cover image Sylvia's Soul Food

Sylvia's Soul Food

Sylvia Woods, Woods. William Morrow Cookbooks, $21.99 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10012-4

While not all gourmands know soul food as well as they should, these authentic, stick-to-the-ribs recipes from the famous Harlem establishment will send many readers on a journey to this culinary genre. Collected by restaurateur Woods, with assistance from chef Styler ( Primi Piatti ), the recipes include both classics and innovations: fried chitlins, hash venison, smothered chicken, barbecued short ribs of beef and sweet potato pie. While the recipes and methods are well delivered--and, happily, recorded for posterity--the volume may disappoint those who hunger for more information than bare-bones recipes. A little shared research about this important American tradition would have broadened the book's appeal and answered readers' inevitable questions about the origins of foods like collard greens, okra and ham hocks--and might have helped the book to make the leap from recipe catalogue to gastronomic history. (Nov.)