Note: This drawing is now closed. The prestigious James Beard Foundation awards only come around once a year. I try not to dwell on things like awards too much, but when one of my authors’ cookbooks wins, I can’t help but feel good. That was Friday night, in a room crowded with friends and colleagues. I sat with James Villas as they announced the finalists for the American cookbook category. Up until that last moment, Jim was still insisting Pig: King of the Southern Table had no shot at taking the prize. Well, he won. Yay! So just for fun, I spent Mother’s Day cooking from Jim’s many other great books, starting with this Gruyere-Bacon Mac & Cheese from Bacon. (Yes, he wrote a whole book about the stuff.) It’s a decidedly grown-up mac & cheese, the kind of food I wouldn’t mind eating every single day if I could.
Next up (actually, we ate this first) is a Shrimp and Potato Bisque from The Glory of Southern Cooking. My copy of this book is so weathered from use, it surprises me I haven’t tried making this recipe before. Most bisques I’ve made are pureed and smooth, but this one, as you can probably see, is quite chunky with loads of potato and onions. Soup doesn’t get much better than this.
Here comes dessert. It was hard to resist scooping into this Lemon and Coconut Pound Cake from the classic My Mother’s Southern Desserts while it was still hot. Fortunately I had more cooking (and chatting with my mom) to distract me.
Look how beautifully it turned out of the pan. Actually, it was just a bit too underdone on one side, even if you can’t see it in the photo, but I prefer pound cake that way — super moist. As the recipe headnote says, this cake is so good, it doesn’t need anything else like fruit, whipped cream, icing, etc. It’s perfect all on its own.
There are the books. But the drawing is for Pig: King of the Southern Table. So if you’re still reading, live in the U.S. or Canada and would like to be entered to win, just post a comment.