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Reviews & Interviews

July 31 2012

Austin Woman Magazine

Austin Woman Magazine Review

July 24 2012

The Seattle Times

Seattle Times Review

June 14 2012

MetroSeeker FeLo Review

MetroSeeker FeLo Review

June 5 2012

San Antonio Living Spot

San Antonio Living Spot

May 28 2012

NPR’s Tell Me More Interview

NPR’s Tell Me More Interview

Mar 22 2012

CMT News Interview

CMT News Interview

Mar 21 2012

Rocky Mountain Viewpoints Interview

Rocky Mountain Viewpoints Interview

Mar 16 2012

We Are Austin Live! Cooking Interview

We Are Austin Live! Cooking Interview

Mar 13 2012

KETK East Texas Live Interview

KETK East Texas Live Interview

Mar 10 & 11 2012

Field and Feast Interview

Field and Feast Interview

Mar 2 2012 Both Print & Video Interviews

Click 2 Houston Ruby Dee Interview

Mar 1 2012 Ruby Dee Interview

Metroseeker Ruby Dee Interview

Feb 29 2012

KCAA radio Ruby Dee Interview

Ruby Dee KCAA

Feb 29 2012

PWR Radio Interview

PWR Radio Interview

Feb 26 2012

Capital Cooking with Lauren DeSantis Review

Reading her bio on the back of her cookbook makes me want to have dinner with Ruby Dee Phillipa. She’s been all over and had all sorts of careers: environmental advocate, textile designer, fishing boat worker, restaurateur (she opened three of them in Seattle), and musician. And eaten all kinds of things, too. She also has years of experience cooking on the road throughout the U.S. And when you get to Thanksgiving Dinner, the last chapter of Ruby’s Juke Joint Americana Cookbook, you really get a sense of how she has poured her love of good ingredients into a meal. Her personality shines through, and the Thanksgiving food sounds terrific. In the end, I was won over by Thanksgiving Dinner. In addition to awesome food, you get a little of the atmosphere of the holiday at Ruby’s house. The next time I make a Thanksgiving meal, I’ll be using these recipes: Roast Turkey with Maple Herb Butter and Cider Gravy (you reduce a cider/maple syrup mixture, add herbs and butter, then chill to solidify it – spread the mixture under the skin of the turkey before roasting, use some of that butter in the gravy along with applejack) and Wild Mushroom Stuffing (dried and fresh mushrooms in the bread mixture, with leeks, hazelnuts, apples, and dried cranberries, as you can see below). My mother always says that a cookbook is worth buying if she gets one really good recipe out of it. So that puts this book ahead already. By Tom Natan Blogger, and Fine Wine Importer

Feb 13, 2012

Inside Scoop LIve Interview- Up Close & Personal with Irene Watson

Up Close Interview 2.13.12

Feb 11, 2012

KNSS Radio Interview- The Good Life with Guy Bower

Feb 10, 2012

KMA 960 Radio Interview

KMA Ruby Dee Interview

Feb 2012

Special Needs Magazine

Four years ago, Ruby Dee Philippa was riding her scooter down the road in Seattle, WA. She was a singer. Her band, Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers, was just about to release a new album. She was careful on her ride. She wore a motorcycle jacket, hefty pants, and a full helmet. Ruby tells the story: “I was driving down the street, and the driver of a car didn’t see me. I’m guessing–the more I try to piece it together, you know, years down the road–I think that they were backing out of their driveway and they didn’t see me.” Ruby swerved to avoid being hit by the car. Her scooter hit a pothole in the street, and it went wheels over in. “The scooter was fine. I landed on my head and woke up five hours later in the hospital,” she says. Luckily, a doctor had been in the car behind Ruby. “She saw me swerve, hit the hole and go flying,” Ruby recalls. “She pulled over and knew what to do. She had a blanket, cleared my airways, because I bit through my tongue. I would have choked on my own blood.” At the hospital, the doctors had to keep repeating things to Ruby: “You’ve been in an accident. You’ve had a head injury. You’re going to be fine.” Her then-boyfriend (now husband) picked her up and took her home. Ruby suffered from intense vertigo, splitting headaches, and was having a difficult time focusing or putting sentences together. She was bruised, the orbital disc on the left side of her face had been broken, the sunglasses she had been wearing under her helmet had embedded into her forehead and had to be surgically removed. Still, Ruby wanted to perform. She asked the doctor if she could sing at the CD release party that weekend, as scheduled. Surprisingly, the doctor agreed. They said, “As long as you don’t overdo it, singing is really good for you . . . Go for it. It’ll keep you positive-minded. It’ll help you with memory.” Ruby performed, sitting on stage on a stool. She needed lyric sheets because she couldn’t remember the words to songs that she had written. In the following months, she began to get anxious. “A lot of women in the world base their self esteem on how they look. I always based mine on my brains,” Ruby says. When she realized her brain wasn’t working the way it used to, she became really sad, depressed. “That was about a year of depression around that. I was working, doing puzzles and whatever cognitive exercises I could do, but a brain injury is a brain injury,” Ruby states. “There’s only so far you can go to get back to where you were before the injury.” Before the accident, Ruby had not just been a singer. She had been a businesswoman who owned three successful restaurants in Seattle, WA. She had been featured on the Food Network for having one of America’s top five desserts of all time. She had always loved food, growing up in a family of two great food cultures: Southern cooking and Jewish cooking. When Ruby grew up and hit the road, she started getting curious about food all across America. Something she realized in a French cooking class in junior high stuck with her: “Everything we made, we got to share with our classmates, and I started recognizing this glint in people’s eyes like, ‘Ooh, here she comes with something good!’ I realized that if you want people to be nice to you, cook them something yummy and they will flock around you.” Now that Ruby was struggling with short-term memory loss, she was looking for ways to exercise her brain. Aside from crossword puzzles and playing Scrabble, she started writing stories. “That was good to exercise my brain, but I was cheating a little bit,” she admits. “If I was looking for a word, I could fake my way to another word or use a thesaurus.” That is when she began writing down the recipes friends and family had been asking her to share for years. “With recipes they’re pretty specific. A carrot is a carrot. A drumstick is a drumstick. You know, you can’t fake your way around what you’re cooking with.” Ruby took her time. It would sometimes take two hours to write one recipe. She recalls, “I had to sit in my room with the quiet–without the phone, without distractions–and concentrate on the word. I could see it, I could see the thing in my mind, but I couldn’t think of what it was called.” She worked through the frustration and realized that this is the way it was going to be. Writing recipes became a healing process, as well as cognitively therapeutic. As Ruby wrote, it began to dawn on her that she had a book. She wrote for the better part of a year. There are now 120 recipes in Ruby’s Juke Joint Americana Cookbook, which was published in January 2012. She also wrote little stories to go with each recipe and included a CD of the Grammy-nominated Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers performing lively Americana tunes. Things seem to be going well for Ruby Dee, but as she points out, “I don’t have the vertigo anymore, but I do have the memory loss. I have little tricks that I use, like I pause in my sentences if I can’t find the exact word I’m looking for and find a word that’s close enough. I still get distracted really easily, which is interesting on stage because I can’t look people in the eyes when I’m singing. The lights can’t be flashing or I’ll forget where I am.” Still, Ruby has an important message to share with those who might be facing a similar situation as she did with her accident: “Don’t give up. Do not give up, because things may very well be changing for you, as they did for me. I do not have the same cognitive ability that I had before the accident. I just don’t. But rather than be stressed out or freaked out or depressed about it, I recognize that this is who I am now. This is what I’m still able to do and what I’m still capable of doing and being now. The accident didn’t take away everything. In fact I’m incredibly grateful for what I have left. In a way–not that I’m grateful for the accident–but it made me realize what’s important and who is important. The biggest message is don’t give up, because there’s always going to be something else worth living for.” By Lisa Di Trolio Writer, Special Needs Magazine

Jan 2012

The Cookbook Shelf

Ruby Dee Philippa is best known from ‘Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers’ band fame. In addition to her talent as a musician and musical performer is her abilities in the kitchen and her establishing and operating three successful restaurants in Seattle, Washington! “Ruby’s Juke Joint Americana Cookbook” is a collection of her best recipes offering palate pleasing, appetite satisfying dishes ranging from Spiced Sangria; Cheeseburger Soup; Old-Country Soda Bread; and Maple Ginger Beets; to Baby Back Ribs with Apricot BBQ Sauce; Blackberry Corn Cupcakes with Peach Frosting; Cheese Baked Fish; and Island Chicken. Enhanced with the inclusion of a CD featuring her band’s performance of lively American tunes, ‘behind-the-scenes’ anecdotes of her band, full color photography of finished dishes, and back stories for many of them, “Ruby’s Juke Joint Americana Cookbook” will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to personal cookbook collections and a ‘must’ for the legions of Ruby Dee and the Snakehandler fans! Midwest Book Review January 2012 Small Press Bookwatch

Jan 4, 2012

Restaurateur-Turned-Rockabilly Star Publishes Americana Cookbook

After a scooter accident in Seattle in 2008, Ruby Dee Philippa couldn’t remember the word for table. A head injury had caused her to forget simple words and phrases, including those she’d been using for years as a restaurant owner and band leader. “As a songwriter, it really affected me because it hurt the language side of my brain,” she says. “I couldn’t have the conversation we are having right now.” To help her recover, doctors recommended that she find simple tasks that would help her brain relearn how to access common words and phrases, so Philippa started writing down the recipes that she’d been perfecting in her head through the years. “I started writing little stories to go with each one, what makes this story connected to me,” she says. “The hardest part is that I don’t write down my recipes for good reason: I make them differently each time.” Several months into the process, Philippa realized that she was writing a cookbook that was a lifetime in the making. She grew up in California and West Texas, but spent time in Alaska and Central America before settling into Seattle, where in 1995, she’d opened Bandoleone, her first restaurant. It was a pan-American restaurant that served food from just about any country that had had any Spanish influence. She opened a second restaurant, Tango, in the late 1990s and a third just a week after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. After her accident, she realized that she was ready to get out from under the weight of owning businesses that employed more than 50 people. “I realized that there’s less stress, believe it or not, in music.” She had put together her band, the Snakehandlers, about 10 years ago, and the band would go on tour around the country and to Europe three or four times a year. “We’d been coming through Austin so often that people thought we lived here,” she says. She finally closed the restaurants and the band moved to Austin, where it now performs more than 50 shows a year. In the past year, the band hasn’t toured as much because Philippa has been turning her typed-up recipes into a cookbook with her own photos and a CD filled with songs from musician friends including Earl Poole Ball, the Modern Don Juans, Two Hoots and a Holler and Elizabeth McQueen. She wanted to include a CD in the book to introduce readers to the kind of Americana music — rockabilly, honky-tonk, country western, Western swing, you name it — that Philippa and others are preserving. “Just like Americana music, Americana cuisine is based on other cultures,” she says. “When those people came here with their music and their recipes, they put down roots and were influenced by others around them. The food that came out of those roots are all Americana.” Everywhere Philippa and her band travel, they seek out food that represents the region, no matter if it’s Cajun rice, Yankee chili or clam chowder. Now that she doesn’t have to do food professionally, she says she enjoys cooking for her husband, Jorge Harada, who is also a member of the band, and hosting friends at their house in Southwest Austin. “Now, I do music full time and I miss doing food, but I like to create something and enjoy sharing it with people, whether it’s a song or a dish.” By Addie Broyles American-Statesman Food Writer

Dec 30, 2011

Inside Scoop Live Interview

Dec 29, 2011

Book Pleasures Review

Part of what distinguishes national cuisine from food that is served up all around the world and that tastes more or less the same no matter where you are is the sense of pride and identity that those who are native to that country feel in their culinary skills in preparing those particular dishes. That is the exact sense that declares itself triumphantly from each and every page of Ruby Dee’s Ruby’s Juke Joint Americana Cookbook. That she takes sheer delight in cooking and preparing food no matter whether she is at home or on the road with the rest of her Snakehandlers band, you can be rootin’ tootin’ sure that, as soon as she can lay her hands on some down home natural and fresh ingredients with which she can whip up a tasty morsel or two, she’ll do so. Her cookbook proves the point. Packed with colorful photos, with a glossy format and an appealing, well-laid out spread, Ruby’s Juke Joint Americana Cookbook is both entertaining and thrilling in the way that Ruby Dee has counterpoised each recipe with her own expertise in cooking the dish. That Dee has a professional grounding in concocting mouth-watering delights is borne witness to by her having built, owned and operated three well-received restaurants in Seattle. She not only offers you clear instructions on how to prepare ingredients that you’ll be able to source with ease anywhere in the US of A, but she also regales you with enticing snippets of information from her days on the road. For instance, she illustrates her recipe for Chest Nut Loaf with a pointer that could be useful for anyone setting out on a long road trip: “When we hit the road on tour, we always pack an ice chest with homemade sauces, spreads, and sandwich fixings so we don’t get homesick too quickly.” Dee’s book of culinary delights is sensibly organized under such appropriate headings as “starters” and “poultry,” and ends with seven recipes specifically aimed at Thanksgiving Dinner, followed by a comprehensive index. In addition to providing a Bonus Recipe Card or two, Ruby Dee includes a CD with her cookbook that is billed as “Americana Music to Cook By,” including such appropriate tracks as “Deep Fat Fry” by Jim Stringer, “Eat My Words” by Marti Brom and Her Barnshakers and the track specially written to accompany this book, “Home Cookin’,’’ by the very same Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers. So, whether you’re stringing beans or shaking barns, or, yes, even wrestling that there rattler to the ground, you’re bound to find yourself at home with this scrumptious and succulent read. By Lois Henderson Editor, Reviewer

Dec 20, 2011

Ruby Dee: Something’s Cookin’ Review

Ruby Dee Phillipa loves serving up tasty vittles as much as she loves serving up great Americana rockabilly music with her band, Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers. Now the former restaurant entrepreneur, who once owned the popular Seattle restaurants Bandoleone and Tango Tapas Bar, is dishing up some home-style grub with her new cookbook, Ruby’s Juke Joint Americana Cookbook. The cookbook may have started off as therapy for a head-injury but it soon became medicine for the palate. I asked Ruby how music influenced her cooking and her cooking influenced her music. Q: What’s Americana cuisine? RD: It’s the same as Americana music. The origins of that music came from other countries around the world, and when those cultures touched base and landed in the Americas, their music altered to the landscape around them. You have hillbilly music, folk music, blues, jazz, bluegrass, country and even rockabilly. That’s all Americana. Apply the same concept to food. Folks came here from many different countries around the world and brought their recipes with them. Once they arrived, those recipes changed to fit the ingredients and cultures around them. So you have Northeast chowders, Southwest chilis, Northwest smoked salmon, Southern BBQ, and on and on. That’s all Americana cuisine, and all feels like home to me. Q: How did you get the idea for the cookbook? RD: For years, friends and family have been after me to write down my recipes. I never have before, since I change them a teensy bit here, add a dash of something different there. What I cook depends on my mood, the season and what’s fresh in the garden or market. I was in a really bad scooter accident more than three years ago and suffered a head injury that resulted in cognitive dysfunction. Mostly, my word center was affected and I had a really hard time putting sentences together. I couldn’t find or access really simple words in the course of conversation. It was really difficult. As part of my cognitive therapy, I began to exercise my brain by writing down my recipes. That allowed me the opportunity to sit and think through words until I found the one I was searching for, for each and every recipe. I also wrote little stories, tidbits of information about each recipe – how it is tied to me, how it reflects the culinary music of this country. A few months into writing, I took a step back and realized I had a book here. Q: How many recipes did you try before finding the ones that really “cut the mustard?” RD: These are all dishes I have made for years for friends and family. They finally found their way onto paper so others can make my versions of old, tried and true dishes with my own personal spin on them. Q: How long did you work on it? RD: I wrote the book in about a year. Then I started shopping it around. I found a publisher willing to work with me, and have spent the last year and a half taking photos, writing additional copy, editing and putting the CD together that accompanies the book. All in all, it took about three years. Whew. Q: Any favorite recipes? RD: There’s a whole chapter dedicated to Thanksgiving recipes. I love those flavors so much: maple-herb rubbed turkey, apple cider-maple-apple jack gravy, wild mushroom-hazelnut-cornbread stuffing, carmelized onion relish, cinnamon-citrus cranberry sauce, pecan green beans, horseradish smashed potatoes … I also love pickled things: pickled cherries or peaches, sugared cucumbers, and all the yummy dishes that go with these flavors like sweet potato fries, drunken beans, apple fritters and wild game sweet chili. My answer depends upon what time of day and the season you ask me. Q: I know you have been doing some national television. What’s that like compared to cooking at home? RD: It’s stressful. You send the producers your recipe so they will have all your ingredients there for you. Then you take your chances that they may or may not be there. Shows like Rachael Ray have a dozen different segments taped at once, so you are in a test kitchen with a few of her staff cooks and you are really in their way. It’s so much less about you and your cooking than it is about being set dressing for whatever show you are on. I’m much happier cooking at home. I’ve taped a few cooking shows in my own kitchen and that’s nice ‘cause everyone is so friendly and polite. Not so much on a big TV show. Q: How did you test the recipes? RD: I tested them on my husband, family and friends. I love me some human guinea pigs! My husband either loves a dish or hates it. There really isn’t an in between with him. Q: You do a lot of traveling with your band. Do you look for special places to eat when you are on tour? RD: We like to eat wherever the locals recommend and whatever the specialty is in the area. In New York City we have to have street vendor hot dogs. Along the coast of Georgia it is oysters and shrimp. In New Mexico we have something, anything, with green or red chilis. In Montana we get wild game. In every part of the country, there is something unique to that part of the world, and yet it can feel so familiar and just like home. Q: What or who is your biggest cooking inspiration? RD: My Nanny (my mom’s mom) cooked up true southern artery-hardening meals: biscuits and gravy, chicken fried steak, sweet potatoes in butter and syrup, chocolate pudding from scratch. But where I grew up, there were lots of folks from all over the place who cooked other traditional Americana style food: pickled eggs, fried chicken, BBQ everything, lots of pies, vinegars and side dishes. I’ve travelled enough that I pick up ideas here, a love for new flavors there. Mostly, I just love the choosing and preparation of food, and then sharing what I’ve made with friends and family, and watching everyone enjoy the flavors, the camaraderie and the music that comes along with great food and conversation. Q: What is the biggest misconception about cooking? RD: That it’s hard. Once you have a few basic bits of knowledge about how temperature and ingredients work together, you can go on from there and cook most anything. There’s a science to it, but it’s not rocket science. Unlike pastry or cake baking it’s very easy to master. Q: Do you entertain a lot when you are home? RD: Yes! I love to cook up a fun meal, invite friends over and spend an evening enjoying great food, fine wines or other drinks (whatever goes along with the meal) and stellar conversation. We most likely pick up a guitar or two and start singing the night away. Q: Everyone eats so specifically now – gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, nut and lactose intolerance. Are there any recipes for these challenged folks? RD: I do have some specifically vegetarian dishes in my book, and some are vegan. But I’m a country girl from way back and there’s meat – especially bacon – in nearly every dish. I’m writing a pie cookbook now and plan to put bacon in one of the sweet pies. Folks who have food intolerances are getting pretty savvy, though. They are learning that you can take any recipe and alter it to your own specific needs. Vegans can replace butter with margarine and tofu in baking. Gluten-intolerant folks can replace wheat flour with a combination of rice and tapioca flour. And you’ve just given me a great idea! I think in my pie cookbook, I’ll cover what variations of substitutes there are, and what characteristics each replacement ingredient has. Thanks! Q: The cookbook comes with a CD. Cool idea! RD: Since I am introducing folks to the concept of Americana cuisine, I thought there might be a wider audience who might not exactly know or understand Americana music as well. So rather than just talk about it, I figured it would be nice to include samples of the best original Americana music around today. That way, folks can cook something up, then settle down to enjoy their fine food and libations, all while listening to some of my favorite musicians. Maybe it will pique their interest to go find more great music. Q: Anything you would like to say to encourage the novice or timid cook? RD: Yes! Start with really good cookware and top-notch ingredients. If you use inferior cooking pots and pans and ingredients, your dishes will taste like it. If you use high quality pots and pans and seasonal, fresh, good quality ingredients, the care and love that went into just even those beginning items will show up in your final dish. Pick something that you really love to eat. Read the recipe a few times before making it to familiarize yourself with the steps involved. That way, you won’t find yourself on step six out of eight and realize you are lacking an essential ingredient such as softened butter. Take your time and use all your senses. Watch and smell the recipe from step to step so you can familiarize yourself with how it should look and smell. Cooking, like eating, should assault all the senses. Not just our taste-buds. So look, breathe, listen, then taste and enjoy. Here’s one of Ruby’s tried and true recipes: Citrus Beer BBQ Sauce 1/4 c chipotle peppers in adobo sauce 1 c orange juice Juice from half a lime 1 T olive oil 1 small onion, chopped 3 cl garlic, minced 1 c catsup 3 T white vinegar 3 T molasses 3 T brown sugar 1 T Worcestershire sauce ¼-1/2 a beer- any kind will do Place peppers with their sauce in blender. Cover and blend until smooth. Cook onion and garlic in medium saucepan with oil over medium-high heat until tender, about 2–3 minutes. Stir in chipotle mixture, orange and lime juice, catsup, vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to boil, then reduce heat. Add beer, then simmer, uncovered, stirring often, for about 10-20 minutes, until sauce has thickened and tastes right. By Carla DeSantis Black MEOW: Musicians for Equal Opportunities for Women

Dec 16, 2011

BC Tastes Review

How much more fun is there than going into your kitchen, putting a CD into your player, grabbing a glass of wine, and rockin’ and two-steppin’ around the island? Oh, wait, this is a cookbook and I’m supposed to be making dinner. Nevertheless, I’m doing both because I’m about to start cooking from Ruby’s Juke Joint: Americana Cookbook as I’m listening to the companion music CD provided with it. You see, there is more to Ruby Dee, she’s not only a fantastic cook but she’s also part of the music scene known as Grammy-nominated “Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers,” though not to be confused with the Grammy and Emmy winning actress of the same name. For the purpose of the review we are asked to test three recipes. For the first recipe, I made “Blue Cheese, Pecan, Apple-Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Pork Chops.” I took two butterfly chops and seared them on both sides; then I stuffed them with a combination of blue cheese, pecans and apples. I wrapped the stuffed chops with a slice of bacon and placed in pan. While baking in the oven I deglazed the pan with wine and then added broth and butter. Oh my, the end result was very tasty and the chops were fork tender. Ruby suggested serving the chops with “Potato Pancakes” so this ended up being my second test recipe. It has been a long time since I’ve made potato pancakes so I was eager to try Ruby’s recipe. Using a food processor, I grated the potatoes and then added the remaining ingredients of onion, eggs, flour, salt and pepper. There was also an addition of a pinch of baking powder which was different from the recipe I used before. The pancakes ended up being crispy and yummy. They certainly did go well with the stuffed pork chops. The third recipe I tested was “Ginger Snaps.” I was attracted to the recipe because there are two ingredients that normally don’t go into ginger snaps and those are oil and dry mustard. I was very curious how the cookies will end up being crisp when I use oil. Well, to my surprise the cookies are crisp and have a zing to them. I suspect it’s the dry mustard that does that. By the way, these cookies also have cinnamon in them which isn’t a normal ingredient either. I have to tell you, this is now my favorite ginger snap recipe. Ruby Dee, who has the bragging rights of cooking on the “Rachel Ray Show” where she shared her infamous “Ruby’s Thanksgiving Leftover Enchiladas,” has given us recipes for good ol’ homecookin.’ As I perused the rest of the book I noticed the recipes are simple and all the ingredients can either be found in the kitchen pantry or purchased at a local grocery store. “Ruby’s Juke Joint” is an easy to handle cookbook and sits well on a book stand. The colored photographs of the recipes look great and help to see what the end result will look like. Ruby’s passion for cooking and music meld brilliantly in Ruby’s Juke Joint: Americana Cookbook. Her enthusiasm for good food prepared in the home comes from the heart and she shares it beautifully with us. Of course, the music CD is the added bonus that will bring a smile to your face. Good food and good music is the order for today. By Irene Watson Author, Editor, Reviewer

Dec 13, 2011

Book Pleasures Review

Ruby Dee Philippa knows how to get in the kitchen and rattle those pots and pans. A Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter, she does more than stir up toe-tapping fans when she performs with Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers. Her new cookbook has arrived, and Ruby shares 120 of her tasty original recipes that you can use to welcome a Texas traveler home, or create a Memphis mood within a New York apartment. The cookbook separates the delectable dishes like platters on a Wyatt’s Cafeteria tray, with categories ranging from Drinks, Starters, Soups and Salads, and Sides and Sauces, to Vegetables, Meats, Poultry, Fish and Seafood, and Desserts. For daring chefs who are brave enough to invite their whole clan to a Thanksgiving dinner, Ruby tops off the surprises with a tantalizing smorgasbord detailing how to prepare a Roast Turkey with Maple Herb butter and Cider Gravy along with wild mushroom stuffing, green beans-n-pecans, and glazed pearl onions with almonds and raisins. The idea of this cookbook is to provide you with the basics of her personal Americana recipes—something to kick-start your own imagination. So, we kicked off one hot Texas day with her cool, satisfying Honey Lemonade made from stirring sugar, water, ginger root, and lemon juice in a saucepan, and then refrigerating an hour before pouring the mix with half a beer over ice. Nice! Pickled Peaches with bay leaf, cloves, and cinnamon sticks tempted our tastes and whetted our appetites for the main course, but we could have just as well gone for the Sirloin Sliders, Steak Fingers, Fried Dill Pickles, Pickled Eggs, Banana Cheese Pies, Lamb Pies, Bacon Wrapped Dates, or the Cheese Nut Loaf. Next we tried both the Cheeseburger Soup made with garlic kissed beef, potatoes, tomatoes, and shredded cheddar cheese, and Chicken Stew with Rosemary Dumplings. Both came out excellent thanks to Ruby’s clear, step-by-step instructions. Next time, we’re going for the Great Pumpkin Soup, Groundnut Stew, Hearty Vegetable Bean Soup, Black Eyed Pea and Artichoke Salad, Beet Salad, Creamy Coleslaw with caraway seeds, Sugared Cucumbers, Grilled Corn-Black Bean Salad, or Spinach Salad with warm bacon vinaigrette. We might even just make a big bowl of her Kitchen Sink Salad and let everyone dig in as they please! We felt courageous enough to follow her recipe for Potato Pancakes, normally great when covered in applesauce and sour cream for breakfast, but equally grand as a lead-in to our main course. Ruby also details how to make Baked Beans camp-out style, Potato Apple Bake, Sweet Potato Fries, Layered Sweet Potatoes, Campfire Cornbread, Pecan Cornbread, Old Country Soda Bread, Onion Jam, Tomato Jam, Hot cha-Cha Onion Rings, or Chipotle BBQ Sauce. There were still other choices, such as Drunken Beans made with garlic and jalapeños, Raisin Sauce for Ham, Blueberry Glaze, Pineapple Rum Sauce, Mint Mojo, Steak Rub, Lemon Vinaigrette, Bacon and Blue Cheese Vinaigrette, and Horseradish Mayonnaise. Every recipe seems fitting because of Ruby’s little side remarks written beneath the details. Most everyone agrees that vegetables need spicing up, so Ruby suggests trying Sweet and Sour Cabbage, Sautéed Greens, Winter Vegetables with Cornmeal Grits, Okra Relish, Stuffed Tomatoes, Corn Pudding, Winter Vegetables with Horseradish, and Maple Ginger Beets, which would be perfect foil for anything spicy or simple fare, such as fried chicken. There are many main courses in the book, but we aimed for Pineapple Rum BBQ Short Rips. Ruby’s recipe called for combining brown sugar, paprika, garlic, pepper, salt, and cumin together and rubbing over those ribs as they simmered in a large pot for ninety minutes. When they came out, we enjoyed them all day! Ruby knows that a day begins with a big breakfast, so if you haven’t tried Apple Fritters, treat yourself to a simple spoon-drop-into-the-fryer recipe with which she kicks off her Breaking Fast section. I think you’ll also like the other recipes, such as the Blueberry Scones, or the Breakfast Pie, which is easy to make in a bowl or processor and serve up as a self-contained pie. There’s enough of a variety of different dishes within Ruby’s Juke Joint Americana Cookbook to give you endless, excellent combinations to fuss with. The book is written in an easy-to-read format with large fonts that require no squinting. Just for fun, along with the book, you’ll enjoy the free CD of great Americana music to cook by, including original songs by Marti Brom, Two Hoots and a Holler, Rockin’ Lloyd Tripp, Teri Joyce, Earl Poole Ball, and others, as well as “Home Cookin’,” Ruby’s brand new song for the book. By David Menefee Pulitzer nominated American author, screenwriter, book editor, and film historian

Dec 1, 2011

Amazon Review

Ruby’s Juke Joint Americana Cookbook offers readers of every cooking skill level something they can sink their teeth into. Tales of Americana dishes and the ingredients that make them great. A smorgasbord of enticing recipes from appetizers and drinks to special occasion dinners and sweet farewells. A full-length CD with a great mix of lively Americana tunes, including songs by Two Hoots and a Holler, Marti Brom, The Modern Don Juans, Teri Joyce, Elizabeth McQueen, Rockin’ Lloyd Tripp, and Grammy-nominated Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers’ latest, Home Cookin’, just for this cookbook/CD combo. What Ruby calls Americana cuisine comes from a mish-mash of all different types of cultures and kitchens, brought together in one place or another all around this vast country of ours, and given one simple way to describe the flavors you’ll find there-Americana. From northeastern chowders to southwestern chiles, from northwest smoked salmon to southern bar-b-que, the dishes and ingredients that go into them are all familiar, all-American, and certainly feel like home.

Jul 26, 2011Dirty Linen Reviews Mile From Home

Gal-fronted honky-tonk/rockabilly retro squadrons are the rage these days, but you should never whisper a word about your Miss Leslies, Miss Lauren Maries, Delilah Dewylds, or Gal Holidays until you’ve checked out the buckin’ bronco sounds of Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers. Continue reading…