From Publishers Weekly
The playful title of this Southern-French cookbook belies its studious attitude to cookery. Willis, a chef who has cooked for the White House and stars like Aretha Franklin and Jane Fonda, grew up in Georgia and Louisiana, absorbing her mother’s and grandmother’s repertoire of grits, casseroles and gumbos before developing her professional skills at French cooking academies. The result is a hybrid cuisine she calls refined Southern, which applies traditional French technique and lighter ingredients to produce new versions of Southern staples. Her collard greens are cooked up with smoked salt instead of hog jowl; her cornbread is dressed with panko. Sprinkled liberally throughout are the Southern ingredients that Willis was raised on: Vidalia onions, okra, Georgia pecans and peaches. Willis’s approach is faithful, yet she’s unafraid to reinvent culinary clichés when necessary—like making pimiento cheese from scratch. Some of her creations—like a tipsy salad, riffing on the frat boy combo of watermelon and vodka; Yukon Gold and Edamame Mash; and Coca-Cola Glazed Baby Back Ribs—elevate mundane flavors with sheer ingenuity. Magnificent color photos; detailed, helpful tips; and Willis’s cheerful, trustworthy guidance make this an original and welcome newcomer to a classic cookbook library. (Feb.)
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“Bourbon Sweet Potatoes, Mama’s Orange Glazed Cornish Game Hens, and Brown-Sugar Shortcakes are only a few of the appealing dishes to make you swoon.” — Ladies’ Home Journal “Cookbooks We Love” Feature
“Simple, great ingredients are the hallmark of this book, whose recipes display a great flair for techniques that are Southern and European. The food becomes timeless and borderless. . . . It’s Southern, sure, but with a refreshing twist.” — Raleigh News & Observer
“Gorgeously photographed and filled with warm notes about recipes learned from her mother, grandparents, and friends, it seems designed as an ideal Mother’s Day gift.” — Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“The author of this wonderful book Virginia Willis has put together the food of her native Georgia and her classical French techniques to create this really pretty book. I love it. I love the photographs. I love the writing in it. It’s really, really nice.” — Martha Stewart, The Martha Stewart Show, May 7, 2008
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