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10 Southern Cookbooks Worth a Read

  • Apple, Cranberry and Pecan Galette

    Photo Credit: Patrick Haegeny

    Chef Jennifer Hill Booker

Southern cooking has made a resurgence and is being celebrated as one of the first American cuisines. With so many delicious dishes to choose from and so many talented cooks to cook them, it doesn't come as any surprise.

Here is a list of 10 Southern cookbooks worth a read — many of which are written by our very own Georgia chefs and food experts. You'll find recipes for everything from collard green salad and smoked pork butts to lemon pie and Coca-Cola cake, with how-to tips, glossy photos and Southern wisdom peppered throughout.

Dinner Déjà vu: Southern Tonight, French Tomorrow by Jennifer Hill Booker

Southern-born Jennifer Hill Booker traveled to Paris to study French cooking at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts only to realize that rustic French and Southern dishes use many of the same ingredients. Using this as the basis for culinary exploration in her second cookbook, the author of "Field Peas to Foie Gras" uses one list of fresh ingredients to create two meals, one Southern and one French. Combined grocery lists provide time-saving tools for recipes from cocktails like Southern Sweet Tea Cocktail to desserts like Profiteroles with Brandied Cherry Sauce and everything in between, drawing on the strengths of both regions.

Sunday Suppers: Simple, Delicious Menus for Family Gathering by Cynthia Graubart  

The key to supper is that it brings family and friends together over food that has been prepared with care and many times from cherished family recipes. Organized in five distinct chapters, "Sunday Suppers" is designed to help you create delicious meals without too much muss and fuss. More than 50 easy-to-make main dishes are perfectly paired with appetizers or salads, sides, drinks and desserts.

My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India into a Southern Kitchen by Asha Gomez

Her singular recipes are rooted in 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. Here she shares more than 125 recipes, including Black Chop and Three Spice Carrot Cake.

The Beach House Cookbook: Easy Breezy Recipes with a Southern Accent by Mary Kay Andrews

You don't have to own a beach house to enjoy Mary Kay Andrews' recipes. All you need is an appetite for delicious, casual dishes cooked with the best fresh, local ingredients and presented with flair. From an early spring dinner of cherry balsamic-glazed lamb chops and bacon-kissed green beans, to Fourth of July buttermilk-brined fried chicken, this cookbook will supply ideas for menus and recipes designed to put you in a permanently carefree coastal state of mind.

Southern Pies: A Gracious Plenty of Pie Recipes, From Lemon Chess to Chocolate Pecan by Nancie McDermott

This cookbook is ideal for anyone interested in making old-fashioned Southern pies and have an interest in the tradition and heritage behind pie making. All of the classics are covered here, like pecan, lemon and chess pie, as well as a chapter devoted to pie crust — perfect for novice bakers that suffer from pie crust anxiety.

The Southerner's Cookbook: Recipe, Wisdom and Stories by the authors of Garden & Gun

From the creators of Garden & Gun Magazine comes an heirloom-quality guide to the traditions and innovations that define today's Southern food culture, with more than 100 recipes from well-loved classics like biscuits and fried chicken to uniquely regional dishes such as sonker and Minorcan chowder. Every recipe in this cookbook tells a story about Southern food and its origins, with contributions from some of the South's finest chefs, a glossary of cooking terms, and essays from many of the magazine's most beloved writers.

The Gift of Southern Cooking: Recipes and Revelations from Two Great American Cooks by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock

This American classic represents two different styles of Southern cooking: Miss Lewis's Virginia country cooking and dishes from Scott Peacock's style, liberally seasoned with Native American, Caribbean and African influences. This cookbook includes 22 seasonal menus, from A Spring Country Breakfast for a Late Sunday Morning to An Alabama Thanksgiving, to show you how to mix and match dishes for a true Southern table.

A Real Southern Cook: In Her Savannah Kitchen by Dora Charles and Fran McCullough

These are the intensely satisfying dishes at the heart of Dora's beloved Savannah: Shrimp and Rice; Simple Smoky Okra; Buttermilk Cornbread from her grandmother; and of course, a truly incomparable Fried Chicken. Each dish has a "secret ingredient" for a burst of flavor: mayonnaise in the biscuits; Savannah Seasoning in her Gone to Glory Potato Salad; sugar-glazed bacon in her deviled eggs. All the cornerstones of the Southern table are here.

The Southern Slow Cooker Bible: 365 Easy and Delicious Down-Home Recipes by Tammy Algood and Thomas Nelson

Here's a cookbook that serves up 365 recipes (one for each day of the year) that let you effortlessly pair the flavors of the South with the convenience of slow cooking. Algood covers all the favorites, including whole chapters devoted to Southern mainstays such as grits, macaroni and cheese, stuffed peppers and pulled pork. You'll find yourself returning to this collection over and over again.

South's Best Butts: Pitmaster Secrets for Southern Barbecue Perfection by Matt Moore

Lovers of barbecue get a sneak peek into the kitchens and smokehouses of a handful of the Barbecue Belt's most revered pitmasters. Uncovered are the tried-and-true techniques gleaned over hours, days, and years toiling by fire and spit, coaxing meltingly tender perfection from the humble pig — the foundation of Southern barbecue. More than a book of recipes, it explores how the marriage of meat, cooking method, and sauce varies from place to place based on history and culture, climate, available ingredients and wood, and always the closely guarded, passed-down secrets followed like scripture.

BONUS: For those of you looking for a little Southern history with your dinner.

The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South by John T. Edge

Here is a people's history of the modern South, told through its food. Beginning with the pivotal role cooks and waiters played in the civil rights movement, noted authority John T. Edge narrates the South's fitful journey from a hive of racism to a hotbed of American immigration. He shows why working-class Southern food has become a vital driver of contemporary American cuisine.

Jennifer Hill Booker

Chef Jennifer Hill Booker wears many hats in the culinary world, as a Le Cordon Blue-Paris certified chef, cookbook author, reality TV personality, culinary educator and business owner. She is a Georgia Grown Executive Chef for the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the Culinary Explorer for ExploreGeorgia.org, the founder of Southern Divas of the New South™ Dinner Series, and currently sits on the James Beard Foundation Food Waste Advisory Council. Chef Jennifer is a member of the 2018 No Kid Hungry Atlanta Society as well as a member of the 2018 AF&WF Advisory Council.