What a refreshingly authentically delicious cookbook! I have seen more than a few “southern” cookbooks in my time, living in Tallahassee so long, but, my word! I opened this up and the very first recipe is for homemade mayonnaise. My goodness, I thought, this is the real deal right here! And it surely is. Each recipe is a real-life style recipe, nothing too complicated — but with a few in-depth southerner cooking techniques thrown in. Similarly, there are a few flavors from the Modern South(TM) thrown in, with a little ancho chile here and a sprinkle of harissa there.

I think my favorite recipes so far is Ouida’s Buttered Pimiento SoufflĂ©. Of course, it’s not actually a soufflĂ©, but rather a puffed-up bread pudding. But that’s a Southern thing too, like the recipe starting off with a can or jar of something, that you treat like it’s a fresh ingredient (in this case, a jar of pimientos). The book itself is a delight. Each recipes features a story of a specific Southern belle, whose recipe this is said to be, with a little story about how the dish helped her reach a certain stature in society.

There is also a painted portrait of one or more ingredients (and other aspects of the story). There are notions and notes “taped” — scrapbook-style — into the book too. Excellent binding, printing, fonts and layout — along with a ribbon bookmark — all help make this book a treasure. I love this book and these recipes. It’s certainly a book I’ll be treasuring for years and years.