Associate Dean of Special Collections UK and Co-Director of the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, Deirdre A. Scaggs discussed her book written with co-author Andrew W. McGraw titled The Historic Kentucky Kitchen: Traditional Recipes for Today’s Cook. The discussion was part of the WKU Libraries’ “Kentucky Live!” speaker series partnered with Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Bowling Green, KY, where the event took place on the evening of November 13, 2014.
Associate Dean of Special Collections UK and Co-Director of the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, Deirdre A. Scaggs will discuss her book written with co-author Andrew W. McGraw titled “The Historic Kentucky Kitchen: Traditional Recipes for Today’s Cook.” Deirdre is also Co-chair of the Sesquicentennial Committee as UK celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2015. Deirdre is related to Kentucky musician Ricky Skaggs, popular bluegrass superstar.
The cookbook enhances and refines a collection of recipes discovered in the special collection archives. Deirdre and a culinary professional carefully tested every single recipe (about 200) and found winners (approximately 100) among some to become complete failures (such as White Mountain Cake). Deirdre compiled 100 recipes from the 200 and found that most of the recipes were performed by servants. She was intrigued by the level of sophistication and how much French and English influence was present in the recipes. Most were hand-written personal recipes from families such as the Breckenridge Family, and Francis Jewell McVey (wife of President McVey from the University of Kentucky, former UK professor of English and since 1921, Dean of Women at UK). Deirdre and Andrew used local ingredients whenever possible and modified some recipes to substitute ingredients such as lard or rare extinct items without losing the historical link and core values of the dish.
Their purpose is to celebrate Kentucky heritage while also making the recipes user-friendly for modern home cooks. Many of the recipes include a person’s name and were scaled down. That person would be the individual who compiled or collected the recipe. Some highlights include: Mary M. Peter’s Tomato Fricasse, 1889 and Francis Jewell McVey’s Tomatoes with Eggs and Mushroom Soup, circa 1920s. Lucy Hayes Breckinridge’s 1,2,3,4 Cake, early 1900s, is described as “the cake that will be baked for every birthday for years to come. We can only guess that the cake gets its name from the fact that all of the ingredients come in increments of 1,2,3, and 4.
A book signing will follow the presentation. We hope you’ll join us at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore at 1680 Campbell Lane, Bowling Green, KY on November 13th, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. This is a WKU swipeable event.