In The Most Unsuitable Wife, Pearl Parker serves Drake Kincaid and Lex Tremont chicken and dumplings. Later in Texas, Pearl Parker Kincaid uses this recipe in her restaurant, Granny’s Lunches.

Pearl 's Chicken and Dumplings

1 large stewing hen
2 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup lard or shortening 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk Optional: sliced carrot and celery

Choose and prepare a nice fat hen. Cut it up, with the meat on the bone. Stew the chicken in a large pot with plenty of water. After the chicken has cooked, you may want to remove the bones so people do not have to deal with them when they eat.

Cook the chicken until it is tender (about an hour). You can put slices of carrot and celery in the broth as the chicken cooks. Season broth with salt and pepper. When the chicken is tender, cook on very low simmer while you make the dumpling dough.

To make the dough: Mix the flour, shortening, baking powder, salt and milk. Roll dough out thin and add more flour if it is not stiff enough. Cut it into strips about 1" to 2" wide. Keep heat low under chicken. Drop half of dumplings into broth, pulling strips of dough into pieces as you drop them. After about five minutes, push those dumplings to the side of the pan and drop in the rest of the dough in the same way. Cook another five minutes or so. Stir. Take a little fresh milk or buttermilk and drizzle it around the edges of the pan. Stir. Cook another ten minutes. Test to make sure dumplings are cooked through and serve. Good with hot biscuits.

Pearl’s Biscuits

2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 to 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In mixing bowl combine dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add milk. Stir gently with fork until dough holds together. Gather dough into a ball and turn onto lightly floured board. Knead gently with floured fingers just enough to form dough without working additional flour into the dough. Pat dough out 3/4 inch thick. Cut with floured biscuit cutter. For crusty biscuits, arrange about 1/2 inch apart on greased baking sheet. For biscuits which are browned on top and bottom but soft on the sides, place touching in a cake or pie pan. Coat the biscuits with melted shortening or vegetable oil. Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown on top. Add a few additional minutes if you are baking them with sides touching. Serve hot with butter, homemade jam, and honey. Makes 12 biscuits.

Sarah Kincaid served her applesauce cake to Nate in The Most Unsuitable Husband.

Sarah’s Applesauce Cake and Carmel Icing

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup lard or shortening
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 cups applesauce
3/4 cup raisins or chopped dates
1 cup broken Texas pecans

Sift dry ingredients together and set aside. In large bowl mix shortening, sugar and eggs and beat well until fluffy. Scrape bowl while mixing. Add applesauce, raisins (or dates) and nuts and mix well. Add dry ingredients and beat slowly for two or three minutes. Pour into a greased and floured tube or bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cake cool in pan. When cool, serve or frost with Caramel Icing.


2 cups sugar
1 cup cream
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put 1 cup of the sugar into a heavy skillet and let it carmelize slowly, being careful not to let it scorch or burn. Set aside. Into saucepan put remaining sugar and cream and let come to a slow boil. Gradually add carmelized sugar into this and cook to a soft ball stage. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Beat to desired consistency and spread on cake.

In The Texan's Irish Bride, Dallas McClintock hosts a Fandango and serves a larger recipe of this chili:

Texas Fandango Chili

5 lbs chili meat or ground beef (or 4 lbs. Beef and 1 lb. Sausage)
15 ounces of tomato sauce
15 ounces stewed tomatoes
3 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground comino (cumin)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 medium onion, chopped
3 to 5 cloves garlic
1/4 cup brown sugar

In a large, heavy kettle or dutch oven, sear the meat, pouring off the excess grease as the meat browns. Add onion and garlic to meat as it browns. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer. Stir frequently. Simmer at least three hours, but the flavor improves if you can simmer half a day. Add a little water if it becomes too dry. Serve with cornbread and pinto beans. Chili is also a good side accompaniment to barbecued beef. Condiments needed for chili are sliced or chopped sweet onions, grated cheese, pickled or fresh jalapeño peppers, and pickled okra.

Dallas’ Favorite Cornbread

1 cup flour, sifted
1 cup corn meal
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup liquid or melted shortening

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix dry ingredients well. Make a little well in the dry ingredients and add eggs and beat them before stirring them into the dry ingredients. Add milk and shortening. Pour into greased muffing tins or a cast iron skillet or cake pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes for muffins, or until they are golden brown on top and edges look crisp. Add about 5 minutes longer for skillet or cake pan. Serve hot with butter and honey.



Laurel Aldridge is a landscape designer who manages her family’s garden center, but still finds time to go sleuthing for killers. She loves this easy-to-make cake.

Laurel’s Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Cake batter:

1 pkg. Yellow cake mix [Duncan Hines works best]
¼ cup poppy seed
1 pkg. Instant lemon pudding mix
½ cup cooking oil
4 large eggs
1 cup water
1 tsp. almond extract

For dusting Bundt pan:

2 Tblspn. Sugar
½ tspn. Ground cinnamon


½ cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp. Lemon juice

Set oven to preheat at 325 degrees F.

Mix sugar and cinnamon. Grease bundt pan and dust with sugar/cinnamon mix. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add oil, eggs, water, and almond extract. Blend with an electric mixer on low until ingredients are moistened and then beat on medium for two minutes. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 325 F for one hour. Allow cake to cool ten minutes, invert and remove from pan.

When cake is cooled, mix glaze and drizzle over cake.