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Bon Appetit, Y'all: Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking Hardcover – May 6, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 116 customer reviews

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My Halal Kitchen: Global Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Lifestyle Inspiration by Yvonne Maffei
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Explore this bestselling cookbook filled with more than 100 diverse, popular, international recipes made with halal foods or halal substitutes along with tips on how to source them. Learn more
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The playful title of this Southern-French cookbook belies its studious attitude to cookery. Willis, a chef who has cooked for the White House and stars like Aretha Franklin and Jane Fonda, grew up in Georgia and Louisiana, absorbing her mother's and grandmother's repertoire of grits, casseroles and gumbos before developing her professional skills at French cooking academies. The result is a hybrid cuisine she calls refined Southern, which applies traditional French technique and lighter ingredients to produce new versions of Southern staples. Her collard greens are cooked up with smoked salt instead of hog jowl; her cornbread is dressed with panko. Sprinkled liberally throughout are the Southern ingredients that Willis was raised on: Vidalia onions, okra, Georgia pecans and peaches. Willis's approach is faithful, yet she's unafraid to reinvent culinary clichés when necessary—like making pimiento cheese from scratch. Some of her creations—like a tipsy salad, riffing on the frat boy combo of watermelon and vodka; Yukon Gold and Edamame Mash; and Coca-Cola Glazed Baby Back Ribs—elevate mundane flavors with sheer ingenuity. Magnificent color photos; detailed, helpful tips; and Willis's cheerful, trustworthy guidance make this an original and welcome newcomer to a classic cookbook library. (Feb.)
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From Booklist

Although Willis has trained in France’s finest kitchens, her heart dwells nostalgically in her deep roots in America’s South. Her grandmother and mother, both adventuresome cooks, were skilled at whipping up southern classic dishes as well as reproducing dishes shown each week on Julia Child’s television series. Willis takes pains to treat the whole of this tradition respectfully. Thus, she presents quintessentially southern cheese straws (interestingly enough, baked by her grandfather) next to similar, yet thoroughly French, gougères. Fried chicken takes its customary top spot among the poultry recipes, but there are many less-caloric propositions for dealing with one of the South’s favorite meats. Shellfish dominate seafood offerings, and both Cajun and Creole traditions appear. Southern baking wouldn’t exist without biscuits, and Willis presents clear instructions for making both yeast and baking-powder versions. To crown these biscuits, Willis has recipes for both jams and jellies. --Mark Knoblauch
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (March 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580088538
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580088534
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 1 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #326,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Patrick W. Bryan on August 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If you don't cook, but live with someone who does, I highly recommend you buy this book and just leave it on the table. In less than 24 hours I was offered an incredible cobbler. All I had to do was provide vanilla ice cream.
It is a beautiful book which I am enjoying reading and looking through. Virginia's voice is strong and clear as I read and I thank her from the bottom of my heart for the crust of that cobbler. I look forward to already promised biscuits and hopefully many many other kitchen events. "Yes Honey, I will go get real butter." Can you believe it, delicious cobbler in less than 24 hours! Buy this book now and just put it on the table. If he or she loves you, you might get cobbler too.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been waiting for this cookbook to come out and read it cover to cover once I received it. Virgina Willis has included the best Southern recipes from her family which means she put her heart and soul into this. I just took the pimento cheese stuffed into tomatoes to a family party and the plate was wiped clean. Her stories are priceless and I felt like I was in the kitchen with her family. I have attended her classes and enjoy her french style mixed with her Southern hospitality. This is a must have essential cookbook to great home cooking.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A thoroughly enjoyable cookbook to read. Easy to follow recipes, nostalgic dialog, just an all around nice addition to my southern cookbook gallery. I have made the barbeque sauce she recommended and with a few personal tweeks, and it is now one of my go-to sauces. It's really tangy and good. I am planning to use this book alot. Virginia Willis has really hit a home run with this one! I also love "The Glory of Southern Cooking" by James Villas. Both of these authors have that old southern charm about them that just warms my heart.
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Format: Hardcover
I have studied Southern food for years, yet I've never found another book like this one. Each page enlightens cooks of all skill levels. The recipes are written meticulously well while Virginia's beautiful writing brings back memories of times gone by. Ms. Willis has written about Southern food the way it should be - honest. My copy has a permanent home right in my kitchen.
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Ms. Willis has written a cookbook like no other. It is filled with absolutely breathtaking and stunning photographs which belong in a coffee table tome. The recipes feature both fresh twists and standards alike but all explained so clearly that I actually thought of making a soufflé and knowing with Ms. Willis' work telling me how at my side, that I would be a success! The short stories introducing chapters and recipes will make you feel as if you have known her for years and even shed a tear at times. This book will end up splattered with the ingredients of dinners never to be forgotten and certainly repeated and way too many pages folded with the intentions of "I've got to try this!" You just have to hope your guests, family and friends don't steal this essential book from your cookbook library! When I read that Ms. Willis edited portions of The Joy of Cooking when updated, it only made sense. These are recipes that you'll want to pass off as your own. From simple to things I've never tried, (but I want to now), every one is easy to read and understand, taking clarity to a new level. Every cook and aspiring chef must have this-as essential as salt in a kitchen!
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Format: Hardcover
As soon as I purchased this book I was excited to use it. I'm a Southerner first and a foodie second. The recipes in this book offer a great assortment of southern-charm mingled with the french countryside. I've made over 15 recipes ranging from 'Nibbles and Starters' to her delicious desserts and have not been disappointed. I use this book everytime I entertain, and I suggest everyone do the same. I've sent over 10 copies to friends and family from south Florida to Boston, Mass. It's a great 'thank you' and hostess gift for all those that love food and want to elevate their education in southern and french cuisine. It's a must addition for those that have 1 or 100 cookbooks!
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Bon Appétit Ya'll is a delightful walk through the Old South from a new perspective.
For any of us who spent any time at all standing on a stool or chair at the kitchen counter to cook alongside an older member of the family, Virginia's beautifully written and photographed new book is a poignant reminder that time spent in the kitchen with a child is doubly precious. Virginia reminds us that the kitchen is a place where we hand down stories, traditions, and a small part of our legacy in a uniquely wonderful environment. No other place in the world is quite like your mother's or Grandmother's kitchen - only there does love meet food in way that stays with you forever.

Food wise, Virginia serves up the both of best worlds: straight up old school southern classics like you wished your mama made (or if you are lucky soul, maybe she did), and her signature New South outlook derived from a wonderful fusion of her southern upbringing in her grandmother's kitchen and her classical French training.

Bon Appétit Ya'll is a lovely tribute to Virginia's southern legacy firmly based in the here and now. I heartily recommend you take this lovely walk; you'll enjoy it immensely.
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