Nelly Harper Lee, distinguished Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, and author of To Kill a Mockingbird passed away Friday in her sleep at the age of 89, just months after the highly anticipated Mockingbird prequel Go Set a Watchman was released.
Although To Kill a Mockingbird is most often lauded for its prominent place in the American literary canon, the novel that so vividly portrayed racial tensions in the South was also full of recipes and references to Southern cuisine.
In the novel, lane cakes — an old-fashioned Alabama specialty made with whiskey — feature prominently in the storyline. Scout Finch gets buzzed inadvertently off of a neighbor’s boozy lane cakes: “Miss Maudie Atkinson baked a Lane cake so loaded with shinny it made me tight.” Make your own lane cake with our recipe here.
Other Southern recipes featured prominently in the literary classic include Crackling Bread (“It was not often that she made crackling bread, she said she never had time, but with both of us at school today had been an easy one for her. She knew I loved crackling bread”), and Southern teacakes (“Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o-clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum”).
We recommend snacking on some of these delicate Southern sweets while digging into a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird tonight to honor the life of a true literary great.