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Oct 29, 2006 05:15 PM

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.

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  1. I looked it over pretty thoroughly at the bookstore and decided not to get it. Seemed like the meat section was very small for a book of that size.

    1. Do you have any favorite southern food cookbooks?

      6 Replies
      1. re: cookiecutter

        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.

        1. re: Candy

          Thanks. I'll check a few of those out. I'm very excited. I haven't really delved into southern cooking.

          1. re: cookiecutter

            Any cookbook by John Egerton is worth buying, too.

            1. re: Hungry Celeste

              Oh yes. Edgerton is very valuable. There are a lot of good ones out there. Just keep looking. One gem I have is Out of Kentucky Kitchens by Marion Flexner with a foreward by Duncan hines (yes he was a real person) pub. in 1949. The book gets quoted in many later publications.

              1. re: Candy

                I have this too! Bought it at a used booksale and thought "who would throw out such a treasure?" It ranks right up there with my signed copy of "Mountain Spirits" by Joe Dabney, if you're into moonshine.

                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                  Don't forget the Enda Lewis books and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (The Yearling) Cross Creek Cookery. There are many treasures to be found. I really look for old Jr. League books, not recent publications. I want recipes like my mother, grandmother and great grandmother made.

      2. 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.

        1. Anybody out there a fan of the Farm Journal series of cookbooks? They have a number of recipes from kitchens of the South that I have consdiered "authentic"...But what do I know? I am Canadian!

          1 Reply
          1. re: LJS

            I also love the Farm Journal series of cookbooks. Have had them for years and still use them regularly. But then, I too am Canadian.

          2. Strangely no one has mentioned any of Paula Dean's books - but bar none my favorite cookbook from my Southern collection is My Mother's Southern Kitchen: Recipes and Reminiscences by James Villas and Martha Pearl Villas.