Fantasies Served up in Fort Worth

by Joy Donovan on July 21, 2010

My fantasies often involve pen and paper.

It goes like this: I’m sitting at a table, and I look up at the approaching stranger. The stranger smiles, greets me and then asks me the question.

“Will you sign my book?”

Today it happened, though. I looked up at the female stranger and could barely contain myself. I couldn’t catch my breath. I thought I might cry. Deeply flattered, I could only mutter “really?”

Then I got a grip and handed another stranger my camera to document the moment.

“Grace & Gumption Cookbook,” published by TCU Press, is an offshoot of 2007′s ”Grace & Gumption.” Both books profile Fort Worth women who created, pioneered and led the formation of the city. The newer one, of which I was one of 14 female contributors, is much more than a cookbook. It’s a social history of many of Fort Worth’s founding mothers, with the cooking just one aspect of it all.

Most of the women who worked on the first “G&G” returned to write for the second, but two of us, Brenda Sanders-Wise and myself, were recruited to fill spots. The recipes found range from roasted wild pig to pound cake, but some of the stories are wilder than the pig. There’s a tale about what Ginger Rogers’ mother smuggled into hotels and another about who really came up with the Baird’s Bread recipe.

I was assigned to write about artists, so Chapter 9 is my favorite chapter. Many of the artists were too busy creating in studios to create in the kitchen, but others were adventurous with spices once considered exotic.

The new book is on sale now at TCU’s bookstore at the corner of Berry and University in Fort Worth. If you buy one, I promise I’ll sign it for you.

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