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Up a Country Lane Cookbook Paperback – August 1, 2000


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Frequently Bought Together

Up a Country Lane Cookbook + Always Put in a Recipe and Other Tips for Living from Iowa's Best-Known Homemaker (Bur Oak Book) + Neighboring on the Air: Cooking With the KMA Radio Homemakers (Shenandoah, Iowa)
Price for all three: $51.66

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Product Details

  • Series: Bur Oak Book
  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Iowa Press (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877457433
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877457435
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #808,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Birkby, a Shenandoah Evening Sentinel columnist and onetime radio show host in Iowa, draws together her favorite recipes and offers us a context for them: the 1940s and '50s. For her the context is best characterized by what she knew home to be: "a barn, hog shed, corn crib, equipment shed," other outbuildings, "a small, white, single-story house" much like others once scattered across the Midwest, and her neighbors. In plain prose that tells us just what it needs to, she considers various country "heritages"--her own and her friends'--and trots out the food that figures in them: "White Fluffy Frosting," fried chicken, homemade noodles, blueberry salad, oatmeal pancakes. The author takes her backward look straightforwardly, and explains what was involved in raising a clover crop, and in baling hay. Also discussed, methodically: the labor of laundry (including a wringer), the advent of storms, the work of auctions, and what happened on Sundays ("the children would tumble in the soft grass"). Though not sentimental, hers is an affectionate record of living simply. It has a commonplace integrity that can seem, in our era, like fantasy.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Birkby, an Iowa homemaker, has written a weekly newspaper column called "Up a Country Lane" for more than 40 years; she also had a long-running radio program, that she chronicled in Neighboring on the Air: Cooking with the KMA Radio Homemakers (Univ. of Iowa Pr., 1991). Now she has collected the best recipes from her column, grouped into chapters in which she describes her family's life on an Iowa farm in the years following World War II. There are lots of good simple recipes from the heartland here, but Birkby's mesmerizing text is the real center of the book; she comes across as savvier but no less engaging than the "Pioneer Lady," Jane Watson Hopping ( The Many Blessings Cookbook , LJ 9/15/93). Writing in understated terms about the realities of rural life in the 1940s and 1950s, she gives a wryly humorous description of sharing a 14-family party line, a memorable cataloging of laundry day, vivid depictions of harvesting and haying, and a wrenching account of a child's death. Highly recommended.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Risa on October 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book! It was chock-full of recipes for the kinds of dishes my grandmothers and aunts prepared. It also gave great stories and details on rural Midwestern life during the 1940's and 50's - the kind of details you won't find in history books. Homey and comforting.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By JK on October 23, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book after reading Mrs. Birkby's book, "Neighboring on the Air", which was a great pleasure to read and cook from. Once again, Mrs. Birkby has hit a home run!
Mrs. Birkby was one of the 'radio homemakers' who broadcast recipes, tips and news to Iowa's rural housewives as well as writing a long-lived newspaper column. Needless to say, after decades she had a very rich collection of recipes and local history to share. This she has done in a book that is very well organized, easy to read, and involves the reader. Having never read her column, I can assume this style is what endeared the author to generations of Iowans.
This book focuses mainly on the years Mrs. Birkby spent with her husband starting and maintaining an Iowa farm for 10 years following WW II. It is broken up into chapters on topics such as 'Grocery', 'Milking', 'Stoves', etc. Recipes in each chapter follow the narration. I prefer this format for historical cookbooks, as it makes it much easier to leaf through and locate recipes.
I've tried several of the recipes, and all have worked well for me.
This book would have rated five stars for me, even if it hadn't had any recipes. Mrs. Birkby's struggles to make a success of a small farm with her family make a valuable documentation of postwar rural life. Reading her accounts, particularly of laundry, illustrates how far we have come as a nation with housekeeping.
Thank you again, Mrs. Birkby, for sharing your personal and professional history with us!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
"Up A Country Lane" by wife, mother, homemaker, newspaper columnist, author, and one-time radio personality Evelyn Birkby is more than just another country cookbook. It is a compendium of anecdotal stories of friends and family, useful household tips, tales of rural farm life in Mill Creek Valley, Iowa during the 1940s and 50s, and Evelyn's own philosophy - all liberally sprinkled with recipes for the kinds of dishes so familiar to Midwestern American farm wives ranging from Stockyard Stew; Shepherd's Pie; and Pudding Mix Sweet Rolls; to Fried Apples; Tuna Crunch Salad; and Snickerdoodles. Highly recommended and rewarding reading, "Up A Country Lane" is as entertaining and thoughtful as it is homespun and 'kitchen cook friend'.
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Format: Paperback
**NOTE: I have a hardback copy - buy a hardback copy - do not buy a paperback**

The author is an absolutely delightful writer. The book is a collection the author's re-telling of rural life where food and community are brought together, creating nurturing traditions. Example: the dreaded farm auction. Mrs. Birkby's recipe for raised doughnuts must have reassured all, while they saw their neighbor's life on public display and for sale to the highest bidder, that each would have their neighbors' support if ever a sad day came to them. You can even imagine the farmer himself chuckle that the only good thing about the day were doughnuts! (And yes, the doughnut recipe is the best)

The story of their beef club was fascinating. It answered the question of why our local meat processor is called City Locker. More interesting, it tells of women with less modern conveniences, but more personal interaction with their community and neighbors.

Try to locate a hardback copy, not a paperback.
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By Richard Armstrong on December 25, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As advertised.
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