Books | November 2015
The South, food and family go hand in hand. Time honored recipes are handed down from one generation to the next and memories are interwoven with the unforgettable flavors of Sunday dinners and holiday spreads. And, as any Southern mama will tell you, it is not the food itself, but rather the love that it is prepared with that makes Southern food so special and comforting. With the holidays fast approaching, now is a great time to explore some fresh takes on the art of Southern cooking and baking.
The Southern Bite Cookbook by Stacey Little
Brimming with Southern tradition and down-home flavor, The Southern Bite Cookbook is as entertaining as it is informative when it comes to the art of creating a true Southern meal. Stacey Little’s humble tone and expert storytelling abilities lend themselves perfectly to imparting the importance of family and food to the Southern experience. He begins by saying “I am not a chef. I’ve never claimed to be one. I have no formal culinary training, and that’s fine with me. My practical kitchen knowledge comes from being under the feet of my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother as they prepared meals for our family.” While the book is loaded with recipes for regional classics like meatloaf and comeback sauce, Little also manages to weave in some of the unexpected with recipes like “Fried Pickled Okra” of which he writes, “Trust me. It’s good. Take a walk on the wild side.” The accompanying photographs will likely have readers dreaming of book’s vibrant flavors long after the last page is finished. The Southern Bite Cookbook contains over 150 recipes from four generations of Little’s family.
Deep South Dish: Homestyle Southern Recipes by Mary Foreman
Mary Foreman’s wildly popular blog Deepsouthdish.com has helped spread the love of Southern food, family, and storytelling around the globe. With millions of unique page views per year, the blog has reached readers near and far and has taught many the meaning of Southern hospitality and the importance of delicious food in our region. Foreman started her enticing blog in 2009 after Hurricane Katrina uprooted the Gulf Coast, resulting in the need for a career change. This allowed her to explore her love of cooking and writing, which eventually led to the creation of Deep South Dish: Homestyle Southern Recipes. The book is an extension of the blog and seeks to share the power and comfort of heirloom Southern meals. Described as old-fashioned and made from scratch, Foreman’s recipes are sure to bring back childhood memories for Southern readers. Some of the recipes within the book are shared on the blog, while some are exclusive to the book. Though there are a few recipes of the quick and easy variety, the focus of this book is to explore and share the old-timey (if not always simple) recipes of our beloved South. While the book does not take short-cuts, the dishes within its pages are undoubtedly worth the time.
A Southern Gentleman’s Kitchen: Adventures in Cooking, Eating, and Living in the New South by Matt Moore
Written from the perspective of the modern day Southern gentleman, A Southern Gentleman’s Kitchen takes a unique approach to a man’s kitchen and does so quite effortlessly. With the simplicity of the recipes as its hallmark, the book features 150 dishes perfect for entertaining or every day. Sections include “Greens + Soups + Gumbos,” “Tried and True Sides,” and “Sweet and Simple” among others. There is even a section at the end entitled “Cocktails + Curiosities” to add the perfect finishing touch. Written in the gentle yet straight-forward tone of the true Southern gentleman, this cookbook sets out to make Southern cooking approachable and fun. “Try to get ten Southerners to agree on the proper way to smoke a pork shoulder, and you’re likely to receive ten different, fiercely-debated responses,” Moore accurately writes. “As it is with such tried-and-true dishes, down here everyone has an opinion or two on the best way to go about such things. In the end, and regardless of the recipe that makes the final cut, I’m willing to wager that all ten plates of smoked pulled pork will be eagerly devoured, appropriately sopped up with white bread, and served with a smattering of dill pickles and a bottle or three of cold beer,” he adds. Moore includes wit and wisdom from his own family traditions and assures readers of the versatility and simplicity that Southern recipes can include. “With the exception of a slight Southern drawl, I will not confuse you with hard-to-pronounce ingredients, nor will I set you up for failure with recipes that are tailored for experts,” he writes. A Southern Gentleman’s Kitchen is unassuming and sure to draw readers in with the warm embrace of a true Southern welcome.
A hearty trio of newly released books offer exceptional recipes, as well as some entertaining insight
Story by Shana Raley-Lusk