Reviewed by Lynn Braxton
It’s not often you pick up a book on farming and cooking for entertainment. Not so with Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches, Renea Winchester’s latest, a work of homespun advice and useable content, including mouth-watering recipes, 82 of them to be exact, mostly hand-me-downs from family and friends both past and present.
Winchester’s association with her mentor and friend, the 82-year-old farmer Billy Albertson, was introduced in a previous book, In the Garden With Billy, and their story continues here in this informative and satisfying account that defies genre. She and Billy are a testament to the satisfaction hard work can bring, and their friendship extends to the landscape they nurture and cultivate together.
An exposition of farming methods, seasonal customs, colorful characters, and an occasional pugnacious deterrent to the critters and varmints who wreak havoc on home sites, rooftop gardens, and country acreage, Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches is told in the humorous, easy style of a likeable woman thoroughly familiar with her environment in Roswell, Georgia, one of the last suburbs of a sprawling Atlanta to retain elements of rural living.
At 292 pages of pure wisdom, from tiller to table, this book reveals Winchester’s genuine regard for not only the land but also the caretakers who coax a bounty from it. She demonstrates the need for the preservation of the past—through stories, tips, and warnings—without arguing or agitating.
Depending on your background, this book could be a homecoming or just a persuasive reason to visit. Warm and folksy, a respite from the everyday pressures of progressive society, it even makes food seem philosophical.
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