Cooking up a history

By Dr. Linda Mitchell

Good recipes are like unique individuals, they come from a particular place and time, they have a personality, an accent, and they stake a claim on the culinary tapestry of a family or community. They find lodging in an old recipe box on the kitchen counter or they tuck away under a black skillet paperweight or hide between the pages of a favorite book. They’re too good to forget. I love to discover recipes with a story. I feel like I’m tasting a bit of history and sharing the past with the present.


Coronation Chicken Salad

This recipe was created in 1953 by the Cordon Bleu school in London to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. With its royal pedigree it is perfect for a brunch or summer party where you want to celebrate.

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, diced

1 teaspoon curry powder (adds a bit of a zing)

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1 can apricot nectar (8 oz)

½ cup heavy cream

½ cup mayonnaise

2 pounds cooked and diced chicken


Melt butter and saute onion until softened. Stir in curry powder, lemon juice, tomato paste and simmer until thick, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, whip cream until it forms stiff peaks, about 3 minutes. Mix together apricot nectar, mayonnaise and cooked syrup. Gently fold into the whipped cream. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Serve with a variety of crackers.


Apple Taffy Cinnamon Rolls with Honey Glaze

Hot, and fragrant, they’re almost magic, they disappear so quickly.


½ cup honey

½ cup brown sugar

½ stick butter (4 tablespoons), melted

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup nuts, chopped (almonds or pecans work great)


Grease a 13 by 9- inch baking dish. Combine honey, sugar, butter and cinnamon, then spread over the bottom and sprinkle with nuts.



1 cup warm milk

2 eggs

4 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup sugar

1 envelope rapid-rise yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)

8 tablespoons butter, softened (save about 2 tablespoons for later)


2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup apple butter (may substitute other preserves or fillings)


In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Slowly combine the two, stirring as you do until dough is smooth and elastic. Add butter slowly and continue to knead. Add additional flour as needed if dough is too sticky. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.


Turn dough out onto greased surface and roll into a square. Brush dough with reserved melted butter. Mix together apple butter, sugar and cinnamon and spread onto dough, leaving about an inch border along the edge. Loosen dough and roll into a log. Slice log into 12-14 rolls using a serrated knife. Place in baking dish with glaze. (At this point I cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until I’m ready to bake them for breakfast or brunch the next day or so.) Let rolls rise for about an hour, a bit longer if they have been refrigerated. Bake in pre-heated 350-degree oven until browned, about 15 minutes. Spread with frosting recipe below.



3 tablespoons butter, softened

3 tablespoons milk

1 ½ cup confectioners’ sugar

¼ teaspoon vanilla or almond extract


Mix together butter, milk, and extract. Add sugar slowly, beating until light and fluffy.


Shoofly Cake

(Close cousin to the Shoofly Pie, an old-fashioned classic so sweet and delicious it attracted flies when placed on the window sill to cool)

4 cups self-rising flour

1 cup sugar

2 sticks butter, softened

2 cups water

1 ½ cups molasses


Mix together flour and sugar. Add butter by cutting it into the mixture using a fork. Reserve 1 cup for later use. Mix together water and molasses in a saucepan and simmer until molasses is dissolved. (May do this in a glass dish in the microwave but don’t overcook). Stir this into the flour mixture. Pour into a greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over the batter and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.


Topping 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

½ cup nuts, chopped

Mix together and sprinkle over hot cake.



Southern Sweet Potato Pie with a Twist

sweet potato pie(This is a one-of-a-kind pie that stands out from the rest and earns rave reviews every time you bake it)


8 oz bread, cut into thick slices about ½ inch or so

1 stick butter

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg


Toast bread slices, then transfer to greased 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Combine sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Melt butter in separate dish. Coast each slice of toast with melted butter, then dredge in sugar mixture and arrange in prepared pie plate.



12 oz sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

4 oz cream cheese, softened

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup milk (whole not 2 percent)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped


Cook potatoes in microwave or on stove top in small amount of water, drain and mix with sugar, eggs, cream cheese and salt. Mix until smooth. Stir in milk, cream, and extract. Pour into bread-lined pie plate. Sprinkle with pecans. Bake in pre-heated 350-degree oven for about an hour or until golden brown. Cover sides loosely with foil if they start getting too brown.



½ cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons brown sugar

¼ teaspoon nutmeg


Whip cream, sugar, and nutmeg together until soft peaks form. Serve each slice of pie with a scoop of whipped topping.