Cleora's Kitchens: The Memoir of a Cook

Rights Contact Login For More Details

More About This Title Cleora's Kitchens: The Memoir of a Cook


Starting with a freedman's wagon ride out of Texas, Cleora Butler takes readers from the beaten biscuits of her childhood, baked in a wood-burning stove, to fricasseed quail she later prepared as a caterer. Rich with stories and turn-of-the-century recipes impossible to find—possum grape wine, mother's hickory nut cake, hot water cornbread, and burnt sugar ice cream—Cleora's Kitchens also provides a glimpse of changing 20th-century tastes. More than 400 recipes are arranged by the decades in which Cleora first cooked and served them, from grandpa's sausage in the early days to the first avocado anyone in Oklahoma had ever seen, to duckling pati and pine nut pilaf.


Cleora Butler (1901 - 1985), the daughter of professional cooks, worked as a live-in chef for Tulsa’s oil barons, preparing lavish dinner parties and everyday family meals. In the 1960s she opened Cleora’s Bakery and Catering with her husband, and was the top choice for society teas and street parties, banquets and barbeques, Cab Calloway’s band and the Tulsa Philharmonic Auxiliary alike.