The Book Lady shares her recommendations for the most delectable Southern reads this holiday season.
With recipes and seasonal eats galore, Joni Saxon-Giusti, owner of The Book Lady Bookstore, shares her recommendations for the most delectable Southern reads this holiday season—because what she says holds absolutely true: We Southerners are obsessed with cooking this time of year.
The days of heavy laden dining room tables and scraped-clean plates are here, and the hordes of hungry relatives filling our kitchens, chairs and lives will be arriving soon. With the ever-present need for new tastes, home-grown eats and menus for your Southern table, try these cookbooks for renewed inspiration.
Topping the list is one that perfectly embodies the New South kitchen: a fusion of classics and influences from cuisines from around the world brought to us by talented chefs who have fallen in love with the South and made it their home. Atlanta-based chef Asha Gomez, the owner of Spice To Table and the sorely-missed Cardamom Hill, described her upcoming cookbook My Two Souths this way: “The book is my story of the two Souths I’ve called home: the Indian South and the American South. It’s about my evolution as a person, a home cook and a chef.“ In recipes such as Black Cardamom Smothered Pork Chop, Vivid Tomato and Cheese Pie, Kerala Fried Chicken and Waffles, Three Spice Carrot Cake (there are more than 125 to choose from), Gomez shares her love of Deep-South cooking as well as the Southern Indian flavors of her childhood home. These “Two Souths” that are close to her heart are thousands of miles apart, yet share similarities in traditions, seasonings and, most importantly, an abiding appreciation of food as both celebration and comfort.
And as you dig out all your family recipes for holiday cooking, add these to you inspiration stack:
Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor, Vibration Cooking: The Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl, University of Georgia Press edition, 2011: Smart-Grosvenor, a South Carolina native who was a James Beard Award winner, regular NPR contributor, and recently passed away, will be the subject of a 2017 documentary by Julie Dash.
Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart, Southern Biscuits, Gibbs Smith, 2011: Need I say more?!
Ella Brennan and Ti Martin, Miss Ella of Commander’s Palace, Gibbs Smith, 2016: a fiery memoir from the legendary New Orleans restaurateur.
Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, Hungry Is a Mighty Fine Sauce Cookbook: Recipes and Ramblings from the Belle of All Things Southern, Shiloh Run Press, October 2016: Example 1: inviting your funny Aunt Josephine to come over and help cook for Thanksgiving!
Dig in for these good eats and take a chance on your holiday menu—these just might become your new seasonal favorites!