The Sweet Potato Queen's Latest Dish

Jill Connor Browne's Fourth Book an Ode to Southern Belles

Listen: Listen to the Sweet Potato Queen's hour-long monologue, recorded at Washington, D.C.'s Politics and Prose bookstore.

Jill Connor Browne

Jill Connor Browne, AKA the Sweet Potato Queen, addresses her loyal subjects. Megan George, NPR News hide caption

itoggle caption Megan George, NPR News
Queen's fan

One of Browne's fans nearly out-queens the Sweet Potato Queen. Megan George, NPR News hide caption

itoggle caption Megan George, NPR News
The Maryland Crab Queens

The Maryland Crab Queens braved the cold weather to hear Browne speak. Megan George, NPR News hide caption

itoggle caption Megan George, NPR News

On a recent cold and snowy night in Washington, D.C., scores of fans stream into the Politics and Prose book store to hear Jill Connor Browne. She's better known as the Sweet Potato Queen, and her humorous books are shooting up the best-seller lists.

"Most in the audience have come straight from work and since this is Washington D.C., the women are generally dressed for success," says NPR's Michele Norris. "But in this sea of smart pant suits and sweater sets, there are the standouts — the women adorned with feather boas and tiaras. With names like Petunia Peach or Kimmy Darling, they are the converts."

Browne is hawking her fourth book, The Sweet Potato Queens' Big-Ass Cookbook and Financial Planner. Like her previous books, it's a heady mix of hilarious anecdotes and observations about enjoying life after 40, artery-clogging recipes and advice on how to be a perfect Southern belle in the 21st century.

But you won't find this book in the cooking section or the financial aisle in your local bookstore — it's really a tongue-in-cheek self-help guide. "The financial tips read more like punch lines, and the recipes are not exactly haute cuisine," Norris says.

You might call The Sweet Potato Queens' Big-Ass Cookbook and Financial Planner a self-help guide that encourages women to help themselves to another serving of anything they want. Consider the delicacy called Pig Candy — bacon strips are coated with brown sugar and baked or microwaved until the mixture begins to carmelize.

Browne's books have sold by the millions, and she's in the top 10 of the New York Times best-seller list. She has a movie pilot in the works for the WB network, and plans are underway for a syndicated talk show.

Wherever she goes she packs the house, and there's a reason why: Behind the funny dress and the fatty food, her message is one of empowerment and choice.

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