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Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gowns, and Other Southern Specialties: An Entertaining Life (with Recipes) Paperback – April 28, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Julia Reed is another Southern writer with a fine hand for storytelling and cooking. Though you'll want to cook from her book, first you'll want to take it to the porch hammock to read. Each tasty tale - from her collard green chronicle to her Frozen Assets anecdote on ice cream - will whet your appetite for more.” ―The Post and Courier (SC)

“[A] charming collection. Reed's wit and her eye for the telling historical detail shine through.” ―The Times Picayune

“No matter what your tastes, Ham Biscuits has something to tempt your taste buds.” ―The Clarion Ledger

About the Author

JULIA REED is a contributing editor at Newsweek, where she writes the magazine's Food and Drink column. She is author of Queen of the Turtle Derby and Other Southern Phenomena and The House on First Street, My New Orleans Story. Reed lives in New Orleans.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 edition (April 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312359578
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312359577
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Greenville, Mississippi, native and former Manhattanite Julia Reed (now of New Orleans) compiled a collection of essays on Southern food and hospitality that are as amusing as they are informative. Recipes of classic Southern dishes supplement the book. Unfortunately there is no index. And sadly there are no illustrations or photographs. But the author manages to successfully describe colorful scenes with mouth-watering results. This book would be appreciated by fine Southern cooks and a great gift for those who aspire to be.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the book and looked forward to trying the recipes. Liked the personal stories intermixed with the recipes. If you are a southerner you will certainly know where Julia is coming from with her comments. Liked the Kindle version enough to get a hard copy - can't get the iPad out of my husband's hands long enough to use in the kitchen! Sorry Amazon but can't use the original Kindle in the kitchen just not user friendly.

Have now tried 3 of the recipes and I'm not impressed. Two have ended up in the trash and one was used out of desperation. Not planning to waste anymore time or money on the book. Sorry Julia - I really wanted to like it
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gowns, and Other Southern Specialties: An Entertaining Life (with Recipes)

What a charming, lovely, and fun book! I received it yesterday, and devoured 100 pages the first night! The author has a wonderfully descripitive, humorous voice. The book is made up of short essays that include eveything from personal backround, to culinary history, to cocktail party how-to's, to lively charatcter descriptions. Each essay is then followed by a few delightful, often historical, recipes. I wish I could meet some of the eccentric characters from the author's childhood...hostess gowns, toast points, and fancy cigarette holders! This true-blue Bostonian highly recommends this charming book! Love it!!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I understand the reviewers who object to the lack of photos or the author's hostess-with-the-mostest name-dropping, but consider the source: the book is a collection of food columns (with recipes, as the title informs us), not a cookbook. As for me, I loved this book, which fed my ex-pat Southerner's heart with both the food and the 'tude.

As one who is still mourning the loss of my copy of "Queen of the Turtle Derby" to a co-worker who moved away without returning it, I consider Julia Reed one of the best at the lighter side of Southern Studies. Not quite up there with Florence King, John Shelton Reed, and Roy C. Blount, but darn near. Light years ahead of Celia Rivenbark (who writes not-particularly-Southern Bombeckish pieces about suburban ladies-who-shop) or those Potato Queen people.

Maybe it's just that the Delta is so close to my own Memphis origins, and Reed close to my own age, but despite our very different lives (I've never run around in diplomatic circles myself, nor hung out in Manhattan cocktail spots), I often find myself on the same page in my attitudes, particularly my notions of romance, glamour, and comfort. I find her style graceful and succinct, and I happily forgive the "my very good friend" name-dropping (which does get old) for her description of a garden party of her childhood or of a classically Southern blending of food, sex, and literature in the service of a doomed romance. Plus, I was inspired to make homemade pimiento cheese for the first time--it's something I never cared for as a child, but now I'm a convert.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read most of this book while I was in the waiting room of an auto repair shop. It is a fun book, full of stories and a few recipes. The book is focused more on the humorous stories than the recipes, which is ok because it is not a cook book. But seriously, the title of the book includes "Ham Biscuits" and you can't include a recipe for ham or biscuits?
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Format: Paperback
When I bought this book, I was in a hurry. A big hurry. I needed entertainment and quick. I grabbed this book because it had an enticing cover and I saw "Mississippi" somewhere on the jacket.

What I assumed was a little novel ala Candace Bushnell meets Dorthea Benton Frank,(maybe a Southern Sex in the City?), turned out to be a delightful little book that taught me oh-so-much.

Thanks to this book I am fearless in the kitchen. For those of you who are truly cooks- you will not understand. But this book taught me how to trust myself. I have made the most amazing dinners since reading this. Not only the book's recipes, but my own. Julia explains that sometimes (most times) simple delicious food is best (eg: ham buscuits). It is better to make what is simply delicious rather than to cook to impress.

I never had pimento cheese, even though my Mother was a Mississippi girl. So I made pimento cheese ( I blended two of the recipes in the book- Mary Bell's and Keith's) for a family party and it was devoured in no time.

I also made from the picnic chapter Elizabeth Frink's Roasted Chicken, which I also do a bit differently. My extremely picky eater 6 year old boy wants to eat the whole chicken! Thanks to all of her writing I never would have blended recipes or mixed things up or left ingredients out.

To me this book is an homage to the writer's Mother and all the cooks and teachers along the way that helped her learn. She credits each recipe from where/who it came and tells how each recipe came to be her stand-by.

I purchased this book last summer and several times a month I will pull this out for a little guidance.
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