Tuesday , 19 June 2018

Love Of Cooking Builds Foundation For Friendships

Southern Living Ladies: (From Left) Back row: Sue Roesler, Jill Milliron and Dagmar Murro
Front Row: Sherri Murphy, Debbie Zappe, Gay Hawke, Pat Streber, Kathy Rose (absent from this lunch was Mary Wingfield)

It’s good to know that despite living in such a fast paced, frenetic world, where often dinner means a trip for take out or for pizza, there are still some people who enjoy the art of cooking. Thanks to the popularity of shows on the Food Network and celebrity cooks like Paula Dean and Rachel Ray, many of us have again become enthusiastic about occasionally whipping up a great meal at home for family or friends.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of being invited to attend a luncheon held by a group of women in Stonebridge who have become fast friends through their love of cooking and food. The nine members of the “Southern Living Ladies” (SLL)  love to cook and try new recipes. They also love to eat.

Once a month, with the exception of the summer, the ladies meet for lunch at a member’s home. Each member of the “Southern Living Ladies” is tasked with choosing and preparing a recipe from that month’s Southern Living Magazine. The women take turns as hostess and the hostess prepares the meat, or main dish, while the others fill in the side dishes and desserts. Each recipe is followed pretty closely, if not precisely, and critiqued during lunch, when any disclaimers of recipe variations are also discussed.

The idea for the group came from Stonebridge resident, Gay Hawke, who moved to the area two and a half years ago from Indiana.

“We did this in Indiana and it was so much fun that I wanted to continue the tradition when I moved to McKinney,” noted Hawke. “As I met people, I asked them to join the group. We didn’t really know each other, but we’ve become friends.”

Although only one member of the group grew up in the south, it is evident that each SLL  has perfected the art of cooking “southern living style”. Save for one Texan, the ladies hail from New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, California, and from as far away as Australia. It’s quite obvious that their love of cooking, and, as I was reminded, “of eating”, has become the foundation that binds the women together, much as eggs bind together the ingredients in a cake.

This month (May), the ladies could choose recipes from either the April or May issue of Southern Living – the group didn’t meet in April due to Easter.

The menu that I sampled consisted of:

Bourbon Glazed Ham (April Issue) prepared by hostess, Sherri Murphy
Street Style Grilled Corn
Roasted Carrots
Tomato-Herb Frittata
Split Pea Hummus
Simply Deviled Eggs 
Classic Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes

And for dessert…Sweet Tea Icebox Tart and Hello Dolly Bars

When asked if they had experienced any Southern Living disappointments, Sherri Murphy, this month’s hostess, commented that there were some, but she said that there are also recipes that they really enjoyed and have made over and over again.

As lunch was served and we sat down at the beautifully decorated table, complete with favors, conversation was lively and revolved around the food, the recipes, favorites and least favorites. The comment was made, in the midst of much laughter, that many Southern Living recipes have bourbon included in the ingredient list and those recipes often grace the luncheon table.

This particular meal ended with rave reviews from the women and I totally concur. I would definitely add these recipes to my file of “make again”.

Any of these Southern Living Ladies can cook for me anytime – I only hope that someday soon I get invited to sample their culinary talents again!

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