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Memories are featured ingredient in new cookbook

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By Robert Villanueva

When The News-Enterprisefood columnist Nora Sweat decided to compile a cookbook a couple years ago, she decided to call it “Mama & Me.”

Sweat's father died in 1972, and as she got older, she and her mother became closer.

“We became more like sisters rather than mother and daughter,” Sweat said.

“Mama & Me,” which recently was published by McClanahan Publishing House Inc., is not only a collection of recipes. The cookbook contains stories of when Sweat grew up on a farm with her mother. Sweat included the stories at the suggestion of her sister, who heard the title and thought Sweat should introduce their mother to readers by way of the stories.

“My publisher said to me, ‘Nostalgic is in,’“ Sweat said.

Stories reflect memories of picking blackberries and raising chickens. The stories are followed by recipes such as blackberry cobbler and friend chicken, for example.

The inspiration to compile a cookbook came after she began writing the newspaper column, she said.

“I had a lot of people say 'You need to write a cookbook,'“ Sweat said.

The cookbook includes a section highlighting some recipes from her column feature, Hardin County’s Finest Cooks. The biggest section contains recipes from appetizers to desserts.

“My favorite things to make are desserts,” Sweat said.

The cookbook reflects that to some extent.

“The cake chapter is the largest chapter in the whole book,” she said.

Sweat’s favorite recipe is one from her mom for a dessert called brown bag apple pie that's actually baked in a brown bag.

“Mama & Me,” a hardcover book, is slated to be available for sale in Elizabethtown at Back Home restaurant, Cottage Charm and Hardin Memorial Hospital gift shop; in Glendale at The Whistle Stop, True Kentucky and Thru the Grapevine; in Hodgenville at The Lincoln Museum, and in Clermont at the Jim Beam gift shop. The cookbook sells for $24.95 plus tax.

The mix of stories and recipes follows the tradition of the types of cookbooks Sweat enjoys.

“I’ve always been a cookbook reader,” she said.