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Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey: Recipes from My Three Favorite Food Groups and Then Some Hardcover – October 1, 2013

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Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey: Recipes from My Three Favorite Food Groups and Then Some + Heritage + Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449428800
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449428808
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.3 x 10.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"...should be on the reading list of anyone interested not only in Southern cooking, but in taking the pulse of American gastronomy overall." (Julia Reed, Wall Street Journal)

"And oh, my lord. It's killer."

"Any man who suggests pairing fried quail with waffles...gets my vote." (Wendell Brock, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

"This has so much voice; perhaps that's why it spoke to me the loudest." (Bonnie Benwick, Washington Post)

"...an irreverent, good-looking coffee-table-size book that you will want for its 130 solid recipes."

"This cookbook...prove the maturation of new New Orleans and new Southern cooking." (Judy Walker, The Times-Picayune)

"...you’ve got yourself a page-turner." (Food Republic)

"...this book is a paean to the flavors of the South." (Dash)

"Filled to the brim with unbelievably wonderful recipes, this oversized, larger-than-life cookbook is a joy to behold."

"this is a cook book with loads of personality and va-va voom." (Rachel Gladstone, Dish Magazine)

About the Author

Recipient of the 2009 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef, John Currence was also honored as Restaurateur of the Year and Chef of the Year by the Mississippi Restaurant Association in 1998. In 2006, he received the Southern Foodways Alliance Guardian of Tradition Award, won the 2008 Great American Seafood Cook-off in New Orleans, and the 2009 Charleston Food and Wine Festival’s Iron Chef Challenge. Currence’s humble beginnings began in his home in New Orleans Louisiana where his family loved to cook and spend time in the kitchen. While studying at the University of North Carolina, Currence got his first job working at Crook’s Corner, where he worked his way up from washing dishes to becoming a cook. After three years at Crook’s, Currence returned to New Orleans to open Gautreau’s as sous chef. After several years, he started working for the Brennan family of restaurants to help open Bacco before settling in Oxford, Mississippi, and opening City Grocery in 1992. Since then, the City Grocery Restaurant Group has had a number of openings, including Nacho Mama’s, Kalo’s, Ajax Diner, City Grocery Catering Company, Bouré, Big Bad Breakfast, and Snackbar. In addition to the City Grocery Restaurant Group’s success, he has served as chairman and president of the Mississippi Restaurant Association and president of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council. He is also a contributing editor for Garden & Gun Magazine and is an active volunteer with St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Other projects include the Adventures of The Big Bad Chef video series. He was also a contestant on the second season of Top Chef Masters. He is an avid hunter and fisherman and lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife and daugher.

Customer Reviews

Great practical recipes and great text.
This book is great, it makes you want to cook everything!
Lee Wilson
Said he couldn't wait to try one of the recipes.
Vicki Frankel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Rob on October 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
INTRODUCTION: If ever there was a book about common sense 'suthun' cookin' this is definitely it. John Currence is amiably intense, seriously playful, and humorously somber. John starts the show with his `Acknowledgements' page which begins the fun. You will want to definitely read every word, especially being that he seemingly received his inspiration from changing the first diaper of the day. His good friend John T. Edge continues the fun with a little page called `Foreplay' where I received the inspiration for the title of this review, and the `Introduction to Johnny Snack' amps up the volume to perfect pitch.

But things REALLY start getting serious when we hit the `My Manifesto: How I Cook' page. It was here where I fell in love with John Currence. So much so, that I stalked him on Twitter, and friended him immediately. I have underlined just about every statement, every sentence, and to some degree I feel like John Currence is the guy I am SUPPOSED to be in the kitchen.

One hand dishes up lard by the buckets, while the other hand smacks the chemical laden treats of the (page xx) standard American fare that is giving us obesity, and diabetes. His `Ingredients' section is probably one of my favorites.

But let's look at the book overall and see what Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC has given us.

PHYSICAL COMPOSITION: Solid book, beautiful dust-cover. Binding is sewn and glued. I love sewn bindings because they tend to lay flat easier, and will not fall apart once the glue starts to vulcanize.

Pages are thick, and semi-glossy which means you need to read it `indoors' or the sun begins to blind you and the print turns `white' in the glare. Definitely not a deal-breaker but it needs to be noted. Mr.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Cleverly titled, entertainingly written Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey holds 130 Southern-inspired recipes from James Beard Award winning chef John Currence. There's a smile on every page. No one describes recipes in quite the way Currence does - they're not only laced with humor but step-by-step detailed and include lengths of freeze times. Can't remember when reading a cookbook was so much fun.

However, to the matter at hand in a cookbook - the recipes, all Southern-inspired, of course, are different and delicious. They are organized by technique including Slathering, Pickling/Canning, and Brining/Smoking. Currence's take on Southern food traditions is both playful and serious. For instance he assures us that "Pork belly is a magical thing when handled the right way." He trims a good deal of the surface fat away to accomodate the general public. This trimming results in more pure protein in the finished dish. Currence is also quick to name his favorite ingredients and in the event they're not available to the readers offers alternatives. Such as with the pork belly he sings the praises of Steen's Syrup Mill but offers good quality unsulfured molasses or fresh honey as substitutes.

Now, you know any fellow who lists "Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey" as his three favorite food groups enjoys cooking and he wants us to enjoy it, too. To that end each recipe is paired with songs "to heighten the cooking experience." All of these songs are available through Spotify.

While it would be impossible to choose a favorite from among the 130 recipes for this reader the Pork Fat Beignets with Bourbon Caramel would top anyone's list. Of course, there's also Peach Rice Pudding Brulee with Brandy Chantilly Cream. I'm putting Currence's restaurants in Mississippi on my bucket list!


- Gail Cooke
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70 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Brady R Faist on December 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought the book on Amazon because of the glowing reviews that oddly don't mention any favorite recipes and are obsessed with the weight of the paper and the full page color photos. reviews that talk about "spelling and grammar errors" as if we should hold that against the author of a southern cookbook? Anyway, I agree with all of them. The paper is very heavy, the book is very heavy and in true southern style, the "NOLA Oyster Stew" is heavy, Oh boy.

My problem with the book and the thing omitted from the author's description is that this isn't a book for the down-home southern cook, and in fact, I'm not really sure who its for. Perhaps a collector of cookbooks? The problem with this recipe book, it doesn't have enough food in it. You can't make a meal of dark chicken stock, garlic infused olive oil, tomato jam and brown sugar black pepper bacon(or maybe you could, but that recipe certainly doesn't appear in this book.) What little star of the show main course food that does appear (which is maybe 30-40 real recipes at best) are usually overly complicated takes on southern classics that rather miss the point of southern cooking. Things like "deep south (pho') "ramen" with fried then poached eggs" or "homemade shrimp and lobster corn-dogs" and just what is
"country style pork pate'?"

This book feels like it is about the pantry filler, more about the pickles than the pigs(more about ducks than pigs too). Don't get me wrong, this book would be great next thanksgiving if you feel the need to up your game. Almost every dish in here would make an excellent side dish or add in. What is a BBQ without a good chicken salad? And I'm sure that the "chicken skin cornbread" would compliment any proud dad's world famous chili.
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Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey: Recipes from My Three Favorite Food Groups and Then Some
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