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Sylvia's Soul Food Hardcover – November 20, 1992


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Sylvia's Soul Food + Sylvia's Family Soul Food Cookbook: From Hemingway, South Carolina, To Harlem + Mama Dip's Kitchen
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 1 edition (November 20, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688100120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688100124
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While not all gourmands know soul food as well as they should, these authentic, stick-to-the-ribs recipes from the famous Harlem establishment will send many readers on a journey to this culinary genre. Collected by restaurateur Woods, with assistance from chef Styler ( Primi Piatti ), the recipes include both classics and innovations: fried chitlins, hash venison, smothered chicken, barbecued short ribs of beef and sweet potato pie. While the recipes and methods are well delivered--and, happily, recorded for posterity--the volume may disappoint those who hunger for more information than bare-bones recipes. A little shared research about this important American tradition would have broadened the book's appeal and answered readers' inevitable questions about the origins of foods like collard greens, okra and ham hocks--and might have helped the book to make the leap from recipe catalogue to gastronomic history.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Sylvia's Restaurant is a casual family-run place that serves great barbecue and other down-home fare. A Harlem institution since the 1960s, it has gained fans far away from New York City since it was discovered by the media in the late 1970s. In this cookbook, Woods gathers more than 100 recipes for her World-Famous Talked-About Spareribs, Smothered Chicken, Fried Catfish, and other soul food classics. In short, these are simple, delicious, and unpretentious recipes. Recommended for most collections.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Recipes are so easy to follow.
tia
I have used a good majority of the recipes from this book and not one has turned out bad - all turn out really well!
Deborah J. Smith
I was very disgusted that she would rip us off this way.
Nikisue

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 75 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Having eaten several times at Sylvia's in Harlem I immediately bought this book excited that I now would be able to prepare the same delicious, explode-in-your-mouth flavorful foods for my own family. Sylvia did not share her recipes at all. They are basic and without flavor. For the beginner it's a good starter foundation but soon enough even the novice will need to tweak and add spice/flavor to the dishes. The macaroni & cheese was not creamy or tasty and Sylvia even had the option of adding food coloring, the biscuits were not sweet and flaky, the famous BBQ sauce was runny and did not add any flavor to meats. The banana pudding was flavorless and almost "rubbery". I could have used pudding or cake mixes out of box that were better tasting. I'm really saddened that Sylvia blatently profited off of her reputation. She did not take into consideration that most people who bought her book were loyal customers who were expecting the same high quality soul food served in her restaurant. I'm sure most were extremely disappointed.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have had Sylvia's book for several years and just happened to think of writing a review after I wrote a couple for some sewing books that I own. I read through the reviews of others and was surprised to read some of the negative ones. I have used quite a few of the recipes in this book. In fact, I am preparing the meatloaf recipe tonight. However, of all the recipes in the book, my absolute, hands-down favorite is the Smothered Pork Chops. I have served it several times to friends and they rave about it every time. With regard to the negative reviews, one has to understand that this is "down home" type cooking. That is what "soul food" is all about and every ethnic group has some kind of "soul food". Furthermore, everyone's mother or grandmother is going to cook the family's dishes a little bit differently from everybody else's mother or grandmother. Can you imagine how many different recipes there are for meatloaf? While I do not put yellow food coloring in my macaroni and cheese, I do prefer to use yellow cheese over white, and I do know that there are people who serve mac and cheese that is quite yellow throughout. I suspect that they are using the food coloring. After you have come to understand how a dish is supposed to taste, you are going to adjust it further for your taste and that of your family members. Sylvia's mac and cheese is wonderful, but so is Patti LaBelle's, and her dish is made differently. Sylvia's Chicken and Dumplings are also delicious, but some times, I use Paul Prudhomme's version. Readers, the bottom line is to use what suits you regardless of who wrote the book or the review, and enjoy. I am quite pleased with the book and enjoyed reading Mrs. Woods' introduction.
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
HAVING BEEN A CUSTOMER AT SYLVIA'S, I CAN ASSURE THE READER, THE FOOD IN THIS BOOK CAN'T COMPARE TO THE FOOD IN HER RESTAURANT. THE FOOD AT SYLVIA'S IS HIGHLY SEASONED AND DELICIOUS. TOO MANY OF HER RECIPES CONTAIN YELLOW FOOD COLORING. DOES YOUR MAC'N'CHEESE CONTAIN YELLOW FOOD COLORING? I DIDN'T THINK SO. I FIND THIS BOOK IS A RIP-OFF. IF YOU HAVE EVER TASTED THE SYLVIA'S I KNOW, THAN YOU WOULD SEE THAT THIS BOOK SHOULDN'T EVEN BE CONSIDERED SOUL FOOD! JUST ANOTHER MARKETING PLOY.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Mrs. Woods' book offers some real gems - those biscuits and that pound cake, for example. It is risky business, though, to prepare the recipes as directed - they usually require much tweaking and additional flavor. I hope that is not really the barbecue sauce for the world-famous ribs - when I made it here at home, it was thin and flat. The pound cake is delicious - but DO NOT try to bake that huge cake in a 9" loaf pan - a 10" tube pan bakes it nicely. I really wanted to trust this book, but Mrs. Woods obviously shares her secrets as grudgingly and as vaguely as most good cooks.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As a soul food cook and a person who has eaten at Sylvia's, I can assure anyone that Sylvia shares none of her secrets in this book. This book lacks creativity and instructs to season with salt and pepper only. Any good soul food cook knows that seasoning is the key to great taste and one must season with much more than just salt and pepper. Better book choices with soul food recipes include the "Essence Great Cooking" cookbook as well as the tried and true "Ebony Cookbook." Also see juanthom11's listmania list "Burnin' Soulfood Cookbooks."
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Nelson on December 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I checked out her cookbook from the library four years ago, I love the recipes so much, especially the peach cobbler, I wanted to purchased the book but my funds are limited. So I checked it out again and tried some more of her recipes, they are so great! My family loves it! I do have one of her books that I got through a book club which wasn't bad (meaning the price only 2 bucks, but worth a lot more!) But Sylvia's Soul food book they did not have. I would really like a chance to purchase all her books. Sylvia, you have simply stolen my heart as well as well as my appetite. I look forward to trying more of your recipes! One of your number one fans!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Cas VINE VOICE on January 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I bought this for the ribs recipes and I was not at all disappointed. It's a very new approach for me, but one that turned out beautifully. I've used other recipes in this book, and all have come out as promised (especially the fried chicken recipe), but the ribs are the ones I come back to again and again. I'm very glad I got this book and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anybody interested in Southern comfort cooking.
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