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July Fish Fry Picnics in Times Past

Summer fish fries in July meant serious competition for bragging rights as a community’s best baker too. The summer picnic gave ladies a chance to show off their baking hands. Every baking artist brought out their prize culinary art to the delight of some and criticism of others. “Orange sponge cakes and dark brown mounds dripping Hershey’s chocolate stood layer to layer with ice-white coconuts and light brown caramels,” writes Maya Angelou of her Stamps, Arkansas childhood. Joyce White remembers similar competition in her hometown in Choctaw County, Alabama. She observed that the womenfolk “would vie to outdo one another” with their “peach cobbler, blackberry pie, banana pudding, chocolate cake, pound cake, and sometimes even homemade ice cream. 

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