Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Come On Over - Southern Delicious for Every Day and Every Occasion


Come On Over! Southern Delicious for Every Day and Every Occasion is a style guide to southern US living and food, with recipes developed by Elizabeth Heiskell. Due out 4th May 2021 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt , it's 256 pages and will be available in hardcover and ebook formats. 

I love southern cooking. I grew up with so many of the recipes contained here and this type of food is my go-to for comfort and family cooking. In that way, this is a successful, nice collection of well developed recipes. There are some issues (enumerated below), but for cooks looking for an up-to-date southern cookbook this one is attractive and well done.

The book has a nice, easy to follow layout. The recipes are arranged thematically around occasions: weekdays, party days, delta days, summer days, beach days, game days, school days, diet days, and cheat days.

Each of the recipes includes an introductory description, ingredients listed in a bullet point sidebar (US measurements only, no metric conversion chart in the back of the book), and step by step instructions. Nutritional information is not included. Nearly all the recipes have beautifully clear and appealing photos. The photography is one place that this book really shines; the food stylist(s) know what they're doing.

The recipe ingredients themselves are easily sourced and will be available at most well stocked grocery stores. There are a very few ingredients which might be a little more difficult to source, but definitely nothing that is 'way out there'.

So, this would make a good gift for people who *like* southern food, but don't actually live in the south and don't have family recipes to fall back on. The whole thing had such a "Karen-ish" vibe that it set my teeth on edge in a lot of places. The recipes themselves are serviceable although they rely very heavily on prepared ready-made mixes and soups. Many of the standard flagship recipes of southern cuisine (cornbread, peas, okra, etc) were originally borne of necessity and (often) poverty and/or slavery. The author's near-constant referencing her privileged upbringing almost made it feel like cultural appropriation in some ways - "yes we eat at the country club, but here's a cute recipe for cornbread muffins". 

Three stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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