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Seeking Great Southern Cookbook

Recently returned to Toronto after a two week tour of Tennessee and Kentucky. Hoping to try my hand at a few humble recreations of some of my new southern favourites: corn pudding, coleslaw, lemon ice box pie, etc. I'd love any recommendations for great southern cookbooks. I'm definitely willing to hunt, so out of print titles are welcome, too.

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  1. I have no idea if it's still available, but the Junior League of Memphis put out a cookbook YEARS ago that I still have and is still fabulous. Someone once made a comment about it that made me think it's a true collector's item and may still be available.

    Junior League House; 2711 Union Avenue, Extended; Memphis TN (NO ZIP CODE!)

    The Memphis Cookbook

    Of course, there is always the lady, Paula Deen.

    1. Try The Lee Brothers Cookbook. I believe it won a Beard award or some such.

      3 Replies
      1. re: roxlet

        Forget the Lee Bros. book. I can't say enough bad things about it.

        Jean Anderson's new book, is a great Southern Cookbook and a great read too. Any of the Jr. League books but remember the ladies were trotting out their best recipes, not necessarily their home-everyday recipes. If you can lay a hand on a copy of Marion Brown's Southern Cookbook, it is a classic and belongs in every Southern collection, A Gracious Plenty by John T. Edge, anythinh by Damon Lee Fowler, or Edna Lewis. I personally love Frank StittsSouthreern Table, some may find it too restauranty by I've never had anything bad from it or his restaurant. Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes and Honest Fried Chicken would not be a bad addition either.

        I threw Paula Deen's book away, a can of this and that is not my idea of cooking. Sorry, cream of mushroom soup soes not belong in stroganoff.

        1. re: Candy

          Excellent picks! I can't say enough good things about Marion Brown's Southern Cookbook. It really captures everyday, traditional Southern Chow to it's highest point. Many recipes look deceptively simple. It is one of the few cook books I own that I actually have used to cook from. Most are more for inspiration.

          1. re: meatn3

            I cut my cooking teeth on that book. It was our family bible. I have 3 copies and also her book on pickles and preserves.

      2. A Love Affair with Southern Cooking by Jean Anderson. Other than a couple of odd missteps in the glossary(one entry says baby back ribs are spare ribs from a young pig and another entry says poke[no poke recipe in the book which is fine by me because I was always disgusted by the stuff] is cooked like turnip greens--surprising errors for someone with as much cooking experience as Jean Anderson which makes me wonder if someone else wrote the glossary) and the lack of a fried okra recipe(which I think reflects Anderson's dislike of okra), the book is first-rate. I think it's better than the other recent acclaimed southern cookbooks--Villas', Lee Brothers' and certainly better than Paula Deen's.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Chimayo Joe

          I wasn't quite accurate about there not being a fried okra recipe in A Love Affair with Southern Cooking. There's a recipe for okra cakes(okra sliced extremely thin[1/8" cut], mixed with flour and a little water until it clumps together, and fried), and there's a recipe for okra & green tomato fritters.

          No recipe for the way I grew up eating it though--sliced about 3/8" thick, dredged in cornmeal or flour then fried--could be that Anderson just considered that method simple enough that no recipe was needed for the book.

        2. I, too, was going to recommend a Junior League cookbooks or Southern Living magazine's annual cookbook (probably the easiest for you to find, I would suspect, and you will have 30 years to choose from! http://www.oxmoorhouse.com/category/b...

          )

          Junior League of Charlotte, NC is "Dining by Fireflies"
          Junior League of Charleston, SC is "Charleston Receipts"
          Junior League of Savannah, GA is "Savannah Style"

          (I have all three, and the Charleston one is my very favorite... there is a lot of history in it, as well as some recipes I have made numerous times over the years. However, I love the other two as well!)

          1 Reply
          1. re: Tehama

            Charleston Receipts is wonderful. I use it quite often.

          2. The old classic is Mrs. S.R. Dull's "Southern Cooking," long out of print but very easy to find, and shouldn't be at all expensive. "Southern Food" by John Egerton is not a cookbook per se, but an excellent historical and regional overview with lots of classic recipes. "New Southern Cooking" by Nathalie Dupree (or ANYTHING by Nathalie Dupree!) is just wonderful, as is "The New Southern Basics" by Nashville chef/restaurateur Martha Stamps. I do like James Villas's book a whole lot, too.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Will Owen

              Update: I've recently gotten two books by Nathalie Dupree that were profoundly disappointing - quick'n'easy I-hate-to-cook stuff that she obviously wrote to pay the rent. Sorry to see that. Get "New Southern Cooking" and let it go at that...