The Sweet Potato Queens' Field Guide to Menby Jill Conner Browne
Three Rivers Press, 241 pp., $13.95
Regardless of whether or not Jill Conner Browne really is the down-to-earth, approachable character who appears in her books, the Field Guide generates giggles, snickers, and outright belly laughs. The book is filled with pithy observations about the differences between the sexes and stories about the wacky things humans are likely to do in the name of love. The "lip-plumping" episode alone is worth the price of the book, and made me laugh till I cried. Browne opens her recipe chapter with the quote from a Texas woman about the domestic skills necessary to keep a Lone Star man at home (i.e., fucking and frying meat) and goes on to offer outrageous formulas for everything from Matzo Ball Soup and Chicken 'n' Dumplings to things called Armadillo Tails and Bacon and Beagle Dicks. She also promotes new margarita mixes developed specifically for the SPQs by Texan W. Park Kerr of the El Paso Chili Company (newly available on her shopping site, www.sweetpotatoqueen.com). I've got to say I admire the way this woman has turned a parade float joke into a whole new career.