Bon Appetit, Y'all: Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking

Bon Appetit, Y'all: Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking


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Bon Appetit, Y'all: Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking by Virginia Willis

Two divergent influences—Southern cooking and French cuisine—come together in Bon Appétit, Y'all, a modern Southern chef's passionate and utterly appealing homage to her culinary roots.

Espousing a simple-is-best philosophy, classically trained French chef and daughter and granddaughter of consummate Southern cooks, Virginia Willis uses the finest ingredients, concentrates on sound French technique, and lets the food shine in a style she calls "refined Southern cuisine." More than 200 approachable and delicious recipes are arranged by chapter into starters and nibbles; salads and slaws; eggs and dairy; meat, fowl, and fish main dishes; sides; biscuits and breads; soups and stews; desserts; and sauces and preserves.

Collected here are stylishly updated Southern and French classics (New Southern Chicken and Dumplings, Boeuf Bourgignonne), rib-sticking, old-timey favorites (Meme's Fried Okra, Angel Biscuits), and perfectly executed comfort food (Mama's Apple Pie, Fried Catfish Fingers with Country Rémoulade). Nearly 100 photographs bring to life both Virginia's food and the bounty of her native Georgia.

You'll also find a wealth of tips and techniques from a skilled and innovative teacher, and the stories of a Southern girl steeped to her core in the food, kitchen lore, and unconditional hospitality of her culinary forebears on both sides of the Atlantic. Bon Appétit, Y'all is Virginia's way of saying, "Welcome to my Southern kitchen. Pull up a chair." Once you have tasted her food, you'll want to stay a good long while.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781580088534
Publisher: Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony
Publication date: 05/28/2008
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 377,352
Product dimensions: 8.35(w) x 10.29(h) x 1.05(d)

About the Author

Virginia Willis is a French-trained chef, television producer, food stylist, cooking teacher, and food writer. Formerly Martha Stewart Living's kitchen manager, she now makes her home in Atlanta, Georgia.


Tell me a story that other people might not know about you.
People generally think I am a Southern lady, but I turn into a big old redneck at Atlanta Braves games

Have any good pet stories?
Our pets usually all have food names – we've had Butterbean and Peanut. Our cats are Earl Grey, Biscuit, and Smokey. Our recent rescue is a dog named Cricket. I wanted to name her Cracker, but that's somewhat of a derogatory term in the South, so we decided against it. We also have 3 chickens and since it's kind of country to have chickens in town, we named them Patsy, Tammy, and Loretty for the country music singers. (It's important to say Loretty, not Loretta, just like Doo called Loretta in A Coal Miner's Daughter.

Favorite cocktail?
I'm from Georgia; Bourbon and water.

Do you have a scar anywhere on your body? How did you get it?
I have more than one – the most interesting one is on my temple. We were fishing in the Gulf and a friend caught a sea catfish. Their barbs are poisonous, so he tried to flip the fish off the hook instead of touching the fish. Well, he did – right into my head. Since it was a head wound, it bled profusely. We were out on a little island and we had to get back to the dock to take me to the hospital. It was all fine, but could have been very serious. Another inch and I would have lost my eye. The funniest part is the doctor, of course, cleaned the wound, but a year later I found myself scratching the scar and a little piece of catfish barb came out!

What was your first job?
Making pizza @ Pizza Pronto. I also had to deliver pizza for a short period of time. Then once, I delivered a pizza in a sketchy area and a man followed me. I got back to the car, my heart beating, and he came up to the car and said, "I was worried about you; you don't need to come here by yourself. Go back to your store and tell your boss you won't do it." And, I did.

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Bon Appetit, Y'all: Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Veggiechiliqueen More than 1 year ago
Virginia Willis's Bon Appetit, Y'All is a magical blend of Southern charm and French cuisine. Virginia compiles three generations of Southern recipes from her grandmother Meme, her mama, and herself (trained at culinary schools in France, Virginia's recipes reflect traditional French cuisine in gratins, soufflés, confits, sprinklings of tarragon and pots de crème). Frequently, recipes will be paired with their counterparts; cheese straws are next to cheesy gougeres, pot roast and brisket cozy up to boeuf bourignonne, and fried chicken and gravy share court with tarragon chicken salad and coq au vin. In addition to beef, pork, lamb and poultry, there are numerous seafood recipes for shrimp and grits, crawfish, gumbo, oysters and crab. The recipes call for seasonal ingredients whenever possible, and despite the meat-heavy connotations of Southern (and French) cuisine, there are numerous veggie-based dishes (cold salads, numerous preparations of okra, vegetable succotash, green beans, squash, smoky collard greens and more), particularly where tomatoes are concerned, that will take advantage of your garden or local farmer's market. The recipes are very clearly laid out, each with a formidable note regarding the origins of a certain recipe, oftentimes family reminiscences of her grandmother's cooking and hand-me-down kitchen utensils (the fatback recipe was fascinating; essentially skillet-fried lard, this was served as a country dinner in the past). There are frequent sidebars containing useful information on ingredients and kitchen tools and techniques for a given recipe. Beautiful photographs capture the feel of the dishes, along with country artwork and luscious produce. A wonderful taste of the South fused with French cuisine (shades of Julia, here), Bon Appetit, Y'All is sure to delight home cooks and cookbook collectors alike. The recipes are straightforward enough to be doable (the squeamish / accident-prone may want to skip the primer on cutting up a whole chicken, however), and the end results are well worth the time invested.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this for a gift, but now I have to buy a new one because I've already used it twice and left crumbs and smudges!Great read as well as wonderful recipes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Any recipe by Virginia is an absolute winner!! I would love to meet her to get my food - stained book autographed. The recipe for catfish fingers with country remoulade is amazing! As are all the recipes.Its sophisticated southern cooking. Not sure who would possibly be giving this book a low rating but they clearly are not serious cooks. Perhaps they would have been happier with one of the spiral bound church fundraiser cookbooks. By the way, I have at least 200 cookbooks and this is one of the big winners!
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