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The Gift of Southern Cooking: Recipes and Revelations from Two Great American Cooks Hardcover – April 15, 2003
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Here in her mid-80s Lewis brings out the best of Southern cooking with a collaborator less than half her age. She's a Virginian; he's from Alabama. So get ready for a delicious spread. They are both dedicated to preserving Southern food ways, and to updating whenever they can. The book is simply packed with wonderful treats from Spicy Eggplant Relish all the way to Warm Apple Crisp. It's written in Peacock's voice and unless he says so there's no telling where his recipes end and hers begin. But it doesn't matter. They are peas in a pod, those two. You will not only learn how Southern food should taste with The Gift of Southern Cooking, you will learn why and you will learn how. Neither your fried chicken nor your buttermilk biscuits will ever be the same. --Schuyler Ingle
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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First, in this book, both authors are professional restaurant chefs who both grew up eating southern cuisine and who specialize in cooking it. In the Villas' book, neither are professional chefs. This means that there is just a bit more fussiness about the methods and ingredients in the Lewis / Peacock recipes. One example is that while both pair of authors endorse homemade mayonnaise, Lewis and Peacock go an additional step by recommending and giving a recipe for homemade baking powder, especially for use in making biscuits. Skeptics, please note, I have made biscuits with my White Lily flour and homemade baking powder, and the homemade stuff does make a difference in eliminating the faint metallic aluminum taste in the stuff from Clabber Girl or Count Rumsfield.
Second, in this book, the two authors are originally from two very different parts of the south. Edna Lewis was raised in rural Virginia and Scott Peacock grew up in Alabama. Both now work in urban Georgia. The Villas' are native of low country North Carolina. Therefore, this book is much stronger in discussing regional differences between, for example, the peanut oil cooking Alabama and the lard cooking Virginia. While the Villas' book deals with some regional issues, such as the dispute over the source of Brunswick stew, it is largely oriented around the cuisine of a single North Carolina low country household and extended family.Read more ›
I have tried a number of recopies from this book and while I can recommend them almost without exception, I would like to suggest two of them to start with. For a wonderful Sunday dinner make Country Captain Chicken and serve it as suggested with the Coconut Rice. I use chicken thighs instead of cut up chicken. It's easier to control the cooking times when all the pieces are the same size. It has always been a smash hit with company or when my children and grandchildren come to visit. I do cheat and use the Goya canned coconut milk. For a picnic make the Southern Pan-Fried Chicken and serve it cold together with the Potato Salad made with homemade mayonnaise. Brine the chicken for both of these recipes - it does make a difference.
As for the lard question - just like Coconut milk I am not going to make it myself! I am into cooking but not that much. Also, my wife would take strong exception to my tying up the stove for three days to render lard. Go to your local grocery store. If they do not carry it, ask them to order it for you or go on the net and find some.
Buy this book and cook from it for one month. If you are like 99% of the people in this world, you will learn to appreciate a whole set of tastes.
The recipes are easy to follow,make sense,don't "weird-up" the classics by doing things like adding lemongrass to grits and the text is interesting.There are recipes for many different kinds of dishes. No,its not low fat but who cares? You gotta love these two for reminding me of when people dared save their bacon grease in a can!
The two chefs have a sweet relationship that was recently profiled in the NY Times.It comes through in Chef Peacocks writing.
This book resonated with me in an emotional way. If you grew up with traditional southern food,or wish you had,buy this book!
From Blackberry Cordial and Smoked Pork Stock, Old Fashioned Boiled Dressing and Wilted Salad, to Slow-Cooked Oxtails, Spicy Collards in Tomato-Onion Sauce, Corn Pudding and Buttermilk Biscuits, the authors encompass the range of time-honored dishes, each prefaced with a touch of history or a word on technique.
Emphasis is placed on quality of ingredients and, with the south's long growing season, the natural match of seasonal foods. This is a book that's nearly as nourishing to read as it is to cook from and comprehensive and elegant enough to be the only Southern cookbook you need.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love the recipes in this book so much! I actually bookmarked a few for our wedding reception and our caterer was kind enough to make them. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Timothy H Johnson
Excellent reading. Reminds me of my childhood. My mother cooked a lot of the meals in the book.Published 16 days ago by Redd
Received it and spent the afternoon reading it. Great stories with recipes and tips.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Not only a great cookbook but a wonderful read. Ones of my new favorites!Published 6 months ago by K. W. M. Texas