“Southerners can’t stand to eat alone. If we’re going to cook a mess of greens we want to eat them with a mess of people.” – Julia Reed
After watching Top Chef New Orleans this winter, I thought it would be fun to explore the world of Southern Cooking. The Southern States are well known for their fried chicken, BBQ, buttermilk biscuits, collard greens, gumbo, grits and of course, bourbon!
Since travelling to Cuba, Mary has been searching for a good beans and rice recipe and she finally found it in Paula Deen’s southern cooking bible: the classic guide to delicious dishes with more than 300 recipes. “We really enjoyed all these dishes. The beans and rice were very similar to what we enjoyed every day in Cuba. At first I thought I’d need a lot of bacon and cream of mushroom soup, but I was really impressed with these dishes.”
Virginia decided to use an old Southern cookbook she had at home, Delicious Heritage. “The recipe book is easy to follow – very down home, but I had trouble justifying some of the recipes as they were not what I’d call ‘healthy.’ Too many processed ingredients and fried stuff.” She decided to use the always reliable Looneyspoons : low-fat food made fun cookbook for her Jambalaya recipe.
Nadene wasn’t very excited about The Lee Bros. simple fresh southern : knockout dishes with down-home flavor cookbook, but was planning on making the strawberry wine coolers on the May long weekend. Unfortunately, the cabbage and lime salad she made was inedible and had to be thrown out – too much salt!
Ed was born in Texas, so he knows a thing or two about Southern cooking. He decided to try out Smoke & pickles : recipes and stories from a new southern kitchen and discovered a lot of similarities between Korean and Southern cooking, such as BBQ and pickled foods. Ed made a Bacon Kimchi and brought a sample for everyone to try – very interesting flavours and it had a real kick to it!
The slim down south cookbook features recipes for “eating healthy in the land of biscuits and bacon.” The authors suggest you can still eat Southern style once a week, then eat lots of fruits and vegetables for the rest of the week. Jackie made the Bourbon Balls, which were a big hit at our meeting.
Elaine came across a White BBQ Sauce made with mayonnaise in Southern plate : classic comfort food that makes everyone feel like family. This cookbook has interesting stories and would appeal to bakers, since desserts comprise about 8o% of the recipes.
Florence found Home cooking with Trisha Yearwood : stories & recipes to share with family & friends to be a bit boring, but did enjoy making the raisin bread. “It was fun to cook one of the loaves in a baked bean tin and I think the shape is beautiful.”
Marcella and Patricia made a salad from Cooking with love : comfort food that hugs you. “The book has some interesting recipes. We would like to see more photos of the recipes. The instruction on how to make the pecans was confusing. The salad was not what we expected.”
After reading Callie’s biscuits and Southern traditions : heirloom recipes from our family kitchen Nicole would like to make a cookbook about her own family recipes. The author has her own business, with several different varieties of biscuits, all based on her Mom’s recipes. Nicole wins the prize for most recipes tried this month – grits, biscuits, coffee, shrimp, pulled pork and pudding! “I really liked the personal stories behind the recipes in this book, not all of the recipes are keepers, but I certainly enjoyed the ones that I tried.”
Lise tried several recipes from Southern living complete quick and easy cookbook, including a Tomato Basil Bisque: “Very easy soup to make that tasted as if it had simmered all day. You would not believe the base was simply canned soup. There were a few more recipes that I will make, such as Southwestern Tabbouleh Salad and the Best- Ever Buttermilk Biscuits. This book was well presented with many illustrations and easy and quick recipes.”
Tanise made the Asparagus and Leek Soup from Essentials of Southern cooking : techniques and flavors of a classic American cuisine and said it was “absolutely wonderful.” Instead of throwing out the tough ends from the asparagus, you make a stock out of them which adds incredible flavour to the soup. The book contains great cooking tips, such as placing fried chicken on a rack, so it will stay crispy until serving time.
I made the Crab Cakes with Lime Mayo from Down home with the Neelys : a Southern family cookbook and although they didn’t stay together very well, they tasted great, especially with the flavored mayo. I couldn’t find any “zatarain’s crab boil” spices for their pickled shrimp recipe, so I made my own from one I found on-line. They weren’t as tasty as I had hoped, but they sure looked good in the jar!