(ROCKWALL, TX — March 6, 2019) A longtime dream of mine is to one day write a cookbook. And not just any cookbook. A cookbook filled with more words than pictures and more feelings than ingredients. A paperback book overflowing with short stories about food, family, fun, and then ending each story with a recipe that reminds me of those people or that time in my life. One you can carry in your purse and get a quick read in every now and then. One you would sit down to a cup of coffee with and catch yourself laughing out loud or maybe even wiping a few tears. Basically, the same thing I am writing to you all every month – a love letter about meals and memories.
I’ve fallen head over heels for books like “Home Cooking” by Laurie Colwin and “Bread & Wine” by Shauna Niequist. Colwin’s last book was published in 1992, the year she passed away. Her stories of kitchen mishaps and self-taught culinary skills ring true to so many of my present day quirks. Niequist speaks from the heart about her desire to have a child and the devastation she experienced during that season of her life. Often times, I find myself day dreaming about my book – what stories I will tell, what recipes I will use and what the name will be. One night I thought of the perfect name for my cookbook, “Goodness Gracious”! It reminded me of how the old time dinner prayer starts, “God is great, God is good…” and how I truly have witnessed so much goodness and grace in my own life. A quick Google search revealed that the name had already been taken. In 2002, Roxie Kelley wrote a beautifully designed and illustrated cookbook with that exact title.
I figured since I couldn’t have the name, I might as well buy one of her cookbooks. And so I did. I had no idea what to expect because I really hadn’t done any research on the book. I had only purchased it because of the name. It is the loveliest book. There are no photographs, only hand-illustrated drawings by Kelley’s friend and publishing partner, Shelly Reeves Smith. Each recipe includes a little note of who it came from and how the ladies knew them. Each section ends with a “Grace Note.” Kelley’s note for the appetizers section concluded with this: “If someone were to ask me what purpose I wish this book could serve, I hope that way beyond the pleasure of food and the subject of hospitality, that families everywhere could learn to move above their past failures, judgements, and disappointments with a grace and love that surpasses all understanding.”
And the only thing I can think to say to that is… Amen. So, today, I am sharing one of my favorite recipes from Goodness Gracious by Roxie Kelley, Bacon-Tomato Tartlets. These can be served for breakfast with a side of eggs and a coffee, for brunch with a cup of soup or for dinner with a nice salad and a simple dessert.
By Blue Ribbon News guest columnist Melissa Tate of Rockwall. Melissa is a freelance food writer and owner of Photo-Wagon mobile photo booth. She also helps her husband run their family farm, Tate Farms, and event center, Summerfield at Tate Farms. They are currently managing the Smirl Chapel Relocation & Preservation Project. Find Melissa on Facebook or Instagram at @melissatatetx to follow the adventures. Headshot by Kelly Alexander Photography.
Our monthly print edition is delivered free to ~22,000 homes in Rockwall and Heath, TX.
To share your good news and events, email editor@BlueRibbonNews.com.
Subscribe to our email newsletter here.
Advertising: 214-342-8000 or advertising@BlueRibbonNews.com.