Now, We're Cookin'!

Years ago, my name was proposed for membership in the Junior League.  Now this was back in the day when the Earth's crust was still cooling and a prospective League member had to have a capital S Sponsor as well as four, I think, additional Endorsers.  Each had to answer a multi-page questionnaire as to why her candidate would be a worthy member.  My endorsers must've been quite eloquent, for after successfully negotiating a traditional Southern garden tea, I was invited to join as a Provisional member.  I was new in town and, truthfully, I was honored.

The League, or the Plague, as we sometimes called it, turned out to be pretty demanding, but I did meet a lot of smart women, and--to some extent--I learned how to "get things done."   The first committee on which I served was Publications, more commonly known as Cookbook.  Our League had just introduced a new cookbook, Uptown Down South, which remains one of my favorites.

As a Cookbook committee member, I spent many Saturdays working a shift at a craft fair, festival, or other "women's event," extolling the virtues of the cookbook.  When I wasn't actively selling, I was baking pans and pans of Almond Crusted Torte, our signature sample item.  Our big selling point was that, in addition to each recipe having been triple-tested, the book was organized by menu (a feature I still find useful!).

I've had a soft spot for Junior League cookbooks ever since, so I was quite delighted to have won a copy of the beautiful  Savannah Style from the lovely and charming writer of  The Southland Life. Thank you so much!  I know I will love using it--there are so many delicious recipes, and I love that some tidbits of Savannah history are included, too.

A newlywed, a lawyer, and a new League member herself, this blogger writes thoughtful posts about her sweet Southern life.  Not too long ago, she posted her wedding weekend pictures, and they were simply stunning!  Please stop by and say hello!

And now, for old times' sake, Almond Crusted Torte, which may be baked in a pie pan and served in slices or in a 9 x9 or 9 x 13 baking dish and cut into bars.  Either way, it's different, delicious, and perfect with coffee.

Almond Crusted Torte from Uptown Down South

1 2/3 cups plain flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, melted
1/8 tsp salt
2 tablespoons almond extract
2 eggs, beaten
2.25 ounces slivered almonds
nonstick vegetable spray

Stir together all ingredients, except almonds.  Pour into a 10-inch pie pan or baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick vegetable spray.  Sprinkle almonds over top and press lightly.  Bake at 350 for 34-40 minutes or until lightly browned.

Do you have a favorite local cookbook?


  1. When Reggie was a boy his mother was in the JL where one of her duties (and there were many of them) was to spend one afternoon a week working at the "Nearly New Shoppe" where JL members' clothes (both theirs and their family's) were sold to raise money for the worthy causes that the JL supported. Needless to say, much of the clothing I and my siblings wore came from there! One of Reggie's favorite JL recipes is a bourban-laced pecan poundcake that he found in a JL cookbook a dozen or so years ago. Delish!

  2. I see everyone talking about it...but what is the junior league? Besides a group of women...what do they do?

  3. Reggie, that cake sounds sooo good. I have also done my share of shifts in the NNS, and have always counted on the NNS for blazers for my boys! I still drop off my "quota" once a year and try to be a good Sustainer!

    Suburban, I could tell you what the Junior League is, but, then I'd have to . . . no, just kidding. Here's the link to the Association of Junior Leagues International, You may want to join yourself! The JL makes a huge impact in the area where I live.

  4. That recipe sounds delicious! Our JLL is going back and forth on whether to produce a new cookbook. It's a huge time commitment and cost - we'll see how it goes this year!

  5. I think League cookbooks are just the best! They offer up all the "secrets" from the best kitchens! I have an old copy of Uptown Down South!!! Now, off to read your blog recommendation. I love finding new southern girls to follow! Thanks!

  6. Thanks for your sweet comments - they've made my day! I hope you enjoy your cookbook :)

  7. I'm so jealous! I would love to join the JL but the most local chapter is 40 miles from home (20 miles from work)... Do you think they would consider someone who lived that far away?

  8. what a fun post! I love my JL cookbooks! And I will be making your almond torte!


    PS. How did your speaking event go today??!!

  9. Savannah style is a favorite in our house

  10. I also love Junior League cookbooks and own several - they always have the best recipes!! I am definitely trying your almond crusted torte and Reggie's JL pound cake sounds divine as well!

  11. That Savannah Style cookbook, together with Charleston Receipts is one of the best!

  12. Junior League cookbooks are always the best! That tart looks delicious! One of my current favorite cookbooks is Katie Lee Joel's the Comfort Table. It has great Southern recipes.

  13. I have a few JL cookbooks and they are great. However, 17 years ago my oldest son's school collaborated a cookbook that I think I've made EVERY single recipe. My next I able to get a copy of your JL cookbook? Please email the details if possible :] !

  14. I love the idea of a cookbook that provides menu suggestions as well. My mother owns an ANCIENT copy of "Atlanta Cooks For Company". Not sure if it was a JL project or some other ladies' group fundraiser, but it is THE "go to" cookbook when she's entertaining her school and church friends. It also organizes recipes into suggested menus ... so helpful!

    I do love a good cookbook, and so wish I had the time to organize my hundreds of recipe printouts into something better than a manila folder!


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