Sunday, May 15, 2011

225 (2011 #30). Ma's in the Kitchen: You'll Know When It's Done!

by Carl Randall McQueary & May Nelson Paulissen, Ph. D.

I picked up this book at my university library to see if it had a copy of the photo I used in a post on my family history blog*. Subtitled "The Recipes and History of Governor Miriam A. Ferguson, First Woman Governor of Texas," it's essentially a cookbook.

The first 81 pages are a brief biography interspersed with numerous family and other historical photographs, as well as short recipes (or references to the page numbers of longer ones) that tie in with "Ma"'s life story. This is followed by 90 pages of recipes and 20 pages of household "helpful hints" from Miriam's collection of cookbooks, which her grandson donated to the Bell County (Miriam's home) Museum in Belton, when McQueary was its initial executive director in 1991.  "Many were handwritten," he writes, "and even after thirty years, they still smelled of flour and Adams vanilla extract." [p. xvi]
Her collection spans the years from 1899, when she and Jim [also a Texas governor, 1915-1917] were married, until the time of her death in 1961....The recipes are unchanged, with the exception of some reformatting in order to make them more easily prepared by today's cooks.  The titles for the recipes are largely Mrs. Ferguson's; those not titled have been given names appropriate to the time when they were first used. [p. ix]
A lot of it is good old-fashioned comfort food, designed to make you full and happy.  Most of the recipes also have brief anecdotes about Miriam, her family, and her life as well.  The book ends with four pages of quotes (from 1925, during her first term), a two-page bibliography, and an index to the recipes.

[*The photo wasn't in this book, but was in the authors' other book on Miriam Amanda Ferguson, for whom I was named.]

© Amanda Pape - 2011


  1. You always have the best stories! I love to "read" cookbooks.

  2. Thanks Tracy! This cookbook was very "readable."