Quick-Fix Southern

by Charles G. Thompson
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ImageThis review comes with instructions: #1. Buy the book. #2. Turn to page 112. #3. Make the recipe “Slow Cooker Pot Roast.” Now, to be as un-journalistic as I can be: OMG! If you like pot roast you’ll love this recipe. It is so easy to make (as long as you own a slow cooker), and the end result is a truly magnificent braised meal. Perfect for the winter months. The recipe worked to a ‘T.’ The beauty of this dish for me? All I had to to do was buy the boneless chuck roast ($13.47 at Whole Foods). Happily, I already had the onions, carrots and potatoes from my C.S.A. More beauty? I managed to get three meals from one roast. All the recipes I tried from Quick-Fix Southern worked very well. Author Rebecca Lang knows how to cook and this book reflects her talents.

Lang groups the book’s 115 recipes into ten themes including Tailgates and Gatherings, Busy Weeknight Suppers, and Girls’ Night In making it easy to locate a recipe that fits the mood. As the title implies the recipes are geared toward meals that take thirty minutes or less to prepare (cooking times may be longer). “Quick-Fix Southern” is fun, light and breezy, and full of food that one wants to eat. Chapter three, Sipping on the Screened Porch is all about drinks to be made for imbibing on hot summer nights on the screened porch, or off. Lang, being a Southerner by birth, throws in stories of her family, and food traditions as well as the history and lore of the South.

To make her format of 30 minutes or less work Lang adds in quick cooking tips, and shortens cooking times and techniques where possible. On page four of the book there’s a heading Keys to Quick Cooking. Below it are subheadings, Keep a Running Grocery List, Grocery Shop Once, A Well-Stocked Pantry, Fridge and Freezer with further subheadings all to help you quick-fix the meals in the book. I particularly appreciate the number of slow cooker recipes as I am a recent owner of one. In a busy, busy life the slow cooker has become indispensable to cooking at home (and not going out to restaurants). I’m always looking for more slow cooker recipes. Recipes I’d like to try: Slow-Cooking Stone-Ground Grits, and Slow Cooker Boiled Peanuts (a Southern delicacy). A southern cookbook would not be a southern cookbook without a few classics like Fried Green Tomatoes, Classic Sweet Tea, Lime Mint Julep, biscuits, Quick Icebox Pickles, Blackened Catfish, barbecue, Mama’s Baked Beans, and cobblers; all are included in “Quick-Fix Southern.”

I’ve been using this book often since receiving it. It’s winter so my C.S.A. deliveries have included many winter vegetables like kale, collard greens, carrots, potatoes, beets, and squash. This book is full of recipes using these ingredients, and I’ve happily been making them. Two favorites have been the Spicy Mustard Greens and the Little Beet Salad. There are many more recipes to try, and try them I will. Don’t forget! Page 112, “Slow Cooker Pot Roast.” You won’t be sorry!

 

Charles G. Thompson is a Los Angeles-based freelance food writer, whose reviews and stories can be found at his blog 100 Miles, an exploration of local sustainibility.

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