Just in time for the last round of holiday baking, I found a beautiful picture book offering a real life story, including recipes to celebrate any family's table. Robbin Gourley's first picture book, Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You a Pie: A Story about Edna Lewis ( 2009). is based on the life of beloved Southern food expert, Edna Lewis. Lewis was born to a family of freed slaves in Freetown, Virginia where the community celebrated every season of the year harvesting and cooking fresh produce, long before the farm to table movement became trendy.
Gourley's watercolor illustrations celebrate the lush beauty of nature, the trees where bees have been making honey, the image of a young Edna with a bushel basket filled with butter beans, and a gorgeous painting of a woman in a yellow print dress carrying an apron bursting with tomatoes.
The text celebrates the musicality of Southern speech and sayings like these: " A Swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay, a swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon," and " Southern dirt mixed with southern sun makes a right sassy tomato." Recipes include Apple Crisp, Corn Pudding and Pecan Drops.
If you'd like to know more about Edna Lewis, check out her own books: The Taste of Country Cooking The Gift of Southern Cooking. Robin Gourley has also written and illustrated a book about Michelle Obama's efforts to bring fresh food to her home, First Garden: The White House Garden and How it Grew.