27 March 2009

The Deep South Natural Foods Cookbook

The 1970’s were awash with “natural foods.” Add some wheat germ, a bit of carob powder and any cookbook becomes a natural. When I came across this book, I had to have it. How does one make smothered quail and country ham “natural” food.

Mary Lou McCracken tried in her 1975 cookbook, The Deep South Natural Foods Cookbook. Most of the Deep South recipes were rendered “natural” by frying in cold-pressed oil, using unbleached flour, raw fertile eggs, raw sugar, and WHAM, a soy ham.

Sorry, wrong WHAM!

Sad news for WHAM lovers! Worthington Foods has discontinued WHAM. Which lasted longer than WHAM, much to my surprise.

In flipping through McCracken's book, I found one of my mother’s favorite recipes. It is about as “unnatural” as it can be.

Salmon Croquettes

2 cups canned salmon, bones removed
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 onion, chopped
2 raw fertile eggs
4-5 tablespoons unbleached white or whole wheat flour
cold-pressed cooking oil

Mix all ingredients together well. Drop into hot oil with a tablespoon and cook until golden brown. Turn and brown on the other side.
I guess that cold-pressed cooking oil, unbleached flour and fertile eggs made up for that canned salmon.
I haven't had salmon croquettes in years, but reading this made me want to drag out my mother's recipe and fry up a batch, canned salmon and all. Food is often not just "food" sometimes it is a Eucharist, a remembrance. Natural or not, this recipe made me remember my mother.

If you are in the mood for a Deep South Natural Food breakfast, mix up some biscuits, gravy, and WHAM and of course, wake me up before you go go.

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