Baking in the American South: 200 Recipes and Their Untold Stories (A Definitive Guide to Southern Baking)

Harper Celebrate. Sept. 2024. 512p. ISBN 9780785291336. $44.99. COOKING
Known for her bestseller The Cake Mix Doctor, cookbook author, former food editor for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and fifth-generation Southerner Byrn knows a thing or two about baking from scratch as well. In her latest cookbook, Byrn gathers 200 recipes from 14 different states, stretching from Maryland to Texas, and then arranges them in chapters dedicated to cornbread, biscuits, puddings, pies, and cake. The recipes come from sources ranging from department store and school cafeterias to tearooms, historic homes, and houses of worship. The distinguished list of Southern bakers contributing recipes and advice include Edna Lewis (sourdough pancakes), Helen Corbett (Neiman Marcus popovers), Nathalie Dupree (cream biscuits), Lena Richard (apple bread pudding), and Marian Flexner (green tomato pie). Byrn then deftly sifts in several fascinating culinary tales, including the story behind key lime pie. The layout of the recipes themselves is accessible, and each recipe includes a note with details about its history.
VERDICT Even with other outstanding guides on the subject, like Kelly Fields’s The Good Book of Southern Baking and Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Cooking, Byrn’s wise, winning, and wonderful doorstop dive into the recipes and stories that make up the heart and soul of Southern baking is essential.
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