A Taste of our Book “Tour”

As we are moving in to the next phase of promoting the Mrs. Rowe book, I thought I’d share some of the images I’ve gathered as we’ve traveled. There are more and I’ll get to those soon. In the mean time, if you want to have a better look at the pictures, just click on them and they will get bigger.

About the Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant Cookbook

Though this book is brimming with wonderful restaurant and family recipes, it is more than a cookbook. It gives the compelling life story of Mrs. Mildred Rowe—the matriarch of this nearly 60-year-old restaurant. Her personal "Cinderella" story of heartache and triumph is woven through the narrative, recipe head notes, and sidebars. Local history, restaurant and food history, and women’s history notes and nuggets are included throughout the book.
I am the writer of the book; the restaurant developed the recipes and helped me with all my questions. Welcome to my blog. This page is full of wonderful reviews and mentions. If you’re interested in the history of the book and current happenings, click on the Journey of a Cookbook link in the sidebar.
Mollie Cox Bryan

Mrs. Rowe: Now a Part of a Traveling Library Exhibit

“A History of Women Hospitality Entrepreneurs,” a traveling exhibit to open next week in Illinois, will highlight several women—Mary Donoho, Donoho Hotel in Texas; Isabella Greenway who established the Arizona Inn in Tucson, Arizona; Jennie Grossinger who established Grossinger’s Resort in the Catskills; Joyce Chen, introduced Chinese cuisine and opened a restaurant in Harvard, Mass; Hattie Gray, who
opened Hattie’s Chicken Shack, Mildred Rowe (THE Mrs. Rowe) , and Harriet Moody who established a catering service in Chicago.

Jo, the librarian at (Lexington College http://www.lexingtoncollege.edu), the person in charge of the exhibit, writes: ” I think Mildred Rowe’s name surfaced because of your book, when I was doing general internet searching. After reading excerpts from your book I decided to pursue further. It definitely was a good choice on my part, both you and Mike have been very helpful.”

She explains that this project came about because the college offers bachelor and associate degrees in hospitality management. “We have begun an active program in entrepreneurship recently and I was looking for ways to expand our collection.”

Plans for the Exhibit:

The exhibit consists of four panels. Its first appearance will be at “Taste of Lexington”— an annual open house for parents, industry professionals, and friends of the college on Thursday, March 15th. In addition to this exhibit we will have a book signing by Chef Candace Wallace, herself a hospitality entrepreneur, with her new book: The Professional Personal Chef: The Business of Doing Business as a Personal Chef”. Two-hundred people are expected to attend.

So, how about that? I am so glad to know Mrs. Rowe is being honored and remembered for her contributions. It was against all odds that this funny little feisty mountain lady would build this extremely successful restaurant. Her story is timeless.

What’s Next?

I have exactly two more promotional events scheduled for the Mrs. Rowe book. The first one is on Sat., Jan 27 at Melrose Public Library in Roanoke, Va. What an interesting, top-of-the-line library system. They’ve publicized the upcoming event in all 17 of their libraries, created bookmarks with a recipe on it, and alerted the local media. And they have ordered books, which means that I won’t have to lug boxes of books with me. I predict it will be well-attended—that is, if we continue to get such fine weather.
I am still not sure how my children will get to where they are supposed to be that day, however. We have only one vehicle that both girls can ride in safely. And I don’t drive the other one.
Emma has been accepted into the Saturday Enrichment Program at U. Va. (in Charlottesville) and will be studying–get this–writing. And Tess has ballet class at 11 in Waynesboro. And my gig is in Roanoke at 2:00. Roanoke is a couple of hours away. Okay. I think someone is going to have to miss something…
After I get through this, I have several months “off” until the Festival of the Book in Charlottesville. It should be great fun.
In the mean time, I just sent in a column to the News Leader, am finishing up an article on Mary Johnston for Virginia Living, and am waiting to hear back from Bark magazine. Ahhhh, the life of a freelancer. Mostly broke and always waiting.

Along the Journey

Sometimes I get so distract by sales and prmotion that I forget why I wrote this book. Sometimes something happens to jar me back into reality. Yesterday, I received a delightful phone call from an elderly woman who had read the Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant Cookbook.
“Are you Mollie Cox Bryan?”
“I have your book here and I’ve read every word.”
“About the incident at Rowes where a man escaped from DeJarnette Mental Hospital and destroyed the place?
“Yes?” By now, I am thinking, okay this is it, I’ve offended this person, I’ve gotten it wrong, she is going to drag me into court, or give me the worst tongue-lashing I’ve ever had.
“Well, I was there. Let me tell you I was scared to death and I crawled out the back door, leaving others behind. I thought someone was being shot! I was there. I just wanted you to know. You book is delightful and is bringing back so many memories,” she said.
Who was that person?
She was Adrian Rowe, Williard’s first cousin.
How cool is that?


“Most of all, I love that this book captures the real meat of life, not just its gravy,” — Lily Binns, Saveur Magazine

Read more about this awesome write-up in Saveur in my Journey of a Cookbook blog. Click on the link in the side panel.

Harrisonburg’s Daily News Record

Theresa Curry is everywhere it seems. She also writes cookbook reviews for the Daily News Record in Harrionsburg and she wrote up another review on Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant Cookbook! YAY! Here’s a link:

Update on the Mrs. Rowe Cookbook

Promoting books is definitely a wierd thing. One minute you are bummed because it feels like nobody is buying your book. Events get cancelled. Or people don’t show up. The next minute you get a phone call from someone saying “I just sold 15 books.” Amazing.
I did not write this book to get rich and famous. And in today’s sales-drive publishing world, it’s sometimes difficult to stay focused on why I write. I get caught up in reviews and sales and creating promotions to sell, sell, sell. And then I get into a funk.
What feeds me is the creative process. I’ve been sick—losing my voice (what a physical manifestation the way I’ve been feeling). Mrs. Rowe’s story keeps me going. I keep coming back to it, hoping I’ve honored her in some way, hoping that maybe I have honored all the women like her who have lived remarkable lives, but maybe have not had books written about them.
I march on.
Unfortunately, the Wade’s Mill Event has been cancelled. But, I have been asked to read at the Staunton Writer’s Show on Tuesday evening. Then, on to the B & N in Harrisonburg on Saturday. I hope to see some of you there.

Fort Lewis Lodge and the Mrs. Rowe Cookbook

The book group at the Fort Lewis Lodge was a great deal of fun. Set against the beautiful mountains with incredible autumn colors, the lodge is spread out over fields, with exquisite views, and a river cutting through rocky terrain. During the summer, fishing and tubing and swimming are encouraged. But we were there on crisp, cool autumn days.
The book group rented a house and Saturday afternoon we discussed the book—along with American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser—while we ate apple dumplings that Mike DiGrassie sent from the restaurant. For me, the only facet missing from this scene (other than Mrs Rowe) was Lily Binns, the young woman that edited the book so thoughtfully. She was very much on my mind this weekend, though I’ve never even met her. The book was so celebrated and appreciated and I wanted her to be there to feel that, as well.
The Lodge is about an hour from Goshen, Va., where Mrs. Rowe lived and started her first business. One of the members of the group was interested in seeing her first restaurant. So, we stopped at what is now the Mill Creek Cafe and saw the place with the paneling and formica counters that Mrs. Rowe gave what was nothing more that a cinder block restaurant then. She wanted the place to be cozy and remind travelers of home.
We also went to Mrs. Rowe’s church. Unfortunately, it was Sunday and the parking lot was brimming with cars and an influx of people going to church. But we walked around a bit and enjoyed the car-obscurred views as much as we could.
Goshen’s biggest days are most assuredly behind it. But it still sits as a beacon to what used to be.

A Wonderful Mention of the Mrs. Rowe Book

From azcentral.com, as part of a larger article written by Elizabeth Lee about Southern cookbooks:

“Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant Cookbook: A Lifetime of Recipes From the Shenandoah Valley” by Mollie Cox Bryan (Ten Speed Press, $24.95). Even those not familiar with Mrs. Rowe’s, a Staunton, Va., restaurant specializing in hearty servings of comfort food, will appreciate the collection of Southern and Appalachian favorites. Regional foods like Black Walnut-Apple Pound Cake and Blackberry Jam Cake With Caramel Icing are here, along with hearty favorites like Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Baked Stuffed Pork Chops and Beef Liver and Onions. Although there are the occasional canned vegetables, the book focuses on from-scratch recipes that don’t depend on condensed soup or other shortcuts for flavor. Bryan’s thoughtfully written portrait of the late Mildred Rowe, one of 12 children who grew up on an isolated farm in Virginia and through hard work and attention to detail built a destination restaurant, adds to the charm. The book includes black-and-white and color photos of finished dishes and of the Rowe family through the years.