The Church Ladies Divine Desserts

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9780399147807: The Church Ladies Divine Desserts

In the tradition of The Black Family Reunion Cookbook, Celebrating Our Mothers' Kitchens, and A Gracious Plenty, The Church Ladies' Divine Desserts brings together more than two hundred recipes, culled from local, church, and family cookbooks. But this book is much more than a compilation of recipes for decadent (or divine) sweets. It honors church ladies, those revered African-American women who have contributed immeasurably to their churches as teachers, mentors, keepers of tradition, and as culinary experts.

A homemade dessert is more than just a sweet finale to a meal in the African-American kitchen. It is a way to demonstrate special affection while underscoring the bounty of God's blessing on the home. And no one more than a church lady is aware of the power of a fine chocolate confection or a down-home bread pudding prepared with love and served with respect.

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Review:

The African American church-going experience is richly defined through the recipes and stories collected in Brenda Rhodes Miller's The Church Ladies' Divine Desserts: Heavenly Recipes and Sweet Recollections. Throughout the book, Miller introduces us to many church ladies and shares their sweet yet significant contributions to their neighborhood churches and communities.

The phrase "church social" is equivalent to homemade and the recipes are of the sort one would expect to find on the tables at a church social or bake sale, ranging from Pineapple Upside-Down Cake to Sweet Potato Pie. Boxed cake mixes are forbidden with this crowd and Miller even includes a story of one church lady from her childhood who was quite comfortable sending individuals back home if they had brought "store-bought" baked goods to a gathering.

The stories and church-lady bios make for pleasant reading, and the recipes in this book are great to have on hand the next time you're asked to bring dessert to a social gathering. Whether you need a tasty and tart fresh lime pie or a chocolate brownie recipe that requires more effort than just adding water, The Church Ladies' Divine Desserts is a welcome and comforting resource, full of rich flavor as well as history. --Teresa Simanton

About the Author:

Brenda Rhodes Miller, the deputy director of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, has written for numerous publications and contributed to The Black Family Reunion Cookbook. The wife of a Baptist preacher, she is a bona fide church lady.

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Brenda Rhodes Miller
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