the majority of the photographs, especially all the ones you see my family in, those were all the things we made ourselves. So it makes it even more special.”
And there was a humorous side to doing all that cooking and being in the photos. "We were cooking in hair and makeup,” Yearwood said, laughing, "and it was like, ‘OK, the food's ready, now pat us down so we don't look like we're sweating for the photographs.' It was crazy. We really didn't think about how crazy it was until the day was over. I can't believe we did that. But I think it made it even more authentic.”
In the book, Yearwood writes that strangers know her for her "singing thing” but friends know her best for her cooking, and she loves time spent with friends talking about cooking, new recipes and new local restaurants.
"Sharing recipes and memories about food has always been a great way to connect with friends and family,” she writes.
In fact, when Yearwood moved to Oklahoma, her mom and sister compiled a notebook of family recipes for her to use in her Oklahoma kitchen. They called it "Georgia Recipes for an Oklahoma Kitchen,” and it became the basis for this cookbook. The Yearwoods' love of cooking for family and friends is reinforced in the book with lots of colorful photos of gatherings as well as details about many of the recipes and how they've become family favorites through the years.
She writes with humor about the pasta salad her husband reworked to suit his tastes, calling him "Gartha Stewart” in notes preceding Garth's Pasta Salad recipe. She describes how she doubles the frosting recipe for Brooks' favorite German chocolate cake, because he likes plenty of coconut frosting on her homemade specialty.
The simplicity of the book's recipes — from Mama's Awesome Chicken Noodle Soup that Yearwood said her mother shipped to her in Oklahoma when she had the flu and was so homesick, to Gwen's Fried Chicken With Milk Gravy, Banana Pudding prepared two ways and Home-Churned Ice Cream — shows how much cooks in Oklahoma have in common with the Yearwood family and good Southern cooks from Georgia. We especially admire how Yearwood invites us to enjoy the best of Georgia and Oklahoma cooking in this homey collection of tried and true recipes with which many cooks are familiar.
Yearwood has a new album out and will be on tour in June and July, after her book promotion winds down. Brooks wrote the foreword for his wife's first cookbook, paying tribute to "Miss Yearwood” and her love of cooking, noting not only how much she loves to cook but that she cooks for those she loves.
Yearwood said the cookbook definitely "comes out of the spirit of something the three of us were so proud to do and excited to do.” The recipes are basic favorites, with common ingredients and simple directions. "I've been jokingly saying — but it's also really true — the most exotic spices in this cookbook are salt and pepper. It's pretty simple stuff.”