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The great state of Texas boasts many proud but curious traditions and trivia and, this third volume of my “Amazing America” series enumerates fascinating facts, entertaining tales, bizarre happenings, and historical oddities that give the Lone Star State its intriguing and distinctive character.
The great state of Tennessee boasts many proud and sometimes curious traditions and trivia, and this fourth volume in “Lacey’s Amazing America” series enumerates fascinating facts, entertaining tales, sometimes bizarre happenings and historical oddities that give the Volunteer State its intriguing and distinctive character.
I first began writing this cookbook in 1982, scrawling stories and recipes in a University of Alabama Super Store notebook left over from one of my classes I was taking back then. In those years, groceries cost me and my roommate about $70 a week for both of us, gas was about fifty-three cents a gallon and I bought a used car with a hole in the radiator for $100 (I had to refill the radiator to get back home from classes). Back then, I was just making notes of recipes, which were really observations from watching my grandmother and great-aunts and -uncles cook in the kitchen or on the grill. None of them had anything resembling a cookbook, had never had one, and scoffed at anyone suggesting they either go by or write down a recipe.
My friend Rick Bragg was the one who gave me the push to get this cookbook finalized. Over the years, I had been to virtually every one of his readings and signings, and once he even invited me to sit with him up on the stage (The Venue, Fairhope, 2019). It was this night he read from his newly-released book, The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma’s Table (2018, Knopf). Hearing his words from the Introduction, I was suddenly transported to his momma’s kitchen:
She cooked for dead-broke uncles, hungover brothers, shadetree mechanics, faith healers, dice shooters, hairdressers, pipe fitters, crop dusters, high-steel walkers, and well diggers.
and later, on the next page, the words that hit me, as they say, “where I lived”:
She cooked with ghosts at her sure right hand.
That was when I knew I needed to get on paper and in a book some of my people’s recipes, and a few memories to go with them if I could remember them. As I wrote at the keyboard, my own people’s ghosts beside me, I knew I was writing something that would be important to the people I’d be leaving behind, maybe some people not even born yet a