Sunday, March 6, 2011

Review: Southern Plate

Summary: My name is Christy Jordan and I like to feed people.

I come from a long line of Southern cooks who taught me home cooking is best, life is good, and there is always something to be grateful for. I created Southern Plate so that I could share the recipes and stories that have been passed down through my family for more than nine generations.

You won't find fancy food or new-fangled recipes in this cookbook—just easy, no-fuss Southern favorites such as Chicken and Dumplings, Homemade Banana Pudding, Aunt Looney's Macaroni Salad, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Daddy's Rise-and-Shine Biscuits. (I want to make one thing as clear as possible: How your mama made it is the right way! I'm going to bring it to you how my mama made it, which is the only right way for me.) 

These stories and recipes come from my heart. They are a gift from my ancestors, but the ability to have them heard is a gift from you. Take a seat at the Southern Plate table; you're with family now.-- Wm Morrow

Despite spending my entire adult life living in the North, there is still a small part of me that considers myself a Southerner. I love the South and especially so many of the foods that I associate from my childhood. So it should come as no surprise that I wanted to take a peek at the new cookbook SOUTHERN PLATE: CLASSIC COMFORT FOOD THAT MAKES EVERYONE FEEL LIKE A FAMILY by Christy Jordan. (Plus, this cookbook was one of the OKRA selections so it counts for that challenge too!)

I really enjoyed SOUTHERN PLATE -- both the recipes and Ms. Jordan's stories about her family. If fact, this cookbook kind of reminded me of one of those "Best of... or Family Favorites" cookbooks. All of the recipes were extremely easy-to-make and many were ones that I recognized as being handed down through my family. I just loved that this cookbook seemed so familiar to me -- it gave me the warm fuzzies!

I think one of the reasons that I appreciated this cookbook so much was how it stressed the importance of family and sharing recipes. Both of these topics are near and dear to my heart. A few years ago, I compiled a family cookbook. I collected recipes from my grandmother's eleven brothers and sisters, their children, and even their grandchildren. It is one of my favorite cookbooks because the recipes are delicious, and of course, I can't put a price on the sentimental value. SOUTHERN COMFORT kind of reminded me of a family cookbook, and I think that's the real beauty of it.

Having said that, I thought the presentation of SOUTHERN COMFORT was spectacular. I can barely look through this book without getting hungry -- the photographs are just beautiful! I also enjoyed reading Ms. Jordan's thoughts about these recipes. Usually I don't really appreciated all of the stories in cookbooks, but for some reason, Ms. Jordan's really touched my heart.

The cookbook is divided into, what I think, are pretty unusual chapters. Instead of being divided by course, the chapters are: Summer Days and Family Reunions, The Cooler Days of Fall, Christmas, Spring, and Family Favorites. Most of the recipes are extremely easy, but I have to warn you, they are not low in calories or fat. Remember, this is a Southern cookbook of comfort foods!

As I mentioned before, there were many recipes that have become family favorites in my family including Butterfinger cake, Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole, Strawberry Pretzel Salad, Melt-in-your-Mouth Doughnuts, and Watergate Salad. Despite already having quite a few of the recipes in my recipe box, there were still plenty of ones that I want to try (darn this diet!) The dessert recipes definitely held the most appeal to me (but that might be because I'm on a diet.) I will be trying one of the pies or cakes from this cookbook for my next book club meeting.

Another aspect of this cookbook that caught my eye was the Christmas section. I tend to go all out for the holidays and there were loads of neat ideas for entertaining like a green velvet cake, microwave divinity, and bonbons. There were also some great mix-in-a-jar recipes for gift giving including chocolate chip pie mix, hot chocolate mix, fruit crisp mix, and chocolate gravy mix.

I had the best time looking through SOUTHERN PLATE! All of the recipes aren't necessarily original or incredibly unique, but they are guaranteed to be crowd pleasers!

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book.

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Sandy Nawrot said...

Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole? Oh man! And here I'm feeling fat and needing to diet! Still, I do consider myself an adopted Southerner, since I've lived down here for almost 20 years. I'm going to see if my library has this book, much to the unfortunate state of my weight.

Karlie said...

Microwave divinity?? We will have to make it this year for Christmas!

bermudaonion said...

I actually got to meet Christy Jordan and SIBA last year and boy, is she Southern! She is sweet, humble, gracious and thankful and I think all of that comes through in her cookbook.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

These recipes sound great, especially melt-in-your-mouth donuts (for the record, I do that the cheating way, by putting bought donuts in the microwave!). And I love recipes for gifts in a jar - I think those are great gifts to give!

Rebecca Rasmussen said...

Oh this sounds like a wonderful cookbook, but also a dangerous one. I guess I'll have to add more miles to my runs if I am going to make all of these recipes. I am completely jealous of my husband who has an extraordinary metabolism!


Beth F said...

This does sound fabulous. I've made those cookies in a jar mixes for gifts before and they always go over big.

I love the way the cookbook is organized. I'm going to have to look for this.

Peaceful Reader said...

Southern cooks just use the best ingredients-not necessarily good for you-but delicious! Thanks for sharing!

Jenn's Bookshelves said...

I requested this one from the library! I, too, consider myself a southerner although I've lived most of my life in the north. I can't wait to get my hands on this book & start trying out the recipies!

Esme said...

This must be the week for reviewing Southern Cookbooks-I just reviewed one.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Yum! My favorite recipes are those "tried and true" family specialties that have been passed from hand to hand. The author's family stories are as much as part of the book as the recipes are.

Swapna said...

Presentation is so important to me in a cookbook. I definitely need to take a closer look at this one.