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Screen Doors and Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales from a Southern Cook

Screen Doors and Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales from a Southern Cook

4.6 13
by Martha Hall Foose

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Gifted chef and storyteller Martha Hall Foose invites you into her kitchen to share recipes that bring alive the landscape, people, and traditions that make Southern cuisine an American favorite.

Born and raised in Mississippi, Foose cooks Southern food with a contemporary flair: Sweet Potato Soup is enhanced with coconut milk and curry powder; Blackberry


Gifted chef and storyteller Martha Hall Foose invites you into her kitchen to share recipes that bring alive the landscape, people, and traditions that make Southern cuisine an American favorite.

Born and raised in Mississippi, Foose cooks Southern food with a contemporary flair: Sweet Potato Soup is enhanced with coconut milk and curry powder; Blackberry Limeade gets a lift from a secret ingredient–cardamom; and her much-ballyhooed Sweet Tea Pie combines two great Southern staples–sweet tea and pie, of course–to make one phenomenal signature dessert. The more than 150 original recipes are not only full of flavor, but also rich with local color and characters.

As the executive chef of the Viking Cooking School, teaching thousands of home cooks each year, Foose crafts recipes that are the perfect combination of delicious, creative, and accessible. Filled with humorous and touching tales as well as useful information on ingredients, techniques, storage, shortcuts, variations, and substitutions, Screen Doors and Sweet Tea is a must-have for the American home cook–and a must-read for anyone who craves a return to what cooking is all about: comfort, company, and good eating.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is one cookbook I would proudly have in my kitchen! It has great information and wonderful recipes!"
Paula Deen, Food Network host and bestselling cookbook author

“Martha can truly cook. Some familiar but never predictable recipes–pimiento cheese, gumbo, cornbread–besides being too good to leave out, are joined in this sterling cookbook with many others less commonly seen but no less superlative, all unmistakably Southern, like Delta hot tamales, for example, or West Indies salad (from Mobile, circa 1940s), salmon croquettes, biscuits with tomato gravy, and black bottom pie. Her book is one to be cherished, shared, and consumed.
—John Egerton, author of Southern Food: At Home, on the Road, in History

“If you’ve got a rocker on the front porch, get into it; if not, settle into your favorite chair. In either case, fix yourself a long drink and give yourself the pleasure of spending a little time with Martha Foose on her Mississippi farm before you head into the kitchen. Martha is that delightful combination of charming storyteller and darn good cook and in this book you get generous servings of each–both are delicious.”
Dorie Greenspan, author of Baking From My Home to Yours

“Martha Foose's Screen Doors and Sweet Tea is a treasure-chest of superb recipes like Green Chile Rice, Lady Pea Salad, and Sweet Tea Pie. And her stories of growing up in Mississippi have the unmistakably Southern cadence of tales swapped across the dinner table. The book has given us a new appreciation for the genius of Delta cuisine, and even better, it has us yearning to cook, gather friends, and tell stories.”
—Matt Lee and Ted Lee, authors of The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook

“This book takes me back to the things I loved about my childhood in the rural south. I can’t wait to get copies for my mother and aunts. I love it.”
—John Besh, chef-owner of Restaurant August, Besh Steak, Lüke, and La Provence

“This is it. The real thing. Honest eats. And diverting tales. From Martha Foose's Mississippi Delta, that queer and otherworldly land of catfish and cotton.”
—John T. Edge, author of Fried Chicken: An American Story

Publishers Weekly

The warm, languid air of the South filters through this engaging book, in which Foose shares the traditional recipes that she ate while growing up on the Mississippi Delta and has returned to after training as a pastry chef in France and traveling the world. Gently humorous stories about family and friends form a seamless part of her instructions for community recipes like Strawberry Missionary Society Salad, as well as pleasant surprises like Tabbouleh, Curried Sweet Potato Soup, and Chinese Grocery Roast Pork that take Southern food beyond stereotypes. Fried chicken and grits do appear, but for such classics Foose emphasizes relatively simple, wholesome preparations that are rich without loading on more butter and oil than necessary. Although recipes for Gumbo Z'Herbs, Chile Lime Skirt Steak, and creamy succotash are mouthwatering enough just to read about, many cooks will be tempted to flip straight to the last chapters, where her enticing breads and pastries provide the book with a winning flourish. The cook may be Southern, but the appeal of the dishes she presents should reach well beyond people who grew up in the land of four-hour lunches and sweet tea savored on a porch swing. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Foose, executive chef of the Viking Cooking School (as in Viking ranges), has also worked as a pastry chef, and she and her husband are the owners of Mockingbird Bakery in Greenwood, MS. A talented cook and baker, she is also an entertaining writer. Foose grew up in the Mississippi Delta and returned there five years ago after traveling and working in faraway places, and she has many stories to tell. Recipe subtitles provide a hint of the tales associated with the particular dishes: Midnight Brisket-Feed the Band, for example, or Mailbox Cocktail-Fold Down Door, Set Down Drink. Some of the recipes are for Southern classics, but even these have Foose's own personal stamp. Every recipe is accompanied by copious notes, including make-ahead info, suggestions for variations, and more. As much fun to read as it will be to cook from, this is highly recommended.
—Judith Sutton

Product Details

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7.75(w) x 9.81(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

MARTHA HALL FOOSE was the executive chef of the Viking Cooking School. Born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, she attended the famed pastry school École Lenôtre in France. She returned to Mississippi and opened Bottletree Bakery–a Southern institution in Oxford–and later, with her husband, Mockingbird Bakery in Greenwood. She makes her home in Tchula, Mississippi, on her family’s farm with her husband and their son.

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Screen Doors and Sweet Tea 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Veggiechiliqueen More than 1 year ago
Martha Hall Foose's "Screen Doors and Sweet Tea" is a lovely look at Southern culture and its cuisine. Many of the recipes are linked to Mississippi and Louisiana, but most are common across the South (okra, fried chicken, cheese straws, pot likker greens, cornbread). Each recipe is prefaced by a short story about its origins, full of reminiscences and funny stories. There are also helpful notes along the margins regarding possible variations and alternate ingredients. The appetizer section "Mailbox Happy Hour" includes some lovely cool summer drink ideas (McCarty Pottery Juleps, Mailbox Cocktail, Milk Punch, Cantaloupe Daiquiris) along with nonalcoholic counterparts (Blackberry Limeade, Cherry-Vanilla Cream Soda) and munchies (Roasted Pecans, Buttermilk Bacon Pralines, Yazoo Cheese Straws, Sold My Soul to the Devil-ed Eggs). In addition to old-time favorites like pimiento cheese, you'll also find ethnic-inspired gems like the Apricot Rice Salad and Tabbouleh that are directly linked to Lebanese and Syrian immigration to the South. There are also several variations on gumbo, various chicken dishes (fried, chicken pot pie, chicken and dumplings), pork (chops, glazed ham, Chinese Grocery Pork), beef (Country-Fried Steak, Midnight Brisket, Chile Lime Skirt Steak), and seafood, rounded out with tasty vegetable sides. Breads and rolls merit a chapter, and desserts include Sweet Tea Pie, Banana Pudding, Dewberry Dumplings, cobbler, fudge squares, and several cakes. The recipes themselves are easy to follow and clearly laid out. There are numerous gorgeous photographs of finished recipes, but no nutritional info. This is a lovely addition to any cookbook collection, particularly those who enjoy collecting regional cookbooks, and the recipes will take you back to a simpler, more genteel era.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had the pleasure of meeting Martha at a book signing in May and also of seeing her cook. She is as delightful as the stories in her book. If you are a true southerner, you will identify with the antedotes in this cookbook. If you have ever eaten anything IN the south ' especially if it was at a church potluck, a family reunion, or cooked by your grandmama' you will love this book. The recipes are easy to follow and are interesting enough to make you want to make all your childhood favorites again. My personal favorites are the watermelon salsa, Delta peas and rice and banana pudding. The photographs are exquisite and the stories, especially the ones about neighbors and church are dead on THE SOUTH.I sat down and read the book everyday for a week. What a lovely cookbook from a lovely woman.
BookgirlTX More than 1 year ago
I've enjoyed reading her stories and anecdotes as much as the recipes (I hear Rue McClanahan's voice in my head when I'm reading it). I've already tried two of the recipes, with many more on the list for future meals. The recipes are easy to follow and the two I've made are very good. Not as traditional southern as I expected, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, just be prepared for it - think traditional Red Eye Gravy recipe along with uptown Mahogany-Glazed Game Birds. It's a good mix of traditional and new takes on tradition as well as "big city" recipes for more formal entertaining. This isn't a "basic Southern" book, although she does have many great tips and suggestions down the sides of the pages. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking to get back in touch with their Southern roots or to get a feel for that Southern cooking style. The only knock I have against it is there aren't enough pictures of the recipes.
MS_Rhett More than 1 year ago
My husband and I enjoy cooking and Martha's cookbook is a favorite. The recipes are easy and delicious. This is a great present for any occasion.
Debra_W More than 1 year ago
As a Southerner, I love a good story almost as much as I love good "home" cooking. Martha Foose brings both together beautifully in SCREEN DOORS AND SWEET TEA. I've been pouring over it and its beautiful pictures for over a week now, and my list of people receiving it for Christmas continues to grow daily.
michellemybelle55 More than 1 year ago
Really nice to see something new!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This cookbook takes me right back to my Grandmother's kitchen. The recipes make the book worth the purchase - but the photography and the stories that go along with the recipes put it over the top. If you have ever lived in or visited the South, this book will bring back wonderful memories.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I love books that take me back to the tastes of my childhood. This wonderful cookbook's stories and recipes did just that.
Cmjm More than 1 year ago
This is a well written book. I love to read cookbooks like this one. It would be great if all the recipes were complete, but a lot of them show the quanity of ingredients as ?. .