There are only a few places on earth that one can feel truly at peace and for Tracy Maines it is her cottage kitchen. She relishes the time spent in her sacred space while preparing homemade meals with the added lagniappe of sharing the communal table with loving family and friends.
Tracy has written this cookbook as a tribute to the enthusiasm felt while living on a picturesque lake in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York. The ever-fleeing summer comes and goes quickly and one can feel the excitement for making the most of the very short season. She says “we are experts at filling in every available date with visiting family and friends”. She never knows when she will be cooking for four or forty-eight people but that’s not a problem because she is well versed in cooking for a small group or a crowd at a moment’s notice. It is evident in her prose that there is a great deal gained by enjoying the fellowship of others while giving of her innate southern hospitality.
She describes the recipes in the book as family friendly, entertainment worthy and comfort food at it’s best. It is a nice compilation of recipes written by Tracy, her and her husband’s family and a few generously donated by friends. You can see the recipes that touch on her southern heritage while incorporating cooking techniques she has adopted while living in upstate New York. The recipes range from a selection of very delectable appetizers to mouth watering desserts. Whether you choose to make the Louisiana Gumbo that is chocked full of chicken and sausage or the Carrot Cake with pineapple, butter and cream cheese frosting you will be left with an anxious curiosity to try other recipes within the cookbook. Many of the recipes are accompanied by humorous family stories as well as memories of her childhood while growing up in the south. The photographs that grace the 296-page cookbook tell a story in their own right of life on the lake. One could only wish it were summer all year long.
The most important component to this narrative is that Tracy has pledged to donate 100% of the profits to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, which is based out of Elmira, New York. After volunteering at one of their many food pantries over the years she feels a heartfelt connection and would like to help this organization with the fight against hunger.
“It is a fact that 1 in 6 people in America are food insecure. Hunger has no boundaries and it happens consistently throughout the year. The waiting line for clients starts hours ahead of the doors opening in the harsh elements of heat, rain, ice and snow. It is not a convenient drill for those who are hungry, as they will wait all day for a box of food all the while in very poor conditions. Hunger knows no gender, race, religion or age. Hunger can be a very indiscriminate and perpetual annoying monkey on your back that is hard to overcome. You never know when you pass someone on the street if they may have visited a food pantry or soup kitchen recently. It could be your neighbor, co-worker, fellow student, the person sitting beside you at the ball park or on a church pew”.
Learn more about the Food Bank of the Southern Tier at www.foodbankst.org