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    Books: Cooking by Cuisine -> Cooking American

    Mama Dip's Kitchen

    Council, Mildred

    University of North Carolina Press
    Published: October 1, 1999
    ISBN: 0807847909

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    Book Description
    You can hold this book the way you hold a child's hand. And you can let this book show you a whole new world, the way a child will reveal the secrets of a secret world if you take the time to stop and watch and listen. God bless Mildred Council and the time she took to get it all down in Mama Dip's Kitchen. And it's not just the recipes that come out of a life of good cooking--there's a great deal of Mildred Council in these pages, and we are better off for the reading, the cooking, and the sharing.

    In her acknowledgments, Mildred Council thanks a woman who helped with the book. Then she thanks the woman's children, "Shawn and Chelsea, for playing so nicely while we flipped so many pages." She ends her cookbook with a recipe for a child's birthday party. Her enthusiasm for life growing through all its stages can be found on every page. "I realized my name was my earthly soul," she writes, "which needed to be tended like the pumpkin seed--tended, tilled, fed, and harvested, to have a good life. And that's what I tried to do ever since for my family and myself."

    Part of that tending has been owning and operating Dip's, a popular Chapel Hill, North Carolina restaurant where she serves the kind of country food she grew up cooking. Mildred Council calls her style of cooking "dump cooking" because she scoops up ingredients without measuring and "dumps" them in the bowl or pan. It took her a good deal of time to measure out what she was doing so instinctively to be able to share her work as written recipes. But she encourages every cook to use her recipes like a sewing pattern, to experiment, to stretch here and cut there to make the food you like.

    Mama Dip's Kitchen is a compendium of straightforward, simple, southern American foods in chapters devoted to "Breads and Breakfast Dishes," "Poultry, Fish, and Seafood Dishes," "Beef, Pork and Lamb Dishes," "Vegetables and Salad," and "Desserts, Beverages, and Party Dishes." In simple foods as in a simple life, the complexities run deep. --Schuyler Ingle

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