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91 of 93 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2004
Format: Plastic Comb
OK, I admit that I am a Paula Deen, Food Network groupie...I love her warm, upbeat manner and I'm impressed with her Cinderella story which has been recounted by countless other reviewers. Her charm is found all through this title and its sequel and reading the stories behind the recipes is just as enlightening as the recipes themselves. Paula writes the way she speaks, and you can even hear her easy Savannah drawl as you read. The recipes are down-to-earth, mostly pretty simple, and decadently satisfying. Those doing Atkins or Weight Watchers need not apply here...we're talkin' SERIOUS cheese, butter, and cream (yep, the real stuff!). After making the basic meat loaf, sesame chicken strips, pot roast (my husband RAVED!), Southern fried chicken, and baked spaghetti (this, actually from the 2nd book), I was convinced that hearty Southern cooking would become a regular part of my usually less calorie-laden California fare! Fun and delicious!
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94 of 98 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2001
Format: Plastic Comb
This is a fine compendium of southern recipes most of which are served at Ms. Deen's highly regarded Savannah restaurant. The book is spiral-bound so it will lay flat, the print is large and the margins are wide. The author doesn't mind a short cut or two, and neither do I. The recipes are not taxing, but many are ingenious. When making meatloaf, Ms. Dean lines a jellyroll pan with slices of bread that soak up all that nasty fat. When the meatloaf is done, discard the bread. I was so grateful she didn't demand I use the soggy bread for something I had no intention of making; I decided she was my kind of lady right there.
Her recipe for tomato pie was a hit with my family:
4 tomatoes peeled & sliced, 8-10 fresh basil leaves chopped, ½ c chopped green onion, one prebaked 9-inch deep pie shell, salt & pepper to taste, 2c grated mozzarella & cheddar combined, 1 c mayonnaise (Hellman's or make your own)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Layer tomato slices, basil, and onion in pie shell. Add salt and pepper. Mix together grated cheese and mayonnaise. Spread on top of tomatoes. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
This is an excellent side dish and a good helper when you have planted a "few" tomato vines only to find you have wheelbarrows full come July. I would have given the book five stars except a few recipes listed garlic powder as an ingredient. Don't use it! Fresh garlic is cheap and doesn't have a chemical taste. With this small quibble, I recommend the book highly.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2003
Format: Plastic Comb
I have made many recipes from this book and have eaten at her resturant several times (I've met her also- she's very nice). I have never once been disappointed. Some may be turned off by some of the convenience products used (ie cream of mushroom soup) but since I'm on a budget and a new mom I have found her recipes to be cost effective, easy, fast, and delicious (there are a few that are more challenging/expensive that I haven't tried yet). I've never brought home leftovers. The strawberry and cheese ring was a hit (even people who were at first wary of strawberries and cheddar cheese combo). The spinich-artichoke dip, hoecakes, and cobblers are great as well. The recipes are well tested and detailed. This is one of the first cookbooks I turn to when I have company coming (which seems to happen a lot with a new baby!) or for luncheons at work. Most of these recipes are also very kid friendly. If you like to cook non-fussy foods that everyone enjoys, you'll like this cookbook. ps. The desserts are fabulous!
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2000
Format: Plastic Comb
We spent a week on Hilton Head Island, SC and thankfully stopped in Savannah for a day. We ate at The Lady & Sons and would have to say that of the all the restaurants (most of which were overpriced) this was the best. Her food is fantastic and the recipes are all there, except for a wonderful pecan pie that she said will be included in her upcoming cookbook (my husband described it as the only pecan pie he's eaten that afterward he wasn't gasping for a cup of coffee). The greens are fabulous as is her melt-in-the-mouth fried chicken and macaroni and cheese and, and, and. I wanted to buy the book while in Savannah, but the town was sold out. This is a must-have for every kitchen.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 1998
Format: Plastic Comb
It's seldom one finds two themes meshed in a book about cooking. However, Paula Deen's "The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook" marries a rags-to-riches success story with the notion that good, wholesome food--and its preparation--do not have to be intimidating to anyone.
Everyone loves the American success story, and the reader gets a warm dose of 'feel good' after discovering Deen's rise to the top of Savannah's culinary tradition--having started nine years ago with $200, a brand-new divorce after 27 years of marriage, a Mt. Everest-high stack of bills--and two sons to feed.
The reader discovers that work--hard work--creativity, and the way to a person's heart through their stomach can translate into the American Dream. An added bonus is a book with easy-to-follow and prepare southern traditional recipes with many unique examples of Deen's culinary presentations from her famous historic district restaurant in downtown Savannah.
Having eaten in her restaurant, I was surprised to find Deen a warm, real woman who makes her customers feel as if they are guests in her home. Walking the restaurant with a platter of southern hoecakes and cheese biscuits, Deen shares her recipes, tips and kitchen advice with customers eating platters of piled-high southern traditions. Her cookbook share the hoecake and cheese biscuits recipes, as well as her rich, meaty crabcakes--a signature dish in both the cookbook and restaurant.
The noted writer, John Berendt, was so taken with Deen and her story, as well as the restaurant and her food, that the "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" author enthusiastically penned the forward, referring to Deen as a "Steel Magnolia."
The reader, too, will embrace his assessment while preparing warm, wholesome recipes which bring to mind those days-gone-by when family truly enjoyed the mealtime as a focal point to share the day's experiences while eating good, simply-prepared food.
Again, having visited her restaurant and having purchased her cookbook, I am definitely a fan, and hope to hear more of her in the future.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2003
Format: Plastic Comb
Paula Deen's cookbook gives us recipes not only from her famous Savannah restaurant but also from her family and friends. This is a true southern cookbook with many wonderful "comfort food" recipes. If you understand southern cooking, you know that most recipes are not for those with an aversion to butter, sour cream and salt. However, if you can get past that mindset, you'll love her terrific and simple recipes such as hoppin' John, collard greens, fried green tomatoes and baked grits. This is an unpretentious and charming cookbook with lots of familiar southern favorites with Paula's special interpretation of them.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2005
Format: Plastic Comb
I first encountered Paula on her Food Network show and was quickly hooked. Her charm, humor, and down-to-earth attitude reminded me of my extended family in the South where I spent a lot of my childhood. I can still remember my first experience with biscuits and sausage gravy as a little boy visiting an aunt in West Virginia (still one of my favorite breakfasts). Although as an adult my tastes have expanded and grown up (Thai and Korean are two of my favorite cuisines), and I tend to be a stickler for quality products, I have never gotten over my love of good basic cooking. Done well, meat loaf, chili, fried chicken, etc. can stand up to any food in the world. Plus, this food evokes memories and feelings that we simply cannot get from international cuisine no matter how good it tastes. Paula is the epitome (even if it's a little bit of a fantasy) of that kindly aunt or grandmom we all wish we grew up with, complete with a farm house, screened in porch, and hot biscuits waiting for us after school.

With that as an introduction, Paula's recipes succeed very well for the most part. Some are truly outstanding. Her tomato pie, for example, is worth the price of the book. I will be making that dish for as long as I live. Can you put a price on that? Her recipes are also deceptively simple. The tomato pie is basically mayo and cheese with a little basil and green onion spread over a few tomatoes. Sounds blah. But it is outstanding either hot, cold or somewhere in between. Her Chicken Bog is another dish I have made repeatedly and never get tired of.

My one problem with Paula -- and it may be my own snobbishness coming through -- is her reliance on a lot of convenience products: canned cream soups, packaged rice blends, cheese whiz, taco seasoning, etc. This seems to take her recipes out of the realm of true southern food and into 1950's or 1960's housewife food. No offense, but southern food existed long before convenience products hit the market. But then again, Paula was around in the 50's and 60's and that is what influenced her cooking. And let me emphasize these products do not appear in all her recipes. Many of her recipes are from scratch. And to be honest, I have not tried a lot of the recipes that call for canned soups -- maybe they are delicious. I do know that her beer biscuits (bisquick, beer, and butter) are fantastic so who am I to complain.

I give Paula and her book 4 stars. Even with my minor complaints, she is still the t.v. cook whose house I would most like to go to for dinner.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2004
Format: Plastic Comb
I originally saw this book on the new titles shelf at the book store back when it was first published in 1998. Since then, I have used it so much that it has what Pat Conroy calls "buttery pages" (You must have read The Prince of Tides to catch that reference). Ms. Deen includes old southern favorites that I don't ever recall having seen in print--recipes southern ladies have been making for years from memory of watching their mothers and grandmothers in the kitchen. I highly recommend this book as an essential kitchen utensil. There is a two-page reference list for substitutions and kitchen wizardry that will help you out in a pinch. Their are short, anecdotal pleasantries that share some of the stories surrounding the recipes and some of Ms. Deen's more recognizable restaurant patrons who have savored them over the years. Buy it! Buy it now! You will feel as though you have been entrusted with the secret family recipes of the South.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 1998
Format: Plastic Comb
"The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook" is a commendable collection of down-home Southern recipes. Paula H. Deen, the owner and proprietor of the popular The Lady & Sons restaurant, has included hundreds of her favorite dishes here. And nearly all of them are simple to prepare--especially her signature Cheese Biscuits, which she serves (piping hot, of course) to customers waiting in line. Other delectable-sounding dishes include: Broccoli Souffle, Potato-Egg Salad, Ester's Dill Coleslaw, Herb Corn Bread, Hoppin' John (which, thankfully, contains no meat stock), and Grandmother Paul's Sour Cream Pound Cake. The book's spiral binding, non-glare paper, and simply layout are all laudable features. Author John Berendt (MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL) pens a fine Introduction, in which he discusses what makes Deen's downtown restaurant so quintessentially Southern.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2000
Format: Plastic Comb
We spent a week on Hilton Head Island, SC and thankfully stopped in Savannah for a day. We ate at The Lady & Sons and would have to say that of the all the restaurants (most of which were overpriced) this was the best. Her food is fantastic and the recipes are all there, except for a wonderful pecan pie that she said will be included in her upcoming cookbook (my husband described it as the only pecan pie he's eaten that afterward he wasn't gasping for a cup of coffee). The greens are fabulous as is her melt-in-the-mouth fried chicken and macaroni and cheese and, and, and. I wanted to buy the book while in Savannah, but the town was sold out. This is a must-have for every kitchen.
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