The Gift of Southern Cooking

The Gift of Southern Cooking

Recipes and Revelations From Two Great American Cooks

By Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock

Review from Jessica's Biscuit/

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Edna Lewis--whose "The Taste of Country Cooking" has become and American classic--and Alabama-born chef Scott Peacock pool their unusual cooking talents to give us this unique cookbook. What makes it so special is that it represents different styles of Southern cooking -- Miss Lewis's Virginia country cooking and Scott Peacock's inventive and sensitive blending of new tastes with the Alabama foods he grew up on, liberally seasoned with Native American, Caribbean, and African influences. Together they have taken neglected traditional recipes unearthed in their years of research together on Southern food and worked out new versions that they have made their own.

Every page of this beguiling book bears the unmistakable mark of being written by real, hands-on cooks. Scott Peacock has the gift for translating the love and respect they share for good home cooking with such care and precision that you know, even if you've never tried them before, that the Skillet Cornbread will turn out perfect, the Crab Cakes will be "honestly good," and the four-tiered Lane Cake something spectacular.

Interwoven throughout the book are warm memories of the people and the traditions that shaped these pure-tasting, genuinely American recipes. Above all, the Southern table stands for hospitality, and the authors demonstrate that the way everything is put together -- with the condiments and relishes and preservatives and wealth of vegetables all spread out on the table -- is what makes the meal uniquely Southern. Every occasion is celebrated, and at the back of the book there are twenty-two seasonal menus, from A Spring Country Breakfast for a Late Sunday Morning and A Summer Dinner of Big Flavors to An Alabama Thanksgiving and A Hearty Dinner for a Cold Winter Night, to show you how to mix and match dishes for a true Southern table.

Chef Edna Lewis was born in Freetown, Virginia and now resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the coveted Grande Dame by Les Dames d'Escoffier International (among previous recipients are Julia Child and Marion Cunningham). Recently, in presenting Ms. Lewis a Southern Achievers Award, the Center for the Study of the American South observed, "No one has done more than Edna Lewis to give people access to authentic foodways of the South." Ms. Lewis helped create the Society for the Revival and Preservation of Southern Food and is the author of "In Pursuit of Flavor," "The Taste of Country Cooking," and "The Edna Lewis Cookbook."

Scott Peacock, founding chef of Atlanta's Horseradish Grill and now chef of the acclaimed Watershed Restaurant, began appearing as a co-chef with Edna Lewis in the early 1990's, inspiring food writers to dub them "The Odd Couple of Southern Cooking."

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