GINNA PARSONS: Old cookbook yields fun, new recipes

Ginna ParsonsEarlier this month, I interviewed Glenda Burns of Okolona for a Cook of the Week feature. During the course of our conversation, I asked Glenda about her favorite cookbooks.

She reeled off two that I’m very familiar with: “Southern Sideboards” from the Junior League of Jackson and “Come On In” from the Junior Auxiliary of Jackson.

But she said her most favorite is called “Stirrings from the Heart” from St. John’s Episcopal Church in Aberdeen. This one was new to me.

Glenda said the cookbook from 1987 was no longer in print and she wasn’t sure I’d be able to find a copy anywhere, but I assured her that there is an antiques shop in Oxford that carries a pretty good selection of old church cookbooks and I’d look for it there.

Sure enough, when I was in Oxford last week on another story assignment, I popped into The Depot Antique Mall on North Lamar and found a copy of it for $5. (Sorry, it was the only one.)

When I got home that evening, I curled up on the couch with my new purchase and started reading recipes to my husband. Either they were really good recipes or Charlie and I were really hungry, because I found myself putting bookmarks on just about every other page.

I was particularly taken with the appetizer section. Many of the recipes I’d never heard of before, but they sounded good and more importantly, they were simple. And when you’re entertaining, you want simple, so you can spend time with your guests.

Here are a couple that caught my eye. I know, they both have bacon in them. Maybe I was hungry …

<b>Bacon Wraps
</b>1 (8-ounce) package dry pitted dates
1 pound bacon
Cut each date and each piece of bacon in half. Wrap each strip of bacon around a date; secure with a wooden pick. Broil until bacon is browned. Serve warm.

<b>Chinese Chestnuts
</b>1 can whole water chestnuts, drained
Soy sauce
1⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄2 pound bacon
Marinate chestnuts in soy sauce overnight, drain and roll in sugar. Wrap in a small slice of bacon and bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes. These can be broiled until bacon crisps, as the chestnuts will remain firm.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.