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Raised on Old-Time Country Cooking: A Companion to the Trilogy

Raised on Old-Time Country Cooking: A Companion to the Trilogy

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Raised on Old-Time Country Cooking: A Companion to the Trilogy

908 pagine
9 ore
Oct 26, 2012


Sixteen generations later, the same old winding roads and blazed trails throughout the three novels lead us all back home to nostalgic dishes and the worlds from which they came. Upon arrival at the old home place, we quickly find our favorite room: Mamas kitchen. The familiar sounds of pots and pans and aromas of old-time country cooking float in and out of our senses. Suddenly, visions of chocolate pies swirled high with meringues cooling on the kitchen window sill are as clear as yesterday. The sizzling sounds of Mama frying chicken on the old wood-stove remind us that her kitchen offered southern hospitality at its best. The trip down memory lane of days gone by rekindles the true meaning of Home Sweet Home. As we stop and reminisce, hot tears blur our vision and we ask ourselves where did all the years go?

Oct 26, 2012

Informazioni sull'autore

Bettye Burrell Burkhalter is a Vice President, Associate Provost, and Professor Emerita at Auburn University. Academic research and fellowships with Auburn University, the International Academy of Astronautics, and the British Interplanetary Society sent her around the world. Upon retirement she teamed with her eighty-nine-year-old father, Cecil A. Burrell, to capture a way of life they both loved and valued quickly fading into the pages of time: country style living. Spanning four centuries, the saga is a testament to the author’s uncompromising vision to recapture the life and times of one man and his family in search of the American Dream. Bringing to life the colorful characters who blazed trails into the raw frontier, some critics compared her meticulously researched writing and techniques of creative nonfiction to the writings of Kenneth Roberts and Bernard DeVoto. Although Dr. Burkhalter worked and visited in over a dozen countries, she prefers the quiet countryside at her rustic log home retreat. There in the peace and quiet of nature she does most of her writing. “There is no substitute for awakening to a sunrise with singing birds, hearing a whippoorwill’s lonesome call to his mate at dusk, or watching lightning bugs flash by on a warm summer night,” she explains. Bettye and her husband, Boyd, also live in Auburn, Alabama.

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Raised on Old-Time Country Cooking - Bettye B. Burkhalter



1663 Liberty Drive

Bloomington, IN 47403

Phone: 1-800-839-8640

© 2012 Bettye B. Burkhalter. All rights reserved.

Front cover photograph © Byron Jorjorian

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system,

or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.

Published by AuthorHouse 10/19/2012

ISBN: 978-1-4772-8720-0 (ebook)

ISBN: 978-1-4685-4081-9 (sc)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2012910056

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

To my devoted daughters, Angela Anne Henderson and April Lynne Blount,

my only granddaughter, Katherine (Katie) Capps Griffin, and

to all the old-time cooks who were an inspiration

and shaped my love for cooking.


In search of old-time culinary clues, family members, perfect strangers, and local historians went far beyond anything expected. I am forever indebted to this group. They allowed me to rummage through mountains of frayed cookbooks, old recipe boxes, and family photograph albums. When these sources were exhausted, I moved to stacks of country store legends, personal diaries, published research, and Last Wills & Testaments in search of additional information about food, culture, home remedies, and cooking utensils. Once armed with this information, I followed the footsteps of the Burel Clan through southern France, Spain, Nova Scotia (Canada), New Brunswick (Canada), England, Hawaii, and all the story settings in America from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Attalaville, Mississippi. Countless university librarians and researchers provided a wealth of information. Specifically, Stephen White and Stéphanie Côté at the Université de Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, Daniel Girard, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and Christopher H. Mixon, Gary S. Hawkins, Eileen Hall, and Debra Dowdell at Auburn University, RBD Library, Auburn University, Alabama, were especially helpful and always anxious to assist with a missing piece of the research puzzle, or to provide technical expertise with graphic design requests.

The old-time adage, a picture is worth a thousand words, is especially true with recipes. A very special thank you goes to all the individuals who provided photographs and design work for specific recipes. Credit is cited under each image. All of the photographs without credit information were provided by the author. I offer my sincere appreciation to each individual who kitchen-tested many of the old-time recipes. They enriched the cookbook immeasurably. Regardless of the recipe’s origination or its final resting place one fact was universal: each dish was prepared with loving hands and proudly served to family and friends.

There are several exceptional individuals who were a tremendous help from the beginning of this project. First, to my dear friend and colleague, Norma Gene Smith, I will always be grateful for her suggestions, support, and professional contribution. With thirty-three years of editing and proofing experience, an extraordinary culinary palate, and a sharp pencil, Gene made an enormous contribution.

Since this is the last book in the series, I acknowledge and express my gratitude to my Design Consultant at AuthorHouse Publishing, Inc. Elizabeth (Beth) Byrge was with me for the entire nine-year project. She was always an email or phone call away, and there was never a design or publishing issue she could not resolve. Beth was a phenomenal asset to the laborious process, and I deeply appreciate her advice, support, and understanding.

And last, I acknowledge and thank my devoted husband, best friend, and business partner: Boyd C. Burkhalter. He was by my side from the first word written to the last. When I kitchen-tested one recipe after another, he graciously sampled each one with a smile, gave critical feedback, and never complained. With unforeseen setbacks, there was no way I could have completed the four-book series without his support and understanding.

Bettye Burrell Burkhalter


Old-Time Campfire and Kitchen Cooking Conversions and Tips

Many of the old-time dishes lacked exact measurements and cooking temperatures. A walnut size ball of butter, half an eggshell of pure cream, a couple dashes of salt, a smidgen of soda, and three handfuls of flour were translated into standard measurements. Likewise, a really hot campfire or a slow cooking oven were converted into Fahrenheit temperatures. Unless specified as Celsius in the recipe, all recipes in the cookbook are Fahrenheit.

Campfire Temperatures

Counting aloud from 1-and-1 up to 10-and-10, hold the palm of your hand about 3 inches directly above the hot coals. Count as following to gage the correct campfire cooking and baking temperature.

1-and-1; 2-and-2; 3-and-3; 4-and-4; 5-and-5; 6-and-6; 7-and-7; 8-and-8; 9-and-9; 10-and-10

1 or less = Blazing Hot (450° to 500°)

2 to 3 = Very Hot (400° to 450°)

4 to 5 = Moderately Hot (350° to 400°)

6 to 8 = Slow Heat (250° to 350°)

9 to 10 = Keep Warm (150° to 250°)

Metrics to US Measurements

Table of Contents


Historical Overview

Chapter One: La Burelle Cuisine Enriched South Carolina Backcountry

Chapter Two: Seventeenth Century French-Acadian Culinary Influence

Chapter Three: Cooking on the Wagon Train Trail: 1786-1850s

Chapter Four: First Pioneer Christmas Dinner

Chapter Five: Mississippi Golden Years: 1848-1861

Chapter Six: Artesian Springs Hotel and Resort Grandeur

Chapter Seven: Civil War Brings Bare Supper Tables: 1861-1875

Chapter Eight: Old-Time Home Remedies & Household Hints

Chapter Nine: World War II Rations & Victory Gardens: 1941-1945

Chapter Ten: Old-Time Family Reunions

Chapter Eleven: Holiday & Family Celebrations

Chapter Twelve: Final Thoughts & Wishes

Profiles of Three Novels

Endnotes & References

Historical Overview

The Generations That Built and Saved America

Novel I: Daring Pioneers Tame the Frontier

Novel II: Raised Country Style from South Carolina to Mississippi

Novel III: The Generation That Saved America

The Dutch oven nestled in glowing coals baked biscuits to perfection while a skillet of chicken was fried to a golden brown. When the last piece was forked and placed on the platter, Mama quickly tossed Grandma’s old tablecloth on the wagon tailgate and shouted, Supper’s ready – come and git it!

The three creative nonfiction novels captured the life and times of our ancestors who came to America in search of freedom and prosperity. These tough-minded immigrants were adventurers with unshakable courage, old-time ingenuity, and hearty appetites. Huge platters of fried chicken and hot biscuits gave them strength, while loyalty to God and country and a deep abiding love of family fed their souls and shaped their characters. The companion cookbook is the last book in the series, and it brings the saga to a close.

Throughout the three novels, brief descriptions of cooking methods and menus were interwoven into the stories. This last book revisits those scenes and takes the reader on a culinary journey detailing family farewells and celebrations. Divided into chapters, menu recipes of hors d’oeuvres, entrées, side dishes, breads, desserts, and beverages are the heart of the cookbook. Each dish on the menu follows with the recipe, which provides a short history bit, ingredients, preparation instructions, and the person who submitted it for publication. The history bits after the title of the recipe are the voice of the author unless it is in quotation marks. Those quotes are provided by persons submitting the recipes or legends passed down through their families. In those cases, credit for the history bit follows the quotation.

Our gastronomical journey itinerary includes visits at the following historic and family celebrations profiled in the three novels:

Gastronomical Journey Itinerary Overview

1. La Burelle in Ollioules, France: Knowing what our ancestors ate and how they got their food are fundamental in understanding how they survived. You are invited to join me as we visit our ancestors’ kitchens around the world and discover how they lived, cooked, and nourished their families. Our long journey begins in Ollioules, France, where Jean-Baptiste Elzèar Burel was born, raised, and educated. A few miles from the little village overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, we arrive at the old La Burelle country mansion. There we join the young surgeon and his family as they celebrate his elegant farewell dinner. Anxious to join General Washington and help him win the American Revolutionary War, the next morning we board the surgeon’s ship and set sail for America. As his anxious family and friends wave goodbye from the shoreline, our fleet of ships plow through the sea and quickly disappear over the horizon.

2. American Revolutionary War: Upon arrival on the shores of war-ridden America, Dr. Burel serves under General Washington and Major-General Lafayette, his French ally. Burel survives the treacherous war and returns to Philadelphia to marry the beautiful French-Acadian young woman who taught him English upon his arrival: Patience Hanna Bird.

3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: After the wedding at Old Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church, we accompany the young couple to their French-Acadian wedding dinner hosted by Patience’s parents, Jonathan and Blanche Bird. While enjoying the celebration, we savor a variety of recipes steeped in Nova Scotia Acadian tradition and pit barbecue, which was becoming popular in America.

4. Great Philadelphia Wagon Road: A couple of years later the young doctor makes the heart-wrenching decision not to return home to France. Instead, he and Patience join Randolph Jenkins and his wagon train bound for the backcountry of Goshen Hill, South Carolina. Once their covered wagon is loaded, we all climb aboard and begin the rough ride down the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road. As we travel deeper into the raw frontier, hundreds of years of family traditions and French gourmet dishes are left behind. For months to come, we cook, eat, and survive on the wagon roads and trails. It is an experience none of us will forget: especially cooking in the old Dutch oven.

Courtesy Oxmoor House, Inc.,

Birmingham, AL

5. South Carolina Backcountry: Once settled on the homestead in the backcountry of South Carolina, pioneer cooks substitute and tweak old family recipes to the point of culinary perfection. Foie gras goose pâté served on French bread is replaced with hot buttered biscuits and muscadine jam, and light and flaky cream puffs give way to heavy fried apple pies. Fine French wines are substituted with homemade muscadine wine and hard apple cider. The first Christmas dinner with the Burel family in their new log cabin is a grand celebration. Proud of all the newly created backwood palate pleasers, the pioneers share new recipes with their Jenkins friends and neighbors throughout Goshen Hill.

6. Wagon Train Moves West: The years passed too quickly, and all the perfected recipes were passed on to Dr. Burel’s children and grandchildren. Some six decades later, we climb aboard another wagon train moving west. This time it is with Dr. Burel and Randolph Jenkins’ children in search of fertile land and prosperity. Dodging bandits and renegade Indians through Georgia and Alabama, our long wagon train snakes over deep rutted roads from South Carolina to Mississippi.

7. Mississippi Golden Years: When we finally arrive in Attalaville, Mississippi, we watch with astonishment as the Burel and Jenkins men bag game and gather wild fruit from the fat of the land. Known as the Golden Years, the Burel, Jenkins, and all the other pioneer families prosper for over a decade. While enjoying these years, we hitch our horse and buggy and travel a few miles to the grand opening of the Artesian Springs Hotel and Resort. Immediately following the grand spring dance we are seated with 500 guests for an exquisite midnight supper. Gourmet dishes are served with genuine southern hospitality. Overstuffed with too much rich food, we find our rooms in the large hotel and fall asleep buried deep in the soft feather beds. A few hours later, daybreak awakens us with roosters crowing and aromas of fried ham and fresh coffee brewing in the kitchen. At breakfast we fill our plates with ham swimming in red-eye gravy, fluffy scrambled eggs, and hot biscuits. Afterwards, we know we have experienced country cooking at its best.

8. American Civil War: At the height of prosperity and the good life, bugles of war sound across the Southland. We witness the Burel families anxiously prepare a Farewell Rebel Dinner for their men who now belong to the Mississippi Confederate Infantry. Right before our eyes, the Golden Years come to a close. As the war drags on, we feel the unrelenting pain of day to day hardships on the home front and the struggle to put one more meal on the table. Too often a glass of milk ‘n bread is the total meal, and the closest thing to a dessert is a baked sweet potato. Four years later in the Spring of 1865, the war finally ends and we stand by the roadside waving to wounded and defeated soldiers marching home with broken spirits and bodies. In admiration, we sympathize with the unfaltering strength of their women. With pots of chicken and dumplings in one hand and old home remedies in the other, they welcome their husbands, brothers, and sons home with open hearts. Astonished by the lack of available ingredients for cooking during this long reconstruction period, we learn first-hand how a teacup of love and a dash of determination make up the difference.

9. War-Ridden New South: Through the eyes of folklore and food we take part in the rise of the New South. Families and neighbors join hands and help each other raise big vegetable gardens, fields of corn, and patches of sweet potatoes. Year-by-year they repair shattered lives with resources available to them. The rebuilding era (Reconstruction) brings new and exciting tastes with French, Irish, Dutch, and German recipes. As each generation improves, new commodities become available, and new recipes are mastered and enjoyed. Once most people were back on their feet and doing well, the tragic day that lives in infamy happened: Pearl Harbor was bombed.

10. World War II: Immediately, the United States is drawn into World War II, and 28-Stamp Sugar Books are issued rationing sugar, coffee, butter, animal fats, canned goods, and red meat. Posters such as Do with less—so they’ll have enough! invade every household. Again, many families resort to leftovers or a goblet of milk and bread for supper. At the end of another war we watch our veterans return home with new recipes, new cooking methods, and international tastes. With enthusiasm we witness mothers and wives coaxed into trying new German, French, Italian, or Pacific Island recipes their sons and husbands grew to love while serving Uncle Sam around the world. After surviving the Great Depression and World War II, slowly resilient Americans make another prosperous rebound.

11. Family Reunions & Celebrations: Many years later our gastronomical journey takes us to an old-time family reunion. So much food in one place we have never seen. With excitement and disbelief we help the Burrell family arrange old-time dishes beside the modern ones on 20-foot long tables. The platters of Fried Chicken and Baked Ham with large bowls of Fresh Butter Beans, Creamed Corn, and Potato Salad vanish immediately with the Italian Cream Cake, Caramel Cake, and Egg Custard Pie. The combination of excellent food and good company creates an unbelievable day.

New Year’s Day opens with traditional good luck foods. When summer arrives, the Fourth of July (Independence Day) is a grand celebration with barbecue, hand-cranked freezers of homemade ice cream, and fireworks after dark. Fall of the year arrives with its welcomed cool weather and takes us to the Big Island of Hawaii. Surrounded by the beautiful Pacific Ocean, we attend a traditional Hawaiian garden wedding including a seaside luau in the evening. Following the wedding we are back on the mainland for two of our favorite holidays that are around the corner: Thanksgiving and Christmas. These two holidays end the year at the perfect place: Home Sweet Home. With our families and close friends we enjoy all the traditional recipes and the latest quick-to-fix ones circulating on the food front.

12. Mallorca and Mainland, Spain: The last stop on our legendary culinary journey takes us back across the Atlantic to Spain. Traveling throughout the mainland and on the little island of Mallorca, we are special guests at a traditional Spanish fiesta. One day and night on the Mediterranean allows us to taste inland dishes baked by historic artisans in small villages. We also experience fresh seafood caught and served directly from the sea. Over the centuries, original Spanish food reached Latin America and eventually the United States. American cooks did not hesitate to Americanize recipes to their tastes. The 24-hour Spanish fiesta with a splash of French, Latin American, and North American influence brings our culinary journey to a close.

Of all the recipes sampled at formal dinners, over campfires, at pit barbecues, during family celebrations, and Spanish fiestas, we walk away with an overarching lifetime message. Every dish was prepared with a pinch of tender loving care and a dash of family tradition. Because we relish gourmet cooking around the globe and appreciate all the different cultures, we now understand why the South is known throughout the world for its southern hospitality. Now that we have previewed the gastronomical adventure ahead of us, let the journey begin!

La Burelle, Ollioules, France.

Courtesy April Lynne Burkhalter Blount,

Charlotte, NC


La Burelle Cuisine Enriched South Carolina Backcountry

Courtesy April Lynne Burkhalter Blount, Charlotte, NC

Historically rich cuisines and fine wines were central tenets of the French culture. Respecting and enjoying the finest foods, French cooks developed a culinary art and science adopted throughout the world. Reaching back to the 18th century to the grand old La Burelle, Antoine and Anne Burel hosted traditional family gatherings and enjoyed many Sunday midday feasts. The dishes ranged from traditional French recipes to Spanish paella borrowed

from their Mediterranean neighbors. The leisurely feast was enjoyed from the first l’apéritif to the last dessert. As upper middle class bourgeois, the Burel family was part of the new and emerging ruling class of the top twenty percent of French elite. Proud of their accomplishments, but always aware of their roots, they spent hours recreating scrumptious aristocratic meals, while mimicking and criticizing the noble class. On special occasions at La Burelle, Antoine and Anne flouted la haute cuisine with its elaborate cookery of the 18th century, while other times they spread la cuisine bourgeoisie with the grace and simplicity only they understood and appreciated.¹

As a young boy, Jean-Baptiste Burel watched fine French cuisine cook slowly on the countertop stew-hole stove. The large opening at the bottom maintained hot coals, which were used as needed in the coals compartments above. Slowly and evenly the heat rose through the holes in the countertop covered with iron grids holding skillets and pots in place. Often called a stewing hearth or simply a stew-hole, it was the forerunner of our present day stove top stove. Courtesy Oxmoor House, Inc., Birmingham, AL

Whether cooking and baking for aristocratic or bourgeois families, French cooks did not tolerate shortcuts in the lengthy techniques required to prepare fundamental stock, sauces, and dough. Whether an eight-hour beef or a slow-cooked béchamel cooked on top of the French stew-hole stove or a sausage stuffed French bread baked in the outside oven, the basics were mandatory. Local historians and a visit to the cellar at La Burelle verified that Dr. Burel enjoyed a passionate love affair with good wine, aged cheese, and fresh baked bread. A thorough understanding of ingredients and long kneading methods in French bread-making led to tasty and crusty loaves. There were no shortcuts. Served with all meals, the strong texture of French bread allowed one to freely mop gravy and pot liquor — or to enjoy with cheese and wine.

It is now time to step back in time and visit the lovely old La Burelle bastide located on the southern coast of France overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Take time to enjoy the leisurely and relaxing seven-course meal prepared on the French potager stove top. To fully appreciate the fine meal and wines, take a lazy stroll through the fruit orchards and winery. Then walk on down the hillside through their almond orchards where some of the original eight-hundred year-old olive trees continue to bear.

La Burelle Farewell Dinner Menu

La Burelle Sunday Dinner Recipes

Hors d’oeuvres

Petit Egg Cromesquis au Creamy Béchamel

Of all products used in cookery, none are more universally used than the never-failing egg. There are few culinary recipes that do not include eggs as an ingredient or major component. Whether eggs à la Poêle (fried eggs) served for breakfast, eggs à la Reine at lunch, or molded eggs princess at dinner,² egg dishes are favorites around the world.

Petit Egg Cromesquis: Dice 12 hard-boiled eggs and add 2 slightly beaten raw eggs, ¼ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon of white pepper, pinch of nutmeg, and 1¾ cups of Creamy Béchamel Sauce. Cook over low to medium heat until thickened. Allow to chill and shape into petite pyramids. Dip in batter and deep fry in hot olive oil (375° Fahrenheit) until a golden brown. Remove and drain on brown paper or a wire rack. Arrange pyramids on a serving dish and place the small bowl of Creamy Béchamel Sauce in the center. Also excellent served hot with Provence Tomato Sauce.

Creamy Béchamel Sauce: In a heavy saucepan or skillet heat ¼ cup of clarified butter or olive oil until hot. Remove from heat. Stirring constantly, sift 4 rounded tablespoons of flour into the hot oil. When mixed well return to heat and cook on low to medium heat about 1 minute. Do not allow flour to change colors or brown. Add 1 cup of whole milk and bring to a rolling boil. Stirring constantly, reduce temperature to a simmer and add 1 cup heavy cream. Season sauce with white pepper and salt (to taste). Simmer about 30 seconds more and remove from heat. If not smooth, strain through cheesecloth. Yields approximately 1 pint of creamy béchamel sauce.

Batter: Sift together 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt. Mix 1 slightly beaten egg, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and ¾ cup whole milk. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. This is an excellent dish for a family brunch or Christmas morning breakfast. From the Christmas kitchen of Bettye B. Burkhalter, Auburn & Gordo, Alabama

Provence Tomato Sauce

Physician and Naturalist Pietro Andrea Matthioli from Trento, Italy, described the tomato in 1544 as a dangerous product similar to the poisonous mandrake plant. The French called it the Pomme d’amour (apple of love). It was not until 1788 that French gardeners accepted the tomato as an edible vegetable. By 1838, there were three tomato sauce recipes in the Region of Provence.³ By the mid-18th century, tomatoes were cultivated in North and South Carolina, and by the mid-19th century, tomato ketchup was America’s favorite condiment.⁴ It would be hard to find an American cook today that does not have a bottle of catsup and can of tomato sauce in the pantry.

Sauté 4 chopped shallots and 1 small clove garlic in ½ cup olive oil until tender. Add 3 pounds of very ripe, chopped tomatoes, 1 cup beef stock, ½ cup chopped parsley, 1½ teaspoons sugar, ¼ teaspoon cumin, and 2 bay leaves. Bring to a boil and lower temperature to a simmer and cook for a couple hours. Season with fresh ground black pepper and salt. Add additional sugar if necessary. Remove bay leaf and press through a sieve. Serve in a sauce bowl with a ladle. Yields 3 cups. From the award winning kitchen of Rosemary Johnson, Birmingham, Alabama

Baked Ham in Cucumber Cups

Pork recipes date back to 4900 B.C. in China, and by 1500 B.C., it was a favorite meat throughout Europe. In 1492 when Christopher Columbus led the Santa Maria, Nina, and Pinta toward the New World, he had eight pigs on board. By the 17th century most American farmers were raising hogs and curing hams and slabs of bacon. It was not long until cured pork was a staple food throughout Colonial America. Today around the world, baked ham continues to be a favorite, and most Christmas tables serve baked ham as one of the entrées. Furthermore, every scrap of leftover ham is used in some way. Whether in a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, macaroni salad, fried ham and biscuit, ham and scrambled eggs, or lentil soup, all of the baked ham is used. However, the best part of the ham is saved for last — the ham bone. A big pot of Ham Bone Soup served with hot cornbread muffins is perfect for a cold winter night. But during the summertime, try the following Baked Ham in Cucumber Cups at your next brunch or luncheon. They are refreshing and always a winner!

Select 4 firm medium cucumbers. Peel lengthwise leaving 4 narrow strips of the green peeling. Cut into 1 inch length and scoop out the top part of the center. Leave a sound bottom for the ham mix. Pour approximately ½ cup French dressing over the cucumber cups and marinate for at least 1 hour. Remove cups from dressing and invert on a rack. Allow to drain well. Combine 4 cups diced baked ham, salt and pepper (to taste), and enough heavy cream to make the mixture thick enough to spoon into cups. Spoon ham mixture into cucumber cups and sprinkle lightly with paprika. Each cup may be garnished with a tiny sprig of fresh parsley. Arrange cucumber cups on lettuce leaves on a salad tray or large dish and chill. Serve cold. Yields 16 to 20 cups. From the kitchen of Bettye B. Burkhalter, Auburn, Alabama

Mediterranean Ham Melons with Stuffed Toast

Popular in France and Spain, this old Mediterranean Basin recipe is

another way to serve baked ham during the hot months of the year.

Mediterranean Ham Melons: Set aside 1 large honeydew melon and 1 large cantaloupe, favorite Sherry, and 12 thin slices of baked ham. Cut the melons into halves and scoop out seeds and discard. Using a melon scoop or small spoon cut rounded balls from the ripened melons. Replace the balls into the empty rind and sprinkle evenly with sherry or brandy. Chill for several hours. Roll each slice of ham into a neat roll. After melons have chilled, use a sieved spoon and serve in individual boat-shaped crystal dishes. Place 1 slice of rolled ham aside melon balls. Option: Spoon drained melon balls onto a large tray and arrange ham rolls around the edge. Adjust the number of rolled ham slices with amount of melon. Serve with stuffed toast. Yields 12 servings.

Stuffed Toast: Toast to a golden brown 8 to 10 thin bread slices on both sides. Cut crosswise into triangles and cool on rack. Grate finely 2½ cups of Cheddar cheese and set aside. Fry or broil 1 pound of thin sliced bacon until crisp. Crumble bacon and mix with 2 cups of grated cheese, 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives, 1 smidgen red ground pepper, and 1 to 2 teaspoons (to taste) of Worcestershire sauce. Mix well and spread a thin layer on dry toast. Using the ½ cup of reserved grated cheese, sprinkle a light layer on top and broil until melted and brown. Serve hot. From the Mediterranean kitchen of Dr. Jonnie Duncan Wilbanks, Majorca, Spain

Covington Watermelon Rind Preserves

The origin of watermelons can be traced back at least 4,000 years to the Egyptians, and by 1629, they were found in Massachusetts. In 1673 when Father Jacques Marquette was traveling down the Mississippi River, he reported watermelons being cultivated inland by Indian tribes.⁵ The Burel/Burrell Clan and their neighbors always planted large patches of watermelons. After the melons were eaten, the rinds were used for pickles or preserves. When sugar was not available to make preserves, melon rinds were set outside for the yard chickens to eat. When the flock finished pecking away the juicy rinds, there were only paper-thin green sheets left behind — usually in small pieces. The scrap pieces were picked up and thrown into the compost pile or fed to the hogs. Not even watermelon rinds were wasted. When the Covington family pioneered to Mississippi in the 1800s and settled in the Shrock Community, they brought their old family Watermelon Rind Preserves recipe with them. There was nothing any better on a cold winter morning than a big platter of fried smoked ham swimming in red-eye gravy, scrambled eggs, hot buttered biscuits, and a fresh jar of Covington Watermelon Rind Preserves. Christine explained why the recipe used brown rock sugar. My Grandmother Jones used the rock sugar that formed inside the molasses buckets. In pioneer days, I guess they were always short of white granulated sugar. Today, I use some brown sugar (approximately ⅓ of total sugar) for color and flavor. Enjoy Christine’s ancestors old-time Watermelon Rind Preserves.

Peel and cut the white part of the watermelon rind into small sticks. Weigh 5 pounds of watermelon sticks and put in a large pot or kettle with a heavy bottom. Add 2½ pounds of sugar and set aside overnight. Stir now and then to help sugar dissolve. The next morning, bring the watermelon sticks and sugar to a boil. Slice 1 lemon into thin slices and add to boiling preserves. When the preserves begin to cook down into a thick stage, stir constantly to prevent burning. When the syrup reaches the desired thick stage, remove from heat and ladle into hot sterile jars and seal. From the county kitchen of Christine Covington, Goodman, Mississippi

Small First Course

Soupe à l’ oignon Gratineé

(French Onion Soup)

The myth of the delicious and nourishing onion soup originated with King Louie XV while at his hunting lodge. With only onions, butter, champagne, and stale bread in the cupboard, the King created a stew, which was surprisingly delicious. Thus, the beginning of the legendary French Onion Soup. The base of gourmet French Onion Soup is caramelized onion and beef broth. When the soup is done, pour a serving into a ramekin and top with a slice of stale French bread. Add a slice of Gruyère cheese on top, and place under the grill and brown the melted cheese to a golden brown. It is a perfect side dish with any meal. If you are in an American restaurant order French Onion Soup, but if you are in Nova Scotia or France, ask for Soupe à l’oignon Gratineé.

Sauté 8 cups of thinly sliced (⅛ to ¼-inch) sweet onions in ½ cup butter until tender and a golden brown. Stir 3 tablespoons of flour into pan and cook 1 minute. Add 3 quarts of beef or pork stock, 1 cup brandy, and season with salt and pepper (to taste). Simmer on low heat for at least an hour. Spread a light coat of butter on small slices of French bread. Bake in a 350° oven 10 minutes, or until dry. Sprinkle tops of toasted bread with grated Gruyère cheese and broil to a golden brown. Place a slice of toasted cheese bread in each soup bowl and cover with hot soup. Serve immediately! As a light first course, the recipe yields 15 to 18 servings. From the kitchen of Bettye B. Burkhalter, Auburn, Alabama

Ginger-Butternut Squash Soup à la Crème

The ginger root can be traced over 3,000 years ago, and it was a popular spice with the ancient Romans. After the fall of the Roman Empire the coveted spice almost disappeared. Thanks to Marco Polo’s spice-trading trips to the Far East, the coveted and very expensive spice was brought back to Europe. Today, ginger grows wild in the Caribbean tropical areas, and it is generously used in Caribbean cuisine. The gnarled and ugly roots are an excellent health food. Many home remedies use the natural spice for nausea, motion sickness, upset stomach, and morning sickness. It is important to note that too much of the spice can cause gastric irritation, so always talk with your physician before trying any home remedy. The Mississippi Burrell (Burel) pioneers handed down their old concoction of Ginger Tea, and they all swore by it. Grandpa Burrell used to say, Just cut some ginger root into slices, and put ‘em in a teapot. Pour boiling water over ’em and let sit for no more than 10 minutes. Strain th’ tea, pour it into a coffee cup, and add a teaspoon of raw honey. Drink it straight, and I promise you it’s good for what ails you! In addition to Ginger Tea, the old French recipe of Ginger-Butternut Squash Soup à la Crème continues to grace Burrell dinner tables throughout the South.

Cut 4 pounds butternut squash into halves and place in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 450° until tender. Peel 3 large potatoes and dice. Cover with water and ½ teaspoon salt and cook until tender. Using a soup kettle or heavy pot, sauté 1 large chopped onion in 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil until tender. Stir in 1 tablespoon minced ginger root, 2½ teaspoons curry powder, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Cook an additional 2 minutes. Add drained, cooked potatoes to the pot. Stir in 6 cups chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add cooked squash and simmer another 10 minutes. When cooled, purée squash in small batches and return to pot. Add 1 cup milk and ½ cup heavy cream. Garnish with a dollop (1 heaping teaspoon) sour cream. Serve hot. Yields 3 quarts. From the kitchen of Wylodean Burrell Edwards, Kosciusko, Mississippi

Mediterranean Seafood Mold

Obtained from the bones of animals and rich in protein, gelatin was discovered around 1400 for making glue and preparing fish, fruit, and meat for ancient banquets for royalty. It was not until 1754 that gelatin was manufactured in England for woodsman’s glue. By 1875, industrial manufacture of gelatin led to sophisticated products for food, pharmaceutical, and technical applications. If you prefer to make your own gelatin from scratch, the process of boiling animal skins and bones is the same today as in ancient times. The use of this jelled by-product opened a new world for cooks and chefs allowing them to present fancy, healthy, and delicious dishes. Whether using unflavored gelatin, or one of the popular Jell-O fruit flavors, the limit of creative recipes is left only to the imagination of the cook. Cookie’s delicious Mediterranean Seafood Mold is one example.

Prepare, steam, and chill ½ pound fresh crab and 1 pound shrimp. Cut ½ pound fresh crab and ½ pound shrimp into small pieces. (Peel and de-vein ½ pound shrimp to use later.) Using a saucepan, on low heat melt 1½ cups condensed tomato soup (1 can) with 1 (8 ounces) package cream cheese. Mix until blended. Sprinkle 2 packages unflavored gelatin over soup mixture and stir until dissolved. When cooled, add 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 small onion diced fine, ¼ cup celery finely diced, ½ teaspoon salt (to taste), 1 smidgen red cayenne pepper (to taste), ¼ teaspoon parsley sprigs or flakes, and 1 tablespoon crab boil. Mix well and ladle into a ring mold. Let set overnight in the icebox (refrigerator). When ready to serve, quickly dip sides of mold into hot water. Dry outside of mold immediately and turn onto a decorative serving platter. Garnish around outside of ring with fresh parsley sprigs and ripe cherry tomatoes. Fill the center with fresh peeled shrimp tossed lightly in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Serve immediately. From the kitchen of Cookie Pate Smithson, Goodman, Mississippi

Chicken Pâté Puffs

(American Style)

Unlike French pâté en croûte made with liver and baked in a crust or pâté en terrine baked in a terrine (mold), this chicken pâté recipe is soft and spreadable. When made with liver rather than chicken breasts, the spreadable pâté is referred to as liverwurst. Handed down from our Burel ancestors in southern France, the petite puffs also can be served as hors d’oeuvres in pastry puffs or on assorted crackers.

Chicken Pâté: Combine 3 cups diced cooked breasts, ⅓ cup sautéed mushrooms, 1 minced fresh garden onion including green tops, ¼ cup diced sautéed mushrooms, 1¾ cups chicken velouté sauce. Season to your taste with white pepper and salt. Mix gently with a wooden spoon and fill pastry puffs. Arrange attractively on a glass platter or silver tray.

Chicken Velouté Sauce: Heat ¼ cup butter or oil in a heavy skillet. Remove from heat and stir in 4 tablespoons sifted flour. Return to heat and cook on low heat for about 1 minute. Stirring constantly, do not allow color to turn brown. The sauce must be white. Remove from heat and add 2 cups of chicken stock. Mix well. Cook on moderately low heat until sauce thickens. Add very slowly 1½ cups heavy cream until desired consistency. Season with salt and white pepper (to taste). Yields approximately 12 small servings. From the kitchen of Bettye B. Burkhalter, Auburn, Alabama

Holiday Fig Compote

Ranking with the olive tree, the fig tree throughout the Mediterranean region of southern France was known for its unusual velvet beauty and high nutritional value. A quick scan across the landscape showed large bushy trees displaying their fruit at all stages of size, color, and ripeness. Clinging to sturdy limbs, tiny green figs burst with new growth while large dark and purple ones begged to be picked. A closer look at the shaded branches under the large leaves revealed honeybees perched on over ripened figs collecting pure syrup oozing from the soft and limp fruit. These treasured fruits carried the Phoenicians through long sea journeys, and Hebrews, Egyptians, and Persians used them to free their stomachs and make them clean again.⁶ From the colonization of the southern coast of France to the discovery of America, fig orchards have always been an important part of the Burel landscape and diet. The following recipe is a tasty and refreshing one. Enjoy!

Wash 6 cups of ripe firm figs, remove stems, and cut into half lengthwise. Mix 4 cups water, 1 cup sugar, ⅛ teaspoon salt, ¼ scant teaspoon ground cloves, and 1 tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a low boil and cook uncovered for 6 minutes. Lower temperature to a simmer and add fig halves. Bring back to a simmer and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add 3 tablespoons colorless brandy and 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring. Swirl gently to mix. Set aside and allow figs to cool at room temperature in the syrup. Dip figs from syrup and arrange in circles on a shallow fruit dish with flat side down. Drizzle remaining syrup over figs, chill, and serve. Yields 12 to 15 servings. From the kitchen of Elizabeth (Beth) Burel Buchanan, Bethlehem, Georgia


Fresh Shrimp Salad

Fresh Shrimp Salad: Slice 3 medium size cucumbers, lightly salt, and set aside to chill. Boil 2 eggs and set aside to chill. Boil or broil 2 dozen shrimp and chill. With chilled shrimp add ¼ cup finely diced celery, 2 finely diced boiled eggs, ¼ cup green onions, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, ⅛ teaspoon paprika, and ¼ cup mayonnaise. Add salt and white pepper (to taste). Gently toss until mixed. Arrange individual serving size lettuce leaves on a chilled platter. Scoop one serving of shrimp salad on each leaf of lettuce. Aside each shrimp serving, add several overlapping slices of cucumber. Around the edge of the platter, display sliced ripe tomatoes sprinkled with vinaigrette. Serve with French bread or assorted crackers. Yields 10 servings. From the kitchen of The Carolina Housewife, Charleston, South Carolina 

Pickled Beet Salad

Beginning in Ollioules, France, in the 18th century, the Burel (Burrell) family used apple cider vinegar in many ways. Whether in a beet salad recipe, a home remedy for a cough and cold, or to relieve an insect bite, vinegar was always found in the kitchen pantry and bedroom chamber. When a recipe called for vinegar, the cook always assumed it meant apple cider vinegar. The word was passed down from generation to generation that vinegar made from fresh apples, and allowed to ferment organically and maintain their natural sediments with pectin, trace minerals, and beneficial bacteria and enzymes, was always the best. Today, look for a bottle of apple cider vinegar in every Burrell cupboard: it will be there.

Cook 7 cups thinly sliced fresh beets until tender. (Cooked canned beets can be used.) Drain liquid in a separate saucepan and add 6 tablespoons sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 cup water, and ½ cup apple cider vinegar. Bring to a boil and pour over cooked beets. Marinate overnight. Drain and arrange on crisp lettuce. When ready to serve, sprinkle salad with finely chopped egg whites and parsley. Serve cold. From the kitchen of Bettye B. Burkhalter, Auburn, Alabama


Mediterranean Paella

Courtesy Dr. Johnnie Wilbanks, Cala Murada, Spain

From the high points of La Burelle mansion property, generations of Burel families enjoyed the Mediterranean view. Peering across the deep blue sea toward Spain and the Island of Mallorca, the Burel Clan imagined they could hear Spanish locals shouting: Let’s eat rice! With

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