Monday, November 30, 2015

Book Review - The Southerner's Cookbook from Garden & Gun

From David DiBenedetto and the editors of Garden & Gun magazine, comes their heirloom quality, newly released, first cookbook, The Southerner's Cookbook, Recipes, Wisdom, and Stories, already joining the ranks on the best seller list.

Now that we've finished up Thanksgiving and opened the door on Christmas shopping, I want to tell you about a fantastic book gift that celebrates the best of Southern culture, in recipes, traditions, tales and techniques.

On the heels of the widely successful and New York Times Best Selling Garden & Gun Book of Southern Know-How, The Southerner's Handbook and Good Dog: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Loyalty, comes Garden & Gun's newly released, first cookbook, The Southerner's Cookbook, Recipes, Wisdom, and Stories, already joining the ranks on the best seller list.

I have always loved books and they spill out from every corner of my home. Always have and always will, till the Good Lord takes me home I suppose. That includes books that have value in simple entertainment as well as books that teach, and certainly those that hold beauty and history in their pages, especially in regards to The South. Garden & Gun's newest release doesn't disappoint.

From the beautiful, embossed fabric cover, to the essays from familiar southerners - like Julie Reed, who tells us how to throw a great party, Matt and Ted Lee, Rick Bragg, who shares how our love of oysters begins, John T. Edge, Roy Blount, Jr., who shares why there's always room for dessert in the south, and others - some that will bring a tear to your eye, others that will have you grinning from ear to ear - to the collections of recipes shared by chefs all over the south, and all recipes well-tested at Garden & Gun's test kitchen, though most are new to Garden & Gun readers, this is simply an elegant Southern book.

Whether it's gorgeous food photography, scenic pictures, or a simple basket of colorful yardbird eggs, the photos are stunning, and while it's certainly a beautiful coffee table book and conversation starter, remember to carry it to the kitchen too, because the more than 125 detailed recipes included cover everything a southerner loves, from party bites and appetizers, to chicken, pork, beef and lamb, fish, shellfish and game. Veggies and sides are covered, as are baked goods and desserts and there are even great condiment, sauce and spread recipes included. Cocktails round out the final chapter.

There are herb and brown sugar bacon crackers, crab hush puppies, slice and bake cheese crackers, tomato aspic with shrimp salad, and Delta tamales. Pickapeppa pecans, and a homemade cornmeal sausage ball, infused with brown sugar, peppers and fresh sage that I can't wait to try. You'll find how to make three favorite southern sandwiches party-style too - Hot Browns, Cubanos, and Muffulettas.

Fried chicken served up three ways - classic, extra crispy and Nashville hot style. Country captain, chicken salad, pot pie and bog round out the chicken chapter, before heading into how to make sorghum bacon, skillet pork chops, soup beans, black eyed pea jambalaya and how to prepare a country ham with three gravies, as well as a step-by-step tutorial on how to roast a whole hog. There's beef tenderloin, short ribs, hamburger steak, Louisiana meat pies and even a recipe for "Old Sober" yakamein. These are the southern favorites you'll find in this scrumptious collection.

For seafood lovers there's oyster stew and Bienville, Frogmore stew and Maryland crab cakes, fried catfish, shrimp and grits, redfish on the half shell and more. For the hunters there's dove, quail, duck, wild turkey, rabbit and venison recipes. Sides include Hoppin' John, country green beans, succotash, summer squash, field peas, pickles, spoonbread, cast iron corn and kil't greens, sweet potato casserole, macaroni and cheese, cornbread and oyster dressing, cucumber salad, and a master fry batter perfect for okra, green tomatoes and pickle chips.

Ready for dessert? There's bourbon pecan pie, moon pies, buttermilk pie, fried hand pies, stack cake, banana pudding, a uniquely regional sonker recipe, sweet tea granita, peach ice cream, and sweet potato candy. For baked goods there's classic buttermilk biscuits, skillet cornbread, kolache and orange rolls. You're covered on sauces too, from barbecue to vinegar and white, to jezebel, remoulade and comeback. There are salad dressings, salsa, jam and marmalade, fruit sauce and butters. Cocktail hour rounds out with Charleston Society punch, the classic Tallulah, old fashioned, bloody Mary and several others you'll recognize.

As you would expect from any southerner, every recipe here tells a story too. The Southerner's Cookbook is a true reflection of the South's culinary landscape, past, present and future, and a gorgeous, heirloom quality book you'll be proud to offer as a gift. Find it at your local retailers and bookstores, or online at Amazon and other book sources.

Disclosure: I received one free review copy of The Southerner's Cookbook, Recipes, Wisdom, and Stories, however all opinions stated here are voluntary and are my own.

Material Disclosure: Unless otherwise noted, you should assume that post links to the providers of goods and services mentioned, establish an affiliate relationship and/or other material connection and that I may be compensated when you purchase from a provider. You are never under any obligation to purchase anything when using my recipes and you should always perform due diligence before buying goods or services from anyone via the Internet or offline.