Originally created 12/15/04

Two books highlight Southern tastes, trip



Good food can do more than satisfy an appetite; it can tell a story, give voice to the cook and connect generations.

In her cookbook K's Kitchen Secrets, Carolyn "K" Murdock Moore, of Bath, explores the link between memory and cooking methods while providing a beginner's guide to Southern cooking.

"I've always taken pride in anything that I've done in the kitchen, and I want to share it with other people," Mrs. Moore said. "I think it's great to go back and do the old recipes."

Those recipes, many of which go back to a simpler time of farm life and no electricity, remind readers to be appreciative of modern conveniences, she said.

Included in the book are more than 250 recipes from the past five generations of her family, in addition to a listing of family remedies, stories and cooking tips.

Mrs. Moore said the book, which took her 15 years to compile and two more to pen, was designed to be easy to follow and fun to read.

Mrs. Moore, a former wedding-cake baker, said the project idea came from her son Charles.

"He didn't want me to take those recipes with me," she said. "He said he faced reality that I wouldn't be here forever and wanted me to write them down."

Mrs. Moore said she agreed to do so, but only if she could present her best recipes.

After preparing and refining the best dishes, such as her Million Dollar pancake syrup and Hush Your Mouth hush puppy mix, Mrs. Moore was able to include a recipe for nearly every occasion.

Still, the best thing about the cookbook is that it preserves a way of life and promotes getting back into the kitchen, she said.

"Nowadays, everybody's into fast food. When you think about a good, home-cooked meal, it took only 45 minutes to consume after spending all morning picking the vegetables and cooking the meal, but it was more than that," she said. "That's why keeping recipes going is important. This is the legacy of some of the best of cooking."

K's Kitchen Secrets retails for $24.95 at Fat Man's Forest, Langley Drugs, Aiken Office Supply and other local stores. Orders also can be made to K's Kitchen Secrets, P.O. Box 1354, Bath, SC 29816.

Augusta writer C.G. Bennitt's first novel, The Old Man, a Civil War-era epic evoking the Odyssey.

Inspired by the life and tales of her grandfather, Charles Garrigues, The Old Man is the tale of a young Southern boy captured by Union soldiers during the Civil War.

As much a look at the importance of family and the comfort of home as it is a testimony to the power of perseverance and the process of growing older, the story is one that Mrs. Bennitt almost didn't write.

"When my child suggested I write it, I thought, 'I can't write a book. I can't spell,'" she said, explaining that her real reservation was that she "didn't know the end of the story."

With research, though, the story came together.

In the book, Garrigues is captured as a boy and held prisoner in a Union camp.

After being freed, he has a long journey back home to Tennessee, but the journey is about more than distance.

Met with both the kindness of strangers and the blight of his homeland, Garrigues finds that by the time he reaches his destination, he has nothing to keep him there. It's with that discovery, however, that he figures out where life begins.

Well-developed characters mix in a familiar landscape and a plot that places the celebrated with the common and the honorable amid the ornery. Lyrically written, the book becomes a glimpse at the people and places that make a region and its history.

The Old Man, ($24.95, Ivy House) is available at the Sacred Heart Cultural Center and the Augusta Museum of History, local bookstores and online at amazon.com.

Reach Kamille Bostick at (706) 823-3223 or kamille.bostick@augustachronicle.com.