The Taste of Country Cooking

Edna Lewis

Book cover

This is a nice book, with some similarities to the “Foxfire” books and to “Little House on the Prairie.” It is mostly recipes (organized by season in a series of menus), but also contains some of the author’s recollection. Lewis is a fascinating character who I recently learned about in a NYT Magazine article. She grew up in Freetown, VA, not too far from where I grew up, a farming community founded by freed slaves. She learned to cook in the traditions of her ancestors who had been cooks at Piedmont plantations, a seasonal and upscale cuisine very unlike the “soul food” style of many Southern cookbook authors. She later moved to New York City and was a very successful chef at high-end restaurants and, ultimately, published cookbooks including this one. She was something of a precursor to the high end fresh/local food movement that would later be most associated with Alice Waters. Personally, I would have loved to read more of her recollections, which she writes in a sentimental but lyrical style recalling Laura Ingalls Wilder.

My Goodreads rating: 3 stars