A Southern Cookbook Binge

Photo Apr 22, 8 49 14 AMIt’s a well-established fact that I have an inexplicable love for southern food despite not having any southern heritage at all. So when I walked into the cookbook tent at the Charleston Food Festival, it was a hopeless cause. I was going to walk out with cookbooks. I just didn’t know how many.


The whole tent was full of southern cookbooks. If I could’ve I would have bought 15 of them. I can’t help but be captivated by the beautiful pictures and food stories and delectible recipes. Despite having had several glasses of wine that had been part of my entry ticket, I managed to limit my purchase to 3.

 Photo Apr 22, 8 49 59 AM

Charleston Receipts – The Junior League of Charleston Cookbook – This one surprised me because as I just said above, I like beautiful cookbooks, hardbound withheavy paper stock, interesting fonts, and lots of rich, colorful photography. This cookbook is the antithesis of all aforementioned items. Bound by one of those ancient plastic claws, it has no pictures, basic paper stock and an antiquated, typewriter-esque font. But I adore the culinary history contained within. Some of which I will try to cook, and others, such as Mrs. Allen Pringle’s Calf’s Head Soup, I will simply read.


Photo Apr 22, 8 50 13 AM

Lee Brothers Charleston Kitchen by Matt and Ted Lee. I’m a sucker for cookbooks with great photography. Despite my unfamiliarity with the Lee brothers, I couldn’t resist the beautiful photography or the fact that it, also, was purely about Charleston. After some further investigation at their website, I have realized that I do recognize their photographs, so I must have seen them at one of the many culinary conferences that I’ve attended. They are contributing editors for Travel + Leisure, and write for Bon Apetit, The New York Times, and Food and wine. (So I suppose I may have seen pictures there.)

This book celebrates the foods of their native Charleston, telling their history through rich stories that accompany the gorgeous pictures. If the visuals weren’t enticing enough, I’m so captivated by the rich history that I feel as though I can better understand small part of it by cooking these recipes.


back in the day


The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl & Griffith Day – I had heard about this cookbook about a month or two ago on NPR’s The Splendid Table Podcast. Host Lynn Rosetto Kasper interviewed the book’s authors about their Savannah, GA bakery, Back in the Day, as well as the book and their old school approach to baked goods – recipes from a simpler time when from scratch baking was the norm.

It sounded like a great addition to my cookbook collection, which is suprisingly lacking in dessert cookbooks despite my love of baking. (Primarily because I’ve purged most of them for having inaccurate, insufficiently-tested recipes.)  I’d been meaning to go to the Splendid Table’s website to look up the book, but just hadn’t gotten around to it.  Since I was listening to the podcast while driving to work, as I usually do, I was half listening and half concentrating on the road, so I missed the point that it was a Southern bakery.

Which would explain why I found it at this book fair. And why I just had to buy it.  The photography is beautiful, and a unique selection of classic recipes. I hope the recipes are as good and dependable as Joanna Chang’s Flour Cookbook, because they look fantastic, and I plan on working my way through the entire book.

There’s going to be a lot more Southern food working its way into my repertoire!

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  1. […] I brought dessert – Joanne Chang’s Banana Bread (Best. Banana bread. Ever.) served with homemade bourbon vanilla ice cream and my bourbon caramel sauce. I found the bourbon ice cream recipe on a another food blog called Ezra Poundcake, and she had adapted it, interestingly enough, from one of the Lee Brother’s Cookbooks, though not the one I bought on my Southern Cookbook Binge. […]

  2. […] the Cheryl and Griffith Dean’s Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook that I’d bought in the Charleston Cookbook binge, and told T to look through it and select what he wanted me to […]

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