cover image A Real Southern Cook: In Her Savannah Kitchen

A Real Southern Cook: In Her Savannah Kitchen

Dora Charles, photos by Robert S. Cooper. HMH/Rux Martin, $25 (272p) ISBN 978-0-544-38768-3

Charles, former kitchen manager at Paula Deen’s Savannah restaurant Lady and Sons, shares her family history in 100 recipes that form the heart of genuine Southern cuisine. Charles describes how her African-American heritage, family traditions, and grandmother’s instructions cultivated her fascination for cooking “the food she loves best.” Classics are showcased: fried chicken, shrimp, smothered pork chops, gumbos, okra sides, cornbread, and biscuits. Grandmom Hattie’s Dressing and Daddy’s Catfish Stew are typical family favorites. Tips abound on frying, smoking, and cast-iron skillets along with the uses of lard, different flours, and secrets of great gravy. Charles sets the record straight about her partnership with “soul sister” Deen, whom she credits with opening doors and providing good times when working side by side in the lively restaurant kitchen. She also emphasizes that true Southern cooking is “more elaborate than soul food.” Readers will find her list of “7 Things You Have to Know How to Be a Good Southern Cook” invaluable. [em]Agent: Doe Coover, Doe Coover Agency. (Sept.) [/em]