Country cooking

Beth Bernard teamed up with her mom and sister, singer Trisha Yearwood, to author a cookbook of Southern recipies

Country cooking

Singer Trisha Yearwood (left) hangs out in her hometown of Monticello with her mom, Gwen Yearwood (middle), and sister Beth Bernard.

Photo by: Ben Fink

Beth Bernard—a mother of three from Tifton—didn’t think a homemade recipe book she made her sister two years ago would garner national media attention.

But that’s what can happen when your little sister is country music star Trisha Yearwood (M ’86).

“(The cookbook) started out as a binder my mom and I put together of recipes from our family and from people that we knew who had become like family,” says Bernard (BSA ’83, MS ’89). “My daughter made a little cover for it. And by that time, Trisha had already moved (to Oklahoma with husband Garth Brooks). So she put the two states, Georgia and Oklahoma, on it and called it something like Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen.”

In April, Bernard, Yearwood and their mother, Gwen, released a “dressed-up” version of the original cookbook through Random House. It took them roughly a year and a half to compile the more than 120 recipes featured, but most of the foods are simple Southern favorites like blackberry cobbler, and rice and gravy. Also included in the book are photographs from Yearwood family gatherings over the years.

Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen: Recipes from My Family to Yours

Clarkson Potter, 2008

By Trisha Yearwood (M '86), Gwen Yearwood and Beth Yearwood Bernard (BSA '83), MS '89)

Displays of family and friendship through food are what the cookbook is all about, Bernard says. As children, she and her sister watched their father, Jack Yearwood (BSA ’54), cook Brunswick stew and fried chicken for many civic events.

“Daddy always took pleasure in making a meal and sharing it with friends, family and the community,” she says.

As a college student and newlywed, she frequently called her mother to ask for special family recipes. One of Bernard’s favorites: her grandmother’s German chocolate cake.

But the elder Yearwoods are not the only ones who know how to heat up a kitchen. Included in the book is a recipe for eggless banana pudding that Trisha Yearwood created for her nephew, Brett, so he could enjoy the dessert despite his food allergies. Another favorite of the authors is slow-cooked barbecued pork ribs. This spring they shared the dish with the hosts of the ABC morning talk show “The View.”

“It was great! Those ladies were getting messy, just eating those ribs with the barbecue sauce during the whole episode,” Bernard says.

Sitting on her porch, enjoying the last cool South Georgia days before summer, she reflects on her newfound fame.

“(The cookbook and book tour) have been an unexpected treat and a really fun experience for me,” she says. “It’s a look into our family, and I hope that it can be an inspiration to others to ask their own grandmothers and family members for their favorite recipes.”