With the Great Recession prompting many to till their yards to produce food for the family’s mealtimes, a new book, Way Back in the Country Garden, reminisces about days in which our forebears relied almost totally on the family garden instead of the convenient grocery store.
The book, by Kay Wheeler Moore, is a blend of stories about six generations of a family and their recipes developed from the food that is home-grown.
Way Back in the Country Garden is a sequel to Moore’s popular Way Back in the Country, published in 2002. That book encouraged people not only to preserve their families’ legendary recipes but also to preserve the lore about the people who popularized these recipes within a family.
As with the previous book, Moore tells the stories through the lives of the Three Red-Haired Miller Girls (her mother and two aunts), who grew up in farm-rich Delta County, TX, (in East Texas between Commerce and Paris), as well as through the generations surrounding them.
The lively Miller Girls, reared with modest means, nevertheless believed they were rich because their garden’s yield was so plentiful and because their creative Mama used her kitchen magic to make a meal fit for royalty.
Today, with frugal people becoming more resourceful, the family garden is so popular that even the prices of seeds and plants have inflated. Even the wife of U.S. President Barack Obama, as an example for others, is growing vegetables in her own White House garden.
The book contains an ample recipe collection for breakfast foods; relishes, appetizers, and jellies; salads; beverages, soups, and stews; vegetable sides; main dishes; and desserts—all to be prepared with produce fresh from the garden.
Kay Wheeler Moore is a Pulitzer-Prize nominee who stirred up her heirloom cornbread from Way Back in the Country on live TV while she promoted preserving family history through recipes. Her other previous books are When the Heart Soars Free, a book of Christian fiction, and Gathering the Missing Pieces in an Adopted Life, based on her Houston Chronicle newspaper series. Read about her and her husband's current experiences of cooking with homegrown ingredients at The Newfangled Country Gardener.