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Mountain Country Cooking: A Gathering of the Best Recipes from the Smokies to the Blue Ridge Hardcover – December, 1996

8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Sohn's unusual book offers a guided tour to the food of Appalachia, from Maryland to Georgia. It is not, as he points out, Southern cooking but a separate though related cuisine from the "deep valleys, small farms, and rugged people" of this mountain chain. Corn and potatoes, nuts and beans, pork, tomatoes, and apples are all staples, with sorghum used for sweetening. Recipes include Corn Sticks and Slick Dumplings, Bacon-Potato Soup, and Sorghum Pie. But this is not just a cookbook, for there are stories and anecdotes, lengthy discussions of recipe origins, history and lore, and more. A book that will be as much fun to browse through as to cook from, this is recommended for most collections.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Although it contains recipes for old-fashioned fried chicken, cream gravy, apple turnovers, and cornbread, this is not your usual country cookbook. It is a sampling of the culinary heritage of nine Appalachian states that celebrates the homegrown fruits of mountain soil and the labors of mountain cooks of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Sohn's love for Appalachian cookery comes across clearly in the chatty text, which includes plenty of intriguing general background and cooking tips. Each of the 300 recipes is rated for difficulty and appended by preparation alternatives for health-conscious cooks. The print is tiny, and the directions appear in running text rather than in the more accessible step-by-step form, but cooks in search of a change of pace will find that an easy trade-off for some adventurous eating opportunities. Stephanie Zvirin

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 364 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (December 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312146825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312146825
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,187,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Tina Rae Collins on January 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
BigBuilder states that Mark Sohn is "not of the hills like us." Well, I don't know how long he would have to be in Appalachia to be considered one of us; but if you will look at his web page at [...] you will see that he has been living in the hills of Appalachia for 30 years.

And more than that, he taught Appalachian Studies classes at Pikeville College for ten years. Every semester he taught these classes, he had his students bring in traditional Appalachian foods for a dinner.

He has eaten our food for 30 years, and on top of that he is a chef. He also writes columns about food for his local newspaper and was an Appalachian television chef every week for eleven years.

If being here 30 years and having such high credentials don't make Mark Sohn qualified to write a cookbook about our food, then what would? Just being born here? I was born here and have lived most of my life here, and I could never do what Mark Sohn has done. I learn from him. I enjoy reading his cookbooks because they help me to understand my own culture.

BigBuilder's comments were not considered helpful by other Amazon readers. If you look at the other entries you will see that people have found the comments of others to be far more helpful than they have BigBuilder's. He has a right to his opinion, of course; but if not being "of the hills like us" means Mark Sohn can't write about anything having to do with our area, then where are we supposed to get books on the stars or the moon or Jupiter or Mars, or even the oceans or caves or deserts right here on earth? Nobody is "of the seas" or "of the caves" or "of Mars" to tell us about what they are like.

And I personally enjoyed the healthy alternatives.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book from in a Memphis bookstore last year and was thrilled with it. It has all the traditional recipes - some of which I had long since forgotten - from my childhood in the Tennessee hills. All the recipes which I have tried so far have resulted in dishes that were like a taste of the past. I highly recommend this book to any displaced Southern mountaineer longing for a taste of home. You won't regret it!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Erin on January 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have tried many of Sohn's recipes and I have never found them bland. I am delighted to say that I believe you will enjoy this book and you will come back again and again to try the recipes. I recall having dinner at Sohn's house once and asking his permission to remain at his table when he had to go teach a class. He graciously allowed me to stay, asking only that I lock up when I left. I am not a big eater. I have generally tended to eat in order to live. But I was ravenous at Mark Sohn's table because the food he presented was incredibly delicious.

Now, I would like to make a few brief comments on the review of Billy Turnbull. He states that this book is a contrived presentation by a man from Oregon who steals recipes from the people of Appalachia. He goes on to say that the recipes are bland. Either he is saying that Sohn's recipes are not the same as those in the Appalachian Mountains (and therefore couldn't be stolen) or he is saying that the recipes of those who live in Appalachia are bland.

First of all, the recipes have been handed down from one generation to another. We share with one another in the mountains of Appalachia and are happy to enrich the lives of our neighbors and friends by allowing them the privilege of enjoying the foods we grew up on--whether our neighbors and friends are from Oregon, as Sohn is, or across the next hill. Mark Sohn had the right--and indeed we should be grateful to him for it--to collect these recipes for us. He has given credit in his book where credit is due. He has not pretended to make up these recipes.

Please don't be turned away by one or two bad reviews. You will not regret buying this book, and I am confident that you will keep it close to your kitchen where you can enjoy Sohn's recipes for many years to come.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Dietze on August 24, 1998
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you can't remember how Grandma made that cornbread or what to do with ramps, Sohn's book is made to order. He not only includes clear, easy-to-follow directions for preparing each of his recipes, he also adds background information on ingredients and techiques, offers strategies to reduce calorie content, and includes a list of suppliers for regional items. Includes glossary, bibliography and index.
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