In honor of our Books, Spice, and Everything Nice theme (and spice club!), we’ll be doing a monthly round-up of our cookbooks. We have a really nice and extensive collection, but it’s easy to get lost in the sheer number of them. Hopefully these posts help! In honor of our March spice cayenne, we’ll be focusing on Southern cookbooks this month.
If you want Southern classics:
Mary Allen Perry’s Recipe Revival: Southern Classics Reinvented for Modern Cooks (2016)
This cookbook features revamped classic Southern Living recipes, organized by meals (breakfast, lunch, cocktails, dinner, dessert) in a scrapbook-style format. Lots of add-ins and variations included, so plenty of material to experiment with. It also has recipes for everything from okra to pound cake. And if you want more Southern Living cookbooks after working your way through this one, we have all sorts of their annual recipe collections, both in general and Christmas oriented, in our collection.
Trisha Yearwood’s Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen: Recipes From My Family to Yours (2008)
Back in the day, Yearwood was better known as a country music singer, but she’s reinvented herself in recent years as a celebrity cook and a rather successful one at that. She dishes on her favorite family recipes in this easy-to-use cookbook, where you can find recipes for biscuits, barbecue, brownies, and more.
Rick Bragg’s The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma’s Table (2018)
Rick Bragg is best known for nonfiction about his colorful Alabama family. In this book, he interweaves family stories with family recipes, and the result is finger-licking good. A lot of food memoirs from writers tend to be skimpy on recipes but not this one. It includes dozens of recipes for everything from mashed potatoes to pecan pie to possum. Yes, you read that right. Possum.
If you’re interested in more specialized fare from subregions of the South:
The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book (2013)
This classic cookbook is widely considered instrumental in preserving Creole cooking culture of New Orleans. It includes the French name for each dish and covers everything from soups to seafood to dessert and also has traditional menus. The intro is by John Tesh.
Linda Garland Page and Eliot Wigginton’s The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery (2001)
The Foxfire book series brought Appalachian culture to the mainstream in the 1970s and 1980s. In a similar vein, this cookbook provides a very authentic look at the cooking of this subregion of the South that often gets ignored or taken for granted in discussions of Southern cooking. (My folks are originally from Appalachia, and I can vouch for the authenticity of the recipes!) It has instructions for everything from slaw to pies, and because of the Foxfire connection, there’s also a big emphasis on things like traditional preserves.
If you want to bake (or have a sweet tooth):
Bill Neal’s Biscuits, Spoonbread, and Sweet Potato Pie (1990)
This book is exclusively on Southern baking, including desserts and all manner of breads (such as biscuits and cornbread). Referring to this book as only a cookbook is a misnomer because there is so much in here. Beyond over 150 recipes, the late Bill Neal–a food historian, restauranteur, and professional chef–also provides fascinating historical information and personal anecdotes about many of the dishes.
Alisa Huntsman’s Desserts From the Famous Loveless Cafe: Simple Southern Pies, Puddings, Cakes, and Cobblers From Nashville’s Landmark Restaurant (2011)
Earlier this month, we highlighted Nashville-style hot chicken. This cookbook delivers up more culinary treasures from Nashville. The Loveless Cafe has been an institution in the city since the early 1950s and is famous for its desserts, but you don’t have to travel to Nashville to sample their cooking. This book includes recipes for everything from cobblers to cakes to cookies.
P.S. If you want to support the library and eat well at the same time, be sure to check out our new cookbook we released last year, Eat Dessert First. It celebrates popular dishes from our annual bake sales. For more info on the cookbook, just visit the Friends’ website. We still have a few copies for sale at the desk at the library.
What’s your favorite traditional Southern dish? What are you cooking in March? What’s your favorite Southern cookbook? Tell us in the comments! As always, please follow this link to our online library catalog for more information on any of these items or to place them on hold.