From Nashville Eats to Southern Cooking: Gift Ideas for the Book Lover



Some of my most vivid memories of childhood revolve around books and reading. I can remember exactly where the Amelia Bedelia books were located in my elementary school library and how many hours I would pore over the order form for the Scholastic book fair. I remember that glorious blast of cold air as I opened the door to the bookmobile that was parked in the church parking lot at the end of my street on sweltering summer days.

Books and writing have always been my escape, my outlet. These days I may not have time to devour two or three books a month for pleasure like I did pre-child, but when I get the chance, I love to lose myself in a good cookbook for an hour or two.

Over the last few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and become friends with some very talented food writers and chefs here in Nashville, and a few of them have come out with some really fantastic books. Most of these I haven’t even had a chance to mention yet here on the blog, but as the holidays approach I wanted to share with you, as they would be awesome gifts!


Nashville Eats


Nashville Eats

by Jennifer Justus
Hardcover/256 pages

Nashville Eats is the latest and greatest in my collection. I just received a copy a couple of weeks ago, so while I’ve thumbed through the entire thing to see all the photos, I haven’t actually had a chance to read it in its entirety. That said, I’ve read enough that I’m in love! If you’re a fan of Nashville (and who isn’t these days?), you will get lost in these pages that showcase our history, people, and food.

From Amazon: In Nashville Eats, more than 100 mouthwatering recipes reveal why food lovers are headed South for Nashville’s hot chicken, buttermilk biscuits, pulled pork sandwiches, cornmeal-crusted catfish, chowchow, fried green tomatoes, and chess pie. Author Jennifer Justus whips up the classics—such as pimento cheese and fried chicken—but also includes dishes with a twist on traditional Southern fare—such as Curried Black Chickpeas or Catfish Tacos. And alongside the recipes, Jennifer shares her stories of Nashville—the people, music, history, and food that make it so special.


southern cooking for company


Southern Cooking for Company

by Nicki Wood
Hardcover/296 pages

This book is near and dear to my heart because my own mother is one of the contributors! Southern Cooking for Company brings both tried-and-true Southern recipes from people like my mom who have many years of experience in the kitchen and new, inventive dishes from a younger generation of food bloggers, several that I’m fortunate enough to call friends.

From Amazon: Nicki Pendleton Wood has gathered recipes from more than 100 Southerners that they prepare when company is coming. These are the show-off recipes hosts pull out when guests are on the way, whether for an intimate evening with another couple, a party for 100 people celebrating a milestone birthday, or anything in between. In addition to the recipes, contributors share their secrets for making guests feel at home.



Hot Chicken Cookbook 2015


The Hot Chicken Cookbook

by Timothy Charles Davis
Paperback/128 pages

Hot chicken is Nashville. It may have spread across the country and into other parts of the world recently, but it will always be ours.While I haven’t even seen this book in person yet, I’m eager to read it.

From Amazon: Entrenched in the city’s history, Nashville Hot Chicken is an addiction of sweet, spicy salvation to those who’ve had it. In The Hot Chicken Cookbook, Timothy Davis, a Nashville resident and Hot Chicken devotee, traces the dish’s origins back to the 1930’s and follows the trail to its white-hot buzz of today. Featuring over two- dozen recipes from the finest Hot Chicken restaurants in Nashville and beyond, The Hot Chicken Cookbook tells the tale of Music City’s fiery bird going global to influence a world of chefs and eaters.



Southern Foodies Guide to the Pig

The Southern Foodie’s Guide to the Pig

by Chris Chamberlain
Paperback/ 320 pages
released 2014

Chris Chamberlain and I met six years ago not long after I started this blog. If I remember correctly, he was responsible for getting me my very first food judging gig. Since then, we’ve shared many dining and judging experiences, some more memorable than others. Back in 2012, Chris came out with his book, The Southern Foodie: 100 Places to Eat in the South. If you’re doing any traveling across the South, this book needs to go with you to serve as a reference guide. Last year, his book The Southern Foodie’s Guide to the Pig was released, and much like the first book, it serves as an excellent guide, but this time for all things pork.

From Amazon: The Southern Foodie’s Guide to the Pig takes you on several journeys. An anatomic survey of the pig introduces readers to all the parts of this versatile animal and teaches procedures and recipes to prepare all sorts of wonderful dishes. A geographic tour of the Southern states will showcase restaurants in the region that have particular talents when it comes to pork. The chefs and pitmasters have shared some of their most sacred secrets, the actual recipes for the best pork, barbecue and bacon dishes that emerge from their kitchens. Finally, since man cannot live by pig alone (unfortunately), there is also a selection of recipes that are great accompaniments to the pork dishes contributed by the fifty Southern restaurants that are featured.


Third Thursday Community Potluck

The Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook

by Nancy Vienneau
Hardcover/336 pages
released 2014

Every Sunday afternoon of my childhood we’d gather at my grandmother’s house after church for a potluck with all the family. To me, it was just a typical Sunday lunch, but looking back, I realize now how lucky I was to experience that shared meal every week.  My grandmother would fry the chicken (plus livers and gizzards- my favorite!) and bake sourdough rolls (also my favorite). The kitchen bar would be covered with dishes my mom and four aunts had made that morning before church. Over on the counter by the back door there would be at least three or four pies, cobblers, or cakes. Though it was all delicious, those lunches weren’t just about the food — it was about spending quality time together. The Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook brought that all back for me, and inspires me to begin a similar ritual. Who’s in?

From Amazon: When Nancy Vienneau started a casual potluck celebrating good food and goodwill, she had no idea it would be going strong five years later. The ever-changing group of diverse people who attend have one thing in common: a dedication to good food. As a result, every month, a non-scripted parade of seasonally inspired dishes appears—dishes that draw on ingredients from the participants’ own gardens, their neighbors yards, or the farmers’ market. These dishes celebrate their provenance and their history. Roasted tomato goat cheese tart with Tennessee Bradley tomatoes, Me-me’s chocolate cake inherited from a beloved grandmother’s recipe. Chicken baked with fresh plums from a neighbor’s tree. Acorn squash filled with Southern sorghum and pecans. Pimiento cheese made with local farmstead cheddar. Crowder pea salad flecked with Benton’s country ham.

Like a sourdough starter made from flour, yeast, and water, this simple get-together has grown into a lively, rich event full of interesting folks and food. Between these covers you’ll find glorious dishes, heartfelt stories, plus tips and ideas for starting your own community potluck. Did someone say it’s Thursday?


Coming Soon:


Lockeland-Table-Cookbook youreinvited2

For more information on this December 7th dinner and the new book, click here.




Disclosure: I received copies of some of these books free of charge, but was under no obligation to mention any of them. As always, all opinions written are purely my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and purchase the product, I will receive a small compensation.