Gumbo Love: Recipes for Gulf Coast Cooking, Entertaining, and Savoring the Good Life
By Lucy Buffett
Grand Central Life & Style, 2017, $30
October is National Cookbook Month and Lucy Buffet’s Gumbo Love is filled with not only great recipes, but great stories and life lessons she’s learned along the way.
More often than not, the recipes are accompanied by an anecdote or tale. The book starts out with desserts first, then moves on to Starters and Snacks, going so far as to offer instructions on how to shuck your own oysters.
Just as her brother Jimmy says he will play for gumbo, Lucy Buffett will cook up any kind of gumbo. There are recipes for a wide variety, including a Summer Seafood, Winter, True Acadian (Cajun), Chicken and Sausage Filé, Gumbo Z’herbe (Green Gumbo) and even Gumbo Quesadillas.
The Main Dishes section features lots of seafood (Shrimp Scampi, Red Snapper Veracruz, Crawfish Cornbread Casserole), but there are also some surprises, like Spicy Coffee-Rubbed Beef Tenderloin.
Other sections include Vegetables and Sides (think Whole Roasted Okra with Parmesan Crunch), Deep-Fried Favorites, Salads, and Sandwiches (a number of Po’ Boys, as well as non-traditional but delicious-sounding creations like the Mahi Reuben).
The book concludes with Vacation Libations and Mocktails, a variety of Sauces and Dressings and some sample menus to create your own themed dinner party.
Lucy explains, “It’s inevitable that we’ll be dealt some hard hands, so all we can do is play them as gracefully as we can.” She is quick to apply this advice to life both inside and outside the kitchen.
At the Southern Table with Paula Deen
By Paula Deen
Paula Deen Ventures, 2017, $28.95
The queen of Southern cooking, who recently opened a Myrtle Beach restaurant location to rave reviews, is back with a cookbook of more delicious downhome goodness. Start off in the Rise and Shine section with breakfast treats like Baked Eggs in Hash Brown Cups. All Floured Up is devoted to delicious breads and baking and includes everything from Blueberry Streusel Muffins to Corn Fritters. A Few Bites offers appetizers that can’t go wrong, like Spicy Sausage Balls.
Moving on to Classic Pairings, you’ll find soups, salads and sandwiches, while Southern Sides features favorites like Braised Collards with Country Ham.
Casseroles for a Crowd has both traditional and imaginative one-dish dinners. Homestyle Chicken Pot Pie is a must, but there’s also a chance to spice up originals with a recipe like Bacon-Pimento Macaroni and Cheese. And what’s a Southern cookbook without a little Somethin’ Sweet? Desserts like Classic Banana Pudding are always homeruns.
The book concludes with Family Gatherings, complete with menus for meals with themes like a Cozy Soup Supper. If you’re craving some feel-good fare, creating a Southern table like Deen’s is the ticket to buttery bliss.