The book jacket

Welcome to the official blog page for my new book, GENEVA, a Southern memoir/biography and cookbook.  Geneva was my mother.

Five and half years ago, I wrote a book about her life, her family and her food.  She was a complicated woman, hard to please, difficult to get along with, bossy to a fault.  She also had a heart of gold.   Always a champion of the underdog, she did not have a selfish bone in her body.  Many times she gave her last dime to someone she thought might need it.

I wrote the book because I wanted her to be remembered, not only by those who knew her, but also by those who did not.  An unforgettable character, she could be by turns exasperating and endearing.  She impacted so many lives in so many ways, not the least of which was the sharing of her wonderful food.  In the back section of the book, you will find most of her recipe file which I have put into cookbook format.

The first section of the book is the story of her life as I remember it and as I have been told.  Oral history is a strong Southern tradition, and I grew up hearing about her early life so much that it was as much a reality as my own.  The tragedy which happened when she was a young wife and mother shaped the rest of her life as well as my own.

I have included a family tree with all the begats as far back as we could find them. There are photos of her forbears and siblings which bear witness to the poverty and humble beginnings which made her tough and resilient.  There are also pictures of her throughout her life, and of me growing up, as I remember Mama.

This blog no longer has an active link so that you can order the book, and the first printing is now sold out.  

I have taken down the Facebook page for the time being, since there are no books right now.

Check back again soon to see when the book will be available again.


Ellen Thompson Shook