PAULA DEEN & FRIENDS: Living It Up, Southern Style

Paula H. Deen, Author, Martha Giddens Nesbit, Author, Martha Giddens Nesbit, Joint Author with Martha Nesbit. Simon & Schuster $25 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7432-6722-9

Deen, the popular Food Network personality and proprietor of the Savannah restaurant The Lady & Sons, shares 24 party menus, featuring recipes culled from her friends and family. Of course, things are skewed Southern, but Deen's quick to point out that "the love and appreciation for our Deep South cookin' knows no geographic boundaries" (nor does it know any dietary restrictions). Working with Savannah magazine's Nesbit, Deen covers festive but low-key events such as a Bridge Club Supper and a Georgia Bulldawg Parking Lot Tailgate, as well as a few holidays, including a New Year's Day Soup Lunch. The authors and their friends—there's a preschool teacher, a scoutmaster, "Martha's husband Gary's cousin" and others—are bent on making their brunches, lunches and dinners colorful but casual. Among their 150 Southern specialties are Bert's Southern Fried Chicken, Shrimp and Crab au Gratin, and Vidalia Onion Corn Bread. There's a nice mixture of easy, traditional favorites (Pimiento Cheese) and newer, more sophisticated dishes (Pecan-Coated Fish with Remoulade Sauce), and desserts (Double Rum Cake, Peach Cream Tart, Chocolate Sandwich Cookies) are suitably over-the-top. Deen's enthusiasm, friendly advice and inclusion of family stories all contribute to make the book "all about real people cookin' real food." 32 pages of color photos. Agent, Janis Donnaud. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/28/2005
Release date: 03/01/2005
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