Food & Drink

A Mother’s Day Menu

Celebrate Mom with recipes from The Southerner’s Cookbook

Photo: Peter Frank Edwards

Food always seems to taste better when someone else cooks it, no matter if the meal is a quick weeknight dinner of salmon patties and put-up green beans or a leisurely weekend breakfast with sunny-side-up eggs and hand-rolled biscuits. In that spirit, we’ve assembled a trio of exclusive recipes from The Southerner’s Cookbook to help you treat Mom on her day off: classic pimento cheese, grillades and grits, and a light and airy squash casserole.

Each recipe is make-ahead friendly, so with a little prep work on Saturday you’ll be set to put together a truly memorable meal to enjoy on Sunday with the woman who loved you first. Here’s the game plan:

– Make the pimento cheese a day or two ahead and refrigerate. Serve it with crackers on Sunday while you make the main and sides.

– Pound the grillades the night before. Wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

– Do the same for the squash for the casserole—parboil it, cool to room temperature, pat dry, then seal in a zip-top plastic bag and refrigerate.

Classic Pimento Cheese

Pâté of the South

Makes 1 pint


    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise, preferably Duke's

    • 1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained

    • 1 tablespoon grated Vidalia onion with juice

    • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    • 1 1/2 cups lightly packed coarsely shredded extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese

    • 1 1/2 cups lightly packed coarsely shredded extra-sharp white cheddar cheese

Here’s a bit of heresy: pimento cheese, one of the South’s most beloved food icons, may be an import. Food historians have traced the origins of the “pâté of the South” to late-1800s New York City, where it was made with Spanish peppers and creamy Neufchâtel-like cheese. The dish most likely only began its association with the South in the 1930s and ’40s, when Georgia became a top domestic producer of pimentos and Depression-era Southerners were pressing the whey out of cottage cheese and molding the solids into “hoop” cheese. Still, we made pimento cheese what it is today by using mayonnaise to bind the cheese into something spreadable and, yes, adulterating the trio of cheese, mayo, and peppers with other ingredients. Every Southerner’s treasured family recipe has a secret twist—perhaps a teaspoon of sharp yellow mustard, a pinch of garlic powder, or a splash of sherry.

But first, the immutable elements: extra-sharp cheddar (it has slightly less moisture than regular cheddar, which is key to achieving the right texture) and Duke’s mayonnaise, a Southern standard bearer. Our secret twists? First: a little grated Vidalia onion, which distributes evenly throughout the mayo mixture, nearly disappearing but leaving a trace of sweet-sharp flavor. Second: Worcestershire sauce; its combination of malt vinegar, anchovy, and soy sauce—among many other ingredients—adds savory depth.


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, pimentos, onion, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and cayenne together. Fold in the cheeses with a rubber spatula to thoroughly combine. Transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld. Use within 1 week.

Recipe from Garden & Gun’s The Southerner’s Cookbook.

Grillades & Grits

The perfect Creole brunch dish

Serves 4 to 6


    • 1 1/2 pounds veal or eye of round cutlets

    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

    • 1 1/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning, such as Tony Chachere's

    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

    • 2 tablespoons bacon grease or unsalted butter

    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

    • 1 white onion, diced

    • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

    • 1/2 cup chopped celery with leaves

    • 3 garlic cloves, minced

    • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained

    • 2 bay leaves

    • 1 cup veal, beef, or pork stock

    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

    • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced

    • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

    • 4 cups hot cooked grits, prepared according to package instructions

To the French, grillades are thin pieces of grilled or broiled meat. But to anyone from Creole country or nearby environs, grillades have nothing whatsoever to do with a grill. They’re thin-pounded pieces of tender, milky veal (or eye of round or even pork chops if you prefer), coated in seasoned flour, browned in oil, butter, or bacon grease, then set to simmer in a rich tomato-based sauce. Here the flour from the browned meat helps thicken the sauce as it cooks, although you can certainly play around with filé powder too. It’s dried, pulverized sassafras leaves that, along with okra, helps give extra body to many Creole and Cajun dishes. If the sauce doesn’t look thick enough to your liking, stir in half a teaspoon of filé before adding the mushrooms and parsley. There is one other important distinction to note about Creole grillades: Served over grits, grillades are typically a breakfast or brunch meal. Over rice, they’re dinner.


  1. Pat the meat with paper towels to thoroughly dry it. Pound to ½-inch thickness with the smooth side of a meat mallet, then cut into 3-inch-wide strips.


  2. Combine the flour, Creole seasoning, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a large zip-top bag. Add the pieces of meat and shake well to coat.

  3. Melt 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease or butter in a large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown half of the meat for 2 minutes per side; remove from the pan and set aside. Add the remaining tablespoon of bacon grease or butter to the pan and repeat with the remaining pieces. Set the meat aside and keep warm by tenting loosely with foil.


  4. Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter to the pan along with the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until softened, stirring often.

  5. Crush the tomatoes with your hands over the vegetables and add them to the pan with the bay leaves, stock, and Worcestershire sauce and stir well.


  6. Slip the meat back into the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  7. Add the mushrooms and parsley, cover, and cook for 10 minutes more, until mushrooms are cooked through.

  8. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Serve over the grits.

Recipe from Garden & Gun’s The Southerner’s Cookbook

Squash Casserole

A classic Southern make-and-take casserole

Serves 8 to 10


    • 3 zucchini

    • 2 yellow summer squash

    • 5 large eggs, beaten

    • 1 cup half-and-half

    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

    • 1/3 cup chopped scallions

    • 1/2 cup shredded Italian-blend cheese

    • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

    • 2 teaspoons Greek seasoning, such as Cavender's

    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 tablespoon for buttering the baking dish

    • 24 buttery crackers, such as Ritz, crushed

If someone on your block has a backyard vegetable patch, chances are you’ve come home to find a bag of zucchini and summer squash with a friendly note on your porch. These prolific Southern garden staples combine with another fundamental element of good neighbordom—the make-and-take casserole—in this classic recipe. Slicing the squash into half-inch-thick rounds, then parboiling, draining, and lightly pressing with paper towels helps absorb excess moisture, so the pieces hold their shape and texture while baking. It’s a little extra effort that pays off—no slippery, slimy squash here. The slices are suspended in a custardy, eggy mixture that rises as it bakes, almost crossing into soufflé territory.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

  2. Butter a 2-quart (8-by-11½-inch) baking dish.

  3. Slice the zucchini and squash into ½-inch-thick slices and place in a large sauté pan or Dutch oven with water to cover; bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 10 minutes. Drain in a colander. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a clean towel and top with another clean towel, pressing lightly to absorb excess moisture.

  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, and flour. Stir in the scallions, ¼ cup of the Italian-blend cheese, ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese, and the Greek seasoning. Add the squash slices and gently fold them into the wet ingredients. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining cheeses.

  5. Stir the melted butter into the crushed crackers and sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the surface of the casserole. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until set. Serve hot.

Recipe from Garden & Gun’s The Southerner’s Cookbook