John Martin Taylor is one of the cooks and writers devoted to preserving traditional Southern American cooking and to reviving interest in it. He is also creatively talented in the kitchen. Taylor, known as "Hoppin' John," focused on the traditions of the South in an earlier book, Hoppin' John's Lowcountry Cooking
. In The New Southern Cook,
he offers regional dishes gathered from local chefs and cooks from Texas to Appalachia, in addition to his own great cookin'. With the background Taylor provides, you'll appreciate dishes from Virginia's Peanut Soup to Peanut Hummus, and Deep-Fried Turkey Breast to Banana-Fried Sea Bass. Noting that cooking evolves as a living thing, he considers Green Tomato Soup and Tequila-Glazed Pork Roast as legitimate and Southern as Carrots in Ginger Ale and Crab Cakes. A wine aficionado, he provides recommendations with many dishes, but suggests beer or lemonade with barbecue!
It is difficult to ignore food writers who speak so lovingly and knowledgeably about their cooking heritages. The graciousness of the South permeates this second culinary collection from Taylor. Nods, kudos, and good words are generously given to those from whom he has borrowed a recipe or two. What's more, he has personalized each on-loan dish by explaining, for instance, not only the origins of, say, chicken and vegetable curry but also friend Kim-Anh Huebner's restaurant talents and passion for growing her own food. That kind of gentleness informs much of the book and the 200 dishes, as does his insistence on easy-to-obtain, fresh ingredients. Barbara Jacobs
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.