Food for Thought

“Sure,” Emily called from the kitchen. “We got plenty. Southern girls don’t know how to cook just a little.”


Gather the girls of apartment 10 and you’ll likely find Emily’s never-fail sweet potato pie, Sissy’s ribs, Flo’s macaroni and cheese, Mae’s black-eyed peas, Alinda’s collard greens, and C.J.’s cornbread accompanied by a pitcher of sweet tea.

Try these recipes at your book group meeting!


Chicago Favorites

Elephant Park Favorites

Susan’s Favorites



Chicago (LaGrange) Book Club’s Favorites

Mississippi Mud Cake

Recipe courtesy My Recipes

Sweet Potato Pie

Recipe courtesy Jamie Oliver, Rachel Ray Show, Aired Nov. 22, 2010


Elephant Park Book Club’s Favorites

Art Smith’s Hummingbird Cake

Recipe courtesy Chef Art Smith, Oprah.com January 01, 2006


Hoppin’ John Black-Eyed Peas and Rice

Recipe Courtesy Rita Wilson

Rita says:  “These recipes are from my aunts in Soperton, Dublin, and Savannah, Georgia. They were verbally dictated to me long ago by their memories.  Enjoy!”

Servings:  6-8


  • 1 LB. dried black eyed peas

  • 1 green pepper

  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 large sweet yellow onion, chopped

  • 1tsp. dried thyme

  • 1 tsp. marjoram

  • 1 tsp. cumin

  • 1 tsp. chili powder

  • 1 small can tomato paste

  • 2 cups raw, long grain white rice


Sort peas, drain and then cover with cold water. Discard any floaters. Soak in a cool place for 4 to 8 hours. Drain and add fresh water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender. Do not salt until cooking is completed. (They will not soften.)

In a large skillet or Dutch oven with medium heat, warm 2 T. oil, sauté onion until tender, add garlic and cook until soft. Stir to prevent browning. Add seasonings and raw rice, stir well. Add tomato paste and the peas with the liquid. Add enough water to cover by about 1 ½ inches. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. You may need to add additional water. Salt and pepper to taste.

You can add a meat if you want. If using salt pork, use about a cup, cubed and rinsed. Brown in skillet before the onion and other ingredients using the fat from it. For other meats such as ham hock, smoked turkey or cubed ham, add it to the peas when cooking.

Mixed Greens

Recipe Courtesy Rita Wilson


  • 3-4 bunches of greens (You can use any combination of mustard, collard and turnip greens or all of one kind. I like the bite of mustard greens so, I always include them.)

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped

  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • Pepper to taste


Wash greens well. Trim off tough stems. Stack 4-6 leaves and roll up tight. Slice it into 1 inch slices. It will make ribbons. Set aside.

In large Dutch oven, sauté onion and garlic until softened. Add greens and enough water to cover by 2 inches. More if you like the juice. You will need to adjust the salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered 20-30 minutes or until tender but not mushy. The collards should be slightly firm.

A few minutes before they're done, add a teaspoon or two of vinegar. Check seasonings. Serve with hot sauce and lots of corn bread!

If you like, add meat according to the directions for Hoppin’ John Black-Eyed Peas and Rice.


Susan’s Favorites

Pecan Pie

Recipe Courtesy Southern Living Magazine, December 1977


  • ½ cup melted butter

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup light corn syrup

  • 4 eggs, beaten

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

  • About 1 cup pecan halves


Combine butter, sugar, and corn syrup; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved.  Cool.  Add eggs, vanilla, and salt; mix well. 
Pour filling into pie shell and top with pecan halves.  Bake at 325° for 50-55 minutes.


Photo Resources

Hoppin’ John Black-Eyed Peas and Rice

Mixed Greens

Pecan Pie



2016 SusanFollett.com. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Website design by Internet Composers.