Athens Family Restaurant & McKay’s Used Books

Athens Family Restaurant is a favorite in Nashville for great breakfast and great Greek food.  My mom and I finally got the chance to try it today for brunch.  The place is small and quaint, with blue checkered table cloths.  I ordered the Eggs Crab Cake, which consisted of crab cakes on English muffin halves topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce, and my mom ordered the Eggs Florentine, which was essentially the same thing minus the crab cakes and with tomato, spinach, and feta.  We were incredibly pleased.  The eggs were poached perfectly and the crab cake was delicious.  I was looking around at the crowd, hoping to see someone semi-famous.  I’ve lived in Nashville for almost four years and still have not seen a celebrity, or at least one I recognize.  I should probably brush up on my country stars.

After eating brunch, I took her to the international market, where she was almost as giddy as I was on Friday.  Then we headed over to McKay’s Used Books, CDs, Movies and More, which is a huge store filled with great, cheap finds.  I got two old cookbooks.  One was a Nashville-themed from the Junior League of Nashville written in 1977 and a huge volume called the Gold Cook Book from 1948.   I thought both were appropriate for my Southern Foodways Class as historical documents.  They really are “of their time”; the Gold Cook Book had this to say in its introduction:

“American homemakers are increasingly aware of their rich heritage of cooking, of its wide variety as a result of its regional origins.  We have the fine culinary traditions of those who settled in Louisiana, Virginia, New England, the South, the North, the East, and the West.  No statement of the excellence of the cooking of American homemakers, who are representative of every race of mankind, is complete without a reference to the fine cooking of the Negroes of the South, who are natural gourmets.  They seem to have inherited a sort of tradition of good cooking, and it may be that this will have a large place in the final development of a real type of American cookery.”

At this point, the author does not seem to recognize a definitive American cuisine, but one that is in development out of the diverse “rich heritage” of cooking.  He predicts that it is African-American cooking that will bring it to its culmination.  It’s definitely a historical artifact.  Flipping through the recipes is fascinating.  This particular book has over 1,000 recipes, most new to me.  The Nashville cookbook had a recipe for “Deer Chili.”  I may be trying some of these recipes and putting them up on the blog.  Probably not the deer chili…

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