If you’re wondering why I have yet to skewer anyone in the Home Ec 101 Cookbook Reviews, you may want to check out my cookbook review policy. I will be supplementing the books I receive from PR companies with those I purchase on my own.
I’ve lived outside of Charleston, SC almost all of my life. I will never be a binya, I will always be a comya, not matter how much I love the town, the people, and most of all the food. I’ll live with it. Southern Living has been a staple in my life, ever since I’ve been old enough to notice there were magazines in waiting rooms. All of that said, I’m not going to start serving white rice on Thanksgiving, because white rice is an everyday dish, not a special one, Mr. Carnell.
I was sent a review copy of the 928 page Southern Living: 1001 Ways to Cook Southern. That’s a lot of recipes, my friends. I suppose when you write a book and include 1001 recipes, there is a chance you’re going to push the definition of any cuisine.
A few non-Southern recipes caught my eye as I was flipping through, specifically spaghetti with meatballs and fish tacos -putting Cajun seasoning on something doesn’t make it Southern anymore than a cat having kittens in the oven makes them biscuits. I may be way off base, but I have always associated fish tacos with the West Coast. Truly Southern or tangentially so, there are a lot of excellent recipes in the cook book.
Side note – they have my favorite shrimp and grits recipe from The Hominy Grill, one of my favorite Charleston restaurants. I’ve been going there since they first opened in 1996.
I like that the editors attempt to explain some of our intra-regional debates about recipes like how should coleslaw be made? What’s the story behind sweet tea? There are explanations of what to expect with bbq when you’re in Texas vs when eating in North Carolina. However, I didn’t see any mention of macaroni and cheese. Well, they had a macaroni and pimento cheese, but that’s not really the same thing.
The pictures are gorgeous. – The fried chicken recipe did have me chuckling. I have never seen a pan that clean after frying a batch of chicken. Still, the recipe is sound and it reminds me, it’s just about time to make fried chicken again.
Who is this written for?
I’d recommend it to new cooks looking to expand their repertoire. There are a lot of solid, basic recipes that don’t require a ton of effort. The Southern Living test kitchen offers lots of advice throughout the book.
Who is this not written for?
Don’t buy it as a gift for your soon-to-be-in-laws, if they are from anywhere below the Mason Dixon or east of Albuquerque, unless you know they don’t have solid opinions on Southern Cuisine. It just might be seen as patronizing.
Is it a particularly healthy cookbook? No, not so much, but they do offer some lighter recipes.
Check the margins for annotations like “For kids’ “Casual Gatherings” and “Southern Lights.”
Do I find Southern Living’s 1001 Ways to Cook Southern a good value? Yes, despite our slight disagreement over what constitutes Southern Cuisine, I would still spend the $23.07 on Amazon, as it has the potential to liven up my menu for many months.
Would you like your own copy of 1001 Ways to Cook Southern? Good. I’m passing along my review copy to one lucky reader. This giveaway will run through December 26, 2010 @ 9pm Eastern. This giveaway is open to readers in the United States – it’s a heavy book.
You have three ways to enter this giveaway. Each reader is limited to one entry of each type:
- A plain, old-fashioned how ya doin style comment. Just tell me how excited you are to enter.
- A comment with a link to a tweet on Twitter sharing this post.
- A comment with link to a blog post or Facebook entry referencing this post. (just copy the url of the timestamp for Facebook)
Can’t wait to win and want to send it as a gift? Go ahead and order 1001 Ways to Cook Southern through Amazon, you could get it in time for Christmas, if you hurry.
The winner will be announced on the Home Ec 101 Facebook page on Sunday evening. The winner will also be notified via email by Monday morning.