Brown-Forman has always been on the cutting edge of marketing Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. This book is another example of their marketing foresight. The book was published in 1994, when American whiskey was just beginning to come out of the decline in sales of the 1970s and 80s. One of the reasons the decline was coming to an end was the fact that people were beginning to write books about Bourbon and creating new interest in American whiskey.
Cookbooks would become a major part of the American whiskey revival and this book led the way. Since Brown-Forman purchased the brand and distillery, Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House in Lynchburg is where all of the official visitors to Jack Daniel’s Distillery were roomed by Brown-Forman. She became a legend in her own time for the quality of the food she served to these visitors. The one glaring criticism of the book is, Miss Bobo would not allow alcohol to be served in her boarding house and the book has many recipes with Jack Daniel’s whiskey as an ingredient.
Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House Cookbook: A celebration of the traditional southern dishes that made Miss Mary Bobo’s an American legend, Pat Mitchamore, Recipes edited by Lynne Tolley, Nashville, TN: Rutledge Hill Press, 1994. Contents, Introduction, Index, Illustrations, 192 pp.
Jack Daniel’s Distillery is in a dry county and there were limited places where distillery visitors could stay and get a good meal in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Miss Mary Bobo’s boarding house quickly became the place to stay because of the high quality food she served to guests. This book is a collection of her recipes, collected and edited by Lynne Tolley, a great-grandniece of Jack Daniel and the proprietress of the boarding house in 1994. Miss Mary died in 1983, just short of her 102nd birthday. Tolley came to run the boarding house the following year. They represent southern cooking at its best.
The book is well designed. After the introduction, there is a brief history of Miss Mary and her boarding house. Then the fun begins! Chapters with recipes for Beverages, Appetizers, Accompaniments, Soups and Salads, Breads, Entrees, Side Dishes, Cakes, Pies, and Desserts. The recipes are well written and easy to follow. There are many illustrations of people staying at the boarding house as well as Miss Mary and her family and staff at the house. There is an index to make finding recipes easy. This is needed because there are so many recipes to choose from when planning a meal.
Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House Cookbook is a book that is an interesting and useful addition to a whiskey library. It is a classic cookbook and a part of the heritage of American whiskey. Whether you are looking for food to serve at a tasting or a meal with a southern food and whiskey theme for a dinner party, this book will serve you well.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller