was perfect!
I hated to return Consuming Passions to the library.
I'm going to buy the book, since there are
several recipes I would like to keep.
Thank you, Michael for providing some wonderfully entertaining
hours these past few weeks.

I'm looking forward to reading ALL of your books now.

Thank you, too, Jain, for providing this wonderful venue of
* cooking the books* to physically get these impressions out of my head. Doing the Food For Thought parties always enriches my reading as well as my eating. (excluding that cobbler).




  1. oh, i just love seeing mlw books at food for thought, FUN FUN FUN! i read all of her books over the decades, its great to get to SEE them again!

    i told a friend, to me playing with dishes is like playing with dolls, and its even more fun when you playing with them for fft, straight from the authors words!

    i love how you highlighted your text, i need to learn your trick!

    yum to your pork platter!

    cracking up on the tea, anon slob has me howling~

    i love one whole section missing, well if you are bird, egads i would have polished off the other section and brought in a 4x4 sq only! oh too bad about the butter... i hate when i do that, i always forget to add vanilla in my recipes, drives me nuts, even when i put the bottle out right where i need to use it, not until its in the fridge do i see the unused bottle...i bet my vanilla bottle is 20 years old, still pristine and never used!

    my dad loved his strawberries just the way you served them, with brown sugar and sour cream, nice memories~ your pics are gorgeous, makes me want to pop one right in my mouth!

    you are right consuming passions is a book you need to own!

    i am SO glad you play with your food, isn't it great fun to read and recreate all we see? i get a big kick out of it, reading now enriches our mind and palette! thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Rett~ You've convinced me I have to read these books! I love how you used your RW&B cookie cutters to highlight your text & tied these books into your patriotic table & post! And how you duplicated the meal with your mother's glass dishes & blue cup!

    Sorry about your cobbler (been there, done that :-) but I LOVE your strawberry basket! Thanks for sharing this, don't you love FFT? Happy 4th to you, I hope to have a meal that looks as good as yours does :-)

    P.S. The tomato pie WAS good~ my hubby loved it. I'll definitely make it again when we our tomatoes come in & I'm scratching my head trying to think of a way to use them! I hope you find yourself in Savannah this fall :-)

  3. I love these posts of yours Rett.
    I once visited a book club that always had a lunch or snack based on something from the book of that month. It was quite a challenge, some months! I'm off to see if those books are available up here.

  4. It's me again - I've just managed to reserve three of the books online from our library - yippee!

  5. I have always wanted to read Michael Lee's books but haven't. Now I certainly will.

    Oh, hope she see this wonderul tribute of a post.

    You captured the southern charm of this book with your wonderful meal!
    Rett, you are so creative!

    Food for thought and tummy!
    Happy 4th, my friend!

  6. Dear Rett,
    Bitsy, Dorothy, and Violet would have heartily approved of your delicious meal. You even found the "long necked" iced tea spoon!
    My mother is visiting this week, and she absolutely LOVED this.I remember like it was yesterday when I wrote the scene from CL. Bandwidth was 4 years old and playing with Legos under my desk.:-) A sweet memory, to be sure. You have perfectly captured the missing wedge of the cobbler. I just wish I had that wedge right now, tonight. I hope you are having a wonderful 4th.

  7. Hi Rett!!!
    I have got to get those books, you have made them come alive to me!!!
    I love the table and the food!!!You did an outstanding job!!!
    my Mom is famous for her sweet tea!!!I love it but know it is not good for you, so I prefer mine with splenda!!!Sweet tea is so good though!!!COBBLER IS MY FAV!!!!And I thought it looked really good!!!!Love those berries!!!!
    The entire meal looked so yummy!!!!
    Great job!!!!
    Thanks for sharing!!!
    Happy 4th of July!!!!
    I watched a special on the History channel about the Dispute of Michigan and Ohio, it was very interesting!!!!!

  8. I so enjoyed reading this! I had forgotten about MLW books. I must go fill in what I haven't read yet. For some reason, I have been on a non-fiction tear this year and I am ready for a good story. Reality is not as much fun. That cobbler looks so delicious, it is hard to believe that it wasn't! Your placesettings were great with the text. I love Food for Thought! I hope I can get it together to participate soon but for now, I sure do enjoy what everyone else is doing!

  9. Rett, this was such a great post to read! I enjoyed learning about an author I haven't read (yet!) and seeing your lovely, as always, place settings. That cobbler looks delicious! I'm sorry it wasn't! We had a 'pot luck' at church today and someone made a blueberry cobbler that looked just like that and it was divine. Your photos are really wonderful, honey! Happy Independance Day!

  10. You did a great job describing this! Now as soon as all the company leaves I will have some time to read!

  11. Fun post Rett. I love all your photos!

    I'll have to join in Food For Thought someday .. if there are two things I love it is reading and cooking/eating ( that three things?)


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