Country kitsch

Every now and then I come across a cookbook so kitschy that I stop dead in my tracks. I discovered a gem called Ma’s Cookin’ Mountain Recipes while I was sorting through a box in my in-laws’ attic.

The book’s cover says that it’s “spiced with mountain customs, sayings, and superstitions.” It’s contents page is titled “corntents.” What a gem I found!


The list of contents includes:

  • Drinks an’ such
  • Biscuits an’ breads
  • Main vittles
  • Wild game
  • Side Vittles
  • Puddin’s an’ pies
  • Cakes an’ frostin’s
  • Cookies, candies, an’ other sweet stuff
  • Miscellany
  • Jest plain foolishness

There are actually some delicious-sounding recipes in here, but the “wild game” chapter is just plain gross. I’m not one to judge, but I will simply say that I don’t ever intend on cooking “coons” (there are three coon recipes including “coon and dressing,” possums, groundhogs, eel, frogs, or turtles.

The graphic description of of cutting into a turtle loose from its shell was particularly unsettling to read.

snapping turtle

Here’s a (non-game) recipe from the book.

Honey Bee Icing

“Now this here is a mighty tasty icin’, an’ a real handy one to use after you’ve robbed the bee tree an’ got sum fresh honey. Be shore an strain th’ comb out’a it, tho, as thet comb just don’t go very well in icin’.

Honey Bee Icing


1 cup sugar

3/4 cup marshmallow- chopped

1 egg white – stiffly beaten

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup water

1/8 tsp salt


Combine together sugar, water and salt – place on stove. Boil to about 238 degrees (soft ball) and add mashmallows. Beat and pour into beaten egg white very slowly. Add vanilla and beat until thick and creamy. Very good on most kinds of cake.