Saveur/Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook
The Nov. edition has a little write up on a new cookbook, The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook. They have written for Saveur so I can understand a little bias.
I just received the cookbook as a birthday gift in the past week and have read it slowly and thoroughly and as a collector of cookbooks and a lot of soouthern cookbooks, some of them very old, and as basically a southern cook, I am disappointed in the book. There are many good old recipes that they have "fixed" that did not need fixing. Somethings are just wrong. I also caught a food stylist error in a photograph of Frogmore Stew. I guess the stylist did not read the recipe and discription. The recipe calls for the shrimp to be cooked shell on and encourages one to suck the shrimp before shelling. The photo of the completed dish features carefully placed shelled shrimp.
There are a couple of things in the book I might try, but if I had checked this book out of the library to see if it might be something I might want to own, I would not buy it.
The standard "bible" in my family is Marion Brown's Southern Cookbook, Chapel Hill Press and long out of print but you can find copies out there. The newest one I like is Frank Stitt's Southern Table. Nothing wrong with Ronni Lundy's Shuckbeans, Stack Cakes and Honest Fried Chicken or John T. Edge's A Gracious Plenty, I like Damon Lee Fowler, I have a bunch of Jr. League books from all over the south.
I've gotten the Same impression from the publicity on the book, Candy. Some things just don't need "fixin'."
I want to scream every time I see Martha Stewart Mint Julep recipe with lemon juice!!! That's some kind of cocktail but it's NOT a julep.
Or shrimp and grits with 6 big shrimp per serving.
Or Bobby Flay putting lobster in jambalaya.
Or blackened everything.
Or all Cajun food being hot, hot, hot.
I don't remember all that sour cream and cream cheese...
I haven't bought a Southern cookbook in a long time. I pull recipes out of Southern Living and a few other magazines. Most are recipes for regional specialties that are hard to come by. Maybe a better method to make an old favorite. But they don't stray far from the classic flavors and traditions. A little lighter, a little fresher, not so much fat.
I find myself going back to the same old spattered, dog-eared Southern cookbooks, time and time again.