Monday, September 13, 2010

Countdown to Southern Festival of Books: 4 Weeks -- Cooking at the Festival

The Southern Festival of Books
One of my favorite places to be at the Southern Festival of Books is under the Food Tent. Cookbook and foodie writers flaunt their wares via cooking demonstrations that are straight out of the Food Network kitchens. I think I've told this story before, but bear with me. A few years ago my mom, my aunt, and I were lucky enough to hear Julia Reed speak about her New Orleans nonfiction book The House on First Street under the Food Tent at SFB. She talked about making southern food in New York City and about the restaurant industry in The Big Easy after Hurricane Katrina. As she talked, she made food. I don't recall the food portion (although I'm quite sure it was tasty), but as her ending demonstration Julia did a milk punch which made my mom open her eyes wide; in she poured two fifths of whiskey, then proceeded to pass around samples. The alcohol content may have been a bit high, but she was an entertaining speaker. Any combination of books and food is good, in my opinion. So, without further ado, a smattering of the cookbook authors who will appear at the Festival this year (and hopefully make some of their food in the Food Tent for lucky Festival-goers!):

Tammy Algood writes the Market Basket food column that appears on Wednesdays in the Tennessean. She also frequently appears on Nashville television news programs showing off recipes using locally grown produce.  She writes a blog called Complete Southern Cooker where she shares recipes and thoughts. Her cookbook debut, The Complete Southern Cookbook: More than 800 of the Most Delicious, Down-Home Recipes, will be released just in time for the Festival on September 28.

Amy Lyles Wilson and Patsy Caldwell have teamed up to write Bless Your Heart: Saving the World One Covered Dish at a Time, a cookbook that celebrates the ever-important casserole. Whether it be a funeral, ladies luncheon, or church supper, covered dishes are the ultimate weapon a southern cook has in her quest to prove herself the best. Wilson and Caldwell introduce 200 recipes that will help southern cooks everywhere beat out the competition -- and show a little love. This cookbook isn't slated to be released until November, but maybe there will be a few advanced copies for Festival-goers to buy.

Christy Jordan is the latest internet food blog sensation to publish her own cookbook (following in the footsteps of huge bloggers like the Pioneer Woman). Jordan has a successful blog called Recipes from Below the Mason-Dixon Line where she posts down-home recipes from her Alabama homestead. Her debut cookbook Southern Plate: Classic Comfort Food That Makes Everyone Feel Like Familyis a compilation of recipes featured on her blog and new recipes never seen before, as well as stories to go along with them.

Devon O'Day is a Nashville country radio personality with her own morning show on WSIX, songwriting credits under her belt, and a host of other successes too numerous to name (country music specials, commercials, and television specials, for starters). She has now made her first foray into the book publishing world with the cookbook My Southern Food: A Celebration of the Flavors of the South. O'Day also includes sections such as "What Every Southern Lady Knows" and "Eating Out Southern Style."

The Southern Festival of Books will return to downtown Nashville October 8-10. Learn more about the Festival, sign up for updates, and enter contests at SFB's Facebook site and on Twitter.

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