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Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gowns, and Other Southern Specialties: An Entertaining Life (with Recipes) Paperback – April 28, 2009
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“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.
Top Customer Reviews
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
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!!!
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Being a native Mississippi Delta girl...this just rocks!! Not only are the recipes fantastic, and they sure bring back memories, the book is hilarious!!Published 5 months ago by Patricia Stanton
So-so book, lack of an index is a terrible deficit. Great servicePublished 15 months ago by Wanda Long
Funny and well written. Ms. Reed is the Southern version of Erma Bombeck.Published 17 months ago by Roger Howard
Like all the recipes. Bought for DIL and wanted my own copy.Published 18 months ago by Jill S Farrar
Love all of Julia Reed's books. Bought this to replace one I'd given away. I've got all her books in my home library.Published on May 19, 2014 by Terry Spence
I have read other books by Julia Reed. This one captures the light-hearted Southern sensibilities. It is a must read for anyone who desires an understanding of the culture.Published on March 26, 2014 by jess t dominguez
Not as good as But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria, but entertaining and fun. Recipes and advice for hostesses.Published on March 8, 2014 by Lynn K.Clark