Chef to sign cookbooks Saturday at noon

Published 11:47 pm Tuesday, July 29, 2008

NATCHEZ — The Executive Chef of Viking Cooking School in Greenwood, Chef Martha Hall Foose, will be signing her acclaimed cookbook, “Screen Doors and Sweet Tea — Recipes and Tales From a Southern Cook,” at Cover to Cover Books & More, 401 Main St., from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday. Martha Foose returned to her home state of Mississippi after attending the famed pastry school Ecole LeNotre in France. She opened Bottletree Bakery in Oxford, and Mockingbird Bakery in Greenwood.

“Screen Doors and Sweet Tea” is a combination of southern recipes and stories of the family members, friends and mentors who inspired or shared them.

The more than 150 original recipes are not only full of flavor, but also rich with local color and characters.

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“In some cases, the story inspired the dish. In others, the dish inspired the story,” said Foose, who admits that while the somewhat untraditional concept for “Screen Doors and Sweet Tea” “makes perfect sense to us down here,” it took some convincing to sell a book that was “one-third stories, one-third straight-up instructional cooking, and one-third about why we eat what we do,” to her editors.

She also has a marvelous gift for the pithy turn of phrase, and all of her recipes carry intriguing subtitles: “Proper Fried Chicken: My Thoughts, at Least,” “Lunch Counter Egg Salad Sandwich: Ode to Waxed Paper,” “Baked Macaroni and Cheese: A Vegetable in Some States.”