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Southern Cuisine- Fact and Fiction

With all of the commentary on the news lately about Paula Deen, diabetes and her perceived lack of candor, I feel like once again a negative light has been shone onto southern cooking. 


For those of you who think that all southern cooking is about mayonnaise, grease, deep frying and fat, it's time to take a look at the real southern cuisine.


As with any style of cooking, you will find people who indulge in stereotypes. For example, quasi Italian restaurants that use far too much garlic and put everything in a tomato sauce or Chinese restaurants who promote Chinese cuisine as sweet and sour everything. This is inaccurate and it's sad, because it degenerates these fine cuisines. 


To this end, I wanted to share some of my favorite southern cookbooks and encourage you to take another look. If you want to know about real southern food, well simply put, it's about utilizing the local produce and finding what is at the peak of freshness and preparing it in a non fussy manner and it is all about the family. What could be better than that?


The Lee Brothers- Southern Cookbook by Matt and Ted Lee
This is a primer of fantastic recipes, great stories and nuts and bolt basics, which will change the way you think about southern cuisine. As a winner of the James Beard Foundation Cookbook of the Year, it is a must have. How about Flounder with Granny Smith Apples and Green Tomato Pan Gravy?


Screen Doors and Sweet Tea by Martha Hall Foose
This book was a revelation to me, because it took so many of my favorites and gave them a unique twist and introduced me to so many interesting and tasty combinations, from Watermelon Salsa to Curried Sweet Potato Soup and Corn and Red Pepper Pudding.  I can't say enough about how good this cookbook is. It's a fun read with wonderful stories, unpretentious and literally makes your mouth water.


A Gracious Plenty- Recipes and Recollections from the American South by John T. Edge
A wonderful historical cookbook with great stories, fantastic old black and white pictures and so many recipes, you could cook from this for a year and still not make them all. It has everything from Gumbo to Fried Chicken, Burgoo and a killer Remoulade which is good on most any seafood. Top it off with a Buttermilk Coconut Pie and you should be just fine. Really stunning.

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