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Down South: Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of Everythingby Donald Link
Synopses & Reviews
You expect to hear about restaurant kitchens in Charleston, New Orleans, or Memphis perfecting plates of the finest southern cuisineand#151;from hearty red beans and rice to stewed okra to crispy fried chicken. But who would guess that one of the most innovative chefs cooking heirloom, regional southern food is based not in the heart of biscuit country, but in the grain-fed Midwestand#151;in Chicago, no less? Since 2008, chef Paul Fehribach has been introducing Chicagoans to the delectable pleasures of Lowcountry cuisine, while his restaurant Big Jones has become a home away from home for the cityand#8217;s southern diaspora. From its inception, Big Jones has focused on cooking with local and sustainably grown heirloom crops and heritage livestock, reinvigorating southern cooking through meticulous technique and the unique perspective of its Midwest location. And with The Big Jones Cookbook, Fehribach brings the rich stories and traditions of regional southern food to kitchens everywhere.
Organized by region, The Big Jones Cookbook provides an original look at southern heirloom cooking with a focus on history, heritage, and variety. Throughout, Fehribach interweaves personal experience, historical knowledge, and culinary creativity, all while offering tried-and-true takes on everything from Reezy-Peezy to Gumbo Ya-Ya, Chicken and Dumplings, and Crispy Catfish. Fehribachand#8217;s dishes reflect his careful attention to historical and culinary detail, and many recipes are accompanied by insightful background on their origins. In addition to the regional chapters, the cookbook features sections on breads, from sweet potato biscuits to spoonbread; pantry put-ups like bread and butter pickles and chow-chow; cocktails, such as the sazerac; desserts including Sea Island benne cake; as well as an extensive section on snout-to-tail cooking, including homemade Andouille and pickled pigs feet.
Proof that one need not possess a thick southern drawl to appreciate the comfort of creamy grits and the skill of perfectly fried green tomatoes, The Big Jones Cookbook will be something to savor regardless of where one setand#8217;s oneand#8217;s table.
DONALD LINK is the chef-owner of Herbsaint, Cochon, Cochon Butcher, Pêche, and Calcasieu in New Orleans. He won the James Beard award for Best Chef South in 2007 and his first book, Real Cajun, won the James Beard award for Best American Cookbook.
PAULA DISBROWE is the author of Cowgirl Cuisine and co-author of Real Cajun and Susan Spicer’s Crescent City Cooking. She lives in Austin, TX.
About the Author
Perhaps best known as the James Beard Award-winning chef behind some of New Orleans’s most beloved restaurants, including Cochon and Herbsaint, Donald Link also has a knack for sniffing out a backyard barbecue wherever he travels and scoring an invitation to sample some of the best food around. In Down South he combines his talents to unearth true down home Southern cooking so everyone can pull up a seat at the table and sample some of the region’s finest flavors.
Link rejoices in the slow-cooked pork barbecue of Memphis, fresh seafood all along the Gulf coast, peas and shell beans from the farmlands in Mississippi and Alabama, Kentucky single barrel bourbon, and other regional standouts in 110 recipes and 100 color photographs. Along the way, he introduces all sorts of characters and places, including pitmaster Nick Pihakis of Jim ‘N Nick’s BBQ, Louisiana goat farmer Bill Ryal, beloved Southern writer Julia Reed, a true Tupelo honey apiary in Florida, and a Texas lamb ranch with a llama named Fritz.
Join Link Down South, where tall tales are told, drinks are slung back, great food is made to be shared, and too many desserts, it turns out, is just the right amount.
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