Most known for her best-selling novel The Yearling, winner of the 1939 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1896-1953) was a devoted Floridian. She was born in Washington, DC, but at age 32, having come into some money, she bought a tract of land in the scrub country of north-central Florida, settling in the region called Cross Creek, named for a small river that ran nearby. Already a published novelist, she began writing about the region, which she came to love, and following her autobiographical Cross Creek, she turned to cooking, a particular passion of hers. Drawing on her dealings with local people who fished and hunted in the hammocks of this watery region, she collected recipes and developed a number of her own, based on ingredients naturally occurring in the region.
The resulting book, half-memoir, is wonderful reading, with a great cast of characters and recipes that one really wants to try: Ruth Becker’s creole oyster soup, sour cream muffins, fried cheese grits, buttered crabs, Spanish chicken fricassee, macaroon cream, kumquat jelly. And a few that, for most, might perhaps be more appealing to read about than to cook and eat: alligator tail steaks, coot liver and gizzard pilau, jellied tongue, swamp cabbage salad. A delightful trip down a culinary side-road by a major writer, and a very nice addition to any collection.
The copy is a Very Good first edition. It is bound in full cloth, the fabric printed with the same illustration as the dust jacket. Wonderful drawings by artist Robert Camp appear throughout the book. The interior is excellent—clean and fresh—and the binding is solid. The dust jacket has slight fraying at the top of the spine, and is price clipped. The first right-hand blank carries a brief gift inscription. Definitely a superior copy.