Cross Creek Cookery

Cross Creek Cookery

Cross Creek Cookery Front Cover

Originally published in 1942 by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Cross Creek Cookery was a complimentary publication to her book Cross Creek, published in 1942.  In Cross Creek, Mrs. Rawlings writes about her life on a 72-acre orange grove in rural central Florida. In chapter 17 of Cross Creek - "Our Daily Bread" - Mrs. Rawlings writes about the culinary aspects of Cross Creek,  but she does not include any detailed recipes in her original manuscript.  After the success of Cross Creek, readers started requesting her recipes, so she published Cross Creek Cookery, a collection of her favorite recipes.  

According to the dust jacket, the original price of the book was $2.50. The summary on the dust jacket also states that Mrs. Rawlings "has bound together her recipes by delightful little vignettes in the true Rawlings style." At the beginning of each section of recipes, Mrs. Rawlings includes a few paragraphs discussing the section and a few of her favorite recipes in the section.  With many recipes, she also includes a few words about the recipe's history or the main ingredient in the recipe.  

As you can see by the color dust jacket and title page pictured below, the Florida painter Robert Camp provides various illustrations for Cross Creek Cookery.  The same image that appears on the dust jacket is also printed on the linen cover of the original printing. Images of seafood, livestock, game, Florida landscapes, interior drawings, and of course, sketches of various "characters" from Cross Creek are sprinkled throughout the cookbook. 

Cross Creek Cookery Dust Jacket

Cross Creek Cookery is a great cookbook featuring simple recipes, with simple ingredients from a time and place much simpler from present-day, constantly connected lives.  A perfect addition to your cookbook library, there are reasonably priced, non-collector, first editions available as well as a 1996 paperback reprint.  

Cross Creek Cookery Title Page
Title page and facing page with an image of front porch table and Florida landscape



Crab A la Newburg, Cross Creek

The original owner of the cookbook made notes only on the recipe for Crab A la Newburg.  The notes are for the measurements to double the recipes, along with the word "mushrooms."  

Crab A la Newburg


2 heaping cupfuls of crab meat
1/2 cup of Dora' butter
2 cupfuls of cream
2 tablespoons flour
Juice of 1 lemon
4 eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of clove
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon brandy

Serves 4 to 6, according to appetite


Melt the butter in an iron skillet but do not brown. Stir in the crab meat gently. Saute for one minute. Add lemon juice. Stir in flour. Add cream slowly, stirring constantly and lightly. When the sauce is smooth, add salt, pepper, clove, and paprika and let the mixture bubble for five minutes. Have ready the piping hot serving dish, hot plates, and toast points. Warn the guests to drink their last cocktail or highball. Stir in the sherry. Beat the eggs just short of foaminess and stir in quickly. Add the brandy. Rush the Newburg, garnish with parsley, and the guests instantly to the table. Serve with any dry white wine and any greed salad made with French dressing. Sit back and await compliments. 

In pity for folks who do not own a Dora, I must admit that city cream is usable, less butter possible, and two eggs may be used instead of four, substituting another tablespoon of flour. The brandy may be omitted, but never the sherry. 

Poke Weed Salad

Recipe for Poke Weed Salad
Poke Weed Salad, Page 57


Strip the leave and skin from the shoots. Wash well. Boil whole for fifteen minute or until tender in salted water. Drain. Place on tast and cover with rich cream sauce. Serve with crips breakfast bacon and with a tart jelly if desired. This too make a complete meal and has a delightful flavor, with a slight taste of iron. I imagine the dish is rich in minerals. 

Pokeweek is a plant native to North America, considered by some as an pest species. As the plant ages, it becomes poisionouse to humans, so the leaves and shoots must be harvested in the spring or early summer when the plant is edible with proper cooking. 


Swamp Cabbage - Hearts of Palm

Recipes for Swamp Cabbage or Hearts of Palm
Swamp Cabbage Recipes, pages 63-65

I always feel a little uneasy in recommending swamp cabbage (hearts of palm at the Ritz), for the greatest of Florida vegetables is the white core of a young palm tree, and its cutting means the death of the tree. I fear always that some enterprising backwoodsman will take a notion to send them to market, and that the beautiful tropical palm groves will be decimated. Swamp cabbage is the sportsman's friend, for he can usually manage to make camp near a palm grove, and take his vegetable to accompany his fish or game directly from the land. Most of us are honorable, do not take more than we need, and try to choose a young tree from a clump which it will not be missed. The tree must be no more than eight or ten feet in height, or the core will be tough and bitter. Palms growing too close to water are also likely to be bitter. The Florida bears know the goodness of this food, and in the bear region was of the St. Johns River, we find palms slashed to their roots by sharp claws and the hearts torn out as though by giant forks. 

Swamp Cabbage Salad

Only an expert can cut down a palm and strip the core properly to its ivory-white, layered heart. The lower portions of the heart must be teased by taste for bitterness, the upper portion, for fibrousness until one is down to a white cylinder of complete sweetness and tender crispness. Slice thinly and soak for an hour in ice water. Drain well, serve with French dressing or a tart mayonnaise. The flavor is much like chestnuts. 

Swamp Cabbage, Camp Style

Prepare swamp cabbage as above. Boil slowly in a little water as possible, with several slices of white bacon. The bacon will probably provide sufficient salt. Pepper may be added if desired. If palm heart has any tendency to bitterness, parboil for five minutes, drain off water, and cover with fresh boiling water. Otherwise cook, tightly covered, for forty-five minutes or until meltingly tender, and most of the moisture has been absorbed. 

Swamp Cabbage, Cross Creek

Instead of white bacon, add two tablespoons of Dora's butter and a half teaspoon of salt to sliced palm heart and cook in very little water until dry and thoroughly tender. Add one-half to one cup of Dora's cream, heated, quantity according to amount of palm heart. Heat to simmering and serve at once. Prepared this way, heart of palm is fit for a king. 

Recipes included in Cross Creek Cookery:

  • Cross Creek Menus

  • Soups

    • Mrs. Chancey's Spanish Bean Soup
    • Mrs. Chancey's Black Bean Soup
    • Greek Gulf of Mexico Soup (Athens' King Crab)
    • Greek Lemon Soup
    • Chef Huston's Cream of Cucumber Soup
    • Ruth Becker's Creole Oyster Soup
    • Chef Huston's Cream of Peanut Soup (Potage Dixie)
    • Onion Soup au Gratin
    • Florida Soft-Shell Turtle (Cooter) Soup
    • Cream of Fordhook Soup
    • Crab Soup
    • Chicken Soup with Baby Dumplings
    • Donax Broth
  • Hot Breads

    • Florida Backwoods Biscuits
    • Mother's Biscuits
    • Idella's Crisp Biscuits
    • Hoe Cake
    • Corn Pone
    • Oven Cornbread
    • Cornmeal Muffins
    • Aunt Effie's Custard Johnny Cake
    • Spoonbread
    • Crackling Bread
    • Hush-puppies
    • Parker House Rolls
    • Zelma's Ice Box Rolls
    • Breakfast Muffins
    • Idella's Luncheon Muffin
    • Sour Cream Muffins (courtesy of Dora)
    • Sour Cream Pancakes
    • Waffles
    • Thin Bread Pancakes
  • Luncheon Dishes, or The Embroidery Club

    • Mother's Egg Croquettes
    • Mother's Jellied Chicken
    • Jellied Tongue
    • Individual Creamed Chicken Salad
    • Idella's Cheese Souffle
    • Salmon Loaf
    • Rum Omelet
    • Pecan Patties
  • Vegetables

    • Broccoli a la Hollandaise
    • Hollandaise Sauce
    • Okra a la Cross Creek
    • Beets in Orange Juice
    • Beets with Orange Sauce
    • Carrots Glazed in Honey
    • Carrot Souffle
    • Braised Onions
    • Corn Souffle
    • Chayotes au Gratain
    • Poke Weed, Cross Creek
    • Collard Greens
    • French Fried Eggplant
    • Fried Asparagus
    • Parsnip Croquettes
    • Cow-peas
    • Hopping John
    • Chinese Cabbage, Cross Creek
    • Swamp Cabbage (Hearts of Palm)
    • Swamp Cabbage Salad
    • Swamp Cabbage, Camp Style
    • Swamp Cabbage, Cross Creek
  • Potatoes, Rice and Grits

    • Baked Stuffed Potatoes
    • Scalloped Potatoes
    • Potato Croquettes
    • Sweet Potato Croquettes
    • Candied Sweet Potatoes
    • Sweet Potato Souffle
    • Sweet Potato Apple Souffle
    • Grits
    • Cheese Grits
    • Fried Cheese Grits
    • Cheese Grits Souffle
    • Fluffy Rice
    • Rice Croquettes
    • Sweet Potatoes in Orange Baskets
    • Souffle Potatoes



  • Florida Sea Foods

    • Crab a la Newberg, Cross Creek
    • Crab Salad
    • Deviled Crab
    • Stuffed Crabs
    • Sauteed Crab Meat
    • Crab Patties
    • Crab Souffle
    • Crab Meat au Gratin
    • St. Augustine Deep-fried Shrimp
    • Shrimp Newberg
    • Shrimp Pilau
    • Sauteed Shrimp and Okra
    • Shrimp Salad
    • Shrimp Wiggle
    • Stone Crabs
    • Florida Lobster or Crawfish
    • Lobster Thermidor
    • Cold Crawfish, lettuce Tartare
    • Florida Oysters
    • Ed Hopkins' Fish Chowder
    • Baked Fish with Spanish Sauce
    • Spanish Sauce
    • Florida Fried Fish
    • Broiled Fish
    • Boiled Mullet
    • Orange Lake Frog-legs
  • Game and Meats

    • Squab-size Roast Chicken
    • Smother-Fried Quail, Dove, Rabbit, Squirrel
    • Deep-Fried Young Quail or Young Dove
    • Pan-fried Young Quail or Dove
    • How to Fry Venison (Dessie)
    • Coot Surprise
    • Jugged Rabbit
    • Bear Meat
    • Pot Roast of Bear
    • Bear Steak
    • Alligator-tail Steak
    • Veal Chops or Cutlet in Sherry
    • Lamb Kidneys with Sherry
    • Flank Steak
    • Pork or Ham Baked in Milk
    • Baked Peanut Ham with Sherry
    • Brunswick Stew
    • Chili con Carne
    • Steak and Kidney Pie
    • Blackbird Pie
    • Spanish Chicken Fricassee
    • Mrs. Hansen's Tortillas
    • Yellow Rice and Chicken (Arroz con Pollo)
    • Southern Hash
    • Dumplings
    • Chicken and Dumplings
    • Spaghetti and Meat Balls
    • Guinea Hen in Dutch Oven
    • Turtles and Gophers
    • Egg Batter
    • Minorcan Gopher Stew
    • Pilaus
    • Chicken or Fresh Port Pilau
    • Ox-tail Pilau
    • Coot Liver and Gizzard Pilau
    • Shrimp Pilau
    • Mutton Pilau
    • Croquettes - Lamb, Ham, Chicken, or Turkey
    • Stuffed Peppers
    • Minced Lamb
    • Ground Liver for Sandwiches
    • Beef Loaf
    • White Bacon with New Potatoes, Cream Gravy
  • Salads

    • Hawaiian Salad
    • Gingered pear Salad
    • Stuffed Tomato Salad
    • Tomato Aspic and Artichoke
    • Jellied Cabbage Salad
    • Picnic Potato Salad
    • Aunt Luella's Boiled Salad Dressing
    • Avocado Salad
    • Stuffed Avocado Rings
    • Avocado Francis
    • Grapefruit and Avocado Salad
    • Jellied Grapefruit with Pecans
    • Mixed Green Salad with Herbs
    • Beet and Cabbage Salad
    • Mother's Sunday Night Salad
    • Mother's Fruit Salad Dressing
  • Desserts

    • Mother's Almond Cake
    • Almond Paste Filling
    • Boiled Frosting for Almond Cake
    • Orange Cake
    • Orange Filling
    • Orange Frosting
    • Watermelon Cake
    • Aunt Theo's Cake
    • Devil's Food Cake
    • Good Layer Cake
    • Seven Minute Frosting
    • Eggless Cake
    • Black Chocolate Cake
    • Mother's Washington Pie
    • Cream Filling
    • Grandma Traphagen's Sugar Cookies
    • Grandma Traphagen's Molasses Cookies
    • Ginger Snaps
    • Aunt Flo's Molasses Cookies
    • Boston Brownies
    • Overnight Cookies
    • Date Cookies
    • Date Torte
    • Pecan Cream Torte
    • Orange Sauce
    • Evadne's Gingerbread
    • Apple or Peach Dumpling
    • Steamed Pudding or Roly-Poly
    • Lemon Sauce
    • Rice and Pineapple Pudding
    • Baba au Rhum
    • Cakes
    • Hot Rum Sauce
    • Black Bottom Pie
    • Chocolate Pie
    • Orange Chiffon Pie
    • Chef Huston's Lemon Chiffon Pie
    • Lime Chiffon Pie
    • Strawberry Chiffon Pie
    • Banana Cream Pie
    • Butterscotch Pie
    • Pecan Pie
    • Utterly Deadly Southern Pie
    • My Reasonable Pecan Pie
    • Loquat Pie
    • Strawberry Shortcake
    • Pecan Souffle
    • Peach Shortcake
    • Sweet Potato Pone
    • Persimmon Pone
    • Cassava Pudding
    • Light Desserts
    • Orange Jelly
    • Kumquat Jelly
    • Coffee Jelly
    • Jellied Pecans
    • Ice Cream Mousse
    • Macaroon Cream
    • Orange Fluff
    • Italian Loaf
    • Orange Cream Tapioca
    • Syllabub
    • Floating Island
    • Orange Ice Box Cake
    • Coeur Flotant
    • Baked Guavas
    • Ambrosia
    • Baked Sherried Grapefruit
    • Fried Plantains
    • Clotted Cream
    • Orange Fritters
    • Figs and Cream
    • Papayas
    • Japanese Persimmons
    • Mangos
    • Dora's Ice Cream
    • Mango Ice Cream
    • Mango Ice Cream au Rhum
    • Strawberry Ice Cream
    • Fresh Peach Ice Cream
    • Rum and Coffee Ice Cream
    • Ginger Ice Cream
    • Peppermint Ice Cream
    • Orange Ice Cream
    • Grape Juice Ice Cream
    • Canton Sherbet
    • Orange Sherbet
    • Tangerine Sherbet
  • Preserves, Jellies, and Marmalades

    • Scotch Marmalade
    • Grapefruit Marmalade
    • Combination Marmalade
    • Kumquat Marmalade
    • Kumquat Jelly
    • Mayhaw Jelly
    • Roselle Jelly
    • Mango Chutney
    • Loquat Chutney
    • Guava Jelly
    • Passion Fruit Jelly
    • Wild Grape, Wild Plum, Wild Blackberry Jelly
    • Loquat Preserves

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Charles Scribner's Sons, New York
Year Published
Number Pages