Cookbook: Mama Dip's Kitchen

Mama Dip's Kitchen
Cookbook: Mama Dip's Kitchen. Amazon

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If you live near Chapel Hill, North Carolina, you've probably been to Mama Dip's restaurant. If you've been looking for some good old country recipes from your childhood, chances are they're in Mama Dip's cookbook. Mildred Council is Mama Dip, owner/Chef of the famous Chapel Hill restaurant. If you have ever seen her on tv, you were treated to several of her fabulous recipes and techniques, not to mention the interesting family stories and testimonials from people calling in to talk to her.

Restaurant Beginnings

The cookbook starts with a brief story of her childhood, her family, and her restaurant's beginnings. Her brothers and sisters nicknamed her "Dip" because she was very tall (6'1" today), and her long arms could reach way down into the rain barrel to scoop up a big dipperful of water. Mama Dip got started in the restaurant business in 1976 after a real estate agent offered her a chance to make a go of a failing restaurant. She and her children went in on a Saturday evening to clean it up and started serving breakfast the next morning.

"Sharing my cooking with the community reminds me of bringing my dolls together so many years ago for some old-fashioned mud pies. It's another thing in my life that I can be thankful for -- spreading my love and happiness like pumpkin seeds all around."

One Meal at a Time

With only $64, she went to the neighborhood grocery store and bought what she needed for the breakfast menu.

As customers ate and paid, she returned for more food, buying the lunch menu items with the breakfast money. By the end of the day, they had made a profit of $135! Today, at 71, you'll still find her making the biscuits for Sunday's breakfast while sons and other family members (she has 9 children and 23 grandchildren!) do their part in the kitchen and dining room.<p> None of the recipes in her cookbook are complicated.

In fact, she had a difficult time writing it at first, since she was a "dump" cook, adding ingredients and cooking by the look and feel. Lucky for all of us, she began to write measurements and instructions down for the cookbook.

The Recipes

Recipes in the cookbook include old-fashioned chicken pie, nine-day sauerkraut, quick country style cabbage, sweet potato bread, cocoa bread, fresh apple cake, several cobblers and pies, country baked chicken, hobo bread, chicken liver omelet, beef liver recipes, prime rib roast, meatloaf, pepper steak, stuffed peppers, fried chicken, country fried steak, chow-chow, Creole shrimp, turkey lasagna, potatoes with spring onions, squash and zucchini casseroles, old-fashioned salmon patty cakes and many, many more.

I have to admit I haven't bought many cookbooks I didn't like, but some see more use than others. Mama Dip's Kitchen is one cookbook I'll turn to frequently.

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