Taste testers liked three of the four heart-healthy versions of dishes served at my daughter's recent bridal shower.
Bowie resident Joyce Felder, one of the women who gave the shower, said she was in favor of modifying the recipes if the result does not destroy the flavor. She, too, is aware that Southern cooking is characterized by "wonderfully tasting saturated fat."
"I think that the difference between the traditional and adjusted macaroni and meatloaf dishes was very slight," she said. "I enjoyed them and would cook them."
The original recipes were from my two cookbooks ("The Church Ladies' Divine Desserts and Sweet Recollections" and "The Church Ladies' Celestial Suppers & Sensible Advice"), and the adaptations were suggested by Washington nutritionist Rebecca M. Mohning.
The tasters based their ratings on appearance, texture, mouth feel and overall satisfaction.
Grandmother's Macaroni and Cheese: Several testers actually preferred the lower-fat version. Their positive comments convinced me that replacing the butter with a butter substitute, using half the eggs, evaporated skim milk and reduced-fat cheddar cheese were methods that all worked.
Pastor's in Trouble Meatloaf: Surprisingly, this ground turkey meatloaf stacked up equally well against the beef and pork meatloaf recipe in terms of taste and texture. But higher marks for mouth feel and overall satisfaction went to beef and pork version.
Kiss-Me-Not Mashed Potatoes: The group gave the lower-fat version equal thumbs up. Garlic is a great equalizer. Whether the fat and salt content in mashed potatoes is high or low, when you add enough garlic you simply can't go wrong. But I must confess I just don't get the concept of fat-free half-and-half.
Cream Cheese Poundcake: Poundcake is one dessert that either is or isn't itself. The lower-fat recipe, which called for fat-free cream cheese, half as much sugar, egg whites and one-third the butter, looked good, testers said, but failed to meet their taste expectations.
-- Brenda Rhodes Miller