Edna Lewis--whose The Taste of Country Cooking has become an 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.
Together they share their secrets for such Southern basics as pan-fried
chicken (soak in brine first, then buttermilk, before frying in good
pork fat), creamy grits (cook slowly in milk), and genuine Southern
biscuits, which depend on using soft flour, homemade baking powder, and
fine, fresh lard (and on not twisting the biscuit cutter when you stamp
out the dough). Scott Peacock describes how Miss Lewis makes soup by
coaxing the essence of flavor from vegetables (the She-Crab and Turtle
soups taste so rich they can be served in small portions in demitasse
cups), and he applies the same principle to his intensely flavored,
scrumptious dish of Garlic Braised Shoulder Lamb Chops with Butter
Beans and Tomatoes. You’ll find all these treasures and more
before you even get to the superb cakes (potential “Cakewalk
Winners” all), the hand-cranked ice creams, the flaky pies,
and homey custards and puddings.
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 preserves 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. Here, then, is a
joyful coming together of two extraordinary cooks, sharing their gifts.
And they invite you to join them.
Edna Lewis is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Grande
Dame of Les Dames d’Escoffier International (1999). She is
the author of The Taste of Country Cooking as well as In Pursuit of
Flavor and The Edna Lewis Cookbook. She lives in Decatur, Georgia.
Scott Peacock was born and raised in Alabama. He has served as chef to
two governors of Georgia and at two restaurants, Atlanta’s
Horseradish Grill and, most recently, the highly regarded Watershed in
Decatur, where he lives.
The Gift of Southern Cooking
Recipes and Revelations from Two Great American Cooks
by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock
Knopf (Random House)