The warm, languid air of the South filters through this engaging book, in which Foose shares the traditional recipes that she ate while growing up on the Mississippi Delta and has returned to after training as a pastry chef in France and traveling the world. Gently humorous stories about family and friends form a seamless part of her instructions for community recipes like Strawberry Missionary Society Salad, as well as pleasant surprises like Tabbouleh, Curried Sweet Potato Soup, and Chinese Grocery Roast Pork that take Southern food beyond stereotypes. Fried chicken and grits do appear, but for such classics Foose emphasizes relatively simple, wholesome preparations that are rich without loading on more butter and oil than necessary. Although recipes for Gumbo Z’Herbs, Chile Lime Skirt Steak, and creamy succotash are mouthwatering enough just to read about, many cooks will be tempted to flip straight to the last chapters, where her enticing breads and pastries provide the book with a winning flourish. The cook may be Southern, but the appeal of the dishes she presents should reach well beyond people who grew up in the land of four-hour lunches and sweet tea savored on a porch swing. (Apr.)
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There a lots of cookbooks from the South. Maybe it's because we enjoy our food and want to share it with friends and family. Maybe it's because we're really good cooks and everybody knows it. Maybe it's because we grew up in a time when good food was served every day and we want to remember those times. This cookbook celebrates all that is Southern and related to food. Every recipe comes with a story about the ingredients or the technique, ways to serve with other food, or people who cooked, served, or ate it.
The author is a cook who started in the Mississippi Delta, went to cooking school in France, and traveled the world only to return to the Delta. She knows the romance and appeal of the food and the people of her home and shares that with the reader. This is a wonderful cookbook to read for armchair travel, for dreaming, or even for trying out some of the delectable recipes.
Weekend Edition Sunday , June 1, 2008 · This year's collection of bright, colorful, can-do summer cookbooks issues a rallying cry: How long can you go without turning on the oven?
The answer: longer than you think, especially if you take your culinary cues from the latest crop of books, which trumpet the glories of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Less exotic than in previous years, 2008's summer cookbooks are all about finding your inner kitchen gardener. These books make the case that summer food is outdoor food: Pick it outdoors, cook it outdoors, eat it outdoors.
So if you can't afford the gas for a road trip, it's a good year to stay home and cook. Because summer blackberries, sweet basil and ripe corn are just around the corner — everything you need for a summer full of flavor.
Here are our picks of the very best summer cookbooks for 2008:
After flitting from Mexico to India and other equatorial points, this year the summer's warm-climate cookbooks centered on the American South. The best of many contenders is
Screen Doors & Sweet Tea,
a wisecracking, storytelling treasury of Southern dishes, both the well-known (cornbread, lady peas, juleps) and the slightly less familiar. Some, like
Apricot Rice Salad
, have an elegant, dinner-on-the-porch feel. Others (
All for Okra and Okra for All
), are resolutely egalitarian.
Foose has a marvelous gift for the pithy turn of phrase, and all of her recipes carry intriguing subtitles: "Proper Fried Chicken: My Thoughts, at Least," "Lunch Counter Egg Salad Sandwich: Ode to Waxed Paper," "Baked Macaroni and Cheese: A Vegetable in Some States."
As I see it, there are two ideal ways to enjoy this book: 1) Pick out your favorites, cook your way through them one by one, and gorge yourself silly; or 2) sit on the porch and read it while somebody makes you a julep. Either will do just fine.