Friday, September 14, 2012

The Southern Foodie, Book Review

Author Chris Chamberlain has written about

100 Places to Eat In The South Before You Die
(And The Recipes That Made Them Famous)

Southern food, like its hospitality, traditions and stories are well established and comforting. As the Baltimore born granddaughter and niece of two wonderful Southern cooks I was introduced to hearty breakfast plates that included a homemade biscuits and jams, fried chicken or fried pork chops and sometimes sausage, gravy, eggs ... and pie. For one week each summer in July my world took on a different hue and taste.

Dinner was served at noon and the produce was fresh and plentiful from the garden. It is easy to recollect the large brightly cloth-covered tables and platters of corn on the cob swimming in butter, meats (often more than one kind),  potatoes that were mashed or boiled or fried, steaming bowls of succotash, crisp coleslaw, peaches, slices of watermelon and mounds of freshly baked dinner rolls. All homemade and hearty and proudly served.

Reading The Southern Foodie (and looking at the pictures) makes it easy to remember sitting at my favorite aunt's table.  Her name was Irene Moore and she was beautiful, charming, and a gifted cook. She made is seem effortless, one minute she would be sitting on the back porch snapping green beans from the garden and in the next sharing the foods of her labor.  Her meals were only one reason I considered my three cousins as extremely lucky.

The food and the stories gathered in this collection make it a great addition to any cook's book shelf. There are recipes for cornbread, tomato corn chowder, coconut pie, peach cobbler, tomato gravy, grits, and pot roast.  Take an afternoon and spend it with Chris Chamberlain ... you won't be sorry. If you're planning on traveling in any of the "thirteen Southern states" check out their most celebrated restaurants.

Chris Chamberlain is a food and drink writer based in Nashville, Tennessee. He has served as a culinary judge at numerous competitions around the South and consulted with several restaurants regarding menu creation and marketing. One of his favorite things in life to do is to put a shoulder on the smoker and watch SEC football all day long while waiting for his pork to reach "pig-picking" temperature as slowly as possible.

A copy of The Southern Foodie was provided by the publisher Thomas Nelson for review purposes. The words are my own.

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