Cassandra Harrell remembers watching her grandmother, Big Mama, fry hot-water corn bread in a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet on her electric stove. Only four years old, Harrell had to crawl onto a kitchen chair to see the yellow cornmeal batter skillfully dropped into sizzling oil. Once fried to a golden brown, the bread was served with one of Big Mama’s many delicious meals like a plate of turnip greens and smoked meat or a bowl of beef stew. Growing up in a small, close-knit community in southwest Tennessee, Harrell received a culinary education from her family, learning her trade by example: she listened to her mother and grandmother and watched them in the kitchen as they cooked tomatoes, onions, and cabbage they gathered from the family’s large backyard garden. Over the next forty years, Harrell honed her appreciation of good food through cooking, both at home and as a professional caterer.
Soul Food Advisor shares more than 150 of Harrell’s personal and family recipes—from Big Mama’s Neck Bone Soup to Harrell’s own low-cholesterol, low-sodium Country Black-eyed Peas and Okra. Recipes range from modern favorites like hush puppies, barbecue, and Tennessee-style coleslaw, to lesser-known dishes such as hoecakes, mayonnaise drop rolls, jelly cake, and a whole chicken baked on top of cornbread dressing. In addition to delicious recipes, Harrell includes snippets of southern food history, personal memories from the kitchen, and time-tested cooking tips.
Both home and professional cooks, as well as food historians, will embrace Harrell’s celebration of soul food as she recounts its authentic recipes, iconic dishes, and irresistible flavors. From the home kitchens that perfected this family-centered cuisine, Soul Food Advisor reveals the secrets of southern cooking, one dish at a time.
Cassandra Harrell, author of two cookbooks, Soul Food Lovers’ Cookbook and Unforgettable Appetizers, owned and operated an award-winning catering business specializing in southern cuisine. She returned to her home state in 2004 and lives in Jackson, Tennessee, with her husband, Earl, a renowned barbecue chef.
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