10 December 2016

Weekend Cooking: The Carolina Table edited by Randall Kenan

Review of The Carolina Table edited by Randall KenanI'm a Yankee born and bred, and when I was a child, I had a narrow view of Southern food. I thought it consisted mostly of collard greens, grits, sweetened iced tea, cornbread, and fried chicken. Of course, as I matured and traveled, read and cooked, I learned just how wrong I was.

The short essays collected in Randall Kenan's The Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food celebrate all kinds of Southern food and especially its connection to family and tradition.

The stories take us back to grandmother's kitchen or an aunt's vegetable garden. They remind us how a family recipe can resurrect precious memories. They return again and again to the role food plays at all of life's important moments, not just deaths and births but Sunday supper after church and lazy summer picnics.

The thirty pieces in The Carolina Table are varied and deeply personal. Here are a few highlights:

  • I chuckled at Northerner Fran McCullough's discovery of the proper way to cook butter beans.
  • Lee Smith pondered the differences between the food her mother cooked for the bridge club and the everyday dinners she made for the family.
  • Bridgette Lacy made me miss summer with her essay on the splendor of garden-fresh tomatoes and the perfect mater sandwich.
  • Daniel Wallace convinced me that the North Carolina Piedmont is the place for barbecue.
  • I agreed with Marianne Gingher that "you can taste 'loving care' if foods are truly prepared with it."
  • I smiled at Cathy Cleary's description of how homemade pork sausage changed her diet.
  • Who could resist an essay that begins "Food is her only currency"? Diya Abdo, a Southern transplant from Jordan, tells that story.
Several of the essays in The Carolina Table are accompanied by a recipe, like Jill McCorkle's family pound cake, but the collection is at heart a love story to family and a confirmation of the way food binds us across space and through time.

If you like food writing, personal essays, Southern writing, and just plain good writing, you'll love the essays Randall Kenan gathered between the covers of The Carolina Table. Pour yourself a sweet tea, settle into the porch swing, and enjoy an afternoon of reading.

Published by Eno Publishing, 2016
ISBN-13: 9780997314403
Source: review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.


Mae Travels 12/10/16, 6:50 AM  

Essays on food and food memories are always enjoyable -- your examples are quite appealing. The best food bloggers at least sometimes write pieces like that, which is what makes all this fun.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

rhapsodyinbooks 12/10/16, 7:44 AM  

I love Southern cooking!

jama 12/10/16, 8:14 AM  

Oh, this book sounds good! Love reading food essays. :)

bermudaonion 12/10/16, 8:29 AM  

I love the sound of this!

Books on the Table 12/10/16, 9:13 AM  

This sounds absolutely delightful! I'm on my way to work the morning shift at the bookstore -- I'm ordering 2 copies, one for me and one for my mom, who recently retired and moved from
NH to SC.

(Diane) bookchickdi 12/10/16, 9:47 AM  

This one sounds like a perfect gift for the Southerner on your holiday list.

Karen White 12/10/16, 10:06 AM  

I'd read about this in our local newspaper, but I'm so glad you reminded me of it again! Will definitely have to get this as a gift for somebody this Christmas. If you come down for some NC BBQ, you'll have to come visit us ;) (and by the way, if you need more convincing, check out the Fire chapter in Cooked by Michael Pollan!)

Katherine P 12/10/16, 10:08 AM  

This sounds so fun and I love the southern focus as the cuisine is so distinct. Though I do admit even though it puts my Southerner status in jeopardy in my opinion the only way to cook butter beans is to not!

Claudia 12/10/16, 10:45 AM  

This sounds like a book I would enjoy reading, never mind giving it away! I loved The Writers and Artists Cookbook as well, so thanks for the recommendation.

Tina 12/10/16, 11:03 AM  

I very much like the food journal and a slice of life type books. Glad you highlighted this one.

Deb in Hawaii 12/10/16, 11:53 AM  

Food essays are one of life's great pleasures. I love reading the stories behind foods--especially regional dishes and ingredients and this sounds like a good collection of them. ;-)

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 12/10/16, 12:01 PM  

I am going to see if this book is available at my library, I always enjoy learning about (and trying!) regional American foods. I have really started to enjoy cooking again, now that we have settled in. Thanks for hosting, have a great weekend.

Vicki 12/10/16, 2:05 PM  

I love food essays, and this sounds like a winner.

La La in the Library 12/10/16, 2:54 PM  

I love cookbooks that reference, and talk about, family connections and traditions. My idea of Southern cooking growing up in the North was fried chicken, biscuits, and pecan pie. :)

Jackie McGuinness 12/10/16, 6:36 PM  

having just driven through North and South Carolina I think I would like this book.

rhonda 12/13/16, 10:30 PM  

Catching up on missed posts.Loving this book.As a Brooklyn girl southern cooking was something foreign .As an adult its so delicious &these essays are so lovely.

Thanks for stopping by. I read all comments and may respond here, via e-mail, or on your blog. I visit everyone who comments, but not necessarily right away.

I cannot turn off word verification, but if you are logged into Blogger you can ignore the captcha. I have set posts older than 14 days to be on moderation. I can no longer accept anonymous comments. I'm so sorry if this means you have to register or if you have trouble commenting.


All content and photos (except where noted) copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads 2008-2020. All rights reserved.



To The Blogger Guide, Blogger Buster, Tips Blogger, Our Blogger Templates, BlogU, and Exploding Boy for the code for customizing my blog. To Old Book Illustrations for my ID photo. To SEO for meta-tag analysis. To Blogger Widgets for the avatars in my comments and sidebar gadgets. To Review of the Web for more gadgets. To SuziQ from Whimpulsive for help with my comments section. To Cool Tricks N Tips for my Google +1 button.

Quick Linker



  © Blogger template Coozie by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP