Monday, October 1, 2012

Southern Living Home Cooking Basics

Southern Living Home Cooking Basics: A complete illustrated guide to Southern cooking - good food made simple.


So much about blogging about our southern recipes is about memories associated with the great cooks who came before us, but let's face it. Not everybody had the privilege of standing on a step stool in their grandmother's kitchen. Some of us may even have had mothers who were full time career women with little time for home cooking, or who may not have even liked to cook. Enter Southern Living's brand new book, Home Cooking Basics: A complete illustrated guide to Southern cooking - good food made simple.

Touted as a Southern style Joy of Cooking, this illustrated Southern cooking bible, shows, step-by-step, how to make some of the greatest Southern dishes. It’s approachable, comprehensive, and thoroughly covers many cooking techniques, going beyond-the-basics, plus for the more seasoned cooks out there, it comes with more than 200 reliable Southern recipes, all thoroughly tested by Southern Living.

Just in time for holiday gift-giving this cooking bible starts from the beginning with a chapter titled "The Setup," outlining the tools and equipment any cook should have that will help to make cooking more of a joyful experience, rather than a chore. This chapter covers everything from cookware, to bakeware, to knives, and small appliances, table and even barware for entertaining.

From there the book moves into "The Ingredients" chapter with tips on purchasing, using and storing things like spices, sugars, salts, vinegars, fats and oils, rice and grains, corn and corn products, nuts and seeds, beans, cheeses, herbs, greens, and a wide variety of both warm and cool season vegetables and fruit, as well as fish, poultry and meats.

Once you have the equipment you need and you've learned how to keep a well-stocked pantry, "The Prep" chapter carries you through a rich, step-by-step compendium of fundamental techniques on how to prepare those ingredients. Beginning with steps on how to master basic food cuts, to other essentials from how to cut up a whole chicken, seed a cucumber, beat egg whites, prepare a mango, how to grind meat, and much more.

The next chapter covers "The Methods" of Southern cooking, where you'll find sub-chapters and the beginning of step by step recipes, showing you everything from how to make and assemble typical no cook recipes to how to bake, broil, braise fry, grill, roast saute, and steam foods. Each method of cooking provides both how-to steps, along with several recipes using that specific method. You'll learn things like how to master frying and then be able to apply the skill to recipes that are included, like Mama's Fried Chicken or Classic Fried Catfish.

You'll learn things like how to master frying and then be able to apply the skill to recipes that are included, like Mama's Fried Chicken.

Following that is "The Recipes" chapter. Organized by categories from Appetizers & Beverages, Breakfast & Brunch, Breads, Sandwiches & Soups, Meats & Poultry, Fish & Shellfish, Side Dishes, Desserts and Sauces & Condiments, you'll find colorful photography and plenty of recipes from the Southern Living archives, over 375 recipes in all!

You'll find recipes for these Classic Fried Catfish fillets

Avocado Fruit Salad made with oranges, grapefruit, cantaloupe and tropical mixed fruit

Hot Chile Pepper Vinegar Sauce

Herb and Potato Chip Crusted Beef Tenderloin

Stuffed Rosemary Chicken

Lemonade Iced Tea

Easy Orange Rolls in Breads - just to name a few!

Peppered throughout the book, there are sidebar "fix it" blocks giving some solutions to typical cooking problems that are sometimes associated with certain recipes or methods, along with "kitchen secrets" and "fake it" helpful tips, tricks and substitutes. In the back, you'll find a list of menus for all occasions, handy substitutions, charts for high altitude adjustments, a fresh produce & herb primer, arranged by season and a metric equivalent chart. Some Southern foodlore is also included, covering the history behind some of our favorite classics, like New Year's Day Hoppin' John and the origins of Southern food traditions like a Pig Pickin'. Two indexes are included, one by subject matter the other, a recipe index.

Home Cooking Basics truly is cooking demystified and I just can't say enough about this book! If you've never really been comfortable with your kitchen skills, this book will help to transform you from novice to pro in no time and with beautiful photography throughout, there is plenty of eye candy for those of you who are highly visual cooks. With the holidays coming up, it is truly the perfect gift for that newly married couple, recent college graduate, or that family member or friend who really wants to learn more about cooking, but doesn't know where to start.

Include this cookbook with a basket of shelf stable ingredients from one of the recipes and a few of the tools from the chapter on set up, or a treasured appliance such as a coveted stand mixer, and you're got a gift that is sure to light up their eyes.

Southern Living Home Cooking Basics is available right now at a retailer near you, or can also be purchased online from several sources, including Amazon, for a discounted price.

Congratulations to Susan C. who said...
"Wow, would love to have a copy of this to share with my 13 year old daughter. She has taken an interest in cooking and is eager to try a lot of different things. Including things I don't usually cook."

Susan, please drop an email to me at before midnight Monday, October 8, 2012, and provide me with your name and mailing address information so I can get this wonderful book out to you as soon as possible!

Thanks y'all for checking out my review and for participating in the giveaway. If anyone would like to purchase a copy for yourself, or as a gift, please look for Home Cooking Basics your local bookstores, or you may also purchase it from online sources, including right here at Amazon.


The publisher has agreed to provide ONE additional copy for me to give to one lucky Deep South Dish reader free! Simply comment below to enter - thanks for reading and good luck!

The Rules: To enter, leave a comment on this post, but if you post anonymous, please leave a first name and last initial to identify yourself. This giveaway closes on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at midnight CST. One winner will be selected at random from the comments and will be announced on the site at this post on Thursday. You will have 48 hours to respond to claim the cookbook. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only please.
"Home Cooking Basics illuminates fundamental culinary techniques in this unrivaled guide to classic Southern cooking." 
                                            -Virginia Wills, author of
                                                         Bon Appetit, Y'all
Disclosure: I received one free copy plus another copy of Southern Living Home Cooking Basics to review and giveaway.
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