The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

Visit us on FaceBookGenerations of Memories
from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Book Reviews - Winter, 1995

By Susan M. Thigpen © 1995

Issue: Winter, 1995

We thought you might like to see a review of two recently published books that are "up the mountain alley" so to speak.

The Little Mountain Bean Bible Cookbook, edited by Wiley J. Smith, published by Little Mountain Publications, Bristol, Virginia, soft back, 404 pages, $12.95 plus $3.00 (shipping & handling). May be ordered from: BJB Inc., PO Box 3776, Bristol, TN 37625.

With over 1,000 recipes for beans, it is probably the most comprehensive effort ever undertaken along these lines. In these days of such health consciousness, beans are considered a healthy alternative to meat for protein, so the book will benefit you in more ways than one with its additional nutritional information. Beans are also a low cost item, helping to stretch your food budget.

You are given the history of beans, told of different bean varieties and how to grow them as well as dry, freeze and can them. You are taken through an international array of recipes from Mexican to Chinese and just plain down-home country cooking as well. Recipes contain not only beans, but bean products such as bean curd and bean sprouts.

Beans in this book run the gamut from one dish meals to salads and soups. In short, you'll find everything in this book from how to simmer up a pot of beans like Grandma used to make to interesting new gourmet cuisine, and everything in between!

Raising With The Moon, The complete guide to gardening and living by the signs of the moon, by Jack R. Pyle and Taylor Reese, published by Down Home Press, PO Box 4126, Asheboro, NC 27204, soft back, 147 pages, $13.95.

This book takes up where the almanac ends. Most old time farmers planted by the signs. In every farmhouse you would find a calendar hanging on the wall with moon signs on the dates - the only kind of calendar useful to them. "Raising With The Moon" goes a step further and explains why old timers followed the advise of moon signs when planting, harvesting and such. It even tells on what signs are good for hair cuts or surgery.

Once I knew a neighbor lady who was in her nineties who followed moon signs religiously. She said to plant flowers when the "signs were in the blooms" (Virgo), but to be sure not plant vegetables at that time because they would be all blooms and no fruit. She said it was a beautiful but barren sign. She also said to plant root vegetables "in the feet" (Pisces), for rather obvious reasons.

When I read "Raising With The Moon," I thought back with affection to that elderly lady and her gardening advise - It was all here in this book. Whether you want to learn "sign planting" or just enjoy reading and reminiscing about a once very common practice in the mountains, you will like this book.