The Southern books are here

Like grill books, Mexican cooking books, and beach entertaining books, Southern cookbooks are usually published in late spring.  There’s a good reason–because that’s when the rest of the country starts warming up enough to feel at least a little bit, once in a while, like the South.

I’ve always found that to be a wry bit of timing, because if you eat enough Southern food you can pretty much be assured that you will not fit in your summer swimsuit. Still, I’m excited about this year’s crop of books, which all seem to have come out at the same time.

Three are from North Carolina.  Tupelo Honey Cafe is a New South book, with upscale, fresh, good-enough-to-go-out-for recipes that take peaches and pecans in new directions.  From the eponymous grocery and café chain comes Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen, which makes more reference to traditional fare.  Then there’s the New Southern Garden Cookbook from Sheri Castle, which doesn’t feel like a Southern book so much as a seasonal eat-local cookbook that’s just one long “Summer” chapter.

Finally, there’s Martha Foose Hall’s A Southerly Course, a sequel to the award-winning Screen Doors and Sweet Tea.  This one’s for the readers among us, as Hall’s quirky, literary charm is hard to resist.

It’s hard to choose just one.  I guess that’s why the “Southern” section of my library has its own whole shelf now.  Almost time to buy new bookcases…again.

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