A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon

A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon

by Sophie Hudson


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There’s nothing quite like family—for good or bad. But in a world where we sometimes know more about the Kardashians than we do the people sleeping right down the hall, it’s easy to forget that walking through life with our family offers all sorts of joy wrapped up in the seemingly mundane. There’s even a little bit of sacred sitting smack-dab in the middle of the ordinary. And since time’s-a-wastin’, we need to be careful that we don’t take our people—and their stories—for granted. Whether it’s a marathon bacon-frying session, a road trip gone hysterically wrong, or a mother-in-law who makes every trip to the grocery store an adventure, author Sophie Hudson reminds us how important it is to slow down and treasure the day-to-day encounters with the people we love the most.

Written in the same witty style as Sophie’s BooMama blog, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet is a cheerful, funny, and tender account of Sophie’s very Southern family. It’s a look into the real lives of real people—and a real, loving God right in the middle of it all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781414375663
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 06/04/2013
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 392,010
Product dimensions: 8.10(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Sophie Hudson loves to laugh more than just about anything. She began writing her blog, BooMama.net, in November 2005, and much to her surprise, she's stuck with it. Sophie hopes that through her stories, women find encouragement and hope in the everyday, joy-filled moments of life. In addition to her blog, Sophie is a contributor to the Pioneer Woman's blog and serves as co-emcee for LifeWay's dotMOM event. A graduate of Mississippi State University, Sophie loves cheering like crazy at college football games and watching entire seasons of TV shows in record time. Sophie lives with her husband and son in Birmingham, Alabama.

Read an Excerpt

a little SALTY to cut the Sweet

By Sophie Hudson, Stephanie Rische


Copyright © 2013Sophie Hudson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4143-7566-3



Not to Mention That Her Apple Tarts Would Change Your Whole Life

So, I have a theory.

It's not a theory about science or religion or politics. Oh, heavens, no. That would be a complete departure from the very fiber of my personality.

But I do have a theory about memory. More specifically, I have a theory about how we remember people.

Are you ready?

Prepare to be underwhelmed, my friends.

My theory is that we typically have one dominant "fallback" memory that becomes our go-to mental image when we think about somebody.

Now that I've typed that out, by the way, I'm thinking that maybe it's not so much a theory as a loose, unverifiable observation.

But let's just run with it. Because whenever I think about Papaw Sims, for example, I picture him leaning over his deep freeze and asking if I'd rather have chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry ice cream. Whenever I think about Uncle Joe, I picture him dozing in his recliner with a stack of paperwork on his lap—and a ten-key adding machine within arm's reach. And whenever I think about Mamaw Davis, my maternal grandmother, I picture her looking over her shoulder and grinning while she's standing at the stove. Maybe even scooping a little Crisco out of the can.

The mental picture of Mamaw standing at the stove is one of the most enduring images of my childhood, mainly because she stood at that stove so faithfully. She cooked three hot meals a day, seven days a week. There was never anything made from a box, either—no powdery macaroni and cheese or Hamburger Helper. Oh, no, ma'am. There was hot cornbread, beef stroganoff over rice, pot roast with carrots and potatoes, fried chicken, creamed potatoes, fresh peas, fried squash, fried okra (I have to pause for a moment whenever I mention Mamaw's fried okra and give it the reverence and honor that it is due), egg custard pie, pound cake—I could go on and on.

We didn't have all that food at one time, mind you, or else we'd have alternated trips to Mamaw's table with trips to the cardiac care unit, but there was always something delicious and homemade on that stove. Mamaw didn't think she was doing anything special—she was just taking care of her family the best way she knew how—but I think her children and grandchildren can all testify to the fact that those meals she cooked ministered to us like a good Sunday sermon. And she didn't have to say a single word.

For at least one week a summer—sometimes more—my mama and my daddy, along with my aunt Choxie, who is Mama's sister, and Chox's husband, my uncle Joe, would ship my cousin Paige and me off to Mamaw and Papaw Davis's pretty white farmhouse in Moss Rose, Mississippi—about thirty minutes from my hometown of Myrtlewood. Since Paige would have been born in the early 1900s if she'd had any say in the matter, she thrived on Mamaw and Papaw's farm. She was perfectly content to pick blackberries, walk through the chicken coops, amble about in the pastures, and count cows. I, on the other hand, was a total scaredy-cat, wary of tall grass that made me itch and bumblebees that refused to be swatted away.

I had issues when I was indoors, too. When Paige and I would go to bed at night, exhausted from our day's adventures, I'd usually make it ten or fifteen minutes before I'd sprint down the hall and crawl into bed with Mamaw and Papaw. Every floorboard creak sounded to me like imminent danger, so I settled into sleep much more easily underneath the cool hum of the AC window unit in my grandparents' room. No way could the boogeyman get me in there. Not on Papaw's watch. He was broad shouldered, barrel chested, and utterly devoted to his family—a security blanket in human form.

Papaw had some health problems when I was ten, and not too long afterward he and Mamaw decided to downsize and find a smaller house with a lot less land. Somebody later told my mama that Papaw was thinking ahead—he was worried something would happen to him and Mamaw would be stuck with the responsibilities of the farm. On top of that, he didn't want her to be living in a relatively remote area all by herself. So they sold the farmhouse (and the farm) and moved to a blond brick house that was just catty-corner from Moss Rose's Methodist church.

Papaw added a den to the back of the new -to-them house so there would be a nice big gathering place for the family, and when we had our first Sunday lunch there a month or so after they moved in, Mamaw stood at her new stove and carried out the ministry of the homemade chicken pie just like she'd always done. Paige and I missed the backyard of the old house and the pipe swing with the eight-foot chain that hung from the branches of an old oak tree, but there was a barn to explore and plenty of room to roam. That was all we needed.

The following winter Mama and Chox hosted a tea at Mamaw and Papaw's house to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Mama and Choxie's brother, Bill, who lived three hours away, was there too, and in my opinion Bill's presence always elevated a family gathering a couple of notches. He drove a sports car, reminded me of Burt Reynolds, and delivered one-liners better than anybody else I knew. If that weren't enough, Mama and Chox let Paige and me serve the punch, and we were certain such a grown-up responsibility meant we'd hit the big time. Papaw wore his nicest suit, and Mamaw wore a pretty dress that she'd made for the occasion, along with a corsage that Sister had bought for her at a florist's shop in Myrtlewood. They made an adorable couple.

Papaw's personality came alive in a big group of folks, so he was in his element that afternoon. Mamaw, on the other hand, was much more introverted and soft spoken. Every once in a while Papaw would put his hand on her back and whisper, "You doing okay, Lucy?"

She'd grin and say, "I'm fine, John."

But even at eleven years old I knew it was hard for her to be the center of attention. Her sweet, servant spirit shone just fine without the aid of any limelight, and part of me wondered if she wasn't going to sneak out of her own anniversary party so she could get in the kitchen and make everybody some chicken and dumplings. She hung in there with the socializing, though, and she stood by Papaw's side until the front door closed and Mama and Chox practically raced to see who could be the first one to take off her high-heeled shoes.

What none of us knew at the time, though, was how much Mamaw was struggling with her health. Then again, not even she knew how sick she was. Having been plagued by a general feeling of weakness as well as liver problems during the past several years, she initially thought that she was dealing with more of the same. Over the next few months, however, she and Papaw traveled to Myrtlewood almost weekly for doctor's visits, and early that fall—about eight months after their fiftieth anniversary—Papaw told the family that the doctor had confirmed their worst fear: cancer. Other than helping Mamaw manage her pain and keeping her as comfortable as possible, there wasn't much the doctors could do.

Mamaw was admitted to the hospital in Myrtlewood right before Thanksgiving, and for the next two weeks Mama, Chox, and Papaw rarely left her side. Mama would pick up Paige and me from school—we were fourteen and twelve at that point—and we'd do our homework in the waiting room down the hall from Mamaw's room while we drank Cokes and ate Dolly Madison fruit pies from the vending machine. Mama or Chox would take us downstairs to the hospital cafeteria for supper, and we'd eventually go home whenever they felt Mamaw was settled for the night. It broke their hearts to see her in pain, and they took their role as her advocates very seriously. It wasn't quite like Shirley MacLaine at the nurses' station in Terms of Endearment—Mama and Chox were far too polite to make a scene—but in their own Southern ways, they didn't mess around.

By mid-December the weather had turned windy and cold, and Mamaw showed no signs of getting better. One Tuesday night Papaw needed to drive back to Moss Rose to get a change of clothes and a few other things, and since Mama and Chox didn't want him to stay at the house by himself, they suggested that he take Paige and me with him. We had school the next day, but they were far more worried about Papaw than about our missing an hour of social studies. So off we went.

The ride to Moss Rose in Papaw's Oldsmobile 88 was a quiet one, and by the time we arrived at Mamaw and Papaw's house, we were all pretty worn out. It was the first time I'd walked through their back door without immediately seeing Mamaw standing at the stove, and while we didn't stop and take time to vocalize our feelings or anything like that, I think it's safe to say that we all felt her absence.

Paige and I brushed our teeth in silence that night, standing in the guest bath that always smelled like a combination of rubbing alcohol and Mercurochrome. We walked down the hall to tell Papaw good-night and found him lying on top of the bedspread, staring at the ceiling with his arms crossed over his chest. Paige and I sat down beside him, not really knowing what to say. Papaw spoke up first and uttered six words that have stayed with me for more than thirty years.

"She was mighty sweet, wasn't she?"

It struck me as strange that he used the past tense, but Paige and I certainly didn't correct him. We tried our best to comfort him as his shoulders began to shake and the tears started to fall. And while I don't have any idea what time it was when Paige and I finally fell asleep, I do know that Papaw's quiet sobs were the last sound either of us heard.

Early the next morning, around five o'clock, there was a knock on the door. Mama, Daddy, Chox, and Joe had come to tell us what Papaw's heart had told him the night before.

Up to that point in my life—and I was every bit of twelve years old—I'd been all about ballet lessons, my snazzy new Merlin game, American Top 40, and Nancy Drew mysteries. So for me, Mamaw's death was my first glimpse into what family life looks like in the midst of sadness and grief and heartache. I couldn't have put words to it at the time, I don't think, but somehow I could sense that there was beauty in all that brokenness, that there were little patches of light that permeated the darkness. Yes, there was sorrow and pain—but there was also love and comfort and laughter and joy. There was a confidence that something bigger was at work, an assurance of "an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Corinthians 4:17, NIV).

So while Mamaw's death certainly isn't my happiest memory, I can honestly say that it will forever be one that I treasure. Because that memory, by God's grace, continues to teach me.

And even now, more than three decades later, I hold that memory in my heart real tight.

And I watch.

And I listen.


Excerpted from a little SALTY to cut the Sweet by Sophie Hudson. Copyright © 2013 by Sophie Hudson. Excerpted by permission of TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


A Little Literary Disclaimer....................     xi     

INTRODUCTION Because I'm Crazy about My People....................     xiii     

CHAPTER 1 Not to Mention That Her Apple Tarts Would Change Your Whole Life....................     1     

CHAPTER 2 When the Biggest Portion of All Is the Love....................     9     

CHAPTER 3 When the Fine China Is, Um, Refining....................     19     

CHAPTER 4 The Saga of the Homemade Biscuits....................     23     

CHAPTER 5 When the "Immeasurably More" Pretty Much Rocks Your World....................     37     

CHAPTER 6 Mother's Got a Bell! A Ringy-Ding Bell!....................     53     

CHAPTER 7 The Night We neither Camped nor Fished....................     57     

CHAPTER 8 A Denominational Showdown in the Frozen Foods Aisle....................     69     

CHAPTER 9 For Better, for Worse, and in the Increasingly Likely Chance of a Heatstroke........     71     

CHAPTER 10 Lordy, Lordy, Look Who's One Hundred-y....................     91     

CHAPTER 11 When Prayer Meeting Includes a Cocktail Hour....................     97     

CHAPTER 12 Because Nothing Says "Welcome" like Rifling through a Handbag....................     109     

CHAPTER 13 Watching TV with My Daddy....................     115     

CHAPTER 14 The Unexpected Ministry of the Cowbell....................     117     

CHAPTER 15 Saturday Lunch and the Fine Art of Funeral Planning....................     131     

CHAPTER 16 Because Nothing Says "Happy Anniversary" like Eight Pounds of Bacon................     145     

CHAPTER 17 It Only Takes a Spark to Get a Kindle Going....................     159     

CHAPTER 18 That Whole Table Thing Is Pretty Symbolic, Y'all....................     173     

RECIPES And Now It Is Time for All the Food....................     187     

Acknowledgments....................     201     

About the Author....................     205     

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A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Nicnac63 More than 1 year ago
Sophie Hudson had me at hello...                                                                                                  As the bearer of a southern heart, I fell in love with this book reading the blasted introduction! The rest of the book doesn’t disappoint, either. ;) Even though my upbringing was somewhat different, I easily relate to these stories, and can almost swear Sophie Hudson’s relatives and mine are the same! (Bless their hearts.) What a charming 90-percent-true-ish memoir! My word, you’ll laugh and you’ll cry reading this book, but mostly, you’ll walk away with the feeling of belonging to this delightful, imperfect, inspirational southern family. And, heavens to Betsy, being a peach in this salty pie is a sweet thang! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Advanced Review Copy free from the NetGalley book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The options I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been reading BooMama for a sweet forever, so as soon as A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet was available for preorder, I got on it. As Sophie herself might say, I was like, "YES MA'AM. LOAD 'ER UP." Sophie's not only hilarious, which everyone knew, but she's also an artist. Several passages just struck me to the core, like: "Like Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, I saw the effortless grace and elegance of the women around me and realized that 'there was some skill involved in being a girl,' and I knew I didn't just want to grow up and be a woman. I wanted to grow up and be a lady." If you want a great southern read that will certainly make you laugh, possibly make you cry, and definitely make you nod your head in understanding, please do not delay in purchasing Sophie Hudson's delightful celebration of food, faith, and family. If nothing else, it will make you want to brew sweet tea and fry bacon. You're welcome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet and I am so sad that it has ended. I was not a previous reader of Sophie's blog, I bought her book because a friend recommended it. I loved it so much that I have been thinking what will I do now that it ends and we are just getting to know each other? I can't recommend this book enough. Heartwarming, funny and thought provoking about all kinds of family relationships.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Being raised in the south, I could very well relate to many of the stories. I read this book over a three day period while sitting out on the beach. It is just a great read. I recommend this book to every southern lady!  It warms my heart!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sophie Hudson has done a fabulous job of accurately and lovingly telling the story of being brought up in a real Southern home with real Southern women.  I have loved her stories about Martha for years, and her book did not disappoint.  Martha getting a Kindle was solid gold reading material.  You'll feel like you know her when you've finished.  
jbm More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Truly a feel good read.
imkellimo More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book! Being from the south (Mississippi to be exact) everything about this book struck home to me. I laughed out loud and fought back tears time after time. Sophie writes in such a way that makes you feel as though she is sitting across the table from you sharing a glass of tea and a slice of red velvet cake telling her stories. I cannot wait to get my hands on her other book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lighthearted, entertaining stories of small town southern family. Author did a great job of weaving these stories together, it flowed well and read like a book, rather than a compilation of short stories. She has a wonderful sense of humor, her writing is intelligent and very witty! I laughed out loud often and was very entertained! Good clean delightful book, Bible references, she writes about her faith, but this is not at all in your face preaching. Of course no sex, swearing or violence. Loved her intelligent, lively writing style and can't wait to read more of her work!
Becca1006 More than 1 year ago
I love Sophie's blog and her book was a great insight into how she became a great story teller.  She is a Christian, first and foremost, and I love that she shares her faith throughout the book!  
JennieWren More than 1 year ago
Seeing sacred in the ordinary - edged with laughter! I recently discovered Sophie Hudson's blog, BooMama, and then saw her book, "A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet." It was an unexpectedly funny, heartwarming, emotionally uplifting and encouraging series of family anecdotes - stories from a lifetime of family gatherings. Nothing is sacred - unless it's the food!  It's a closer look into family relationships and what it means to live in close fellowship with each other - the people God has chosen to walk with us.  Sophie shows us all how to "see the sacred in the ordinary and the profound in the mundane."  Thank you!!
rlighthouse More than 1 year ago
Great Funny Book!  A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet tells Sophie Hudson's story growing up in the south to a true southern family.  I loved her stories about her Mother-In-Law and her technology problems and her close-knit relationship with her cousin growing up as well as their college choices and what it meant once you  made your choice and the friendly rivalry that followed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fast read that makes your heart feel good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
FondaTX More than 1 year ago
I devoured this book on a transcontinental flight that was less than I expected. Sophie's stories transported me from a cramped and uncomfortable situation to the wide open spaces of my childhood home. Her stories of growing up in Mississippi reminded me of family Sunday dinners and chasing fireflies in my grandparents front yard. I laughed, I cried and I sighed with contentment. She has a way of telling her story so that the reader remembers their own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pleasant, sometimes funny, stories of the author's family. I did look forward to reading a chapter whenever I needed a dash of lightness in my day.
AnotherBibliophile More than 1 year ago
Totally Entertaining. This book is full of very amusing stories of quirky personalities, and touching reminiscences. The tales are almost always upbeat, but the drama of life is included too. I love the writing style; I can almost hear them talk. As the author says, “…this book is not meant to be An Airing of the Grievances; it’s meant to be a celebration of family.” And that it is. The author celebrates life and relatives and friends beautifully (even if she admittedly embellishes here and there). I was alternately touched and laughing aloud. I felt welcomed into her family. Sophie Hudson mentions a few Bible verses, and talks about how the Lord wants us to share stories, talk, laugh, and remember. She even includes recipes. I am glad I bought this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cute stories that reminded me of a night with the girls talking about their lives.
m_duncan1 More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful book. It had me laughing (and sometimes crying), pretty much the whole way through. Sophie is hilarious and it translates well in her writing. Although it was written somewhat like a blog, it made for an easy, funny read, with sweet and tender moments. I would definitely recommend this book to others.
ShareeS More than 1 year ago
This book is absolutely delightful! It had me crying, laughing and everything in between. Sophie’s writing makes the reader feel like they’re in the story right along with the characters. The book keeps the stories engaging, but real and always in an environment of complete respect which was one of the very best parts. She manages to tell great stories that can make the reader laugh or cry but never at the expense of the main characters. A whimsical read!
J4Life5 More than 1 year ago
Sophie Hudson shares real life stories of her family and their lives in the South in a laugh out loud funny kind of way. After reading this book, I'm intrigued by the realities of life in the deep South. I love the way they women in Hudson's family use the article the in front of random nouns, as in going to the Walmart instead of going to Walmart. The story of her family's road trip and disembarking from the vehicle made me laugh so hard! Aside from all the laughter, Hudson shares a wonderful message in her book. Good friends and family and fellowship are what matter the most in this world. Through the ups and downs, families should love each other and support each other. I would love to spend a holiday gathering in the Hudson household! I also enjoyed reading through the recipes at the end of the book and look forward to having a taste of the South in our kitchen soon. This book is great for any woman looking for a laugh while reading a relaxing, entertaining book! So funny, but with a great message!
SophiesMindset More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable read I enjoyed the stories Sophie tells. It reminds me a lot of my own Southern family, even though the details are different. And I feel like if I met the folks she write about (particularly Martha! can you imagine? CAN YOU IMAGINE?!) I would know them right off the bat. And that makes me smile. (Though sometimes her use of fragments and parentheticals are a little much, they do serve a purpose.) The book definitely made me smile and laugh, though it has its sad parts too - after all, it's a book about life, and sadness and loss is a part of that journey. I appreciated how things really did keep tying back to God. It was refreshing. ...though I only remember 8 pounds of bacon from the stories, not 15...but there is an unexpected treat of a chapter of recipes at the end of the book. I can't wait to dig in.
Virginia76 More than 1 year ago
This is a book by Sophie Hudson, author of the Boo Mama blog. The author tells stories of her crazy Southern family, and there are recipes in the back. I thought this was a cute, easy to read book, and the recipes looked interesting.
iblog4books More than 1 year ago
I don't read a lot of non-fiction. And I rarely—if ever—post a review of the few I do read. However, I couldn't keep my excitement about this book to myself. It would be a disservice to you, my faithful readers, and the public at large. A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet by Sophie Hudson is hands down the best book I've read this year. RUN to the store and get yourself a copy. NOW. Don't even read the rest of this review. Just buy a copy for yourself … and maybe one for your mama and your grandmama and your best friend too. Sophie has an incredible talent for weaving stories of her very southern family together with nuggets of spiritual truths. Some of the stories are quite poignant. (Reader Tip #1: Have a box of tissues on hand for the first two chapters.) Others are happy tears streaming down your face, wet your pants funny. (Reader Tip #2: Particularly for chapter 7, it would be in everyone's best interests to "go potty" prior to reading. I am not lying to you when I tell you I nearly wet my pants—and thus the bed—while reading this chapter very late one night. Additionally, my dear husband thought I was having a seizure because of the spasms I was having while trying to laugh silently so as not to wake him up. Needless to say, he woke up anyway.) But each story shines a light on the legacy of faith that Sophie and her husband are so blessed to have. Plus, Sophie tells these stories in such a way where her family seems to leap right off the pages, becoming more than just "characters" in a book (which of course they are, since they're real people and all). By the end of the book, I literally could.not.put.it.down. I read the last two chapters on the way to church one night and sat in the car in the parking lot to finish the last few pages. (Pastor, I apologize for coming in late to service that night. This book was just so good!) (Reader Tip #3: Clear your calendar when you pick up this book. Your spouse, children, dog, pastor, and friends will thank you for it.) Sophie's reflections about the treasures she has in her family made me reflect on my own family. There were moments while reading where I found myself imagining my mom or grandmother doing or saying the exact same thing. (Southerners are really all alike, you know.) Southern born and bred, I have a new appreciation for the way we sit around after dinner and tell stories—some of which I've heard at least half a million times. Every year it seems that one book stands out as a book that must be read by all. And it inevitably ends up under every Christmas tree we visit because I can't stand the thought of everyone I know not getting to read this book. For 2013, I feel certain that A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet will be that book (unless I can't wait until December to share it). (And for any relatives or in-real-life friends who may be reading this, act surprised when you open your Christmas gift this year!) A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet reminds Southerners of the joys of being Southern and is a great introduction to the best parts of the South for those who may not have the privilege of living here—faith, family, and lots of laughs. (And apparently, I've now adopted Sophie's habit of writing with lots of parenthesis … at least for this review anyway!) [5 stars] I read this book for the pure pleasure of reading. I was not requested to provide a review. All opinions expressed are my own.