Ernest Matthew Mickler and White Trash Cooking

Happy Birthday to Ernest Matthew Mickler, born on this day in 1940. Mickler was a product of rural northeastern Florida and best-selling author of “White Trash Cooking” and “Sinkin Spells, Hot Flashes, Fits and Cravins.” He died of AIDS in 1988.

There are plenty of legit and delicious-sounding recipes in these books, mostly in the Desserts and Sweets sections (for example, the Grand Canyon Cake calls for a cup of homemade “whiskey sauce”- recipe on page 86; Bonnie Jean Butt’s Banana Puddin includes a can of crushed pineapple; Covina’s Peaches and Dreams is a divine-sounding concoction of mashed peaches, sugar, whipping cream, and crumbled macaroons). And then there are some entries that are not so much recipes as they are cryptic notes about a favorite food item, like the Kiss Me Not Sandwich: Spread mustard on two pieces of bread. Then slice onion on one and cover with the other. Ice tea helps wash it down.

Both books include a center section full of color photos taken by Mickler – of kitchens, churchyards, fruit stands, a hog-butchering. And there are essays where he captures the feel of the people around him, living their lives, preparing and eating the foods described in his books.

If you don’t have recipes for Thump Salad, Snippy Grits, Quick Loretta, or Deviled Pig’s Feet, then you probably need these books on your shelf.

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