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Recommendations for Southern cookbooks

Cookbook

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7 replies to this topic

#1 Shinboners

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 10:46 PM

The missus sometimes gets misty eyed over some of the Southern cooking she enjoyed when she lived in the United States, so I think I might add a Southern cooking cookbook to the collection.

Does anyone have any recommendations?

The Lee Bros. Cookbook has had some good reviews on Amazon as has the Gift Of Southern Cooking by Lewis/Peacock and The Glory of Southern Cooking by Villas.

Has anyone used these books? Are they good? Are there better ones? I only want to get one, so which one should it be?
Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"

#2 annecros

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 04:01 AM

I gave the Lee Brothers book to my stepdaughter for Christmas and also have one, if your wife likes to stroll down memory lane, there is a lot of narrative there that is very evocative of the South.

The ultimate reference type cookbok for me is The Southern Cook's Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Old-Fashioned Southern Cooking by Courtney Taylor. This is the one I have given to my kids because of all the reference material, and good basic recipes for everything Southern.

The All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook and Southern Living 40 Years of Our Best Recipes are both great compilations and Southern Living always manages to be fabulous.

#3 markemorse

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 04:23 AM

Having looked at both the Lee Bros. and the Lewis/Peacock books, the latter is on my wish list...it's more diverse and the recipes seem more like what I've eaten for years as a primarily urban and mobile Southerner. I think the thing that turned me off from the Lee Bros book was seeing some kind of "Saigon Hoppin' John" recipe...which is fine, it just doesn't have much to do with what I think of as Southern cooking.

FWIW
mem

Edited by markemorse, 28 April 2007 - 04:24 AM.


#4 ludja

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 08:06 AM

click

Having looked at both the Lee Bros. and the Lewis/Peacock books, the latter is on my wish list...it's more diverse and the recipes seem more like what I've eaten for years as a primarily urban and mobile Southerner. I think the thing that turned me off from the Lee Bros book was seeing some kind of "Saigon Hoppin' John" recipe...which is fine, it just doesn't have much to do with what I think of as Southern cooking.

FWIW
mem

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It's true that the Lee Bros. take a little poetic license with some recipes; nevertheless it's still on my list to add as part of my collection. They do have have nice "color" commentary before each recipe that gives a little background but mostly evokes their childhood experiences, etc in Charleston.

I would heartily recommend the Lewis and Peacock book, espeically if you're just buying one Southern cookbook. It's traditional and wonderful and has a combination of well and lesser known recipes. Edna Lewis was from Virginia and Peacock is from Alabama so there is a nice mix of recipes from different parts of the South as well. Here is a topic on "Cooking to Honor Edna Lewis" (who died a few years ago), most of the recipes and meals cited are from "The Gift of Southern Cooking": click

If I only had to pick one this would probably be it. If you can squeeze one more in consider Bill Neal's "Biscuits, Spoonbread and Sweet Potato Pie". This has all the greatness of traditional southern baking from A-Z and the author gives great backstories on the origins/uses of the recipes. I've baked extensively from it and everything has turned out very well. (The Lewis and Peacock book does have a nice section on cakes, pies and desserts, but if I had to strip my Southern Cookbook collection down to two books, it would be these two.)

Edited by ludja, 28 April 2007 - 08:07 AM.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#5 dhdav66

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 04:52 PM

My first post! I feel compelled to chime in on this topic. As a Southerner living north of the Mason-Dixon Line, I'm frequently homesick for some good home cooking. Most of the time I turn to Momma's recipes, but for a Southern Cookbook, my favorite (and my recommendation) is A Gracious Plenty compiled by John T. Edge, Director of the Southern Foodways Symposium at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi.

Plenty brings back memories of the foods I grew up on. Now I'm not going to rush to make cracklin's anytime soon, but I have made many others in the book.

For the book, Edge compiled recipes from community and regional cookbooks. The book also features essays from notable Southern writers and cooks about ways Southern, such as Reynolds Price on "The Pleasures of Pimiento," and Roy Blount, Jr. on "My Mother's Gravies."

A delight to read, but even more delightful to cook from. Going through the Preserves, Jellies, Pickles chapter takes me back to childhood when my Mom used to spend summer nights over the stove making chow-chow and watermelon rind pickles.

I have the Lee Brother's book, which I also love. But when I want to turn to the cooking I grew up on, I pull down Edge's book.
"I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage." -- Erma Bombeck

#6 annecros

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 12:54 PM

My first post! I feel compelled to chime in on this topic. As a Southerner living north of the Mason-Dixon Line, I'm frequently homesick for some good home cooking. Most of the time I turn to Momma's recipes, but for a Southern Cookbook, my favorite (and my recommendation) is A Gracious Plenty compiled by John T. Edge, Director of the Southern Foodways Symposium at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi.

Plenty brings back memories of the foods I grew up on. Now I'm not going to rush to make cracklin's anytime soon, but I have made many others in the book.

For the book, Edge compiled recipes from community and regional cookbooks. The book also features essays from notable Southern writers and cooks about ways Southern, such as Reynolds Price on "The Pleasures of Pimiento," and Roy Blount, Jr. on "My Mother's Gravies."

A delight to read, but even more delightful to cook from. Going through the Preserves, Jellies, Pickles chapter takes me back to childhood when my Mom used to spend summer nights over the stove making chow-chow and watermelon rind pickles.

I have the Lee Brother's book, which I also love. But when I want to turn to the cooking I grew up on, I pull down Edge's book.

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Oh hello! Member since 2004 and just now breaking down the barrier? Welcome.

A Gracious Plenty is a wonderful cookbook. Thanks for reminding me of it! I must put it on the kid's list next time a gift giving opportunity presents itself!

#7 ludja

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 01:34 PM

"Welcome", dhdav66!

I like A Gracious Plenty very much as well. I've taken it out of the library many times but do not yet own a copy. The author, John T. Edge, is a member of the eGullet Society and also posts on the boards occasionally.
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#8 Shinboners

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 09:26 PM

Thanks to everyone for their comments and recommendations. I think I'll get the Lewis/Peacock book.
Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"





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