The Good Book of Southern Baking: A Revival of Biscuits, Cakes, and Cornbread

Lorena Jones: Crown. Sept. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9781984856227. $35. COOKING
Though award-winning pastry chef Fields admits up front that she wants to bury us in cornbread and biscuits, she does much more with this stellar book, coauthored by food journalist Heddings. Fields brings readers along as she recounts her way to becoming a pastry chef at Restaurant August in New Orleans. After losing her recipes during Hurricane Katrina, she wrote them in a notebook from muscle memory. That notebook became this exceptional cookbook. Now head chef at New Orleans–based eatery Willa Jean, named after her grandmother, she imparts life lessons she learned while growing up in the South Carolina low country. This leads to personal stories along with rich recipes for banana bread and praline brownies, though pies shine with lemon meringue and apple galette options. The strength of the book is that it’s approachable, especially for those new to baking. For Fields, it’s essential to be low-key about baking, and she admit that mistakes are part of the learning process.
VERDICT Fields succeeds in making baking fun, and her go-to guide should have wide appeal.
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