Movie

Movie
Movie Inspired Recipes

Television

Television
Television Inspired Recipes

Book

Book
Book Inspired Recipes

The Gift of Southern Cooking~ a cookbook review

26 comments /
I love winning things.  I know...odd.  I especially love winning cookbooks.  My dear friends...nudging a slot into the packed shelves and teetering stacks they call home.  So, imagine how excited I was to win The Gift of Southern Cooking by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock from Bo over at Bo's Bowl...thanks again, Bo!  Okay, ecstatic...I love new friends cookbooks; books of any kind, really.  As usual, when I get my hands on a new book, I sit down with some sort of paper, ready to bookmark.  Since I was completely unfamiliar with either Lewis or Peacock, this was a great new endeavor for me!  The book is packed with personal intros to the recipes...anecdotes and notes on the history of certain foods and how they relate to Southern cooking or one of their experiences in general...and ends with a compilation of seasonal menus devised from recipes in the book.  Plenty of learnin' packed into this book...enough to make a Yankee like me start speakin' with a lazy drawl.  Oh, and it may sound trite, but I think I was  hooked the minute I opened up the book and saw a quote from one of my favorite books notice I said book, not movie...can't stand the movie, LOVE the book. Yes, I've said it before...more than likely I'll say it again.  I mean, it doesn't get much more Southern than... "As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again." -Scarlett O'Hara

The first thing I made...because I've been meaning to make it forever anyway...was Candied Bacon.  Bacon Candy.  Whatever you decide to call it...it's heaven.  Sweet and salty and melt-in-your-mouth fabulous.  Really, it couldn't be easier to make, either.  Dredge some good, thick bacon in brown sugar and bake it at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.  Yup, 15 minutes to wait in order to experience bliss...not too much to ask.
Something else I love?  Vinegar...especially Hot Pepper Vinegar.  Dousing it on hot fries or a burger or a bowl of chili...oh man, I actually crave the stuff!  It too, is easier than the dickens to make.  They say this is the "essential condiment of the Deep South, used to season greens other vegetables, and meats.  You'll find this vinegar on every table, often in old catsup or liquor bottles."  I'm ready to adopt that deep south tradition in my house!  And you bet I'm using it to season my next batch of greens....oh, my mouth is watering... 
The next dish I knew I had to make was Pigs' Feet in Savory Tomato Sauce.  If you've never worked with or eaten pigs' feet before...you are missing out!  The feet of any animals are often dismissed and forgotten in many parts of the U.S. these days.  People want their chops and their bacon and their tenderloin...but I think it's important to honor that animal that gave its life, so that we might fill our bellies, by utilizing every last part of it that we can.  They don't yield a lot of meat, but the "succulent morsels of meat" they do produce are beyond worth it!  It takes ~4 hours to cook, but that is mostly unattended.  Plus, the liquid that comes from the initial simmering of the pigs' feet makes for a wonderful, gelatinous broth that you can put away to use later when making soup or cooking beans...bonus!  On a separate note, I don't know if it's just me, but I can't see pigs' feet or even say the words without getting that line from Friday stuck in my head... Every time I come in the kitchen, you're in the kitchen...eating up all the got d--- food!  I like piiiiiigs feet! I like collared greens!...  But you have to say it like the dad says it...with passion... Ha! Seriously, I'll be saying it for the rest of the day now.
Coffee Jelly was something else I just could not resist making. Tell me coffee lovers, could you resist an intro like this: "In the Old South (and in England and Europe today), a "jelly" meant a chilled gelatin dessert, not something to spread n toast.  But despite its antique name, this unusual and refreshing summer treat was born for my love for very strong iced coffee.  Barely jelled, but intensely flavored and slightly sweetened, the dark "jelly" trembles in its glass....and melts in the mouth."  I thought not.  It was wonderful and quite different from what us Northerners know as jello.  I wondered if it had actually "set" because it stilled looked so wobbly, but as promised it was intense with just the right hint of sweetness with an intriguing wiggle to it.
I won't be stopping there...I have plenty more bookmarks to get through and more Southern specialties teasing my visual taste buds.  Lewis and Peacock show us how diverse, yet how common the different cuisines of the South are in this book.  Lewis is from Virginia, Peacock is from Alabama...they are separated by generations, yet united by their love and respect for culture, tradition, and food.  The stories told in this book are highly personal...yet welcoming.  A new companion I will cherish on my shelf...and in my kitchen...for years to come.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Update 12/24/10: I am sharing this review w/ the 12 Day of Bloggie-mas.

26 comments

  1. I've always heard that this was a really good book. Way to go cooking up those pig's feet Heather. I've never had them before, but I love pig so I know they have to be good!
    Everything looks delicious and the coffee jelly is really cool. Great post, girli!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh now that is just plain evil...I love pigs feet. Ate them as a child, but no one here would even touch them let alone eat them. And pepper vinegar was always a part of our condiments at the table. Coffee jelly...well I just might have to go towards that darkness cuz everyone here would try that. So score on the new cookbook. says The Olde Bagg

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm glad to see you put that book to good use...I'm really surprised you made the pigs feet...not a very girli dish!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yeah, sometimes I think the name is misleading...this girli is not actually very "girly"...ya know!? I love butchery and getting my hands dirty =)

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a great review! You've sold me on the book!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great review! Everything you made looks delicious. I have had pigs feet but have not been brave enough to cook them myself. ;-) I am now coveting the candied bacon--yum!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Lucky you to get cookbooks as gift, i too love having as many as cookbooks as possible.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Looks like that cookbook rocks! You had me all the way up to the pigs feet in savory sauce. Love the sauce, it would have been a leap for the feet. I know the meat is delicious it has something to do with eating feet in general :-)

    Congrats on winning the cookbook. I love cookbooks. In my house I stack my cookbooks high, and let them fly.

    ReplyDelete
  9. That's a good review...I couldn't deal with the pigs feet...no, no, no..but that candied bacon. Move over sister! I want some!

    ReplyDelete
  10. This cookbook sounds insane! I would have fallen in love with the Gone With the Wind quote also...it's one of my favorite books!

    Oh candied bacon. Now THAT would have gone good in that salad I just made.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am going to have to get this book from the library! Pigs Feet make my chicken feet seem so, I don't know normal. LOL! I so want to eat at your house!
    I have an award for you if you do them.
    http://frugalcrunchychristy.blogspot.com/2010/07/versitile-blogger-award.html

    ReplyDelete
  12. the pigs feet actually look ok and man the coffee jelly rocks, so pleased you won this book thanks for being a lovely blogging buddy by the way
    love Rebecca

    ReplyDelete
  13. It looks like there are some great recipes in the southern cookbook. You definitely can't go wrong with sugared bacon, or roasted pig's feet. Delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oooh I have won one cookbook once and it is indeed super exciting! Just getting a new cookbook is super exciting! Congrats! And what a great book! That bacon is unbelievable! I'll be checking this cookbook out when I'm back in the US next week for sure!

    ReplyDelete
  15. You wrote a terrific review that has made me want to run out and get this book. I'll start with the candied bacon and spicy vinegar. Excellent post.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Wonderful review! Southern cooking is hard to resist!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm not familiar with Southern cooking but everything you made look amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I happened to find your blog a few days ago, have copied a number of recipes to try and especially enjoyed this post. I HAVE to read anything I come across that has Edna Lewis's name attached to it. If you enjoyed this book I'm sure you'd also enjoy an earlier book of hers, The Taste of Country Cooking. It's a wonderful collection of seasonal recipes and memories of her childhood in a Virginia farming community that was settled by freed slaves. It's a book I refer to often and never tire of reading.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Christy...LOL! Feet, feet and more feet ;)

    Aw Reb...thanks, you are too!!! Have been for quite some time =)

    Anon...I will DEFINITELY check it out. Since reading this one, it's on my list to go back and find more by Ms. Lewis! Thanks for the recommendation =)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great cookbook! The coffee jelly sound intriguing! I got the chance to make that bacon at the catering company recently. It is killer! It's bacon crack, really! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Love Southern cooking but everything you made look delicious :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Wow, nice review...love the pictures and the candied bacon looks awesome...love the idea of jelly coffee as well...

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thanks for the review..Sounds like it is worth buying!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Ah, my mouth is watering from just the picture.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love southern food! Is there a book out there that has modified southern recipes that are a bit healthier?

    ReplyDelete