Review: Southern Plate by Christy Jordan
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
I am not a cook. I mean, I can cook if I have to, but I'd much rather be reading. Some of you have to relate to that.
Luckily for me, I married a man who loves to cook. So I'll sit around and read or talk to him (i.e., distract him) while he's whipping up something delicious for dinner.
Then I took a job on days while he was still working nights. I knew I was in trouble.
I was going to have to fend for myself in the kitchen. I was appalled. What had I been thinking?
Once the shock wore off, I went looking for a cookbook. Christy Jordan was coming to Malaprops, my local indie, soon and it sounded like I might like her cookbook. It sounded like I might like her. I didn't make it to the event for some reason (I think I was tired from work), but I did pick up the cookbook.
And I regret not going to that signing.
I had never heard of Southern Plate, but I have now signed up on the email list.
My mom isn't really a cook either (she'd rather be reading in the winter or working outside in the summer), but she did learn how to make a few of these dishes when she was growing up. My grandmother is the one most likely to turn out the Southern food, but neither of them can give me a recipe. "Well, just put a little dab in the bowl and then stir it up and pour just a little bit of milk in until it looks right." "Um, when does it look right?" "You'll know." Hmmm. Actually, I don't.
Christy has a lot of my family's old favorites down in a form that I can actually follow. Yay! I'm a picky eater (I'm working on it), so I can't honestly say that I eat a lot of this food, but I have loved what I do eat. Pinto beans (or soup beans as my family calls them), gravy (for biscuits although I haven't gotten brave enough to attempt my own yet). There are lots of pictures, which my husband appreciates (because he likes to look over my shoulder and tell me what I'm doing wrong when I'm cooking), and I love that the book lays flat when I open it. I don't understand a cookbook that I have to hold open. Not very practical when you're as messy as I am.
What I love the most about the book are the family stories that accompany each recipe. She tells us who she got the recipe from, or who loved it, or a memorable occasion when it was served. I loved this glimpse into this Southern family. I am not someone who likes to pore over cookbooks, but I read every family story with every recipe. I felt like I got a good idea about Christy and her family, and I felt like they were people I would like to know.
I do wish that there weren't quite so many desserts included, simply because I do like to bake and already have plenty of dessert recipes. I do like that the cookbook is divided by seasons, although it would have been nice to have that subdivided by course rather than having everything mixed up in any old order within the seasons.
Anyway, I loved this cookbook and recommend it for anyone wanting to try their hand at "down home cooking." Thanks to Christy, I can finally make sweet iced tea!
Find author/cook Christy Jordan on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.
Reviewed for Bermudaonion's Okra Picks Challenge.
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