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Southern Plate: Classic Comfort Food That…

Southern Plate: Classic Comfort Food That Makes Everyone Feel Like Family (edition 2010)

by Christy Jordan

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Title:Southern Plate: Classic Comfort Food That Makes Everyone Feel Like Family
Authors:Christy Jordan
Info:William Morrow Cookbooks (2010), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

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Southern Plate: Classic Comfort Food That Makes Everyone Feel Like Family by Christy Jordan



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I am not a cook. I mean, I can cook if I have to, but I'd much rather be reading. Some of you have to relate to that.

Luckily for me, I married a man who loves to cook. So I'll sit around and read or talk to him (i.e., distract him) while he's whipping up something delicious for dinner.

Then I took a job on days while he was still working nights. I knew I was in trouble.

I was going to have to fend for myself in the kitchen. I was appalled. What had I been thinking?

Once the shock wore off, I went looking for a cookbook. Christy Jordan was coming to my local indie soon and it sounded like I might like her cookbook. It sounded like I might like her. I didn't make it to the event for some reason (I think I was tired from work), but I did pick up the cookbook.

And I regret not going to that signing.

I had never heard of SouthernPlate.com, but I have now signed up on the email list.

My mom isn't really a cook either (she'd rather be reading in the winter or working outside in the summer), but she did learn how to make a few of these dishes when she was growing up. My grandmother is the one most likely to turn out the Southern food, but neither of them can give me a recipe. "Well, just put a little dab in the bowl and then stir it up and pour just a little bit of milk in until it looks right." "Um, when does it look right?" "You'll know." Hmmm. Actually, I don't.

Christy has a lot of my family's old favorites down in a form that I can actually follow. Yay! I'm a picky eater (I'm working on it), so I can't honestly say that I eat a lot of this food, but I have loved what I do eat. Pinto beans (or soup beans as my family calls them), gravy (for biscuits although I haven't gotten brave enough to attempt my own yet). There are lots of pictures, which my husband appreciates (because he likes to look over my shoulder and tell me what I'm doing wrong when I'm cooking), and I love that the book lays flat when I open it. I don't understand a cookbook that I have to hold open. Not very practical when you're as messy as I am.

What I love the most about the book are the family stories that accompany each recipe. She tells us who she got the recipe from, or who loved it, or a memorable occasion when it was served. I loved this glimpse into this Southern family. I am not someone who likes to pore over cookbooks, but I read every family story with every recipe. I felt like I got a good idea about Christy and her family, and I felt like they were people I would like to know.

I do wish that there weren't quite so many desserts included, simply because I do like to bake and already have plenty of dessert recipes. I do like that the cookbook is divided by seasons, although it would have been nice to have that subdivided by course rather than having everything mixed up in any old order within the seasons.

Anyway, I loved this cookbook and recommend it for anyone wanting to try their hand at "down home cooking." Thanks to Christy, I can finally make sweet iced tea! ( )
  JG_IntrovertedReader | Apr 3, 2013 |
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 Response

I 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. ( )
  epkwrsmith | Apr 4, 2012 |
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. ( )
  bookaholicmom | Mar 20, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061991015, Hardcover)

Product Description
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.

From Southern Plate: Lela’s Fried Fruit Pies

These are my great-grandmother’s pies. I remember Lela standing in the kitchen humming as she fried these, placing the crispy treats on a paper towel–lined plate next to the stove as she dipped more into the hot oil in her cast-iron skillet. The entire house smelled of peaches, because that was her favorite kind of fruit pie.

If you’re yearning for an old-fashioned fried pie like Granny used to make, you’ve come to the right place. This recipe can easily be modified to accommodate your favorite dried fruit. Feel free to modify it to accommodate your own tastes. Most folks start out making these with dried apples but even though we love apples, nothing can beat a fried pie made with dried peaches.


6 to 7 ounces dried fruit (I used peaches; you can also use apples, apricots, or other dried fruit) 2 cups water 1 cup sugar 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Place the dried fruit in a large saucepan and add the water and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the fruit is tender and the sugar is dissolved, about 20 minutes. Add all the other ingredients and mash together with a potato masher or fork. Set aside while you prepare the dough.


2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1⁄2 cup shortening 1⁄2 cup milk, plus more if needed Vegetable oil


To make the dough, in a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut in the shortening with a long-tined fork. Add the milk and stir until the dough sticks together. Divide into 10 portions. Roll each portion out on a floured surface into a 5- or 6-inch circle. Place 2 tablespoons of filling in each. Wet the edges and fold over, crimping with a fork.

In a large skillet, pour the oil to a depth of 1⁄4 inch and heat over medium heat. Add the fruit pies to the hot oil and fry until browned on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes, turning as needed. Remove to a paper towel–lined plate.

Makes 10 pies.

From Southern Plate: Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is a must-have whenever kids are around, and there are countless takes on this classic comfort food, so I couldn’t bring you just one. This is the recipe for the baked version, which is for those who prefer stringy, extra cheesy mac and cheese. It’s best made in an ovenproof bowl rather than a 9 x 13-inch pan.


2 1⁄2 cups uncooked macaroni 2 1⁄2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 1⁄4 teaspoons salt Black pepper to taste (I use about 1 teaspoon) 4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) margarine, cut into small slices 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese 1 cup milk


First, preheat the oven to 350°F. Next, cook the pasta according to the package directions until tender and drain. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and pepper and set aside. Spray an oven-safe bowl or dish with cooking spray. Place half of the macaroni in the bowl or dish. Sprinkle half of the flour mixture over the top and then top with half of the margarine slices. Sprinkle 11⁄2 cups of the cheese over the top. Repeat. Pour the milk over all. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until bubbly. Serve hot.

Makes 8 servings.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:48 -0400)

"I come from a long linge 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 Biscuts. (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)" --Cover, p. 2.… (more)

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