Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 57.
- Review Date: 2006-09-04
- Reviewer: Staff
With respect for the past and an enlightened, modern sensibility, the Lee brothers roll up their sleeves and get elbow-deep in Southern cooking in all its sugary, fried goodness. The authors grew up in Charleston, S.C., where they developed a love for boiled peanuts, shrimp and grits, and she-crab soup. Now New Yorkers (and co-proprietors of a mail-order source for Southern pantry staples), the brothers are aware that certain Southern foods have quite a reputation elsewhere in the country ("grits run a close second to lard as the longest-running joke about southern food, perceived by the uninitiated to be a curiosity rather than what they are: a pillar of southern cooking"). As a result, their approach to the cuisine is steeped in research and never snobby. Many recipes are coded "quick knockout," meaning they use just a few ingredients and can be prepared relatively quickly (Fried Oysters, Shrimp Burgers). More involved recipes (Lady Baltimore Cake; Kentucky Burgoo, a meat stew) come with fascinating asides on their origins. Classy, matter-of-fact and welcoming, this volume deserves a permanent place on cooks' shelves by day and on bedside tables by night, as a browsable primer on a world and its food. Photos, line drawings. (Oct.)
Southern comfort food
Culinary life for Matt and Ted Lee started with a homesick hankering for the boiled peanuts of their Charleston boyhood. That ultimately led to the Lee Bros. Boiled Peanut Catalog (a gourmet grab-bag for desperate, expatriate Southerners), trips throughout the Southeast foraging for artisanal food, and writing about the food, the people and recipes they encountered. The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook is the charmingly written outcome of all that, with more than 200 recipes celebrating Southern cuisine. These good brothers manage to serve both newcomers to and epicures of regional Southern cooking. You'll find the standards and the creatively unusual, along with recipe riffs on grits, collards, soul-warming stews, pickles, preserves, pies and more.