With another whimsical collection of poetry, prose and food, ``Pioneer Lady'' Hopping ( The Country Mother's Cookbook ) again evokes a simple era when meals, family and farm life represent the American ideal--at least, in retrospect. While ``fishing holes and picnic spots'' and ``watermelons lying thick in the patch just waiting to be thumped'' are this volume's backdrop, Hopping's new collection strongly resembles her previous writings. From Effie's strawberry mousse29 and sweet-cherry crunch43 to sour-cream red June apple pie with butter-cinnamon topping50 , the recipes are simple and the dishes themselves very good. Yet the flavor of many depends mightily on the kind of just-picked-from-the-patch freshness nearly impossible to duplicate in the supermarket produce section. Still, the charm of the book hinges largely upon the richness of Hopping's words and her prolific, romantic recollections of the mothers who fortified their families--without guilt or trepidation--with endless batches of cookies, tea cakes, fruit pies and other sweets, the recipes for which are the fabric of her food writings. (May)
Hopping is the author of the immensely successful The Pioneer Lady's Country Kitchen (Villard: Random, 1988), as well as The Pioneer Lady's Country Christmas (Villard: Random, 1989) and The Country Mother's Cookbook (Villard: Random, 1991). Here are more homespun recipes and reminiscences, organized by events that have punctuated memorable summers: graduation from the eighth grade, celebrated with dishes such as Aunt Sue's Chicken Croquettes and Ada's Rosy Rhubarb Pie; Aunt Clary's 98th birthday party, marked by a Wellesley Tea; and so forth. Snippets of poetry punctuate the soothing prose, and period illustrations and photographs decorate the text. A necessary purchase.