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Vivian Howard, star of PBS's A CHEF'S LIFE, celebrates the flavors of North Carolina's coastal plain in more than 200 recipes and stories. This new classic of American country cooking proves that the food of Deep Run, North Carolina--Vivian's home--is as rich as any culinary tradition in the world. Organized by ingredient with dishes suited to every skill level--from beginn Vivian Howard, star of PBS's A CHEF'S LIFE, celebrates the flavors of North Carolina's coastal plain in more than 200 recipes and stories. This new classic of American country cooking proves that the food of Deep Run, North Carolina--Vivian's home--is as rich as any culinary tradition in the world. Organized by ingredient with dishes suited to every skill level--from beginners to confident cooks--DEEP RUN ROOTS features time-honored simple preparations, extraordinary meals from her acclaimed restaurant Chef and the Farmer, and recipes that bring new traditions to life. Home cooks will find photographs for every single recipe. As much a storybook as it is a cookbook, DEEP RUN ROOTS imparts the true tale of Southern food: rooted in family and tradition, yet calling out to the rest of the world. Ten years ago, Vivian opened Chef and the Farmer and put the nearby town of Kinston on the culinary map. But in a town paralyzed by recession, she couldn't hop on every new culinary trend. Instead, she focused on rural development: If you grew it, she'd buy it. Inundated by local sweet potatoes, blueberries, shrimp, pork, and beans, Vivian learned to cook the way generations of Southerners before her had, relying on resourcefulness, creativity, and the old ways of preserving food. DEEP RUN ROOTS is the result of those years of effort to discover the riches of Eastern North Carolina. Like The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, The Art of Simple Food, and The Taste of Country Cooking before it, this is landmark work of American food writing. Recipes include: Family favorites like Blueberry BBQ Chicken, Creamed Collard-Stuffed Potatoes, Fried Yams with Five-Spice Maple Bacon Candy, Chicken and Rice, and Country-Style Pork Ribs in Red Curry-Braised Watermelon, Crowd-pleasers like Butterbean Hummus, Tempura-Fried Okra with Ranch Ice Cream, Pimiento Cheese Grits with Salsa and Pork Rinds, Cool Cucumber Crab Dip, and Oyster Pie, Show-stopping desserts like Warm Banana Pudding, Peaches and Cream Cake, Spreadable Cheesecake, and Pecan-Chewy Pie, And 200 more quick breakfasts, weeknight dinners, holiday centerpieces, seasonal preserves, and traditional preparations for all kinds of cooks. --- Interior photographs by Rex Miller. Jacket photograph by Stacey Van Berkel Photography. Illustrations by Tatsuro Kiuchi.


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Vivian Howard, star of PBS's A CHEF'S LIFE, celebrates the flavors of North Carolina's coastal plain in more than 200 recipes and stories. This new classic of American country cooking proves that the food of Deep Run, North Carolina--Vivian's home--is as rich as any culinary tradition in the world. Organized by ingredient with dishes suited to every skill level--from beginn Vivian Howard, star of PBS's A CHEF'S LIFE, celebrates the flavors of North Carolina's coastal plain in more than 200 recipes and stories. This new classic of American country cooking proves that the food of Deep Run, North Carolina--Vivian's home--is as rich as any culinary tradition in the world. Organized by ingredient with dishes suited to every skill level--from beginners to confident cooks--DEEP RUN ROOTS features time-honored simple preparations, extraordinary meals from her acclaimed restaurant Chef and the Farmer, and recipes that bring new traditions to life. Home cooks will find photographs for every single recipe. As much a storybook as it is a cookbook, DEEP RUN ROOTS imparts the true tale of Southern food: rooted in family and tradition, yet calling out to the rest of the world. Ten years ago, Vivian opened Chef and the Farmer and put the nearby town of Kinston on the culinary map. But in a town paralyzed by recession, she couldn't hop on every new culinary trend. Instead, she focused on rural development: If you grew it, she'd buy it. Inundated by local sweet potatoes, blueberries, shrimp, pork, and beans, Vivian learned to cook the way generations of Southerners before her had, relying on resourcefulness, creativity, and the old ways of preserving food. DEEP RUN ROOTS is the result of those years of effort to discover the riches of Eastern North Carolina. Like The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, The Art of Simple Food, and The Taste of Country Cooking before it, this is landmark work of American food writing. Recipes include: Family favorites like Blueberry BBQ Chicken, Creamed Collard-Stuffed Potatoes, Fried Yams with Five-Spice Maple Bacon Candy, Chicken and Rice, and Country-Style Pork Ribs in Red Curry-Braised Watermelon, Crowd-pleasers like Butterbean Hummus, Tempura-Fried Okra with Ranch Ice Cream, Pimiento Cheese Grits with Salsa and Pork Rinds, Cool Cucumber Crab Dip, and Oyster Pie, Show-stopping desserts like Warm Banana Pudding, Peaches and Cream Cake, Spreadable Cheesecake, and Pecan-Chewy Pie, And 200 more quick breakfasts, weeknight dinners, holiday centerpieces, seasonal preserves, and traditional preparations for all kinds of cooks. --- Interior photographs by Rex Miller. Jacket photograph by Stacey Van Berkel Photography. Illustrations by Tatsuro Kiuchi.

30 review for Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    First-- watch A Chefs Life on PBS. We are big fans. Then, if you love cooking AND story buy this cookbook. It's my favorite and I have looked through hundreds and hundreds that didn't inspire. It is art. First-- watch A Chefs Life on PBS. We are big fans. Then, if you love cooking AND story buy this cookbook. It's my favorite and I have looked through hundreds and hundreds that didn't inspire. It is art.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mischenko

    RTC!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cori

    I love reading cookbooks that have stories sprinkled among the recipes, but there are more than just a few stories here. The author of Deep Run Roots writes of her childhood food memories and shares a ton of food history. If you love Vivian Howard’s public television show, A Chef’s Life, you will love this cookbook. My favorite chapters in her book are Turnips, Pecans, Figs, Tomatoes and Beets. Being a vegetarian, I was happy to see that a great deal of her book is fruit and vegetable-driven.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Julie Durnell

    A very well done cookbook, not too fancy just good farm to table fare with excellent commentary!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    My sister-in-law got this for Christmas and I binge read it. My husband and I have watched A Chef's Life on PBS and always loved Vivian's food style. It always felt like she respected the Southern starting point without going off the foodie deep end. This cookbook did not disappoint in terms of both amazing recipes and bare-all stories of regret. I found myself connecting with a lot of what she said. Particularly about having one foot in the South and one foot in another more cosmopolitan world My sister-in-law got this for Christmas and I binge read it. My husband and I have watched A Chef's Life on PBS and always loved Vivian's food style. It always felt like she respected the Southern starting point without going off the foodie deep end. This cookbook did not disappoint in terms of both amazing recipes and bare-all stories of regret. I found myself connecting with a lot of what she said. Particularly about having one foot in the South and one foot in another more cosmopolitan world and having to make a choice about a heart/soul allegiance. As others have said, the layout of the book is also helpful. It's organized by the main ingredient (corn, cucumbers, etc). This layout is gorgeous! My only criticism is the book is a TOME. Like rather heavy and unwieldy for a cookbook. Might have to take pictures of the recipes and just use my phone or computer :)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kate Cronin

    I adored this cookbook. Love, love loved it. Want to make every single recipe... well maaaybeee not the okra ones...sorry Viv! If you watch her PBS show you will already recognize her family, friends and teachers, and you will recognize how Vivian developed these recipes. The book is structured around ingredients, one per chapter, which is very much in the vein of how Vivian runs her restaruant. The restaurant is The Chef and the Farmer and is in eastern North Carolina, where she works with loca I adored this cookbook. Love, love loved it. Want to make every single recipe... well maaaybeee not the okra ones...sorry Viv! If you watch her PBS show you will already recognize her family, friends and teachers, and you will recognize how Vivian developed these recipes. The book is structured around ingredients, one per chapter, which is very much in the vein of how Vivian runs her restaruant. The restaurant is The Chef and the Farmer and is in eastern North Carolina, where she works with local farmers to elevate local ingredients to allow them to shine and to help farmers make money raising vegetables, not tobacco. Every chapter and every recipe includes Vivian's stories, which, for those who know me, know that this is one of the things I so appreciate in a cookbook. My only grudge...and Ms. Vivian, I know you will understand since you too enjoy reading cookbooks in bed is that this cookbook weighs a TON and is almost impossible to read without something to prop it up on. But if you are at all interested in learning about how roots (both family and terrain) can shape your cooking, this is the cookbook for you! Also, on the very day I finished reading this it won four (!!) awards from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Brava Ms. Howard.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    I would have given this cookbook 5 stars for the recipes alone, which are unique, pretty easy to execute, and tasty as hell. But then Vivian goes the extra mile and writes moving essays to introduce every chapter / ingredient, and I found myself dogearing my favorite passages and underlining the sentences I most wanted to remember. That's the first time I've ever done that in a cookbook! I would have given this cookbook 5 stars for the recipes alone, which are unique, pretty easy to execute, and tasty as hell. But then Vivian goes the extra mile and writes moving essays to introduce every chapter / ingredient, and I found myself dogearing my favorite passages and underlining the sentences I most wanted to remember. That's the first time I've ever done that in a cookbook!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    Read every word of the text and loved it. Feel like I know Vivian so much better and understand her relationship with her parents and siblings. Feel fortunate to have a boss who reminds me of this woman! The recipes are not things I'd make at home, but I've loved eating them at her restaurants. Read every word of the text and loved it. Feel like I know Vivian so much better and understand her relationship with her parents and siblings. Feel fortunate to have a boss who reminds me of this woman! The recipes are not things I'd make at home, but I've loved eating them at her restaurants.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alissa Tan

    Moving writing and drool worthy recipes that are achievable and unpretentious. Vivian's the best! Moving writing and drool worthy recipes that are achievable and unpretentious. Vivian's the best!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I wasn't familiar with Vivian Howard before finding this book, but I love a good Southern cookbook. I liked how she organized the book not by type of recipe, but by the main ingredient - everything from okra to eggs, peaches to pecans. At the beginning of each chapter/ingredient Howard gives a few page introduction to that ingredient from her past or perspective. Howard grew up in the small town of Deep Run, NC and couldn't wait to get OUT. But, eventually she and her husband come back and decid I wasn't familiar with Vivian Howard before finding this book, but I love a good Southern cookbook. I liked how she organized the book not by type of recipe, but by the main ingredient - everything from okra to eggs, peaches to pecans. At the beginning of each chapter/ingredient Howard gives a few page introduction to that ingredient from her past or perspective. Howard grew up in the small town of Deep Run, NC and couldn't wait to get OUT. But, eventually she and her husband come back and decide they want to raise their family there, so they open a restaurant in Kinston, NC. Most of the recipes in the book are ones Howard has created for their restaurant - some old family recipes and some revamped Southern classics. Overall, it's a good cookbook, but it's HUGE, so it was kind of overwhelming to get through. There were a few recipes I'd like to try and I'd also like to check out her episodes of A Chef's Life on PBS.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    I absolutely loved reading Deep Run Roots. It's a glorious combination of memoir, recipes and deep ingredient knowledge. The ingredients in each chapter form a cast of characters as rich in personality as Vivian's friends and family, and almost as rich as Vivian herself. Deep Run Roots has not only inspired me to try cooking the ingredients of Eastern North Carolina, it has inspired me to try growing some of them (the few that will grow in north central British Columbia, mostly collards, turnips I absolutely loved reading Deep Run Roots. It's a glorious combination of memoir, recipes and deep ingredient knowledge. The ingredients in each chapter form a cast of characters as rich in personality as Vivian's friends and family, and almost as rich as Vivian herself. Deep Run Roots has not only inspired me to try cooking the ingredients of Eastern North Carolina, it has inspired me to try growing some of them (the few that will grow in north central British Columbia, mostly collards, turnips, beets and rutabagas, and heirloom tomatoes in the green house). Deep Run Roots is also a beautiful collection of photographs a that showcase the beauty of simple ingredients and the wonders those ingredients can be transformed into using traditional knowledge, imagination and Vivian's chef magic. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    A cookbook organized by ingredient with dishes suited to every skill level and created from her acclaimed restaurant Chef and the Farmer, Deep Run Roots features pure beauty in two hard covers. Each chapter starts with the story of how that ingredient relates to Howard's life and how she has come to love it in her cooking and it's attachment to Eastern North Carolina cuisine. This is simply one of those beautiful things that doesn't come around very often and when it does, it tends to not be app A cookbook organized by ingredient with dishes suited to every skill level and created from her acclaimed restaurant Chef and the Farmer, Deep Run Roots features pure beauty in two hard covers. Each chapter starts with the story of how that ingredient relates to Howard's life and how she has come to love it in her cooking and it's attachment to Eastern North Carolina cuisine. This is simply one of those beautiful things that doesn't come around very often and when it does, it tends to not be appreciated. Please appreciate this storybook and cookbook as much as I do-- Deep Run Roots imparts the true tale of Southern food: rooted in family and tradition, yet calling out to the rest of the world.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Great book with interesting stories. If you like her cooking show, which I do very much, you will love the book. I don't know that I would make an awful lot of these recipes, but the history and the stories really make the book special. Some of the recipes are similar to things my mother made when I was a kid in Tennessee. Brings back memories. All that being said, I think the book is entirely too long. I don't know if she intends this as her one and only cookbook, but I think it could've easily Great book with interesting stories. If you like her cooking show, which I do very much, you will love the book. I don't know that I would make an awful lot of these recipes, but the history and the stories really make the book special. Some of the recipes are similar to things my mother made when I was a kid in Tennessee. Brings back memories. All that being said, I think the book is entirely too long. I don't know if she intends this as her one and only cookbook, but I think it could've easily made two or three different books.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Susan Webb

    I have enjoyed watching Vivian's show on PBS. I was eager to read her cookbook and find out more about her. There were things I read that made me think, wow, how will her parents, her neighbors or friends feel when they read that about themselves or what they do? Still, it was a pretty good read. The Collard Kraut story was interesting, though, I don't think I would have tried it based on the description! Some of the recipes were interesting, but a lot were down right strange. But, it is good to I have enjoyed watching Vivian's show on PBS. I was eager to read her cookbook and find out more about her. There were things I read that made me think, wow, how will her parents, her neighbors or friends feel when they read that about themselves or what they do? Still, it was a pretty good read. The Collard Kraut story was interesting, though, I don't think I would have tried it based on the description! Some of the recipes were interesting, but a lot were down right strange. But, it is good to try new things I suppose. Still want to get to her restaurant one day soon.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I live in Eastern North Carolina a county away from Vivian. I had a hard time getting into this cookbook because Vivian seemed so smug and cold. Frankly, I am surprised that the numerous asides made it through the editing process especially her fear that she would never find servers in Kinston that did not have a drug problem. What does this have to do with a cookbook of local recipes? The author does a horrible job of highlighting the interesting area where she was raised.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Glenn

    Its not so much the recipes (which by themselves are great), its the stories and tales that are attached to the food. All of a sudden I'm fascinated with cookbooks that tell stories about the region, the food and the people connected to a certain cuisine. Up next - Taste of Persia... Its not so much the recipes (which by themselves are great), its the stories and tales that are attached to the food. All of a sudden I'm fascinated with cookbooks that tell stories about the region, the food and the people connected to a certain cuisine. Up next - Taste of Persia...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Karen Baldwin

    Absolutely love this cookbook. I was enamored of the PBS cooking series Vivian did, love her sense of humor, and there are plenty of recipes I can't wait to try. Will start with the sweet potato-onion bread and maybe some butter bean burgers! Absolutely love this cookbook. I was enamored of the PBS cooking series Vivian did, love her sense of humor, and there are plenty of recipes I can't wait to try. Will start with the sweet potato-onion bread and maybe some butter bean burgers!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Farrah

    This is such a great book. There's history, personal anecdotes, and recipes that a month ago I never would have thought about making. If you like Vivian Howard on "A Chef's Life" then I highly recommend this book for you. I could hear her voice in the passages. This is such a great book. There's history, personal anecdotes, and recipes that a month ago I never would have thought about making. If you like Vivian Howard on "A Chef's Life" then I highly recommend this book for you. I could hear her voice in the passages.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    A Christmas present to myself. Long-time fan of the show. I hope to one day partake of a meal at Chef and the Farmer. Until then, this well-crafted book of love and industry will more than do. Thank you Vivian. Thank you Ben.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Palmer

    Did not expect a cookbook to contain such poignant essays! Vivian fully embraces her region, Eastern North Carolina, and her family's place in it. Captivating! Did not expect a cookbook to contain such poignant essays! Vivian fully embraces her region, Eastern North Carolina, and her family's place in it. Captivating!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Megan Meyer

    A fun and informative read. Can't wait to start cooking through the recipes! A fun and informative read. Can't wait to start cooking through the recipes!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    I adored her stories in this cookbook.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Now, this is how all cookbooks should be written! This is not just any cookbook. Sure there are recipes, and lots of them. But what we really liked about the book is the very personal narrative that is included. It turns out that Vivian Howard isn't just a chef. She is also a very gifted writer, giving more than mere glimpses of her childhood, family, and experiences. Even the recipe instructions are interesting to read. And not just for the information, but for the way that Howard's voice can b Now, this is how all cookbooks should be written! This is not just any cookbook. Sure there are recipes, and lots of them. But what we really liked about the book is the very personal narrative that is included. It turns out that Vivian Howard isn't just a chef. She is also a very gifted writer, giving more than mere glimpses of her childhood, family, and experiences. Even the recipe instructions are interesting to read. And not just for the information, but for the way that Howard's voice can be heard. It's as if she is right there in the room, walking you through the method.   Eastern North Carolina is my Tuscany, my Szechuan, my Provence. [...] This is a storybook as much as it is a cookbook, where the ingredients are characters who shape my life. [...] I offer advice gleaned form my relationships with farmers and seasoned home cooks and my experience in a professional kitchen. I call this "wisdom," in the hope it teaches things you can't pick up from Google.   There are recipes too. A lot of them [...] [T]he recipes grow from simple things you might make on a weeknight to more elaborate dishes I serve in our restaurant. In some cases I extract the core idea from a traditional dish and dress it in modern sensibilities, such as acid, texture, and color-things my forefathers didn't always contemplate-and that's it. [...] These recipes are familiar, rooted in the region's larder, but novel in a way that calls out to the rest of the world. They take an ingredient out and do an acid-induced, multitextured dance with it. [...] There's something for everyone here. ("Don't You Dare Skip This Introduction!", p.4) I got the actual book out of the library to read aloud. It's a huge book and takes ages to read aloud and savour the many new ideas. There are a few of Howard's recommendations that don't quite work for us. I know she's a trained chef. But I'm almost positive that she would agree that OUR rice and OUR biscuit methods are in fact the "perfect" ones. We did try her biscuit method, and she does admit that "Traditional Eastern North Carolina biscuits are different. Not poofed up in zillion layers or bready, they're flat under a timid dome, crispy on the bottom, and porky-smelling" in Chapter 16: Sausage | ENC-Style Buttermilk Biscuits on p366-367. So maybe she might not agree that OUR biscuits are perfect. But I bet you anything, she'd switch to OUR rice method. I confess that we haven't actually tried Howard's method for making "perfect rice" outlined in Chapter 13: Rice | Perfect Rice with Herb Butter on page 292: Yikes!! 3 quarts water for 1 cup long grain rice? And cook it "at a gentle boil till it's just tender"?? Then "drain it in a colander and run cool water over it briefly" and "transfer the rice to a cookie sheet" and "spread it out on a single layer" to cool it in the fridge??? After it's completely cooled, "cover it with foil"???? Reheat it covered in a 350F oven for 20 minutes??? This method is crazy. And overly complicated. In the introduction to Gingered Collards on p433 in Chapter 19: Collards, Howard writes "Unfortunately, collards have been typecast as a stewing green". I can't argue with that! She then goes on to say that "we don't think of collards" as something we can sauté up quickly, like spinach or chard". We don't?? Here in the often frozen north, we NEVER think of collards as something to stew and boil until they turn grey. Ewwww. (Vivian Howard's gingered collards are delicious.) Because we were going to be travelling in early July, just before finishing the book (it really does take a long time to read a book aloud), we returned the hardcover copy and I borrowed the library's e-book version. In the e-book version, the "Wisdom" sections are completely readable. But in the actual book, they appear on yellow background in a small light grey font - really?? Do art directors even look at the text after they've completed their stunning design to see if anyone can read it? Shame on the publishers for letting this go to print this way!! It is just barely readable. What a good thing it is that we have a magnifying glass and a high power desk light. Another ugly aspect of this otherwise lovely book are the strangely exposed photos that have been photoshopped to be "posterized" at the beginning of each chapter. (The rest of the photos are beautiful.) But these are small points. After all, it's the content of the book that matters. And what wonderful content there is. When we got to the beans and peas chapter, suddenly we neeeeeeded to try butterbeans. (Who knew that butterbeans are simply young lima beans??) Because of Howard's compelling argument that "charring scallions, asparagus, radishes, and just about every other fresh vegetable in a blazing-hot skillet will develop their sweetness and add a note of bitterness to round out their finish" and the instruction to "char your veggies with abandon", we charred cabbage wedges to make charred cabbage slaw. We bought sweet potatoes to make sweet potato ice cream - it's good! We sought out okra to make okra hash. (We loved it so much that we went to the garden center to get okra seeds, so we might get a chance to try the hash with our own red okra.) After reading about the wonders of rutabaga, we raced out to the supermarket to get a rutabaga. Bookmarked: ~ Charred Spring Vegetables with Creamy Scallion Dressing and Hushpuppy Croutons ~ Warm banana pudding ~ Turnip Roots and Greens ~ graham crackers for Spreadable Coconut Cheesecake with Ginger-Infused Melon and Salted Peanuts ~ Roasted Oysters with Brown Butter Hot Sauce and Bacon ~ Viv's Addiction ~ Party Magnet ~ Cornbread Coffee Cake with Fresh Figs and Walnut Streusel ~ Blueberry BBQ Chicken ~ Blueberry Chutney ~ Blueberry Rosemary Breakfast Pudding ~ Blueberry Cobbler with a Cornmeal Sugar-Cookie Crust ~ buttermilk whipped cream for Blueberry, Buttermilk, and Lime Parfait ~ Crab Hoecakes with Blueberry Corn Salsa ~ Fresh Corn Roasted in Chicken Drippings ~ Cilantro-Lime Sweet Corn ~ BBQ shrimp rub for Frogmore Steam ~ Corn Stock ~ Raw Corn & Cantaloupe Salad with Red Onion & Roasted Poblano (without cantaloupe... brrr) ~ Fancy Sandwiches ~ Cool Cucumber Crab Dip ~ smoked corn mayo for Elbow-Lick Tomato Sandwich ~ Roasted and Fresh Tomato Pie ~ Cherry Tomatoes in Basil Vinegar ~ Rice-Crusted Catfish with Cilantro-Lime Sweet Corn and Sun Gold Sauce ~ Sweet Potato Onion Bread ~ Sweet Potato Pie Ice Cream Sundae ~ Fried Yams with Five-Spice Maple Bacon Candy ~ braised pork shoulder & Sweet Potato Free-Form Lasagna [W]e cook the noodles briefly in boiling water, spread the slippery hot suckers out on a baking sheet, and fold three layers around the cooled thick filling. People either think it's genius or look at it and wonder where their saucy lasagna is.   Despite the occasional complaint from red-sauce lasagna lovers, we bring this back year after year because I'm hardheaded and I love its crispy edges and cheesy barbecue flavor. (Chapter 14: Sweet Potato | Braised Pork Shoulder & Sweet Potato Free-Form Lasagna, p328-331) I am definitely in the camp of people who think this is genius. But. Strangely, Howard calls for the braised pork to be ground. Why pulverize it? Wouldn't it be so much better with bite size pieces for texture? Continuing Bookmarked ~ Assorted Squash Pickle Salad ~ Squash & Pistachio Crumble ~ Stuffed Butternut Bottoms ~ Sausage-Stuffed Honey Buns ~ Fried Okra Hash ~ Collard Dolmades with Sweet Potato Yogurt ~ Perfect Peaches with Almond Pesto ~ Jalapeño Peach Chicken ~ Fried Green Tomatoes with Curried Peach Preserves and Whipped Feta ~ chiffon cake for Peaches and Cream Cake ~ Sage Honey-Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Bacon-Roasted Rutabaga ~ Dried Apples ~ Hot Apple Jelly Thumbprints ~ My Favorite Beet Salad ~ Chocolate Orange Beet Cake with Cream Cheese Walnut Icing ~ Cumin-Crusted Pork Belly with Sweet and Sour Beet Bottoms and Tops ~ Kid Juice & Adult Juice ~ Horsey Arugula with Muscadine Vinaigrette, Parmesan & Pecans ~ Grape-Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sausage A few {cough} favourite passages: (view spoiler)[[M]elt 2 tablespoons of butter and heat till foaming. Add the leeks and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sweat the leeks over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and the flour and cook an additional minute. The mixture will be quite dry and will form a film over the bottom of the pan. Don't you dare walk away from this because it's a burned mess waiting to happen. (Chapter 5: Oysters, p119) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ My parents would never describe their upbringing as poor [...] My parents call it frugal. They'd call themselves, their parents, and their grandparents all frugal farmers-people who lived a ways from town, worked the land, and wasted nothing. In their kitchens, they exalted spoiled milk and relished things like liver pudding and chitterlings, scraps I can't imagine eating twice. They worked all summer fattening pigs, growing vegetables, and preserving fruit. So when something like a pecan, a fatty foraged delicacy, fell from tall trees in late fall, it was truly special.   I'd go so far as to call pecans the truffles of our kitchens. Pecans fell from trees for about a month each year, and every pecan that wasn't picked up lay in danger of getting squashed, toted away by a squirrel, or infested by a worm. That's why my mom and her siblings were up at the crack of dawn rescuing pecans from the dirt road before the school bus or farm trucks rushed through and crushed them. That's why, till the day Grandma Hill died, nobody pulled a car into her driveway between October and early December. She was a frugal, practical woman who valued pecans. And her driveway sat under a vast pecan tree whose roots had pushed through and split the concrete the way the Incredible Hulk's arms split his shirt. [...]   Today I wear my pride in my place and my people like a badge. I believe my parents, with all their country ways, are some of the smartest people I've met anywhere. when I think back to my fake persona and British accent, I wince and have to remind myself I was just a kid trying to make my way. Thankfully I just covered up the values, work ethic, and principles my parents gave me; I didn't lose them. I'm a hard worker. I'm honest, kind, resourceful, and compassionate. But I'm not frugal. I'm gonna blame it on my generation, or maybe on my parents' desire for me to have more than they had, but I didn't get the frugal gene. I wish I had. I even pretend I did, saving vegetable scraps for stock or boiling a chicken carcass a second time to make broth. But when no one's looking, I crush pecans in the driveway. (Chapter 6: Pecans, p127,131) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Way before I stepped foot in a professional kitchen, even before I microwaved my first bowl of instant grits, I worshiped butterbeans. [...] Decadent tiny green packages of creamy comfort wrapped in a sheath of tight but tender skin, butterbeans were one of the few things I craved that my mom approved of. [...] We never ever bought Lucky Charms, Fruity Pebbles, Snickers bars, Twix, Mountain Dew, Pringles, or ice cream. Our sugar cereal was Raisin Bran and our lusty junk foods were sausage biscuits and the peanut butter crackers we call nabs.   All this restriction made me one heck of a houseguest. When I slept over at Tara's, Jessica's, or Crystal's, I slurped down Kool-Aid and marveled at the two whole cups of sugar it took to make every pitcher. I zapped Moon Pies for a few seconds in the microwave and ate entire bags of Doritos and Cheetos in front of the TV. I ate hot dogs at Ma's Hot Dog Hous, and Nachos Bel Brade and fried cinnamon puffy things at Taco Bell.   Then I went home, acted famished like we'd played outside the whole weekend, and requested butterbeans for supper. (Chapter 7: Beans & Peas, p149) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ [B]lueberries are indigenous to North America. [...] Perhaps even more American than apple pie is blueberry anything. Cook with them. (Chapter 9: Blueberriesp197) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Dear Blueberry Muffins and Pancakes: I'm sorry. This bread pudding brings everything you do to the breakfast table and it can be assembled the night before. (Chapter 9: Blueberries, p202) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ You're going to look at this recipe and assume the three sticks of butter the crust calls for is a mistake. It's not. Roll with it. This is dessert, not salad. (Chapter 9: Blueberries, p205) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ It's the kind of dessert I want to eat slowly with a long spoon and a moment of silence. (Chapter 9: Blueberries, p212) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ I knew this was it-the bread, the mayo, even the halfhearted tomatoes. I scarfed that sandwich down like a wild animal. Tomato juice mingled with smoked mayo and vinegary onions dripped down my arm all the way to my elbow. I licked my arms and did my best to lick my elbow. Licked the palm of my hand and imagined how unimaginable it would be with juicy, ripe Cherokee Purples. Yes! (Chapter 12: Tomatoes, p260) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ You may not be up for making the bread or the mayo just for this sandwich, but both recipes are suited for so many other things. The mayo is perfect with sweet potato fries, on a burger, or thinned out a little with buttermilk and mixed with fresh corn to make a dip. The bread is just a strong suggestion and recipe for those of you who are into making bread. What I really want you to do is eat tomato sandwiches as often as you can when tomatoes are juicy and at their best. (Chapter 12: Tomatoes, p262) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ In 2010 Ben and I ate dinner at Dan Barber's Blue Hill at Stone Barns [...] [W]e had the most amazing potato and onion bread. Over that bread and some wine, I hatched the idea to do something similar with sweet potatoes, an ingredient inextricably tied to Eastern North Carolina.   This stuff is special-chewy with deep flavor and a dark crust. If you want a sandwich that will make you cry tears of joy, make the Elbow-Lick Tomato Sandwich [(on page 262)], and get a tissue. (Chapter 14: Sweet Potatoes, p321) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ I went through a vegetable-as-dessert phase. Luckily, my sister Johna pulled me aside one day and pointed out that four out of the five sweets on our menu focused on a root or a shoot. Not all of those vegetal desserts were keepers, but the one we come back to year after year is this Squash and Pistachio Crumble. (Chapter 15: Summer Squash, p351) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ When I say a few people still make country sausage in all its forms, I mean a few old people. You don't walk into butcher shops and pork centers here and see a twenty-year-old behind the meat counter stuffing casings and working the band saw. It's sad but true. [...] If stuffing and hanging sausage is not your thing, support the tradition by ordering some air-dried sausage [...] Cook it, eat it, and think about all the planning our forefathers went to just to put food on the table. Next think about how they were so desperate not to waste anything remotely edible that they decided to stuff a shit sack with sausage and hang it to cure till it tasted good. Then think about that food you just threw in the trash. (Chapter 16: Sausage, p361) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ If the South had a mascot, it would be okra. Loved, hated, misunderstood, defended, and worn like a badge that defines you, both okra and my region's people go out into the world pridefully carrying the same baggage. [...] People who hate okra [...] tell exaggerated stories about the childhood encounters that scarred them for life. Okra's reputation is so bad, some people won't even try it.   [...] Until my job forced it on me, I rarely ate okra. I also feared slime, fuzz, and green things growing in my mouth. [...] I had to go work on some okra. What I found is that the maligned slime is actually very useful when harnessed and celebrated. I tasted crisp okra pods by themselves and learned that okra has a sweet, green, pleasing flavor distinct from everything else, but it isn't too demanding-not a show stealer. I also discovered all sorts of ways to work around that infamous slime and how to find more and less of it.   Now I seek okra out. I want to cook with it. I want to change people's minds about it. (Chapter 18: Okra, p399) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ My mom didn't fry much of anything. she was always worried about her children's level of plump, and [...] two things most people associate directly with the South, fried chicken and fried okra, I never ate at home. I did eat them at other places, and the most memorable was the okra I had at my friend Jessica Howard's house.   Jessica had it all. Two big wheels, three real Cabbage Patch Dolls, and all the newfangled junk food you could hope for. Cheetos, Doritos, Oreos, Combos, Ho Hos, Easy Cheese, and Mountain Dew-the desirables I never saw at my own house-were by far my favorite part of hers. But Jessica's mom, Ms. Linda, browned chicken in a skillet, whipped mashed potatoes with lots of margarine, and fried okra. [...] Ms. Linda's [fried okra] was a mix of textures and degrees of doneness I never got enough of. She sliced them into little rounds. Some were completely shroured in salty cornmeal and perfectly crisp; other pieces were slightly too dark and kind of nutty. And a little bit of every serving was naked, kissed only by cast-iron, oil, and salt. (Chapter 18: Okra, p402) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Our culture, it seems, no longer values the wisdom of older folks. We don't seek it out, ask questions, or spend quality time with our elders. (Chapter 22: Apples, p485) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Lee Calhoun knows way more about Southern heirloom apples than anyone else. He wrote the definitive book on the subject, but when I met him all I could think about was how I wished he were my grandfather. [...] Lee told me that although today we think of apples in terms of eating them fresh or cooking them, our forefathers often planted varieties that were particularly good for drying. Apple trees make apples only once a year, and drying apples is the most efficient way to preserve them. (Chapter 22: Apples, p488-489) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ The most terrifying vegetable of my youth, beets swam in a suspicious liquid with a sharp smell. They sat at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the table at Bethel Baptist's covered-dish lunches in petite crystal dishes flaked by flamboyant forks. I never understood why something so alien, so off-putting got the royal treatment when the deviled eggs it took my mom all morning to make rode to church in a lime-green Tupperware tray. (Chapter 23: Beets, p507) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ I was digging around in cookbooks when I learned that during World War II, cooks substituted beet juice for red food coloring in their red velvet cakes. [...] The cake we made never matched my red velvet memory stamp, a bloodred, subtle-flavored masterpiece. But what we came up with was actually really good, so we went with it. [...] If you make this cake once, you'll make it again. (Chapter 23: Beets, p520,521) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ I forced lots of people to try beets during Chef and the Farmer's early days by giving them a buttery, sweet and sour treatment and spooning them over a pork chop. I can't tell you how many people tried to order that dish without the beets, and I just said no. (Chapter 23: Beets, p522) (hide spoiler)] (This isn't really a bread book, but I'm including it in that category because of the bread for the Elbow-Lick Tomato Sandwich.)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Laura Haske

    My favorite cookbooks have as much story as they do food. This one delivered on a story. It's a huge book with lots of great photos. I had never seen her show, so the approach of focusing on a single regional food item and exploring related historical and new recipes was a fun way to organize a cookbook. Her voice on the page matched the clips of her show that I watched. She's honest, witty, and humble. My favorite cookbooks have as much story as they do food. This one delivered on a story. It's a huge book with lots of great photos. I had never seen her show, so the approach of focusing on a single regional food item and exploring related historical and new recipes was a fun way to organize a cookbook. Her voice on the page matched the clips of her show that I watched. She's honest, witty, and humble.

  25. 5 out of 5

    William Burruss

    Vivian was a graduate of (Virginia Episcopal School) VES school were my wife teaches. It is a school that went coed in the ‘80’s. This year for her work in cooking, education, Southern culture and hospitality, she was the first female alumni to receive the Alumni Award. My review may be bias, but after eating at her restaurant, The Chef and the Farmer, in Kinston, NC, my stomach was not. She has a remarkable ability of bringing Southern flavors in a cultured way. Her hot flashed Collard Greens w Vivian was a graduate of (Virginia Episcopal School) VES school were my wife teaches. It is a school that went coed in the ‘80’s. This year for her work in cooking, education, Southern culture and hospitality, she was the first female alumni to receive the Alumni Award. My review may be bias, but after eating at her restaurant, The Chef and the Farmer, in Kinston, NC, my stomach was not. She has a remarkable ability of bringing Southern flavors in a cultured way. Her hot flashed Collard Greens will be remembered.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Kappes

    Amazing! I adore her cooking show on PBS and love the Cookbook just as much. I love the stories interlaced with the food. One ingredient at a time just like the show. But what ingredients they are, the photos make your mouth water. If like me you need a vacation from Covid take a trip "down South" with Vivian you won't regret it. The recipe for Pimento Cheese and Sausage Dip is worth the cost of the book alone! Amazing! I adore her cooking show on PBS and love the Cookbook just as much. I love the stories interlaced with the food. One ingredient at a time just like the show. But what ingredients they are, the photos make your mouth water. If like me you need a vacation from Covid take a trip "down South" with Vivian you won't regret it. The recipe for Pimento Cheese and Sausage Dip is worth the cost of the book alone!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Just skimmed over this one this week (it is huge!!). What an interesting read! Beautiful stories that remind me of my small Southern hometown and a lot of beautiful, traditional Southern dishes.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Great information on ingredients and preparation. The collards chapter was my favorite.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    A trait I share with my mother is reading cookbooks like most people read novels. Luckily, many more authors are realizing there are those of us that will read their commentary . It is nice to see more cookbook authors cater to readers as well as cooks.   Southern food is a big umbrella that actually varies by region and geography, but there are also some foods that cross these lines.  This cookbook focuses on where Vivian grew up and where she an her husband operate The Chef and I. While the groc A trait I share with my mother is reading cookbooks like most people read novels. Luckily, many more authors are realizing there are those of us that will read their commentary . It is nice to see more cookbook authors cater to readers as well as cooks.   Southern food is a big umbrella that actually varies by region and geography, but there are also some foods that cross these lines.  This cookbook focuses on where Vivian grew up and where she an her husband operate The Chef and I. While the grocery store makes modern life easier, it is assimilating the food traditions of not only regions, but the entire country. Convenience and national distributors are making us boring.   While not from a coastal region, I share many traditional southern food traditions with Vivian including BBQ, cornbread, grits, greens, cucumbers in vinegar, wedge salads, tomato sandwiches, crook neck squash, okra, watermelon, and pimento cheese. BBQ is pork unless clarified as Barbecue Chicken or Smoked Turkey. A barbecue is a gathering where a whole pig or large sections of pork are cooked low and slow. A cookout is where friends gather for burgers, chicken and/or hot dogs on an outdoor grill. Texas BBQ is beef.   The recipes are a mix of traditional, updated traditional and completely new takes on traditional foods. I saved several recipes. The Squash and Onions hits the spot and watermelon in a salad is an August must eat. The next ones I am most looking forward to trying are the Apple Pie Moonshine and Lentil Soup with Apple and Bacon once fall arrives.   I enjoyed her introduction of each chapter. Rather than try to describe her writing, I’ll just share a sample: “IF THE SOUTH HAD A MASCOT, it would be okra. Loved, hated, misunderstood, defended, and worn like a badge that defines you, both okra and my region’s people go out into the world pridefully carrying the same baggage. You love, hate, or have an unfounded fear of okra—and the same is true of the South. There’s no vegetable more polarizing than this poor little pod. You’d think people would save such malice for more ostentatious, scene-stealing produce like tomatoes and watermelon, but no. Haters want to hate on a little green phallic thing the size of your index finger. And it’s only one part of okra that tends to bother people: the slimy seeds. People who hate okra pluck it out of soup and demand an extra plate for fear the goopy goo might ruin the whole bowl. They tell exaggerated stories about the childhood encounters that scarred them for life. Okra’s reputation is so bad, some people won’t even try it.”

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Excellent resource. I have followed Vivian for a long time, actually since she started on PBS and this book is such a nice reflection of her new life in North Cacalacky!

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