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Twinkie Pie and world peaceBy MARY JANE PARK
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 21, 2003
THE SWEET POTATO QUEENS' BIG-ASS COOKBOOK (AND FINANCIAL PLANNER)
By Jill Conner Browne
Three Rivers Press, $13.95, 272 pp
The third in Jill Conner Browne's Sweet Potato Queens series capitalizes on what the first two do best: advice, recipes and humor.
None is for the faint of heart; the Boss SPQ from Jackson, Miss., concedes that much of what is inside is probable cause for disappointment and embarrassment among mothers everywhere.
The true value of the SPQ shtick probably lies in the fact that the Queens and their wanna-bes are women of a certain age who have lived long enough to have experienced pain, frustration, sagging flesh and other dark moments, yet manage to have a sense of humor. In fact, they excel at making merry.
"I believe that the ability to laugh at oneself is fundamental to the resiliency of the human spirit," Browne writes in the Cookbook (and Financial Planner). "We'll start the ball rolling by laughing first at ourselves, with the strong implication that we will soon move on to laughing at others -- all this in the overriding global belief that the world is now too small a place for there to be an "us' and a "them.' It must all be us, and we want to do our part to facilitate that."
Now there's as good an approach to world peace as there ever was, imparted by a woman whose public persona boasts a tiara atop her big hair, rhinestone sunglasses, big dangly earrings and a royal wave -- and she never entered a pageant. Not only that, the proceeds from her books have, at last, paid for her plastic surgery.
She offers financial counsel: "If you spend enough money on diet books, exercise equipment that either doesn't work . . . or can't work (because you never touch it), diet "aids' you drink, chew or wear on your wrist (none of which will work), and joining gyms and exercise classes you never go to, eventually you will not have enough money to buy actual food and you will lose weight -- at last." "For guys -- buying the stupid flowers when you're supposed to will be way cheaper than what you'll have to buy and do to make up for it if you forget."
In this work, Browne adds more astonishing recipes to her earlier classics, which include Chocolate Stuff, Bacon Monkey Bread and Twinkie Pie. Herein, you will find Love Lard, Fried Dill Pickles and Heaven on a Cracker.
Most of all, you will laugh. "All your life you've heard that "laughter is the best medicine,' right?"
Like her royal highness, you can think about deducting the cost of this book as a medical expense.
Mary Jane Park is a Times staff writer.
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