The most recent cookbook I was sent to review has turned out to be one of my all-time favorites. The Southern Bite Cookbook: 150 Irresistible Dishes from 4 Generations of My Family’s Kitchen by Stacey Little is the next cookbook you’ll want to buy.
Trust me. This one’s everything you want in a cookbook – from recipes you’ll actually make (as in time and time again) to ingredients you often have on hand, The Southern Bite Cookbook will become your constant companion in the kitchen.
From the Inside Cover:
In the South, a conversation among home cooks can be just about as illuminating as any culinary education. Luckily for Stacey Little, home cooks run in the family.
Whether it’s fried chicken or pimento cheese, fruit salad or meatloaf, everybody’s family does it a little differently. The Southern Bite is a celebration of those traditions and recipes every Southern family is proud to own. It’s the Pecan Chicken Salad that’s mandatory for every family reunion and the hearty Goulash, so comforting after a long day. It’s the Glazed Ham that makes its way to the Easter table every year.
If you’re lucky enough to hail from the South, you’ll no doubt find some familiar favorites from your own family recipe archives, along with a whole slew of surprises from Southern families a lot like yours! There’s Turnip Green Dip for your next party, Chicken Corn Chowder for those chilly fall nights, and Cornbread Salad for when you really need to make an impression.
No matter what’s cooking, Little’s goal is the same: to revel in the culinary tradition all Southerners share. These are the recipes that bring us together and the meals our families will cherish for generations to come.
My favorite cookbooks are the ones where the author’s personality comes shining through. When reading the pages FEELS like you’re sitting around the table chewing the fat with the author as opposed to reading someone’s words you’ve never met. The Southern Bite Cookbook is a perfect, perfect, perfect example of this kind of cookbook.
- No pretenses.
- No fancy airs.
- No “This dish would be better with the tears of an actual woodland fairy, but if – you poor shmuck – you don’t have fairies in your deprived area of the world , you could get away with using chicken broth.”
Who is Stacey Little? Well, to start with, as the back cover says, “Stacey Little gives Southerners a good name.” Stacey is an Alabama boy (just like my youngest son-in-law) with a popular food blog (Southern Bite). He lives with his beautiful wife, ridiculously adorable son, two dogs, and a collection of cast iron skillets in central Alabama.
The most important thing you need to know about Stacey, however, is that the boy knows good food. If we’re lucky, he’ll give us many more cookbooks over the coming years…. I’d buy them all.
The Southern Bite Cookbook: 150 Irresistible Dishes from 4 Generations of My Family’s Kitchen includes many of Stacey’s warm and wonderful stories about growing up in the South. As a Southerner (Kentucky), myself, the stories resonate with the area I love so much. Southern hospitality, the value placed on family, the faith in a wonderful God above, and the love of great food pretty much define the South and this cookbook is a beautiful homage to the definition.
From the Introduction:
I’ve found that the kitchen holds a sense of comfort for me like no other place. Some of my earliest memories are sitting on the floor of my grandparents’ kitchen, pulling out all of my grandmother’s pots, pans, bowls, and spoons, and cooking up a storm. The kitchen is my place to be. I never grow tired of the comfort it provides me.
Review Continued below the picture.
When I read these words (a tiny part of a wonderful Introduction), I thought, “He gets it. He just gets it.”
I’d think these same words over and over and over again throughout the book.
In addition to the stories and fantastic recipes, you’ll find plenty of beautiful pictures throughout the book.
As much as I love the “visits” with Stacey and as beautiful as the pictures are, the most important thing about any cookbook is the recipes. When reviewing a cookbook, I kind of keep an eye out for a few things in particular:
- Are the recipes easy enough for a beginner?
- Are the steps clearly defined?
- Are the ingredients readily available (not everyone has access to woodland fairies and, when available, some are simply too happy to cry – been my experience)
- When appropriate, is there a wide variety of food and recipes included?
- Do the recipes look/sound like they’d be tasty?
- Are many of the recipes original ideas – as in recipes that make you say, “Mmmmm, I never thought of that!“
- Are they recipes the reader would use again and again and again?
The Southern Bite Cookbook: 150 Irresistible Dishes from 4 Generations of My Family’s Kitchen (Amazon link) gets Straight A-pluses on my report card…. plus a raving, gushing “note” on the back.
Below are just some of the recipes included:
- Bacon and Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
- Dill Pickle Dip
- Succotash (with bacon, bell peppers, Lima beans, Okra…)
- Chicken Spaghetti
- Southern Cornbread Dressing
- Turkey Brine
- Collard Greens with Ham Hocks
- Spicy Black-Eyed Peas
- Bacon Fried Rice
- Brunswick Stew
- Butter Beans with Bacon
- Green Beans Braised with Onions
- Slow Cooker Beef Stew
- Fried Green Tomatoes with Remoulade
- Ambrosia Fruit Salad
- Pound Cake
- Old-Fashioned Skillet Cake
- Lemon Icebox Pie
- Apple Dumplings
- Crusty Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Okay, there are TONS more, but I have to stop. I’m legitimately getting too hungry to concentrate.
I don’t want to keep you for another minute – I desperately want you to head over to Amazon and grab your own copy right away. The cookbook is also available for Kindle…. either way time with Stacey is time well – and deliciously – spent.