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Atlanta-based Chef Virginia Willis's bag of Southern recipes is filled with foods fit to grace the table at any holiday party. by Erin Z. Bass When Chef Virginia Willis contacted us over the summer to find out if we wanted to post a couple of her recipes on our site and add a copy of her latest cookbook, "Bon Appetit, Y'all: Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking," to our library, we of course said yes. (I believe my exact response to her e-mail was: "I feel like I've been contacted by a Southern celebrity!") Virginia has worked with Martha Stewart as kitchen director for her TV show, where she cooked for President Clinton, Aretha Franklin and Julia Child, as well as tested and edited "The All-New Joy of Cooking." Her career in the kitchen began in Atlanta as an apprentice to Nathalie Dupree, credited with starting the "New Southern Cooking" movement that has spread through restaurants across the South. Dupree's influence can be found in "Bon Appetit, Y'all," which is distinctly Southern in feel without being cliche. Alton Brown may have summed it up best in his praise on the back cover: "Most Southern cookbooks, even the really

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by Carol L. Gee Reaching for the “cow” pepper shaker with its rosy painted cheeks, as always, made me smile. With its cow twin forlornly looking on, as I struggle to avoid salt, I glance around my sunny kitchen with its small collection of plates with State flowers decorating them, and my mind wanders back to the years my husband and I spent in the Air Force. Three miles to Pecan Paradise! Riding shotgun while my husband drove, we headed south where mile markers indicating “gas, food, and sparkling clean restrooms could be found at the next three exits” beckoned us to stop and stretch our legs. From the highway, Stuckey’s familiar red/white and yellow façade came into view. While my husband pumped gas, I went inside. Inside, rubber snakes, salt and pepper shakers shaped like cows (the same ones mentioned above) and other items lined both sides of the aisles. Plates representing the states we sped through solved the mystery of where my mother-in-law most likely obtained the plate collection that covered one entire wall of her dining room, as nearly all of my in-laws had once served in the military. I bought her one hoping that she didn’t already have that particular

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Satisfy your sweet tooth for pumpkin this season in Roswell, Georgia. by Sandy Caldwell Roswell is a lovely town in North Georgia, outside of Atlanta, with a booming historic district full of charming shops and delicious restaurants, cafes and bakeries for food lovers. As the holidays approach, the town’s chefs and bakers are experimenting with pumpkin, possibly the most purchased ingredient by bakers from October through December. Everything from traditional pie to cookies, cupcakes and even brulée are making an appearance on Roswell menus, and Alpharetta food writer and baker Sandy Caldwell couldn't help but set out to do some tasting. A modest little shop tucked off Canton Street, The Pie Hole sells and makes nothing but homemade pies. I walked in and briefly met the owner, Alayne Graham, who was busy making some mouthwatering apple pies piled high with 3 pounds of sliced apples. The Pie Hole has a cozy, rustic feel with a few tables to sit and enjoy your pie and wonderful smells coming out of the kitchen, while you watch Alayne and her staff busy at work. I was given a slice of pumpkin pie with the addition of whipped cream. After taking my first bite, I could

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by Jan Fink I met my husband, Will, in the late ‘60s while living in New York. A year after we were married, he suggested we take a trip down to Alabama for Christmas and a chance to meet his new, extended family. As much as I missed my home in Alabama, as soon as this suggestion left his lips, I was filled with terror. My husband had never been south of Manhattan. I knew what he was in for. I had spent time with his family. They were sophisticated and proper. As an American family, they were right up there on the same page with Ward and June Cleaver and Ozzie and Harriet. On the other hand, if you researched my family history, you would find us on the page titled “Outlaws, Moonshiners and Wild Indians.” So you can see what I was up against, but the visit was inevitable. We rented a car, trekked South, and arrived at my grandparents’ farm Christmas morning. The old home place was located in an isolated area of South Alabama. The house had no running water and was heated by fireplaces and Big Boy stoves. Downwind of the house was a barn, pig pen, smokehouse

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