Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Food: Recipes, cookbook reviews, food notes, and restaurant reviews with a heavy emphasis on San Diego. Unless otherwise noted, I have personally tried each recipe that gets its own page, but not necessarily recipes listed as part of a cookbook review.

Mimsy Review: Southern Cooking

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, January 25, 1997

Review of Southern Cooking, with a recipe for Cheese Straws.

AuthorHenrietta Stanley Dull
PublisherGrosset & Dunlap
Year1968
Length384 pages
Book Rating6

“The classic volume of America’s most unique contribution to the culinary arts.” Yeah, you gotta respect a book with at least ten recipes calling for marshmallows.

Henrietta Stanley Dull (Mrs. S.R. Dull) was the Home Ec editor for the Atlanta Journal and in 1928 collected the many recipes that passed through her section. This is a strong regional book: it bears a strong resemblance to the many “church” or “ladies society” cookbooks which simply collect everyone’s recipes to sell to unsuspecting relatives.

The refrigerator was the latest cooking innovation. Many of the recipes mention “ice boxes”. Dull discusses the four modern methods of refrigeration: ice, gas, electricity, oil. One of the really useful things is where she talks about ranges. Most of the recipes, like many recipes from the time, talk about “moderate” ovens, “slow” ovens, “hot” ovens. Even some modern recipes do this. Those of us born later than 1960 use temperature ratings, and she includes a temperature range for each of the common “oven” phrases. No doubt it is a personal interpretation, but it at least gives us some idea what the grandfolks are talking about.

While the recipes are the sort you expect from “Society” fund-raising cookbooks, this book is comprehensive. You get 300 pages of small-text recipes. More recipes for sweet potatoes, green tomatoes, buttermilk, and cornmeal than any Northerner could ever desire. And some things I’ve never heard of. What the heck is a “dewberry”?

This is the kind of recipe book your mother uses, whether she cooks or not. If you go to a lot of potlucks or need to make desserts at a moment’s notice, you’ll find this book quite useful. If you have an oversupply of eggs, this book will get rid of them for you. And if you occasionally like a meal of old-fashioned home cooking, you’ll hardly go wrong with Southern Cooking.

Cheese Straws

  • 2 cups flour,
  • 1 cup grated cheese,
  • 1 teaspoon salt,
  • “butter the size of an egg”,
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper,
  • ice-cold water to make a stiff dough.
  1. Mix salt, pepper, and butter into the flour.
  2. Add cheese and mix with the ice water.
  3. Cover and place in ice box for 30 minutes.
  4. Roll out, fold, roll again.
  5. Repeat folding and rolling four times.
  6. Roll to ¼ inch thickness.
  7. Cut in ¼ inch strips about 4 inches long.
  8. Place on baking sheet and bake in moderate oven until a light, crisp brown.
  9. Sometimes cut small biscuit about as large as a half dollar and bake as crackers or wafers.
  10. The oven should be very hot when put in, then reduced to medium heat.

Southern Cooking

Henrietta Stanley Dull

My cost: $3.33

Recommendation: Good down-home cooking