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Trisha Yearwood and family write best-selling cookbook

By Sharon Dowell Published: April 30, 2008
So 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.”

Book signing
Trisha Yearwood, her mother, Gwen Yearwood, and her sister, Beth Yearwood Bernard, will sign copies of "Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen” at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Borders Books, Movies, Music & Cafe, 3209 Northwest Expressway. Tickets for the signing will be available that day at Borders. For more information, call 848-2667.

Farmers markets and gardening
Trisha Yearwood said she's not shopped the local farmers market in Oklahoma yet, "but I need to learn about the farmers markets here, because I used to do that a lot in Nashville.” She relies on local friends who bring her produce from their gardens and local produce stands in the summer.

"I was raised on a farm with a garden and there's nothing like it. We don't have a garden out here yet because I'm usually on the road and I would be the one to do the gardening, and there's a lot of rock out here,” she laughed. "I'd have to find a way to completely enclose it because we have a ton of deer and I'd have to share with them.”

Tomatoes and watermelons
Her favorite summer produce, Yearwood said, is tomatoes and watermelon. "Watermelon is a big Southern thing for us, but when those first, real summer tomatoes start coming in, that's my favorite,” she said. "I like tomato sandwiches. Sometimes I make homemade bread and that's the best way to have them — homemade bread, a little mayonnaise, salt, pepper, tomato slices and that's it. That's just my favorite.

"You're making me want summer to get here now,” she said.

As for watermelon, she recalled childhood memories of trips to the watermelon patch to "pick a watermelon and bust it open on the tailgate of the truck, and eat it like that. My memory is just I've never had sweeter tasting watermelon than then.”


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