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Mama Dip's Kitchen Paperback – October 4, 1999


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Mama Dip's Kitchen + Mama Dip's Family Cookbook + Sylvia's Family Soul Food Cookbook: From Hemingway, South Carolina, To Harlem
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

You can hold this book the way you hold a child's hand. And you can let this book show you a whole new world, the way a child will reveal the secrets of a secret world if you take the time to stop and watch and listen. God bless Mildred Council and the time she took to get it all down in Mama Dip's Kitchen. And it's not just the recipes that come out of a life of good cooking--there's a great deal of Mildred Council in these pages, and we are better off for the reading, the cooking, and the sharing.

In her acknowledgments, Mildred Council thanks a woman who helped with the book. Then she thanks the woman's children, "Shawn and Chelsea, for playing so nicely while we flipped so many pages." She ends her cookbook with a recipe for a child's birthday party. Her enthusiasm for life growing through all its stages can be found on every page. "I realized my name was my earthly soul," she writes, "which needed to be tended like the pumpkin seed--tended, tilled, fed, and harvested, to have a good life. And that's what I tried to do ever since for my family and myself."

Part of that tending has been owning and operating Dip's, a popular Chapel Hill, North Carolina restaurant where she serves the kind of country food she grew up cooking. Mildred Council calls her style of cooking "dump cooking" because she scoops up ingredients without measuring and "dumps" them in the bowl or pan. It took her a good deal of time to measure out what she was doing so instinctively to be able to share her work as written recipes. But she encourages every cook to use her recipes like a sewing pattern, to experiment, to stretch here and cut there to make the food you like.

Mama Dip's Kitchen is a compendium of straightforward, simple, southern American foods in chapters devoted to "Breads and Breakfast Dishes," "Poultry, Fish, and Seafood Dishes," "Beef, Pork and Lamb Dishes," "Vegetables and Salad," and "Desserts, Beverages, and Party Dishes." In simple foods as in a simple life, the complexities run deep. --Schuyler Ingle

From Library Journal

In this memoir/cookbook, Council, a popular restaurant owner in North Carolina, explains her famous "dump cooking" method of preparing food, which means no recipes, just measuring by eye, feel, taste, and testing. She also includes 250 of her favorite dishes.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press (October 4, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807847909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807847909
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought this book for my wife whose been looking for a cobbler receipe. Not only did this give us an excellent cobbler but fantastic receipes for all sorts of southern dishes. My wife is not originally from the South and wanted the "secrets" to good southern cooking. Mama Dip has provided her with some of these secrets.
In addition to the receipies, the story of Mama Dip's life was inspiring. It gives us a glimpse into the life of a poor southern family. The book is worth buying for this story alone.
I'm anxiously awaiting additional titles from her!
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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Derrick Peterman on May 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book starts out with a delightful autobiographical story of Mildred Council and her life of cooking for her large family, and later opening a restaurant. She talks about using local, seasonal ingredients. Unlike most foodies, this knowledge was necessary for survival of her poor sharecropper family. I found this short story worth the price of the book alone.
A transplanted Midwesterner in California, I bough this book to expand my cooking skills to include southern cooking / soul food. The recipes are all pretty simple, suspiciously simple suggesting a few trade secrets have been left out. Ms. Council admits as much, encouraging the reader to experiment and play around with her recipes. That's nice, and I respect Mama Dip's need to hold family/trade secrets, but I would have preferred more insight into how to experiment, to guide the reader. (A good example is Paul Kirk's Championship BBQ Sauces, where the secrets are not revealed, but plenty of insight is given for the reader to develop their own secret sauce.) Thankfully, there are cooking tips here and there, often given out in a folksy manner. Certainly one of the best things about this book is that with so many simple recipes, everyone will benefit from it.
Some of the recipes were surprisingly good in their simplicity. The Creole Shrimp, Fried Okra, and Fried Catfish turned out great. (Per Mama Dip's encouragement, I added a couple of my own ingredients to the mix.) The Baked Beans had a muddy taste, without much character to it. A couple others turned out a little bland. I have some philosophical differences with Mama Dip's Pecan Pie recipe. For the record, I think it needs brown sugar and perhaps some other ingredients for a richer, deeper flavor.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
When it comes to Carolina Country Cooking, Dip is simply the best. No wonder people line up at her Chapel Hill restaurant, patiently waiting for the South's best fried chicken (crispy-golden outside, juicily tender inside), her heavenly fried chicken livers, her marvelous chicken pot pie. And oh those collard greens cooked with a piece of side meat. Dip has made this Southerner mighty happy by putting all of these recipes -- and oh, so many more-- in her new cookbook. Also, by telling her story of growing up poor "but not knowing it" because of her close and loving family. We should all be so lucky. A Chapel Hill fan.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Barbara B. Powell on August 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I first saw Mama Dip on the Food Network. I immediately went online to find the cookbook that was mentioned. I now have a book of recipes and techniques that I can leave for my children when I am gone. I was afraid that I would have to write down my techniques etc. but she did it for me. What a wonderful read the book is also. I can hardly wait for her to find time to put another collection together. What a wonderful woman.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Best of the best - this cookbook has true old-time southern recipes with easy to follow instructions. This lady cooks exactly like my Alabama grandmothers - deliciously!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Cindy G on December 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
The recipes found in this book are a great place to start if you're trying to impress your new in-laws, or family. You will have to add seasonings here and there to put your family's mark on the dishes, but her measurements are accurate, and her instructions are precise. Rather than intimidate the novice cook, she offers some dishes that don't necessarily have to be made from scratch; a blessed opportunity to cheat a little when you're running low on time.
I highly recommend the recipes for Sunday Cornbread, and biscuits. They come out perfect every time!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By al lopez on August 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
We all need to have a mom like Momma Dip. She keeps us on the right track in and out of the kitchen. What a marvelous woman and super cook! All her stuff is yummmy!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Pamal on April 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have the luxury of living fairly close to Mama Dips restaurant and it's always a real treat to go for lunch or dinner. It's the kind of cooking we grew up with in NC. I was so excited when she published her cookbook. I bought it and have read it cover to cover. I not only love the recipes but the story itself is inspirational. If you ever go to her restaurant - don't skip the banana pudding. Like the recipe in the book, it's served warm and it's TO DIE FOR!!
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