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The Soul of Southern Cooking

The Soul of Southern Cooking

By Kathy Starr
Edited by Roberta Miller
Illustrated by Eugene Ham
Foreword by Vertamae Smart Grosvenor
Series: Muscadine Books Series

Paperback : 9780878054152, 220 pages, October 1989

A fine black cook's recipes from a hardscrabble heritage and its ritual of surviving and rejoicing in family values


Here is a collection of representative authentic soul food dishes for those who want the real thing. Most of the recipes were learned by the author from her grandmother, Frances Fleming Hunter, a cook whose café was in the little Mississippi town of Hollandale.

Kathy Starr compiled these recipes as a tribute to her grandmother, whom she remembers amid big pots of greens and vegetables that were bubbling on the stove as she stirred up the cornbread.

“Hunger,” she says, “was something the black family had to conquer, and it was a must that simple foods make a delicious meal. My grandma, even today, can tell you stories of how proud she felt about her sister Malindy, who would walk up out of the cotton field and find company sitting on the steps and then would take a shelf of nothing and make the best meal you ever tasted.”

While this cookbook does preserve the foodways of southern African Americans of the past, the recipes are food traditions that live today in the rural South. The author has also included recipes that are traditional treatments of more recently available foods, such as lobster with cornbread stuffing.


"There’s more to southern cooking than a lot of deep frying―there’s soul. The Soul of Southern Cooking offers a from-the-heart explanation of what southern cooking really is, followed by countless recipes for delicious dishes that are commonly known as soul food. Giving thorough and unique directions for soul food-style renditions of dishes such as macaroni and cheese, cheeseburgers, collard greens, and more, The Soul of Southern Cooking is a top pick for anyone who wants a cookbook with heart and for community library cookbook collections."

- The Midwest Book Review

"Reminds me of my childhood in Mississippi. . . an excellent contribution to the history of black foodways and culture"

- Craig Claiborne