IACP International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Awards, American Category Finalist
"Magnificent color photos; detailed, helpful tips; and Willis's cheerful, trustworthy guidance makes this an original and welcome newcomer to a classic cookbook library."
"Bourbon Sweet Potatoes, Mama's Orange Glazed Cornish Game Hens, and Brown-Sugar Shortcakes are only a few of the appealing dishes to make you swoon."
—Ladies' Home Journal "Cookbooks We Love" feature
"Simple, great ingredients are the hallmark of this book, whose recipes display a great flair for techniques that are Southern and European. The food becomes timeless and borderless. . . . It's Southern, sure, but with a refreshing twist."
—Raleigh News & Observer
"Gorgeously photographed and filled with warm notes about recipes learned from her mother, grandparents, and friends, it seems designed as an ideal Mother's Day gift."
"The author of this wonderful book, Virginia Willis, has put together the food of her native Georgia and her classical French techniques to create this really pretty book. I love it. I love the photographs. I love the writing in it. It's really, really nice."
"A glorious celebration of food . . . Willis serves up great stories with her tasty dishes, and explains techniques with great clarity. The photography sizzles and the colors pop in one of the nicest cookbooks I've read in a long time (and the food is delicious)."
—Louisville Courier Journal
"The recipes can find a home in any cook's kitchen, especially if those cooks long for the rich, historical flavors of the South."
—San Francisco Chronicle
"The recipes all sound delicious but what makes these recipes shine are the stories of the people and places closest to Willis' heart."
"Virginia Willis is as warm and gracious a belle as you could ever hope to meet. These two qualities shine through brilliantly in her approach to food and cooking. In her writing and recipes, she reminds us again of the powerful and meaningful bond that good, honest food, carefully prepared and shared with those we love, can render. We are fortunate to be shown a place at her table."
—Scott Peacock, coauthor of The Gift of Southern Cooking
"Most Southern cookbooks, even the really good ones, usually feel and taste somewhat provincial, as though their cuisine can only exist below the Mason-Dixon line. Virginia Willis's cuisine is the opposite. Although her food is undeniably Southern, it comes across as international, universal even. Other than Patricia Wells and Marcella Hazan, I cannot think of another cook who has managed to pull this off."
—Alton Brown, host of Good Eats
"Southern hospitality with French flair: it's a winning combination. Virginia Willis bases this enticing book on her family's traditional Southern cooking, weaving in the classic French techniques she learned herself in France. Her recipes are precise and easy to follow, and her book distills the essence of her warm-hearted, welcoming style. 'Bon appétit, y'all' says it all!"
—Anne Willan, author of La Varenne Pratique
"When it comes to food, Virginia can perform miracles. She is a master of Southern cooking and she's an incredibly talented writer. This book has one sensational recipe after another, fascinating stories, and great science tips. Don't wait for the Super Bowl to make her award-winning Coca-Cola– Glazed Wings, wonderfully tender and sweet-hot. Talk about good!"
—Shirley o. Corriher, author of CookWise
"Virginia Willis is a proud daughter of the South who, by way of butter beans, okra, biscuits, and dumplings, honors her kith, her kin, her place."
—John T. Edge, director, Southern Foodways Alliance
The playful title of this Southern-French cookbook belies its studious attitude to cookery. Willis, a chef who has cooked for the White House and stars like Aretha Franklin and Jane Fonda, grew up in Georgia and Louisiana, absorbing her mother's and grandmother's repertoire of grits, casseroles and gumbos before developing her professional skills at French cooking academies. The result is a hybrid cuisine she calls "refined Southern," which applies traditional French technique and lighter ingredients to produce new versions of Southern staples. Her collard greens are cooked up with smoked salt instead of hog jowl; her cornbread is dressed with panko. Sprinkled liberally throughout are the Southern ingredients that Willis was raised on: Vidalia onions, okra, Georgia pecans and peaches. Willis's approach is faithful, yet she's unafraid to reinvent culinary clichés when necessary-like making pimiento cheese from scratch. Some of her creations-like a "tipsy" salad, riffing on the frat boy combo of watermelon and vodka; Yukon Gold and Edamame Mash; and Coca-Cola Glazed Baby Back Ribs-elevate mundane flavors with sheer ingenuity. Magnificent color photos; detailed, helpful tips; and Willis's cheerful, trustworthy guidance make this an original and welcome newcomer to a classic cookbook library. (Feb.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Willis, a food writer, cooking teacher, and cooking show producer, trained in France, but she grew up cooking with her mother and her maternal grandmother, Meme. The recipes in her first book are, as the title indicates, a mixture of classic French cooking and what she calls "refined Southern cuisine"-e.g., Vidalia Onion Confit with Garlic Toasts, Herb Roast Chicken with Pan Sauce, and Pecan Lamb Chops. The recipe instructions are detailed, and there are numerous sidebars on ingredients and techniques, as well as color photographs of many of the dishes. For regional cooking collections and other larger libraries.