Saturday, October 26, 2013

Tea Room Recipe #42 - The Frances Virginia Tea Room (Atlanta, Ga.)

"That doesn't sound like a tea room recipe," my husband said when I told him the name of this week's tea room recipe: Steak Balls with Mushroom Sauce. I assured him this is indeed a tea room recipe, and in fact this recipe is from one of my very favorite tea room cookbooks!

"The Frances Virginia Tea Room Cookbook" was written by Mildred Huff Coleman, whom I first got to know when I was a journalist interviewing her, but later I'm happy to say she became a friend. I've even had tea at her lovely home in Atlanta! Thanks largely to Millie, the Frances Virginia will be remembered forever. It was a legendary tea room that operated in Atlanta from the late 1920s until the 1960s, and many older ladies in this area can recall eating there when they went to "the city" for an afternoon of shopping. Millie's aunt, Agnes New, was at one time a partner in the tea room, and one day she "dusted off her Tea Room files" and began helping Millie convert recipes once prepared in commercial quantities to recipes that could be used by home cooks. The recipes range from starters like muffins and soups to salads and sandwiches, luncheon dishes both hearty and light, and some dessert recipes I was thrilled to find, including several of those delightful "chiffon" pie recipes, including Coconut Chiffon Pie, Maple Chiffon Pie and Sherry Chiffon Pie. Best of all, the book includes memories of those who dined at this old-fashioned tea room, and it is a sheer delight to read. If I could keep only two or three of my tea room cookbooks, this one would always make the cut, it's that good! (If you'd like more info on the book, go here.)

The cool weather once again has me wanting to try new recipes for dinner, so this week it was a yummy sounding meat dish that caught my eye. The recipe was very easy to make, and it was quite a hearty meal when served over whole wheat egg noodles. My husband and I both loved it!

Steak Balls with Mushroom Sauce

1 pound ground beef
1 can mushroom soup, undiluted
2/3 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons shortening or oil
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine beef with 1/4 cup of the undiluted soup, bread crumbs, onion, salt and egg. Shape into 10 balls (about 2 ounces or 1/4 cup each), and brown in shortening. Drain. Arrange steak balls in a shallow baking dish. Combine remaining soup with water and Worcestershire sauce and pour over steak balls. Bake for 30 minutes. Yields 5 servings.


  1. That sounds like a delightful book! And a delicious recipe from it.

  2. These sound yummy and would be good over mashed potatoes too!

  3. Looks like a good 'comfort food' meal!

  4. Yummmm! This sounds much like what I have made for years for my children. We called it "mama's surprise" because I added chili powder to it. Every once in the while we still get hungry for something like this, comfort food. BTW I made the stroganoff from last week and we very much enjoyed it.

  5. I'd order this in a tea room, it looks yummy.

  6. That does sound delicious. I've added The Frances Virginia Tea Room cookbook to my wishlist.

  7. Hello Angela, your photo and recipe looks so good - I am definitely going to try this out! I should put this book on my wish list. Joanie


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