My name is Christy Jordan and I like to feed people.
I come from a long line of Southern cooks who taught me home cooking is best, life is good, and there is always something to be grateful for. I created Southern Plate so that I could share the recipes and stories that have been passed down through my family for more than nine generations.
You won't find fancy food or new-fangled recipes in this cookbook—just easy, no-fuss Southern favorites such as Chicken and Dumplings, Homemade Banana Pudding, Aunt Looney's Macaroni Salad, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Daddy's Rise-and-Shine Biscuits. (I want to make one thing as clear as possible: How your mama made it is the right way! I'm going to bring it to you how my mama made it, which is the only right way for me.)
These stories and recipes come from my heart. They are a gift from my ancestors, but the ability to have them heard is a gift from you. Take a seat at the Southern Plate table; you're with family now.
When I saw this cookbook as a pick for the Okra Picks Challenge, I knew I would be purchasing it. Truth be told, I had been looking for an excuse to purchase this book. I found Christy's website, Southern Plate and I love it! What could be better than to have her cookbook on hand? This cookbook is fabulous! The recipes are ones every cook can tackle easily. I have made several recipes from the book, my favorite being Aunt Looney's Macaroni Salad. It's the perfect salad for a warm summer day. There are two killer has brown casserole recipes that are now staples in our families menu rotation. There are great pictures in the cookbook which I find is a must in a cookbook. Chrisy has intertwined stories about her life and family in the book. I loved the story of her wedding ring. It brought tears to my eyes. After you finish reading the book you will feel like you are part of the family! You can feel the love in Christy's family when you read the stories that accompany the recipes. Thank you Christy for writing a fun cookbook full of recipes for real people and families. I thoroughly enjoyed this cookbook and highly recommend it! Be sure to check out Christy's website and her cookbook.read more
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What I Liked The meals are simple; there are no fancy schmancy ingredients to search out, etc. Family - like myself, family seems important to Christy...she writes snippets all through the book about her family, where these recipes came from, etc.Even though I don't think of Christmas as a "season," as Jordan says "it is often said," I did think that this section of recipes was the best. Sugared pecans, chocolate pie, coconut cake, peanut brittle, fudge, Chex mix, divinity, and hot chocolate are all recipes I grew up on as well.What I Didn't Like Photographs - There are nowhere near enough pictures in this cookbook for me. I am a very visual person and I need photos, lots of them...and not just photos of the finished product. Show me what the recipe looks like at least a few times in the midst of progress so that I'll know whether or not I'm on the right track. There's not even a photo of every recipe in here. I was very disappointed...but I blamed this on myself...I very seldom blindly order a cookbook without holding it in my hot little hands and flipping through it first. If I had taken the time to do that, I would have never bought A Southern Plate.Southernness - I am a Southerner...all the way to my bone marrow. Since the day I bought this cookbook, I have tried and tried to find something in this cookbook that appealed to me. I even looked up Christy's Chicken & Dumplings recipe the other day when I was experimenting (she uses cream of chicken soup in her recipe). I have purposely put off writing this review so that I could find something in here I actually wanted to make...that sounded a little different than all the other cookbooks, pages out of magazines, etc. that I own. I couldn't find a thing. And, I'm truly sorry.I don't mean this mean at all...I promise...but there were times when I felt Christy attributed certain aspects of homelife and cooking to Southern homes or specific regions in the South...for example, in her explanation of White Barbeque sauce Jordan indicates that most folks outside of North Alabama have never heard of it...even other Southerners. I know a whole lot of Southerners, from MS, LA, AL, FL, and even the Carolinas who would argue this point...I promise I'm not trying to be picky...I just felt Jordan tried to force some of the Southernness sometimes. Does that make any sense at all??Another place where I felt this push was in the story where Jordan told how she'd gotten in trouble for not waving at a passerby farmer when she was first learning to drive and had received a harsh scolding from her grandfather. Huh? While the story is true for Jordan, she attributes this same attitude or set of rules to all Southerners...and that's simply not true. Nor does it mean when I (or anyone else) travel to Oakland or San Francisco, CA (or anywhere else for that matter) on business that I am not met with the same kind of friendliness. I've found that most folks within the states I've visited will carry on a polite conversation when one is started...those who don't are not comfortable bc of their personality rather than where they were brought up.I could cite you many more examples where I felt Jordan overgeneralizes about Southerners and/or nonSoutherners. There was even one quote from pg. 89 that really actually upset me:Despite the trend of celebrity chefs in the food world presenting us with fancy dishes with names most Southerners can't even pronounce, at the end of the day what we really want to come home to is the simple food we grew up on.If this quote had been written by a non-Southerner, I would've actually been angry and taken it as an insult...I don't know what to think about this kind of statement being made by a Southerner...and a really nice one at that...does she just not realize what she just said? Who was her editor? and Why did he/she not point out these kinds of possible problematic issues to her?I honestly think the generalizations were my greatest vice with this cookbook. Enough that they turned me off from everything and anything else I might have found positive in this cookbook.And, I can thank my PhD for my tendency to over analyze even a friendly little cookbook...it's a disease I tell you.Organization - just a personal preference of mine, but I don't like cookbooks organized by seasons...unless within those seasons the recipes are also organized by which type of recipe...appetizer, breads, meat, etc. I just get lost otherwise.Fruit salad made with a can of fruit cocktail? My mama made traditional ambrosia...and we were NOT upper or even middle class citizens when I was growing up. There are other recipes as well which surprised me with packaged/processed ingredients and shortcuts....that's just not the way I remember it. Again, had Jordan told this story from her own home's perspective and her individual family's rather than generalizing her experiences to all Southerners, I might have been able to look at the recipes differently. As it is, however, I can't.My Overall ResponseI wanted to like this cookbook so much. I almost feel mean saying that I didn't. But, I didn't. A friend of mine returned from Savannah, Georgia after visiting there and eating at Paula Deen's restaurant. When I asked her about the restaurant experience, my friend said that it wasn't that big of a deal. The food served there was no different than what my friend's grandmother prepares for Sunday lunch. It was good, my friend said, but nothing special. I think that may be another reason why I wasn't over the moon about this cookbook.Maybe also, instead of marketing this cookbook as a Southern cookbook and instead marketing it as a North Alabama cookbook, I might not have had so many problems with the over-generalizations...I don't know...you'd have to ask other North Alabamians about that.read more
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