Paperback: 248 pages
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press (October 4, 1999)
Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #121,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #198 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International > U.S. Regional > South
This book starts out with a delightful autobiographical story of Mildred Council and her life of cooking for her large family, and later opening a restaurant. She talks about using local, seasonal ingredients. Unlike most foodies, this knowledge was necessary for survival of her poor sharecropper family. I found this short story worth the price of the book alone.A transplanted Midwesterner in California, I bough this book to expand my cooking skills to include southern cooking / soul food. The recipes are all pretty simple, suspiciously simple suggesting a few trade secrets have been left out. Ms. Council admits as much, encouraging the reader to experiment and play around with her recipes. That's nice, and I respect Mama Dip's need to hold family/trade secrets, but I would have preferred more insight into how to experiment, to guide the reader. (A good example is Paul Kirk's Championship BBQ Sauces, where the secrets are not revealed, but plenty of insight is given for the reader to develop their own secret sauce.) Thankfully, there are cooking tips here and there, often given out in a folksy manner. Certainly one of the best things about this book is that with so many simple recipes, everyone will benefit from it.Some of the recipes were surprisingly good in their simplicity. The Creole Shrimp, Fried Okra, and Fried Catfish turned out great. (Per Mama Dip's encouragement, I added a couple of my own ingredients to the mix.) The Baked Beans had a muddy taste, without much character to it. A couple others turned out a little bland. I have some philosophical differences with Mama Dip's Pecan Pie recipe. For the record, I think it needs brown sugar and perhaps some other ingredients for a richer, deeper flavor.
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