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Soul Food: Classic Cuisine From The Deep South

“Soul food is just what the name implies. It is soulfully cooked food . . . good for your ever-loving soul . . . the shur-‘nuf kinda down-home cookin’ that I grew up on,” writes Sheila Ferguson. Abundant in flavor and variety—ranging from classics such as barbecued spare ribs, fried chicken, cornbread, and collard greens to less well known but equally sumptuous recipes such as sweet potato biscuits, grits soufflé, and wild fox grape wine—soul food is a truly American cuisine, originated in the deep South by slaves and later shaped and expanded by the rich diversity of African-American culture.In a book brimming with humor and vibrant personality, Sheila Ferguson presents 200 mouth-watering recipes, many of them part of her own family heritage. She explains the blend of African, Cajun, Creole, and other influences—such as gumbo and jambalaya—behind their enticing flavors, describing the meals of the slave quarters and elegant plantation houses and, along the way, passing on family anecdotes and kitchen secrets handed down from generation to generation.Some recipes, such as cornmeal griddlecakes, pigs’ feet, smothered okra and tomatoes, or brown suga’ pound cake, are old-fashioned country favorites. Others, such as sautéed scallops, vegetables seasoned with smoked turkey, and roast pheasant with wild rice stuffin’, are well suited to today’s more sophisticated palates. All are clearly explained, with an emphasis on the important details of preparation and ways to vary recipes to your own tastes. Through them you learn to use all of your senses in the style of the great soul food chefs, working by touch, taste, sight, smell, and even sound.But this is much more than a collection of recipes. Each dish is introduced by a brief narrative, written in Sheila Ferguson’s distinctive, eloquent cadence. And the book is prefaced by a glossary and general introduction that explains how the cuisine we know today evolved. Old family photographs and a series of stunning, set-piece color shots lovingly evoke the spirit of soul food and illustrate fifty of the book’s delicious dishes.This classic cookbook, embracing one of America’s richest regional cuisines, provides a rare combination of exciting, appetizing recipes and compelling reading to delight the soul of cooks and food-lovers everywhere.

Paperback: 161 pages

Publisher: Grove Press; Reprint edition (January 12, 1994)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0802132839

ISBN-13: 978-0802132833

Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9.2 inches

Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces

Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

Best Sellers Rank: #397,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #59 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International > U.S. Regional > Soul Food #571 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International > U.S. Regional > South

You might call this a "complete" book on authentic soul food cooking. Sheila Ferguson outlines the history and origins of soul food, and the importance it placed in the Southern home. She gives intriguing historical details, as well as mildly entertaining anecdotes of her family, and their traditions. Best of all, Ferguson has a wonderful sense of humor, and the delightful exaggerations of expressions are charmingly all in good fun. The recipes themselves are explained with breezy enthusiasm, and are carefully outlined, so that the novice on soul food cooking is led in all the right directions. Everything I've made has proved outstanding; the buttermilk biscuits recipe is the best ever - they were high, light and fluffy. And by the way: unlike many other Southern type cookbooks, which disappointingly advocate using only chemically altered, bland shortening in recipes, Ferguson freely uses lard, bacon fat and butter. It's unbelievable how much better, and lighter textured biscuits and pie crusts are with lard. The BBQ sauce is the best I've ever had, flavorful, rich and satisfying. It was good to know about how to cook greens, and Ferguson certainly espouses their value highly. When it comes to fried chicken one won't find a better guide than here: nothing is left to chance, and the cook won't go wrong following these pointed instructions. In short, this book "sold me" and then some, on soul food - highly recommended.

I have many cookbooks and this is one of my new favorites! My step-mom bought the last store copy as a Christmas present for my sister. After flipping through its pages, my step-mother and I decided we each MUST have this book...I ended up getting it for Christmas from someone else and now I'm buying it for my step-mom. With that being said, the best Red Beans and Rice recipe that I ever made, came from this book! The only way to make cornbread is by baking it in a cast iron skillet and although I have a great recipe of my own, Ms. Ferguson's recipe is superb!

a white friend cooked up some great soul food. How'd you do this I demanded. she showed me the book. ALL my childhood favorites were in there, everyone I could think of to look up. I bought the book within the week.

As a fellow native of the East Coast I found "Sheila Fergusons Classic Cuisine from the Deep South" heart warming and authentic to the region. When I looked at the photographs of her family I felt like I could have been looking through my own family albums. The only difficulty I had with the book is thatsome of the recipes failed or where hit or miss, particularly baked goods, which may indicate poor directions or inaccurate measurements. With greater consideration for accuracy this book could be truelly outstanding, but as it stands it brilliantly encapsulates a particular regional cuisine, with text illuminated by fascinating photographs, while containing recipes that work well only occassionally.

The southern recipes are accurate to a fault. This is authentic soul food cuisine. I have found that sometimes I have had to reduce some of the richer ingredients for a "healthier" meal. This is the first cook book I have used that you can just follow the recipe and you do not have to add a thing. The flavoring is just right!

As a person who enjoy reading cookbooks I really enjoyed the stories and recipes shared by the author. The recipes were layed out with easy to follow directions with room to adjust your seasoning to suite your families taste. Most of the recipes I've tried were very clear and flavorful. I think this cookbook would be an asset to any cookbook collection.

I've had this cookbook for several years and have referred to it numerous times for a refersher on stuff my grandma used to cook. If you're unfamiliar with southern cooking you'll find the directions easy to follow. If you're pretty comfortable with the style but need suggestions on how to improve a recipe or remember what basic ingredients are needed it's great. Additionally, the book tells the story of this family. My husband, who is from south Georgia, found himself getting homesick and hungry just reading it. Enjoy!


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