The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, winner of several major cookbook awards, presents recipes ranging from the electic, like Francisco's Tractor-Disk Wok Venison, to down-home favorites like Sweet Potato Buttermilk Pie.
by Matt Lee and Ted Lee
Like the thousands of recent college graduates who find themselves in cramped New York City apartments facing the grim realities of employment, transplanted Southerners Matt Lee and Ted Lee were homesick. But where others would have given up, forsaking pickled okra for pizza or chicken fried steak for Kentucky Fried Chicken, the Lee Bros. improvised instead.
To satisfy their longing for the boiled peanuts of their youth they bought themselves some raw peanuts and boiled up a batch in their apartment's tiny kitchen. Soon, friends, friends of friends, and homesick Southerners from all over New York were clamoring for their boiled peanuts—and the Lee Bros. quickly discovered that New Yorkers weren't the only Southerners in the diaspora hankering for a taste of home. All across America, there was an untapped longing for Southern pantry items that went beyond the boiled peanuts. Did the brothers have fig preserves? How about sorghum syrup? Or real grits? The Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts Catalogue company was born.
As their catalogue's mailing list grew, the brothers decided they needed another platform from which to share their enthusiasm for Southern food. They began a career in food writing, taking readers of The New York Times, Travel+Leisure, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine on a series of mouth-watering road trips to the South and beyond. Food, wine and a cast of characters who love both have peppered the stories the Lee Bros. have brought back from their travels. Born in New York City and transplanted to South Carolina in childhood, the Lees combine outsider enthusiasm with the knowledge—gained painstakingly over years of study, travel, and cooking-of native Southerners. Witty and unabashedly curious, they are alert to little-known lore, colorful and knowledgeable insiders, and the perfect detail that animates both a cuisine and a place. Their infectious enthusiasm has rescued lard from disrespect and saved greens from boiled disregard.
Now, the Lee Bros. return home to the cuisine that got them started in the kitchen. The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-Be Southerners explores the vibrant and inventive cuisine that has too long suffered under preconceived notions. The Lees celebrate the multiplicity of flavors—some newly introduced from south of the border—and found-at-hand ingredients in Southern cuisine and enrich them with stories of the people and regions that have kept it alive and evolving.
Written in a style that is both seamlessly blended and disarmingly individual. Matt Lee and Ted Lee's cookbook is rich in narrative and contains over 200 recipes illustrated with over 32 pages of luscious color photographs and 50 black and white photographs from the Lee Bros', travel throughout the South. The book is divided into ten chapters: Drinks; Boiled Peanuts, Grazes, and Hors d'Oeuvres; Pickles, Relishes, and Preserves; Grits and Rice; Greens, Peas, Corn, Okra, Cabbage, Mushrooms and Squash; Stews and Soups; Poultry, Pork, Beef, and Game; Fish Oysters, Crabs, and Shrimp; Dessert; and The Bread Basket and the Pantry. Along with dishes that are innovative or showcase the best in the cuisine. Matt Lee and Ted Lee include what they term "Quick Knock-Out" recipes, trophy dishes for busy weeknights. The authors also include wine pairings for the recipes and "Sourcery" sidebars that provide shopping and substitution tips.
They pay attention to the full range of classics—pickled okra, fried chicken, crab cakes, pecan pie and grits—while taking off in new and surprising directions with dishes like Saigon Hoppin' John and Blackened Potato Salad. They plunge into the mysteries of gumbos and Kentucky Burgoo and balance them against elegant offerings like She Crab Soup. Creative and yet true to the region's culinary roots, the Lees show what makes Southern cooking as complex and varied a cuisine as any in the world.
Matt Lee and Ted Lee are co-proprietors of The Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts Catalogue, a mail-order source for Southern pantry staples. They write about food, wine and travel for The New York Times, Travel + Leisure and Martha Stewart Living as well as other publications, and have a weekly hour-long radio show devoted exclusively to Southern food on Martha Stewart Living Radio, Sirius channel 112.
This page created June 2007
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