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Sara Foster's Southern Kitchen
(Random House) ISBN 978-1400068593 1400068592

Southern cooking is a big part of southern hospitality, according to Sara Foster. Southern Kitchen shows readers how to cook southern food, with recipes for southern breakfasts, main courses, drinks and desserts.

Sara Foster describes southern ingredients like grits, soft shell crabs and Carolina gold rice. She also provides information on southern traditions, such as the sides of biscuits and cornbread that accompany southern meals.

Cooking Southern food

Chapters and recipes in Southern Kitchen begin with introductions, in which Sara Foster provides personal stories and southern cooking tips. For example, in the Foster family's recipe for candied sweet potatoes, she recommends adding orange juice to cut the sweetness.

Sara's Swaps sidebars suggest ingredient substitutes, e.g., arugula pesto as a substitute for mayonnaise in her creamy potato salad recipe.

How to make pickling spices

Know-How sidebars provide information, such as how to make homemade pickling spices. (Mix equal amounts of bay leaves, yellow mustard seeds, crushed red pepper flakes, sea salt, whole black peppercorns, whole cloves and celery seeds in a glass jar.)

Other Know-How sidebars describe how to make homemade baking powder, brown sugar and buttermilk substitutes.

When is soft shell crab season?

Chew on This sidebars explain southern ingredients, e.g., What are soft shell crabs? Sara Foster explains that they are blue crabs that are caught and eaten just after they molt their hard outer shells.

She notes that the North Carolina soft shell crab season is in May and June. How long does a blue crab's soft shell last before it begins to harden? (Four days, according to the author of the 396-page southern cookbook.)

Peter Frank Edwards' photos depict southern dishes from Sara Foster's Southern Kitchen, as well as southern food restaurants.

Southern food restaurants

Sidetracked sidebars in Sara Foster's Southern Kitchen describe southern cooking restaurants in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, where you can find the best southern food.

For example, Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken restaurants, in Mason and Memphis, Tennessee, serve southern fried chicken with creamy slaw, baked beans and deep-fried pickles with ranch dipping sauce.

Sara Foster describes other popular southern food restaurants, like Bozo's Hot Pit Bar-B-Q, in Mason, Tennessee, for hickory-smoked pulled pork sandwiches and The Original Q Shack's barbecued brisket, in Durham, North Carolina.

Sample recipes from Sarah Foster

Sweet and spicy pecans. Rosemary cheese crackers. Caramelized red onion tarts. Ham bone soup. Louisiana BBQ shrimp. Brown bag chicken. Barbecued turkey. Memphis-style barbecued spare ribs. Sticky sweet braised pork shanks. Beer barbecued brisket. Creamy grits with roasted butternut squash and blue cheese. Sweet potato spoon bread. Fried eggplant with sugared Tabasco sauce. Tomato jam. West Tennessee thick and sticky BBQ sauce. Hot pepper vinegar. Bittersweet chocolate tarts with pecan crust. Sweet and salty pecan shortbread.

Sara Foster's Southern Kitchen


Good Cooking, Good Eating and Good Living
  1. Come on in: Hors d'Oeuvres and Cocktails
  2. Soups, Stews and Gumbo
  3. Biscuits, Cornbread and Rolls
  4. Hearty Breakfasts
  5. From Catfish to Crawfish
  6. Birds
  7. Pig: A Food Group All Its Own
  8. Steaks, Burgers and Roasts
  9. Grits and Rice
  10. Farm-Stand Vegetables, Casseroles and Salads
  11. Dressings, Pickles and Condiments
  12. Stay Awhile Longer Sweets
Equipment Must-Haves
Southern Pantry Essentials


Sara Foster is the owner of Foster's Market gourmet take-out cafés in Durham NC and Chapel Hill NC. The southern chef is also the author of Sara Foster's Casual Cooking, Fresh Every Day and The Foster's Market Cookbook.

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