Books make great gifts no matter what, but for foodies or those aspiring to spend more time in the kitchen in the coming year, a Southern cookbook could be the way to go. And gift givers are in luck, because 2016 was a year filled with delicious new cookbooks, covering everything from breakfast all the way through dessert.
The Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food
by Randall Kenan
A collection of dinner table memories, The Carolina Table features stories from some of North Carolina’s most eminent writers, cataloguing memories from recipes that capture the culture of their beloved state. The stories cover everything from meals and manners, cooking and ingredients, and recipes and recollections. This collection carefully serves up a batch of Southern voices that fill your pages with humor and familiar discourse. Although this is not a typical cookbook, the stories inspire readers to bring people together in the best way possible: by cooking and sitting down for a meal. Some of these humorous and heartwarming stories include a Yankee outlining the challenges she faced when finally learning to cook butter beans, a vegetarian sitting down to a pork dinner, a journalist recalling mid-summer mater days in the newsroom, and others that show that food is more than eating; it is culture, history, priorities, health, wealth, poverty and souls.
On The Coast: Tales and recipes inspired by the Mississippi Gulf Coast
by Troy Gilbert, Matthew Mayfield, and Billy Solitario
A writer, an artist and a chef all collaborated to create this collection of recipes and essays from residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Their combination of art, photography and stories provide a sensory overload of dishes and tales from those who know their coastal home best. On The Coast is an intimate and inspiring portrait of a culture that lives, breathes and eats the Mississippi coast. The collection of over 130 recipes from Mississippi chefs, home cooks and charter boat captains hold stories of the coast’s legacy and history reaching back to 1699.
The Big Bad Breakfast Cookbook
by John Currence
If you want to know how to whip up a good breakfast, look no further than Chef John Currence’s Big Bad Breakfast. This New Orleans native lays out 75 recipes from his restaurant in Oxford, Mississippi. People from all over come to this restaurant to celebrate the most important meal of the day: breakfast. Currence, and most Southerners for that matter, know how to do breakfast right. Some of his most famous dishes that he shares in this cookbook include Banana-Pecan Coffee Cake, Spicy Boudin with Poached Eggs, Oyster Pot Pie and more that all contain the comforting, soulful Souther flavor.
The S.N.O.B. Experience
by Frank Lee
Chef Frank Lee allows you to bring one of Charleston’s acclaimed restaurants directly onto your table with The S.N.O.B. Experience. He placed his 23 years of experience with this one restaurant, Slightly North of Broad, into this book. “As much as a storybook as it is a cookbook, my hope is that guests will gain a glimpse into the heart and soul of S.N.O.B. and be inspired to recreate the restaurant’s experience in their own kitchens surrounded by friends and family,” says Lee. This cookbook features Lee’s classic side dishes, sauces and long-running plates, including Beef Carpaccio, Roast Leg of Lamb with Dad’s Mint Vinegar and seasonal favorites like softshell crab.
What better way to recollect memories than with the scents and tastes that only a grandmother can provide? Christy Jordan shares her grandmother’s kitchen and childhood stories in this collection of 197 recipes. Jordan says sweetness is a memory made in our grandmother’s kitchen, it is nights spent on the porch listening to old stories, and it is welcoming guests with an open heart, typically with food in hand. Some of her recipes include Peach Buttermilk Pie, Chocolate Chip Dream Bars, Blushing Apple Juleps, and Chocolate Chess Pie. These recipes offer more than just a list of ingredients, though. They present food that radiates tradition and Southern history—and desserts that are deeply delicious.
The Hattie’s Restaurant Cookbook: Classic Southern and Louisiana Recipes
by Jasper Alexander
While Chef Jasper Alexander is not a Louisiana native, he shares the recipes that came straight from the hands of one: Hattie Gray, founder of Hattie’s Chicken Shack in Saratoga Springs, New York. For travelers looking for a taste of home, Hattie’s is a sanctuary offering up dishes with the touch of a true Southerner and, for New Yorkers, Hattie’s allows them to experience authentic Southern cuisine. From down-home jambalaya to homemade fried chicken, Alexander intertwines Hattie’s Southern roots with nostalgic homemade tastes. Enjoy these tasty Southern meals with your family and friends in your own kitchen, no matter where you live. Recipes include Fried Catfish, Pimento Cheese, Cajun Coleslaw, Mississippi Salsa and Sweet Potato Pie.
Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South
by Vivian Howard
In this New York Times bestseller, Vivian Howard has compiled over 200 recipes and stories that describe and celebrate the North Carolina Coastal plains. The star of PBS’s “A Chef’s Life” successfully captures the impact of Southern food through her recipes and tales rooted in family tradition. This cookbook has recipes for every skill level, including Blueberry BBQ Chicken, Fried Yams with Five-Spice Maple Bacon Candy, Butterbean Hummus, Cool Cucumber Crab Dip, and Oyster Pie. Some of the recipes seem like a lot of work for one person, but Howard instills the Southern way of home-cooking by saying, “With several sets of hands and lots of life to discuss, the work goes fast.”
Daniel Cook has traveled all over the South to visit and cook with as many people as he could. He collected some recipes from each person he visited and compiled them into the Southern Cooking Bible, which covers all aspects of the South, making it as authentic as Southern cookbooks can get. Some of his recipes include Arkansas Green Beans, Georgia Pecan Pie, Southern Red Rice and Shrimp and Whisky Grilled Baby Back Ribs.
Beautifully illustrating that the cuisine of Southern India and the tastes of the American Deep South share many things, Atlanta-based chef Asha Gomez’s new cookbook is a must-have. She highlights the similar climates, foodstuffs such as rice and okra and coastal communities, not to mention a spirit of hospitality, talent for creating bounty out of an often modest pantry and an appreciation for the soulful dimension of food as both celebration and comfort. Mouthwatering recipes include Skillet Chicken Hash Pie, Golden Kichadi Grits, Kerala Fried Chicken, Low Country Rice Waffles and Puffy Ginger Hoecakes.
Matt Moore created this book on the belief that the kitchen creates an opportunity for generosity, hospitality, intellectual curiosity, autonomy and a sense of adventure with others. It is his hope to create better men (and women) by spending more time in the kitchen. This cookbook includes over 150 original recipes and serves as a part-cookbook/part-guidebook for those looking for a way to bond through food.
Featured illustration by Paige Raley.