Local author pens cookbook

Published 3:00 am Friday, December 5, 2014

Claire Bradley, above, has written her first cookbook with recipes she used to feed her children while they were growing up.

Claire Bradley, above, has written her first cookbook with recipes she used to feed her children while they were growing up.

Fame comes in different ways.

Claire Bradley is famous for her stuffed potatoes.

She says that laughingly because “that’s what I’m famous for.”

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In saying so, Bradley is kind of downplaying her expertise in the culinary arts, where she’s famous for a lot of “stuff” she prepares whether it’s for her family – her husband, five children and one grandson — or for a church dinner.

Each member of Bradley’s immediate family has a favorite recipe, as do many of her friends. However, when Bradley started down her bucket list, she found “writing a cookbook” was at the top the list.  So, she got started and let her family know the cookbook was her project, even if she loved getting all of their suggestions.

“They all had suggestions as to which recipes I should put in the book,” Bradley said, with a smile. “But I told them that this is my cookbook and I was going to put the recipes that I wanted in there – butter, cream and all.”

Bradley said her cookbook, which is titled, “Blessings from My Family to Yours,” is not for people who are dieting or who are afraid of eating a little butter every once in a while.

Bradley said choosing her favorite recipes to include in the cookbook was easier than she had imagined it would be and took a lot of influence from recipes handed down through her family.

“I wanted to include down-home kind of recipes,” Bradley said. “Southern recipes and especially the mother and grandmother kind of favorite recipes. My grandmother’s fudge pie is in there, and my mother’s chocolate mousse. These are recipes from the people I love and the recipes they love.”

With Bradley focusing more on a Southern-style cooking method, she understands she’s left the fancier side of cooking far behind her.

“I made what, for us, was a very fancy dinner but, when everybody sat down, they started looking around for the ketchup,” she said, laughing. “I decided right then, no fancy cooking for me.”

And, in keeping with tradition of down-home Southern cooking, Bradley’s main cooking utensil is her iron skillet.

“I could not cook without my iron skillet,” she said. “I use it for frying – which I admit that I do – and for baking. No kitchen should be without an iron skillet.”

Because she’s been know to have a sweet tooth from a time or two, Bradley has included several of her favorite sweet treats in the cookbook. And while Bradley’s cookbook is packed full with her favorite recipes, she ensures every recipe, from the soups to the salads, from beginning to end, is quick and easy.

“Blessings from My Family to Yours” is a bit different in that the sections are titled, “Beginning,” “Middle” and “End.” That’s how Bradley organized the recipes, not by breads, salads, veggies, etc. Bradley said the way she organized the cookbook was just exactly how she had wanted to organize them.

“In today’s world, we don’t have a lot of time or take a lot of time to cook big meals so the recipes are quick, easy and good,” Bradley said. “I’ve always heard that a dish is only as good as the recipe. So, you don’t have to be a good cook to cook great food. You just have to have a good recipe.”

Bradley’s “beginning” book signing for “Blessings for My Family to Yours” will be from 1 until 3 p.m. Sunday at the Pink Parlor on The Square in Troy. Everyone is invited to share this time with the cook who is famous for her stuffed potatoes – and many more great quick, easy and good recipes.