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Down Home with the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook Hardcover – May 12, 2009
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Meet the Neelys: Pat and Gina, husband-and-wife team, hosts of their own television show, and proprietors of the celebrated Memphis and Nashville eateries, Neely’s Bar-B-Que.
The Neelys’ down-home approach to cooking has earned them the highest accolades from coast to coast. It has also won them millions of viewers on the Food Network. Simply put, the Neelys are all about good food and good times. In this, their eagerly awaited debut cookbook, the Neelys share the delicious food they have been cooking up for years both at home and in their restaurants.
Pat and Gina hail from families with a boundless love of cooking and bedrock traditions of sharing meals. At the Neelys’, mealtime is family time, and that means no stinting on “the sauce.” Indeed, that’s one of the Neely secrets: the liberal application of barbeque sauce to almost anything—spaghetti, nachos, salad, you name it. Of course, there are other secrets as well, and you will find them all in the pages of Down Home with the Neelys, along with more than 120 mouthwatering recipes.
Here are the tried-and-true southern recipes that have been passed down from one Neely generation to the next, including many of their signature dishes, such as Barbeque Deviled Eggs, Florida Coast Pickled Shrimp, Pat’s Wings of Fire, Gina’s Collard Greens, Grandma Jean’s Potato Salad, Nana’s Southern Gumbo, Memphis-sized Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Slaw, Get Yo’ Man Chicken, and Sock-It-to-Me Cake. Certainly, no self-respecting southerner would dream of offering a meal to a guest without a proper drink, so Pat and Gina have included some of their favorite libations here, too.
The Neelys work, laugh, love, and play harder than any family you’ll ever meet. Their love for good food is infectious, and in Down Home with the Neelys, they bring their heavenly inspired cooking down to earth for all to share.From Down Home with the Neelys: Sweet and Spicy Slaw
Pat: In Memphis, if you run a barbecue joint, you better have coleslaw on your menu and it better be good (ours is some of the very best). Indeed, you could spend a day in Memphis tasting slaw from rib joints all over town. And yet there are people who visit our fair city who are hesitant to try it, especially folks from the West Coast. This is a mystery to me. Coleslaw and pulled pork go together like lettuce and tomatoes on a burger, and salted peanuts in a bottle of pop (I bet some of you haven’t tried that, either).
Bottom line: You come down Memphis way, you have to try our slaw. When we started Neely’s, Tony and I recognized the importance of slaw and knew we would have to come up with a killer recipe, one that would complement our sandwiches and our sauce. It had to be sweet yet spicy, because our barbecue sauce was truly mild. We also wanted it to be coarse and fresh (with a little onion flavor, and carrots for color). A big key for us was using two types of pepper, black and cayenne, which work together as well as Tony and I do. Then came some sugar, as sweet as my Gina. All of these ingredients have given us a coleslaw we are very proud of. For years in the restaurant this was my dish—no one made it for either location but me. I didn’t use measuring cups; everything was done by feel. As we grew, I knew I would eventually have to develop it into a standard recipe so others could make it. Now we have customers who come in and buy slaw by the bucket to take home and have with their catfish, spaghetti, or whatever they are cooking. This recipe will convert even those West Coast hard-liners who claim they “don’t eat slaw.”
Gina: On our show, we like to tease that Pat is the sweet and I am the spicy (only my man knows for sure!). At Neely’s restaurants, the famous and addictive coleslaw happens to be both. We often double this recipe for parties, because leftovers are so delicious (and a food processor makes quick work of all that shredding). When making this slaw at home, it’s a good idea to use both red and green cabbage. It’ll give your slaw more color. Be sure to select the freshest, best-looking cabbage available for the prettiest, crispest, and crunchiest coleslaw you have ever tasted.
- 1 small head green cabbage
- 1 small head red cabbage
- 4 carrots
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup prepared yellow mustard
- 2 teaspoons apple-cider vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt
(Serves 6 to 8)
Cut the cabbages into quarters and remove the cores. Peel the carrots and onion, and slice them into pieces that will fit through the feed tube of a food processor. Fit the food processor with the large-holed grater attachment, and push the cabbage, carrots, and onion through the feed tube to grate. In a large bowl, toss the grated cabbage, carrots, and onions to combine.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, sugar, black pepper, and cayenne (whisk until the sugar is dissolved). Toss the dressing with the coleslaw, and season with salt and additional pepper to taste. Cover the slaw with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.(Neelys photo © Shelly Strazis)
From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is a concrete affirmation of the love of marriage and the bond of family. It isn't just a cookbook; it is a proud weaving of the Neely family, both as a couple and as a restaurant business. You are welcomed into the humble and touching story of William and Lorine Neely; their struggles and challenges in life and how they instilled the work ethic into their five young sons and daughter. Those very same work ethics would become the basis for building the business and food empire that we have come to know and love and appreciate as Neely's. How Pat and Gina came to be completes the story circle.
After a most gracious and heartfelt introduction from another great Southern gal who we all know and love, and whose sons discovered this great family, Paula Deen, we are given two versions of the wonderful story of love and life, each by Gina and Pat themselves. You'll feel the warmth and love as you read the tale of how two young kids, kindred spirits since highschool, came into their own, and finally got married. Photos are many and scattered about so that you can place the names and faces and dates together as you visually "read" their story.
There are over 272 pages in this book; needless to say, the sharing of recipes are great and gastronomical so here is the table of contents with a glimpse into each section. Remember, there are a whole bunch more recipes in each part that will make your tastebuds do the happy dance.....................
PAULA DEEN'S FOREWARD
THE REUNION: Pat & Gina's story of love and marriage after several years
NEELY KNOWLEDGE (The basics of true Southern cooking but also the Neely secrets like BBQ Seasoning, BBQ sauce, Mom Lorine's Brown Gravy, Gina's Perfect Rice, and Crusty Cornbread: you're not in the South if this isn't on your plate!)
HOG WILD: MEMPHIS STYLE BBQ (A mini history of this BBQ style)
TONY'S TIPS (Brother Tony's guide to grilling, woodchips, grilling temperatures, and how to purchase the perfect meat)
GETTING A NEELY-STYLE PARTY STARTED (Caribbean Rum Nut, Warm Artichoke and Collard Greens Dip, Pimento Cheese Melts and the GREAT story in Madrid, dipping sauce, and shrimp)
SOUTHERN SOUPS AND STEWS (Chowder, gumbo, chili, and stews)
REFRESHING SALADS (Spinach Salad with Bcaon, Blue Cheese, Pecans, and Cranberries, a Neely must-have: Sweet and Spicy Slaw, Potato Salad, and Bean Salad)
STICK-TO-YOUR-RIBS SIDE DISHES (Corn, Okra, Kale, Fried Green Tomatoes, Collard Greens, Ham Hocks, and Sweet Potatoes)
DIG IN: SOULFUL ENTREES (The foods that are a visual and gastronomic tale of Pat's childhood, and like all of us, bring back warm and happy feelings and memories that nothing else can..................BBQ Potatoes, BBQ Spaghetti, Fish, Ham, Pork Chops, and Chicken: oooh.....which way to make it?!)
SHOW-STEALING SANDWICHES (Veggie, Pork, Catfish, Hamburgers)
DESSERTS (Brownies, Cookies, Pies, Fruit Desserts, Pudding, Bars, Cakes)
SLEEP LATE BREAKFAST (Oh the biscuits!! Doughnuts, Pecan Rolls, Muffins, Eggs, Waffles, Hashbrowns)
SOUTHERN LIBATIONS (Lemonades, Margaritas, Sangria, Juleps)
AKNOWLEDGEMENTS (One of the best parts of this book)
INDEX of RECIPES
I noted that another reviewer caught a possible error in a recipe; I haven't gotten to that recipe yet but one of the great avenues of modern times is the Internet. I think I'll send an email to find out or I might just give one of their restaurants a jingle. I'm sure they would be able to find someone to clarify this for us; I'll add an addendum when I find out.
This is a cookbook and labor of love in which much heart and soul has been put into the effort. Stuff happens. Enjoy the purpose and joy of this tome; be well; be happy! Peace!
Addendum (June 18): Blessings to all!! I finally got my act together and got the "Sock It To Me" cake recipe question answered; I used 2 email sites to ask for some clarification, but I wasn't able to get an answer so I called their corporate office and the woman who answered was most kind, gracious, and helpful. The cookbook recipe does call for 2-1/4 cups of cake flour, not just the 1/4 cup as listed in the book. I also purchased the first season DVD of "Down Home with the Neely's" cooking show from their website (Amazon doesn't carry it) and the recipe ingredients/measurements for many of the dishes prepared on TV are different than the way they are listed in the cookbook. My opinion on this difference is that I am assuming that because of time constraints, production schedules, etc that the TV recipes are altered a bit to fit the timeclock. BUT..........regardless of how you make the recipes, they all are VERY deelish! My opinion is that making the "Sock It To Me Cake" per the TV recipe version was a bit tastier in that it calls for a box of Golden Yellow Cake mix (there is a cute story about this particular ingredient that Pat talks about on the show), whereas the cookbook uses cake flour. Either way, it was delicious, but the TV version made my tastebuds dance just a wee-bit longer. So there you go. Peace!
It is hard to articulate my disappointment in this book. As another reviewer has already noted, some of the measurements are not correct from the show and food network's website. This can be especially troublesome when baking!
Also, I didn't really appreciate the lenghty introductions. We get an introduction from Paula Deen...and introductions from Pat Neely and Gina Neely, as well as information on their backgrounds and how they met. While this is sweet, I found it a bit unnecessary for a cookbook. Save it for the memoir!
I also didn't really groove to the photography. I think of cookbooks as such beautiful creations; I adore flipping through a beautiful book with gorgeous food photography and mouth-watering recipes. As you may know (from watching the show), the Neelys have the mouth-watering recipes perfected. However, I didn't find the layout of the book or the photography very interesting or noteworthy. It seemed a bit "same old same old" with nothing unique to it.
While the Neelys' recipes are divine, I don't really see the need to buy this cookbook. Many of the recipes are available on TV or through food network's website. The only reason to buy the book would be for its aesthetic value. Unfortunately, the book looks fairly bland and I don't find it worth the asking price.
I love the Neelys and I sincerely hope that their next cookbook is able to match their wonderfully colorful and charming personalities. They are a pleasure to watch and, hopefully, their next cookbook will be a pleasure to look through.