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Southern Plate: Classic Comfort Food that Makes Everybody Feel Like Family

By: Christy Jordan
Reviewed by: Sarah Eckermann
HarperCollins, 2010
$27.50, Hardcover

Preparing a meal from Christy Jordan’s recipes is as familiar as your favorite pair of tennis shoes or the hand of a loved one. Her tender yet rustic stories that accompany every recipe invite any cook to feel as if Christy is there in the kitchen, sipping on iced tea, sharing a smile and a warm hug, while you preheat the oven and set the water to boil. The food is classically Southern yet uniquely charming. But as Jordan says, “No one will ever cook for you like your mama did, and I’m surely not here to try.”

Every recipe in the book comes from a member of Jordan’s family and has been tested for generations. One can’t help but feel an intimacy with the book’s recipes. These recipes weren’t crafted in lab test kitchens but in the cast iron skillets owned by hard-working women who survived the Great Depression, grew their own vegetables, and made it their full-time occupation to feed their families. Jordan’s personal stories about these women make the book a tender labor of love.

The cuisine is not full of exotic ingredients nor specialty spices. Rummage a moment in your pantry and your fridge and you’ve got a meal fit for the Southern plate. When you follow Jordan’s recipes, you are invited into her family, and you find yourself not wanting to be anywhere else. Porch-side philosophy, sweet Southern women, and plain-old-good-food abound. This Southern cook recommends the Creamy Mac-n-Cheese, the Melt-In-Your-Mouth Doughnuts, and Aunt Louise’s Beef Stew.  Nov. 2010

Sarah Eckermann is a secondary education student, full-time wife, mom, and lover of Southern food.

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