As the title and subtitle “Straight from the Garden to Your Dinner Table” indicates this is one of the many books published lately that works off the home grown produce angle. After a short introduction that reinforces that idea it is on to the recipes.
The book opens with “Appetizers” and that is started by “Crawfish-Stuffed Mushrooms” on pages 2 and 3. That is followed by other ideas such as “Coconut Fried Shrimp and Florida Citrus Dip” (page 9), “Pea-Picking Salsa” (pages 12-13), “’Where’s the Party?’” Broccoli Dip” (page 30) among others. Some recipes have pictures, but most do not. While the number of servings is noted, no other dietary or nutritional information is provided. In between the recipes are “Spotlight” sections on various farmers markets and farmers. This same format continues throughout the 280 paged book.
“Soups” begin on pages 32-33 with a listing of the recipes. This is where you look for “Cold Summer Peach Soup” (page 34) and “Smoked Tomato Soup” (Pages 50-51) among others.
Maybe you want a salad to go with that soup. “Salads” comes next starting on pages 52-53 and features 19 various recipes. Not only can you learn how to make “Mixed Herb Croutons” (page 54) or “Hot Cilantro Dressing over Mesclun Greens” (page 63) you can learn how to make “Dilled Crawfish Salad” (page 68) or “Cherry Rice Salad” (page 72) among others.
“Sides” begin on pages 74 and 75 and feature over 45 recipes with a couple of salads as well. Also present are recipes for “Midsummer Corn Salad” (page 84), “Black-Eyed Pea Stew with Rice Waffles” (page 139) among others.
Whether it is rolls, muffins, cornbread, or biscuits it is covered in “Breads” starting on pages 124-125. Nothing is the plain version whether it is “Hot Cheddar Cornbread” (page131), “Fresh Chive Spoon Bread” (page 139) or the numerous other choices.
“Entrees” on pages 150-151 follow and feature sandwiches, salads, and items such as “Baked Parmesan Catfish” (page 155), “Spiced Pork Pot Pie” (page 163) and “Well-Dressed Flounder Rolls” (page 177) among other choices.
Your sweet tooth is covered with the section on “Desserts” starting on pages 188-189. Opening with “Sweet Potato Caramel Pie” on page 190 and closing on page 231 with “Plum-Centered Picnic Bars” there are lots of choices here. 31 choices to be exact.
Mom always said breakfast was the most important meal of the day. Here it is part of the last recipe chapter “Breakfast and Brunch.” Beginning on pages 232-233 the chapter leads readers through “Fall Fruit Salad” (pages 234-235), “Mushroom Waffles” (page 237) and “Beulah Land Asparagus Pie” (page 255) among other choices.
Canning is a huge part of Southern culture and has a section here titled “Canning Instructions.” This section stresses food safety and proper techniques so that what you can does not make you and your family sick.
The book closes with a one page acknowledgements page and a six page index section.
Published by Thomas Nelson this 250 page cookbook is a good one. Unfortunately “Farm Fresh Southern Cooking” provides absolutely no nutritional information regarding the content of the recipes of the book. While the emphasis of locally grown produce is clearly a positive, that is more that outweighed by the lack of nutritional information critically needed by so many.
For those who believe a cookbook review only has merit if the reviewer has actually tested some of the recipes involved, I must confess that I have not tested any of these and will not be doing so. Due to my health issues, cooking is something I don’t indulge in much these days. Instead, if Sandi is not home, we primarily rely on frozen food products and what the boys can work with me to cook. It is much easier to go with something tried and true than something new. I would also point out that no one has ever claimed one of my mystery book reviews had no merit because I had not tested the murder technique or the way the body was disposed of.
With the above caveat about the lack of nutritional information, Farm Fresh Southern Cooking by Tammy Algood is a good cookbook. Pictures, especially of the actual dishes, are limited in a book that features a variety of meals and dishes. Building off what is in season locally the recipes in this book should provide plenty of thought and food for your family.
Farm Fresh Southern Cooking: Straight from the Garden to Your Dinner Table
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System. Again this year the summer reading challenge for adults and kids is now underway. For more information go to
Kevin R. Tipple ©2012