Carol Flemming, author of "Welfare Mothers Gourmet Cookbook".

Renaissance woman Carol Flemming has added “author” to her long list of accomplishments.

The 79-year-old resident of Valley Springs has lived an extraordinary life. She raised six children, worked as a booking agent in San Francisco during the 1960s, opened two restaurants and has a successful career as a costume designer. Flemming rubbed shoulders with some of the greatest musicians of the 20th century and created some iconic costume characters. But her first book highlights a period of struggle through which she persevered.

“Welfare Mothers Gourmet Cookbook” teaches readers “How to Make Sumpin Out of Nothin,” drawing on Flemming’s experiences as a single, unemployed mother caring for four children while she was living in Santa Cruz.


Amazon reviewers have described the book as humorous, charming and informative. Chapters carry titles such as “How to Make Three Meals Out of One Chicken” and recipes include fried potato peels, April Fools Jello and other basic dishes that can be whipped up easily on a budget.

“It’s more stories and anecdotes,” Flemming said. “I think (this book) is for everybody. … It’s all very fitting for the pandemic time right now.”

“Welfare Mothers Gourmet Cookbook” is only a test run for Flemming, who plans on publishing her memoir in June. However, the short, witty book has already garnered enthusiastic reviews on Amazon since its release in early December.

“It’s a cute, little book. I hope (readers) are entertained. I hope they laugh,” Flemming said.

The author will be offering a book signing at Olive Crush Farms in Valley Springs on Sunday, March 7, from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. The event will offer complimentary wine and appetizers. Dessert will be provided by Flemming herself, who is making one of her recipes, “Jagger Pie.”

When asked why the pie is named after the famed Rolling Stone, Flemming replied, “Maybe it’s because I danced with him once.”

Olive Crush Farms is located at 8 C California Street in Valley Springs.


Dakota graduated from Bret Harte in 2013 and went to Davidson College, NC where she earned a bachelor's degree in Arab studies. After spending time studying in the Middle East and Europe, she is happy to be home, writing about the community she loves.

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