'Magnolia' Cookbook Serves Real Recipes With Imaginary Backstories

Jul 19, 2019

Long before blockbuster cookbooks, community recipe collections were go-to references for recipes. These compilations were fundraising tools for church and junior league groups, Girl Scout troops and 4-H clubs.

Matthew Terrell is an artist and writer living in Atlanta. His book, The Magnolia Bayou Ladies Auxiliary Country Club Cooking and Entertaining Book, picks up the spiral-bound, D.I.Y Southern tradition, but this time there is a twist. This cookbook is fiction. While the recipes are real, everything else — the stories, the characters, the commentary, the ads — are fake.


Terrell joined On Second Thought to share his love of community cookbooks, and how they capture the time and place of a community. “I think what’s really interesting is that they are sociological, historical documents through recipes,” Terrell explained. “You can really come to learn about a people and a place through the food that they make — and the way they talk about the food.”

Terrell will be at the Bending Genres panel at the Decatur Book Festival, Saturday, Aug. 31.

Credit Matthew Terrell

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