The Help is one delicious book. That may seem an absurd statement considering the book is about race relations in the 1960s, but I’m standing firmly behind it. Kathryn Stockett wove food and drink into almost every scene and made me hungry for some Southern comfort. While I could gladly talk grub for days on end, I’ll limit my commentary to a two-fer of tasty treats.
First was the whole situation of Minny working for Celia Foote. As wizardly as Minny is at cooking, Celia is equally, if not more, terrible. But instead of focusing on Celia’s culinary shortcomings, I focused on Minny’s mouthwatering brilliance: fluffy flaky buttermilk biscuits, crispy pan-fried catfish, crunchy batter-dredged fried chicken, soft and sticky caramel cake…I can’t go on because I already gained 5 pounds just writing those down. Our book club outing at Portland’s ScreenDoor restaurant was as if we were guests at Minny’s table. From the hush puppies that were a perfect blend of light and crisp to the perfectly seasoned grilled shrimp and tender delicious pork belly swimming in creamy grits, I felt catered to like a guest rather than a paying customer. If you’re in Portland, I highly recommend ScreenDoor.
Then, dessert. Sweet luscious decadent dessert. We all split a succulent banana pie and a chocolate cake of sorts. Both were pure sugary goodness that would have made Minny proud. Besides her famous caramel cake, she was also famous for her chocolate pie and to one Miss Hilly, infamous for it. While I normally wouldn’t recommend revenge in such a potentially e coli riddled way, Hilly sortof had it coming. Andrea’s mom, Cynthia, makes a to-die-for chocolate pecan pie, but I can honestly say I will now have a moment’s pause before I dig in. Of course, that won’t actually stop me from having a second helping, but may slow down the third.