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The Up South Cookbook by Nicole A. Taylor

by  Rekaya Gibson on August 10, 2017
The Up South Cookbook by Nicole A. Taylor

“Easy like Sunday morning,” sums up how I felt after reading “The Up South Cookbook: Chasing Dixie in a Brooklyn Kitchen.” This hardback cookbook gives readers a glimpse into Georgia-native Nicole Taylor’s life and food pantry while living in New York.

A green, frilly border gives so much personality to more than 226 pages of short stories, simple recipes, and easy to follow instructions–making reading this cookbook enjoyable.

The cookbook is organized into ten sections separated with delicious headers such as Grits and Rice, Yard Bird and Fish, and Whitelikker & Sweet Tea with the sections containing color images throughout. Taylor also includes resources to expose cooks to new places and products such as Gullah Girl Tea.

Several recipes immediately woke up my palate, three of which I cannot wait to try: Swiss chard rolls, pecan cornbread dressing, and plum cake. I must admit the smoked trout deviled eggs left me contemplating a move to the Empire State just to purchase fish at Russ and Daughters. Some other recipes left me wanting to see photos of the finished product like the squash and tomatillo grits and the lime catfish with sweet potatoes and macadamia nuts. Don’t fret, because most of the ingredients needed to cook from this book are available at your local supermarket and online.

Taylor offered enough southern comfort to warm over even the coldest heart. Who doesn’t like buttermilk biscuits, Hummingbird Cake, and slow-cooked collard and turnip greens? I even had a laugh-out-loud moment when I saw the recipe for chicken liver sliders. What can I say, I’m a Midwesterner! I folded down the corner of the page, ensuring I’d soon be revisiting this recipe.

Taylor does a great job at what I call ‘reimaging’ Southern food. The savory grits waffle is a perfect example. I also believe that she is mindful of creating some healthier versions of dishes without compromising their “soul.”

I had to immediately test at least one recipe; the fried corn. I used to cook it all the time as a teenager. It tasted just how I remembered—sweet, creamy, and crunchy. I closed my eyes and imagined being a kid again, eating the vegetable with baked chicken. I haven't prepared fried corn since I was young and this recipe brought back so many memories.

Now, whip up some New Age Church Punch and kickback and relax. "The Up South Cookbook" provides a great edible balance, fusing the succulence of the South with more modern accentuations of the North. I highly recommend it for your cooking library. Enjoy!

“The Up South Cookbook: Chasing Dixie in a Brooklyn Kitchen” is available now on Amazon.com and perfect as an upcoming holiday gift or just because.

Read more about Taylor in Cuisine Noir’s article, “Talk of the Dixie with Food Culturist Nicole Taylor.”

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