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"Food is a great way of communicating," says Mitford series author Karon in her charming cookbook brimming with comforting recollections, quotations, homespun kitchen wisdom and more than 150 mouthwatering recipes for foods that have appeared in the author's books. Characters in Karon's close-knit Mitford, N.C., community often get into challenging situations, and foods rich with Southern-influenced flavors of hearth and home are always close by: Marge's Deep-Dish Apple Pie, Father Tim's Beef Tenderloin, Cynthia's Lemon Squares and Uncle Billy's Sweet Potato Pie. Karon includes full-flavored classics like Louella's Cinnamon Rolls, Lottie Greer's Fried Chicken and Country Biscuits, Cynthia's Lasagna, Puny's Macaroni and Cheese, and Lew Boyd's Chocolate Cake, all with nary a calorie counted. There's even a recipe for dog biscuits and one for creating a "Christmas Smell" right from the stovetop. What makes this cookbook distinctive is that fans are treated to the exact scenes in Karon's stories where each dish was enjoyed. There's also a bonus Mitford story and recipes inspired from Karon's upcoming novel, along with plenty of sage cooking advice from how to season an iron skillet and stock a spice cabinet to pointers on saying grace and a rumination on the meditative effects of washing dishes by hand. Uncomplicated ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions will afford cooks, guests and fans plenty of time to savor the generous novel excerpts from the author's inspirational work. Color photos.
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Jan Karon, born Janice Meredith Wilson in the foothills of North Carolina, was named after the title of a popular novel, Janice Meredith.
Jan wrote her first novel at the age of ten. "The manuscript was written on Blue Horse notebook paper, and was, for good reason, kept hidden from my sister. When she found it, she discovered the one curse word I had, with pounding heart, included in someone's speech. For Pete's sake, hadn't Rhett Butler used that very same word and gotten away with it? After my grandmother's exceedingly focused reproof, I've written books without cussin' ever since."
Several years ago, Karon left a successful career in advertising to move to the mountain village of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, and write books. "I stepped out on faith to follow my lifelong dream of being an author," she says. "I made real sacrifices and took big risks. But living, it seems to me, is largely about risk."
Enthusiastic booksellers across the country have introduced readers of all ages to Karon's heartwarming books. At Home in Mitford, Karon's first book in the Mitford series, was nominated for an ABBY by the American Booksellers Association in 1996 and again in 1997. Bookstore owner, Shirley Sprinkle, says, "The Mitford Books have been our all-time fiction bestsellers since we went in business twenty-five years ago. We've sold 10,000 of Jan's books and don't see any end to the Mitford phenomenon."