Adapted by D.C. chef Ann Cashion, this Revelatory Caramel Cake from strong>The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook, this caramel cake is similar in flavor to an angel food cake but with a much denser crumb. Once baked and cooled, it can be iced and filled any which way you please. But being a caramel cake, this one is really all about the icing. It's actually more like a candy coating.
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Updating this classic in a uniquely Southern way is this Sweet Tea Lemon Chess Pie from Mississippi chef and author Martha Foose. For The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook she's spun the classic chess pie filling with an ingenious combination of lemon and sweet tea. Adding these two simple components give the plain pie a refreshingly sweet quality, reminiscent of a cool glass of sweet tea on a humid afternoon.
This recipe for Collard Green and White Bean Gratin comes from Frank Stitt, a chef who introduced Alabama to French and Italian flavors through his four Birmingham restaurants. This dish combines Southern collards and ham-hocks with Italian Parmigiano, cannellini beans, rosemary, and olive oil into a gratin that is the best of both worlds.
Among the more curious dishes in The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook are these Mississippi Delta Hot Tamales. Tamales are traditionally Mexican and the tale of how they made their way into the canon of Southern cooking more than a century ago is a truly American one. There are many takes on the story, but they all have something to do with Mexican laborers migrating north from Texas to pick cotton. There they shared their corn husk-wrapped snacks with African-American laborers and the tradition of the Mississippi Delta tamale was born.
Austin Leslie is known in New Orleans as the "Godfather of Fried Chicken." He died tragically in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but his legacy lives on through his signature dish, Fried Chicken with New Orleans Confetti. Adapted from The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook, it's easy to see why Austin's chicken is the gold standard of New Orleans chicken. It includes the unlikely addition of evaporated milk, which adds a bit of sweetness and an incredible crunch once fried.
Whether it's recipes from a church or synagogue group, the Junior League, or a collection of family recipes, these tiny volumes oftentimes offer evocative recipes that capture a real sense of place. It's those spiral bound cookbooks that acted as the inspiration for The Southern Foodways Alliance Cookbook. Compiled by the John T. Edge, Southern food writer extraordinaire and director of the Southern Foodways Alliance and author-oral historian Sara Roahan, this modern spiral bound classic delves into the world of Southern foodways with recipes, stories, and traditions from those who cook and eat south of the Mason-Dixon line. Enter to win a copy here.