Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible: The New Classic Guide to Delicious Dishes with More than 300 Recipes

Paula Deen with Melissa Clark. Simon & Schuster, $26.99 (480p) ISBN 978-1-4165-6407-2
While there are many excellent volumes devoted to Southern cookery, there seems to be no limit to our fascination with down-home eats—and thus, no limit to the market for chicken-fried anything. This omnibus is celebrity Deen's answer to The Joy of Cooking, covering the wide swath of regional favorites from Creole jambalaya to Memphis dry-rub ribs, from Charleston shrimp and grits to the grilled turkey sandwich known as the Kentucky Hot Brown. Written, with Clark, in her trademark colloqu-y'all style with plenty of personal anecdotes and helpful tips, Deen's recipes are approachable and unintimidating. Simplified illustrations throughout demonstrate techniques such as dropping cookies onto a baking sheet, arranging coals on a grill and scoring a ham. Sprinkled in and among the definitive, reliable classics like chicken-fried steaks with cream gravy, and burgoo are some contemporary updates like baked brie with fig jam, praline french toast casserole, and a tortilla-crusted tilapia. Then there are Deen's extra-homey signature specialties like cheeseburger meatloaf with cream of mushroom sauce; maple bacon and hominy; and butterscotch pretzel pie. Although it's not quite as comprehensive as it could be, this is certainly an honorable addition to the field. Photos. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
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