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Kat Robinson, who’s made her reputation and living writing about Arkansas food and publishing cookbooks like “Arkansas Food: The A to Z of Eating in the Natural State,” has two more cookbooks that I can personally recommend, “A Bite of Arkansas: A Cookbook of Natural State Delights” and “43 Tables: An Internet Community Cooks During Quarantine.” But first, full disclosure.
Kat left the books for me at Christmas, along with three jars including homemade green tomato relish and chow-chow, so if you think that my good opinion can be bought for a couple of books and homemade relish, well, whatevs, as the kids say.
Also, for some reason, I was kind of dreading cracking the books open. I guess I was afraid I’d be disappointed. That fear was misplaced. The books are delightful.
I’ve particularly enjoyed “A Bite of Arkansas,” which includes Kat’s reminiscences about growing up in Arkansas and scenes like this:
“I do remember breakfast was done for Grampa Bear when he finished his coffee and reached in his overalls pocket for his flask-shaped can of Prince Albert, and the scent of the tobacco while he used his finger and thumb to liberate a sheet from the rolling papers in that matchbook shaped package, spreading it flat with thumb and ring finger, then carefully tipping in a row.”
A lot of Arkansans of a certain age had granddads who wore overalls and smoked Prince Albert.
Both books contain recipes I plan to make (I finally found a sweet potato casserole recipe I like).
And in addition to the reminiscences, “A Bite of Arkansas” lists the 10 types of Arkansas gravy (who knew?) and a recipe for fried bologna, which you might not think you’d need, but seeing it made me smile.
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