More than a cookbook, this is the story of how a little girl, born in the South of Yankee parents, fell in love with southern cooking at the age of five. And a bite of brown sugar pie was all it took.
"I shamelessly wangled supper invitations from my playmates," Anderson admits. "But I was on a voyage of discovery, and back then iron-skillet corn bread seemed more exotic than my mom's Boston brown bread and yellow squash pudding more appealing than mashed parsnips."
After college up north, Anderson worked in rural North Carolina as an assistant home demonstration agent, scarfing good country cooking seven days a week: crispy "battered" chicken, salt-rising bread, wild persimmon pudding, Jerusalem artichoke pickles, Japanese fruitcake. Later, as a New York City magazine editor, then a freelancer, Anderson covered the South, interviewing cooks and chefs, sampling local specialties, and scribbling notebooks full of recipes.
Now, at long last, Anderson shares her lifelong exploration of the South's culinary heritage and not only introduces the characters she met en route but also those men and women who helped shape America's most distinctive regional cuisine people like Thomas Jefferson, Mary Randolph, George Washington Carver, Eugenia Duke, and Colonel Harlan Sanders.
Anderson gives us the backstories on such beloved Southern brands as Pepsi-Cola, Jack Daniel's, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, MoonPies, Maxwell House coffee, White Lily flour, and Tabasco sauce. She builds a time line of important southern food firsts from Ponce de Leon's reconnaissance in the "Island of Florida" (1513) to the reactivation of George Washington's still at Mount Vernon (2007). For those who don't know a Chincoteague from a chinquapin, she adds a glossary of southern food terms and in a handy address book lists the best sources for stone-ground grits, country ham, sweet sorghum, boiled peanuts, and other hard-to-find southern foods.
Recipes? There are two hundred classic and contemporary, plain and fancy, familiar and unfamiliar, many appearing here for the first time. Each recipe carries a headnote to introduce the cook whence it came, occasionally to share snippets of lore or back-stairs gossip, and often to explain such colorful recipe names as Pine Bark Stew, Chicken Bog, and Surry County Sonker.
Add them all up and what have you got? One lip-smackin' southern feast
A Love Affair with Southern Cooking is the winner of the 2008 James Beard Foundation Book Award, in the Americana category.
Recipe after delicious recipe will have y’all gathering round the table to celebrate the South’s rich culinary heritage.
-Ben and Karen Barker, authors of Not Afraid of Flavor: Recipes from Magnolia Grill
A fascinating journey through the rich, complex history of southern foodways. Southern Cooking is a classic.
[A] charmingly intimate, authoritative, and deeply soul-moving tribute to the peerless cookery of our beloved South.
-James Villas, author of THE GLORY OF SOUTHERN COOKING and MY MOTHER'S SOUTHERN COOKING
Jean Anderson’s splendid, entertaining and most useful new book is her truly essential volume to all who enjoy southern cooking.
-William C. Friday, President Emeritus, University of North CarolinaWilliam C. Friday, President Emeritus, University of North CarolinaWilliam C. Friday, President Emeritus, University of North CarolinaWilliam C. Friday, President Emeritus, Universit
Her Love Affair with Southern Cooking will have you falling in love, too--and running for your kitchen.”
-Damon Lee Fowler, author of Classical Southern Cooking
A tome that will win over workaday cooks and budding food scholars alike.
-John T. Edge, author of Southern Belly: the Ultimate Food Lover's Companion to the South
Superb...comes as close as I can imagine toward providing a detailed guide for the recreation of an ancient cuisine.
-Reynolds Price, author of Kate Vaiden
“Fun to read, with nuggets of lore packed into every page. . . . A Love Affair with Southern Cooking is that rarity, a book that’s as good to read as it is to cook from.”
-Weight Watchers Magazine
“Readers, whether from the South or not, will love the warmly written and carefully researched A Love Affair with Southern Cooking. . . . The 434-page book includes 200 classic and contempoarary recipes, plus anecdotes and personal reminiscences, all smartly told.” (4 stars -- Outstanding)
-Baton Rouge Advocate
A New York Times Best Book of 2007 -- “This treasurable book is plentifully studded with capsule essays (on the likes of Duke’s mayonnaise or RC Cola) and mini-profiles (Mary Randolph, George Washington Carver) as well as a running timeline of historical tidbits.”
-New York Times
“[Jean Anderson] has turned her genius to southern cooking and presents us with a classic that will live in southern homes forever and in all American homes that revere great food.”