30 July 2010

Famous Food Friday -- Dolly Parton

“I cook like an old mountain woman.”

Today’s joint venture with Cookbook Of The Day is none other than Dolly Parton. I bet you didn’t even know she could cook. Sing yes. Act and write and run a theme park, yes. But cook? Well, she watched her Mama feed 12 kids in a tiny cabin, so some of that cooking had to rub off.

Dolly gathered up a whole bunch of recipes and wrote a cookbook, Dolly’s Dixie Fixin’s. The cookbook is filled with her Mama’s recipes as well as recipes from family and friends. There is a section on Christmas and other celebrations. Sections on barbeque, breads and sweets. Also, there a section called Road Kill that feature… not road kill, but recipes from some of Parton’s favorite roadside eateries like the Loveless Café and Mama Dips.

“…the two things I require in all my homes are a great kitchen and a chapel.”

Dolly’s Dixie Fixin’s follows the time-honored tradition in the South of gathering together collections of recipes to raise money for a church or a junior league. Parton’s cookbook raises money for a project close to her heart, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. In 1996, Parton began giving away books to children to spark their love of reading. She had a simple idea, give children, regardless of their family income, a book of their own every month. Parton personally sent a book every month to every child in Sevier County, Tennessee. The books begin with The Little Engine That Could and end, the month the child goes to kindergarten with, Look Out Kindergarten Here I Come. Needless to say, the idea caught on and before long there were Imagination Libraries popping up everywhere.

Like Dolly, food and reading are two of my favorite things.

Here is an appropriately titled recipe from Dolly. According to Parton:

“…when I stopped hoeing corn and working in the fields and moved to Nashville, I grew quite a bit larger. I was so fat, when I hauled ass I had to make two trips.”

These bars couldn’t be any sweeter. Just reading the recipe will make your teeth hurt.

Hello Dolly Bars

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Pour the butter into an 8 by 8-inch baking pan. Spread the graham cracker crumbs in the bottom of the pan. Arrange the chocolate chips over the crumbs, followed by the coconut and pecans. Pour the condensed milk over the pecans. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. The bars will not look like they’re cooked; they need to cool on a rack to firm up. Cut into bars once they are cooked.

I’m sure if you eat a big ol’ plate of these, you, too, will have to make a couple of trips to haul ass. And, if your community is looking for a fine project for children, look into the Imagination Library.


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