Ginny Polk is a prison cook at Louisiana’s Greenmount State Penitentiary. She knows the harsh reality of life within the prison walls, yet she doesn’t see the men on death row as monsters. That’s why Ginny has taken on the special responsibility of preparing their last meals. Pot roast or red beans, coconut cake with seven-minute frosting, spoon bread … whatever the men ask for, Ginny prepares. She even meets with their heartbroken relatives to get each recipe just right. It’s her way of honoring their humanity and showing some compassion in their final hours.
Read Ginny’s story in Mandy Mikulencak’s novel The Last Suppers, out today as the inaugural title of Kensington’s new hardcover imprint. Kensington has also shared a recipe for the classic Southern dish spoon bread from the book below.
Southern Spoon Bread
Source: The Southern Cook Book – 322 Old Dixie Recipes (Culinary Arts Press, 1939, p. 31)
2 cups cornmeal
1 1/2 cups sweet milk
2 cups boiling water
1 tsp. salt
3 large Tbsp. butter (melted)
Sift the meal three times and dissolve in the boiling water; mix until it is smooth and free from any lumps. Add the melted butter and salt. Thin with milk. Separate the eggs; beat until light; add the yolks and then the whites. Pour into a buttered baking dish and bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees F) about 30 minutes. This should be served in the dish in which it is baked.