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Signing of Tennessee Celebrities Cookbook to be Held at Museum of Appalachia Fall Homecoming

tennessee celebrities cookbookBy Jeaneane Payne

Every true-blooded Tennessean needs a signed copy of Country Goodness: Recipes of Tennessee Celebrities in their cookbook collection.

You can purchase the cookbook and get it signed by its author, Pamela Whinnery, at the Museum of Appalachia Fall Homecoming between October 7-9.

Country Goodness contains over 300 recipes from local and national personalities, including Elvis, Dolly Parton, Mary Costa, President Andrew Jackson, The Chattanooga Choo Choo, and author Sam Pickering. Other recipe contributors are Tennessee artists, writers, athletes, sportsmen, actors, musicians, bed and breakfast inns, restaurants, highly visible Tennessee businesses, and notable events and places. Each recipe contains a brief note about its contributor.

Whinnery began putting together the cookbook following the publication of her first cookbook Favorite Recipes of Kentucky Celebrities which will also be available at the book signing.

Whinnery recalls that when sending his recipe, Jordanaires bass singer Ray Walker of Memphis, who sang for years with Elvis Presley, brought a smile to her face. He stated "I could eat this corn chowder every day. We've been married a little over 55 years and Marilyn and the corn chowder gets better all the time."

Probably the most interesting recipe was from Writer/Professor Sam Pickering from Nashville. Robin Williams's flamboyant character in the Academy Award winning movie Dead Poet's Society was based on him. The recipe he selected was Horace Hunnewell's recipe for Dandelion Coffee from one of his books. Pickering, who is known in literary circles for his witty prose, stated, "This is the best I can do. I am an eater, not a cooker. Generations of generous women have shaped my table habits and fed my appetites, and I am too old and comfortable to want to change."

"In my books, Horace Hunnewell's traveling show wanders Middle and East Tennessean. One of Horace's tents is stocked with patent medicines: The Mormon Elders Carbolic Soap, Gomersall's Blood Purifier and System Renovator, and Tolo's Triple Extract of Pepsin. For sale amid the medicines are always a shelf full of the home-brewed and home-cooked. This year the most popular item for sale was Dandelion Coffee, particularly good, Horace said, "awakening torpid bowels and cooling scrofulous eruptions to sleep." Horace's recipes are always a little vague. But his instructions for making Dandelion Coffee are: Gather and wash the roots, but do not scrape them. Cut them into small pieces then roast them like regular coffee. To brew a cup of dandelion coffee, pour boiling water over a portion of roots and let the blend sit for a few minutes." Horace said that the best time to gather roots was in the fall. Once dried the roots kept for years. The amount of roots used to make a cup depended upon taste and experience."

Country Goodness cookbook was published as a fundraiser for the Museum of Appalachia. In addition to being interesting to read, Whinnery believes the cookbook is also a great way to publicize and promote Tennessee tourism, business, industry, historic sites, and most of all the wonderful people who were born, lived, or have ties to Tennessee.

Sample Recipe:

Loretta Lynn Peanut Butter Fudge

• 3 cups sugar
• 1 teaspoon cocoa
• ¾ cup water
• 1 stick butter
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 cup smooth peanut butter

In a large bowl mix the sugar and cocoa well. In a saucepan bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and add the cocoa mixture. Cook to soft-boil stage or about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the butter and vanilla. Stir until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat and quickly add the peanut butter. Stir just until blended. Pour immediately into a greased 9 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Score 1-inch squares while warm. Let cool about 20 minutes and cut when firm. Makes 24 squares.

Grand Ole Opry member Loretta Lynn owns a ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, featuring a recording studio, museums, lodging. It is centered around her large plantation home, along with a replica of the Butcher Hollow cabin she was born in. Lynn has achieved over 70 hits as a solo artist & a duet partner. She was 11 or 12 the 1st time she ever tasted peanut butter and loves it.

Published October 1, 2011

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