Atlanta is occupied by people from all over the world making it the International city of the Southeast. The accent of Atlantans’ is…well…, no accent, just a compilation that is best described as an all in one inflection.
So when a true blue Southern Lady stands at the kitchen counter of Cook’s Warehouse to demonstrate the recipes from her cookbook Deliciously Southern, I stand behind her with a smile. There is something about a petite, southern enunciation in the flow of words coming from Aletia DuPree. She is a rare beauty.
There is a favorite Southern Philosophy making its way through cyberspace that describes the South at its best.
I Love the South where the tea is sweet and the accents sweeter.Summer starts in April, macaroni and cheese is a vegetable. Front porches are wide and words are long. Pecan pie is a staple. ” Y’all ” is a proper noun. Chicken is fried and biscuits come with gravy. Everything is darlin’ and someone’s heart is always blessed.
Granted, Paula Deen over-emphasizes her accent, especially the term “Y’all”; with her melodramatic acting on TV, probably encouraged by the producer. But…, a true southerner unconsciously uses ” Y’all ” as a term of endearment lacking the melodrama.
Aletia’s (pronounced “Aleta” the i being silent) story is like most Southern Women’s; always in the kitchen with a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother. Southern women’s way of nurturing is through food. The hospitality is shown when a drop in visitor to your home summons the sweet tea or lemonade along with a slice of pound cake topped with fresh berries, ladled with sweet cream or whipped cream for modern-day.
Aletia and her family had owned a well known white table cloth establishment in the small town of Calhoun, Georgia. Their reputation for Southern Food was sought after by many celebrities as well as travelers driving the I75 interstate. One day a fire brought the restaurant to a halt. With the downed economy, the idea of continuing the restaurant sadly, came to an end.
Being a strong Christian, Aletia prayed on what to do next. As she put it “I had my pity-party and decided I needed to pick myself up”. If you think this sounds a little “Scarlett O’Hara” you would be right. With God as her witness, Aletia embarked on a journey she never quite imagined. She collected all those recipes from the many years serving them in the restaurant and put them into a cookbook. Aletia self-published through Wimmer Cookbooks. Promoting the book to Barnes and Noble proved to be a wise move. They loved it and soon, the book was picked up by Baker & Taylor, one of the largest publishers of the Southeast.
From Aletia’s book, I have chosen her mother’s Sour Cream Pound Cake recipe and added lemon zest because I know how much my husband loves lemon flavoring in cakes.
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2¾ cups, granulated sugar for cake
¼ cup, granulated sugar for coating pan
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon baking soda
3 cups all-purpose, pre-sifted flour
1 8 oz. container sour cream
Zest of one large lemon
Preheat oven to 325° F.
Prepare a tube or Bundt pan by generously coating with spray or butter and sprinkling ¼ cup sugar over entire pan. This will give a sugary crust.
Separate eggs being careful not to get yolk in the whites. Beat whites until stiff peaks. Set aside. Cream butter and remaining sugar. Add one egg yolk at a time. Add vanilla. Add baking soda and flour by alternating with sour cream. Add lemon zest. Gently fold in egg whites.
Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until toothpick test comes out clean.
Remove to wire rack until cool.
Serve with fruit of choice and whip cream.
For the cream in this photo. Take ¼ cup cream and add 1 teaspoon confectioners sugar with a few drops vanilla extract. Whip by hand a few strokes. Pour over cake and fruit.
What I loved most about Aletia…was the meticulous time she spent writing her well wishes in my copy of her cookbook. Not quickly scribbling, as if to hurry and get rid of you, rather, proper penmanship extending her blessings.
It was a pleasure meeting you, Aletia and I look forward to assisting you once again.