I finally got delivery of my long-awaited and yearned for The Lee Brothers Southern Cookbook and it has surpassed my expectations. I'm thrilled! This book was brought to my attention by my (Southern) best friend, and it's a dream come true. I guess I'm the "would-be Southerner" of the book's subtitle, as I have a special place in my heart for all things Southern. I adore the people, the landscapes, the food, the customs, and the traditions, especially of the Low Country that authors Matt & Ted Lee call home.
The book focuses on Charleston food as well as the myriad culinary traditions from the hills of Kentucky to the beachy Florida panhandle. The narrative is brilliant and fun to read, and the book includes pretty much every Southern recipe you could want, from sweet tea to Brunswick stew to Lady Baltimore cake. And not only are traditional recipes given, but also spectacularly innovative inventions by the brothers Lee, like banana pudding ice cream, and Saigon Hoppin' John. Of course, a lot of BBQ is covered, as are Southern staples like pimento cheese, chow chow, and shrimp, shrimp, shrimp! There's a great section on cocktails, like St. Cecilia punch and the rockin' Garden & Gun cocktail, made of bourbon and watermelon rind preserves, and carrying a name evocative of all the complexity I love about the South. This book is packed with stories and information about why things are this way or that in a given region and recipe, and contains useful tips on sourcery and helpful information, like how to shuck and oyster. The Lee brothers were born in NYC and moved to Charleston in their tweens -- good thing they were blessed w/a name that would stand them in good stead as relocated Yankees ;). Years later, grown up and living back in NYC on the Lower East Side, they started up a business and catalogue, called Boiled Peanuts, to sell Southern special treats to restaurants and individuals. So, not surprisingly, they provide a recipe for Harlem meatloaf in their book, too, and I cannot wait to try it!
Get yourself some boiled peanuts from the brothers' catalogue
Visit Matt & Ted's website