Cookbooks with a Southern Twist
Five cookbooks and recipes that offer up a serving of the South during the holidays
If you’re anything like us, chances are the holidays have snuck up on you once again. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of new cookbooks this fall to help get your holiday menus in shape. Here’s a roundup of our top five, with links to some tasty recipes.
Next to a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, a tattered, dog-eared, flour-smudged copy of the local Junior League cookbook provides the foundation for any respectable Southern kitchen. This November, the grand dame of League cookbooks, Charleston Receipts, celebrates its sixtieth anniversary, making it the oldest still in print. You’ll find a wealth of Charleston favorites, including benne seed wafers, Hoppin' John, and Lady Baltimore cake, as well as throwbacks that trace the culinary history of the Holy City. Cooter soup, anyone?
Click here for the recipe for St. Cecilia Punch. It makes enough for eighty, so invite some friends over before indulging.
A Community Effort
Riffing on the idea of the spiral-bound community cookbook, the folks at the Southern Foodways Alliance combined the culinary knowledge of the South’s best home cooks and professional chefs to bring you an updated version of this much-loved classic. The resulting Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook highlights traditional Southern recipes but incorporates some modern twists along the way. The only hard part is deciding which of the more than 170 recipes to try first.
Click here to see the recipe for Miracle Drop Biscuits. With only two ingredients, they’re the easiest biscuits you’ll ever make.
Straight from the Farm
More than a cookbook, Harvest to Heat: Cooking with America’s Best Chefs, Farmers, and Artisans provides an inside look at the relationships between farmers and chefs. Each recipe pairs one of the nation’s top chefs (including Southern culinary stars John Besh, Frank Stitt, and Sean Brock) with a pioneering local farmer or artisan. Mouthwatering recipes, culinary clout, and sublime photography make this cookbook a worthy addition to your library.
Click here for Chef Dean Fearing’s recipe for Apricot-Orange Glazed Quail.
A sturdy pair of hiking boots and a keen sense of direction are just as important as a good set of mixing bowls if you’re cooking with Connie Green. Green, a Southerner who grew up picking scuppernong grapes with her grandmother, explores the art of foraging in her new cookbook, The Wild Table, co-authored by Sarah Scott. The cookbook marries haute cuisine and wild ingredients in an approachable fashion that won’t have you running for the hills—unless it’s with a copy of the book in one hand and a basket in the other.
Click here for Johnny’s Marinated Mushroom Relish.
And for Dessert
What’s old is new again, and the traditional art of pie making is back in a big way. Nancie McDermott’s Southern Pies will satisfy your sweet tooth with updates to classic flavors, such as NOLA-native and pastry chef David Guas’s Apple-Pecan Crumble Pie, along with recipes for quintessential Southern favorites—sweet potato, key lime, you name it.
Click here for Martha Foose’s recipe for Sweet Tea Pie. Sounds awfully Southern to us.