Cooks Exchange

A beet ring made with gelatin? Old-time Southern cookbook is a blast from the past.

“Southern Cookbook - 250 Fine Old Recipes” features Biloxi, Mississippi, recipes that were first published in 1965 . This small paperback contains Southern recipes from appetizers to desserts.
“Southern Cookbook - 250 Fine Old Recipes” features Biloxi, Mississippi, recipes that were first published in 1965 . This small paperback contains Southern recipes from appetizers to desserts.

Two things surely surface after a move: Certain items are hard to find and forgotten possessions surface.

Eighteen years passed since my last move. I do not remember it being so hard or losing some of my favorite kitchen tools, especially my vegetable peeler. In 2019, I have resolved to increase my energy and up my metabolism. This includes eating more vegetables, so I need to find my peeler.

On a happier note, I found a “Southern Cookbook - 250 Fine Old Recipes,” featuring Biloxi, Mississippi, recipes that were first published in 1965 by Culinary Arts Press Inc. of Pennsylvania. This small paperback, edited by Claire S. Davidow, contains Southern recipes from appetizers to desserts.

I was surprised by a recipe featuring beets, avocados and crab meat. It is a beet ring made with gelatin and is encircled by crab-stuffed avocados. This makes an attractive salad with the colorful ingredients. The center of the ring is filled with a sour cream dressing.

The book is a step back to the 1960s with more molded salads, stewed chicken and dumplings, crawfish bisque and even squash pie. Some Coastians say that the old Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant’s mystery pie was made with squash, but others think it was beans. Check out the book’s recipe.

Some recipes even date back to 1935. Copies of the cookbook are available on eBay from $3.99, and downloads are available at It is worth the cost.

I will share a few “Southern Cookbook” recipes.

Don’t forget to tell us

What was the favorite recipe that you tried in 2018? Also tell us what your favorite restaurant meal on the Coast and elsewhere in 2018?


1 (1-pound) can baby beets, drained; reserve liquid

1 (3-ounce) package lemon gelatin

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup prepared horseradish

Measure beet liquid and add enough water to equal 2 cups. Heat to boiling and dissolve gelatin completely in the hot liquid. Add lemon juice, cover and chill until the consistency of unbeaten egg whites.

Finely chop the beets and add with horseradish to the chilled gelatin; blend thoroughly. Pour into a 1-quart ring mold that has been rinsed with cold water. Chill until firm.

To serve, unmold ring in large platter; arrange lettuce around the mold. Place avocado halves filled with Crab Meat Salad on lettuce. Fill center of ring with a bowl of Sour Cream Dressing. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

– “Southern Cookbook - 250 Fine Old Recipes”


2 (6 1/2 ounces each) can crab meat or 2 2/3 cups fresh crab meat

1/2 cup diced celery

2 hard-cooked eggs, diced

1 tablespoon diced pimiento

2/3 cup mayonnaise

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Drain, remove and discard bony tissue and flake the crab meat. Combine in a bowl with celery, egg, pimiento and a mixture of the mayonnaise and pepper. Toss lightly to mix thoroughly. Chill.

When ready to serve, pile salad lightly into lettuce cups or avocado halves. Serve with lemon or lime wedges. Makes about 4 servings.

– “Southern Cookbook - 250 Fine Old Recipes”


1 tablespoon flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

2 egg yolks, slightly beaten

1 cup dairy sour cream

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan; mix well. Gradually blend in a mixture of the water and vinegar; add the butter. Cook over low heat stirring constantly until mixture boils and thickness; cook 2 minutes.

Vigorously stir about 1/4 cup of the hot mixture into egg yolks; quickly blend into hot mixture. Continue cooking over low heat until egg thickens, about 5 minutes; stir constantly. Cool.

Beat sour cream until piled softly. Fold into cooled dressing. Serve on salad greens, cold asparagus or cucumber, cold fish or shellfish. About 2 cups dressing.

– “Southern Cookbook - 250 Fine Old Recipes”


(This pumpkin pie can be changed to squash pie.)

Pastry for 1-crust 9-inch pie

1 (1-pound) can (about 2 cups) pumpkin

2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, slightly beaten

2 cups cream, scalded

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup (about 4 ounces) pecan halves

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

Line pie pan with pastry; set aside. Blend pumpkin, 2/3 cup brown sugar and a mixture of spices and salt.

Add the eggs and mix well. Gradually add the scalded cream, stirring until mixture is smooth.

Pour filling into pastry shell. Bake at 400 degrees about 50 minutes or until a silver knife when inserted halfway between center and edge of filling comes out clean. Cool on cooling rack.

Melt the butter in a small skillet. Add pecans; turn them with a spoon until coated with butter. Turn nuts into a bowl containing the 1/4 cup brown sugar; toss to coat thoroughly. When pie is cool, arrange coated pecans, rounded side up, over the top in an attractive design. Place under broiler about 3 inches from source of heat. Broil 1-2 minutes, Makes 1 9-inch pie.

– “Southern Cookbook - 250 Fine Old Recipes”


Follow recipe for Pecan-Topped Pumpkin Pie. Substitute 2 (12-ounce) packages thawed frozen squash for pumpkin. Decrease cinnamon too 1/2 teaspoon and cream to 1 cup. Omit topping ingredients. Prepare pastry shell and bake at 475 degrees for 5 minutes before pouring in filling. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until filling tests done.

– “Southern Cookbook - 250 Fine Old Recipes”

Andrea Yeager can be reached at and Cooks Exchange, 205 DeBuys Road, Gulfport, MS 39507.