Sunday, November 17, 2013

Books from the Book Fair

I must admit I suffered a bit of sticker shock when I checked out with the cashier at the Kentucky Book Fair yesterday. Three books: $68.78.

For someone who enjoys shopping and buying at used books stores, paying new book prices is quite a leap, but I am comfortable with my choices: a cookery, a mystery, and a history. Plus I had a blast seeing and talking with many authors even though I didn't always buy their books.

The Cookery
I certainly wouldn't consider myself a cook - not by a long shot - but I was fascinated with The Historic Kentucky Kitchen: Traditional Recipes for Today's Cook. It contains more than a hundred recipes from the nineteenth and early twentieth century that were taken from handwritten diaries and journals, scrapbooks, and out-of-print cookbooks. They were collected, modernized a bit, and taste tested by Deidre A. Scaggs who is with the University of Kentucky Libraries of Special Collections and Andrew W. McGraw, chef at the County Club restaurant in Lexington. Together they searched the Special Collections for recipes that everyday people would use.

So you have recipes for Lucy Hayes Breckinridge's Corn Soup, early 1900s; Frances Jewel McVey's Pumpkin Pie, circa 1920s; and Nanny Clay McDowell's Egg Nog, 1882. Copies of the original handwritten lists of ingredients and cooking instructions are included in the book.

As part of my book cataloging project, I just came across - tucked in a cookbook of my mother's - a few handwritten recipes of my grandmother's. One for fruit cake. No cooking instructions - she knew those by heart - just the list of ingredients. These family gems were on my mind when I saw this book.

As a value-added piece, the authors are speaking tomorrow night at an event at the local historical society and I plan to attend. Although I met and spoke with Ms. Scaggs, I will look forward to hearing some cooking tips from Chef McGraw.

The Mystery
This crime novel takes place in London, England - always a favorite location of mine. Fictional mystery writer Sebastian McCabe, his friend Jeff Cody, and Cody's wife, journalist Lynda Teal, are all swept up in solving The Disappearance of Mr. James Phillimore. Mr. Phillimore is an investment banker and member of the Sherlock Holmes Society. It looks to be great fun. Author Dan Andriacco told me that this was the fourth in his series that rely on Holmes-like investigations. I don't usually start in the middle of a series, but I was attracted to the London location and the Holmes connection. 

The History
Louisville and The Civil War takes a look at the role my hometown played during that conflict. Author Bryan S. Bush is a local historian and lecturer. He has participated as a Confederate artillery soldier in many reenactment events and he attended the Book Fair in uniform. He was quite an interesting character and I am always looking for ways to find out more about my city's history.

So those are the books. Tomorrow I will share with you the faces of the authors I met. 


  1. That gems these appear to be, Belle, especially, for me, the cookery. I look forward to seeing the faces next.

    1. Penny, I attended the event featuring Ms. Scaggs who collected all the historic recipes. It was fascinating to hear her tell about how she worked at translating the handwritten ones into recipes today's cook could successfully create. "How big is a hen's egg piece of butter? How much is a pinch versus a dash?" I hope I can pull some of these cookery gems off!