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But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria!: Adventures in Eating, Drinking, and Making Merry
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But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria!: Adventures in Eating, Drinking, and Making Merry

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  279 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
In her new book, But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria!, Julia Reed, a master of the art of eating, drinking, and making merry, takes the reader on culinary adventures in places as far flung as Kabul, Afghanistan and as close to home as her native Mississippi Delta and Florida's Gulf Coast. Along the way, Reed discovers the perfect Pimm's Royale at the Paris Ritz, devou ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 10th 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published April 30th 2013)
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Community Reviews

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Liz Simmons
Sep 24, 2013 Liz Simmons rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I detested this book. It is a food memoir, which usually I love. I don't understand how this person got a book deal. Probably by being wealthy and having connections, an aspect of her life that she mentions over and over again in this book. I don't even really remember any of the stories from this book (by the way, it reads like a connection of very disjointed stories).
Lisa Ahlstedt
Sep 04, 2013 Lisa Ahlstedt rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book. I really did. I wasn't familiar with the author, but I was hoping it would be a humorous look at Southern cooking. It turned out to be like reading the social calendar of someone you don't know (and don't care to know). The author just relates story after story about various and sundry people, with not a lot of transition. In Chapter 2, for instance, we get to hear about the wife of Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece (it says "princess", but since it was a wife, I'm assumi ...more
Lisa Schmeiser
May 01, 2013 Lisa Schmeiser rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Julia Reed's books are comfort reads for me: She writes like the friend you wish you had (or were) -- a hoot at a party, resourceful, and smart without taking herself too seriously. Best of all, Julia writes about good food, good drink and good company without a hint of finger-wagging moralism. In an era where we all-too-easily pass judgment on someone's character based on the contents of their plate, it's refreshing to find a food writer who focuses simply on the universal pleasures of gustator ...more
Traci Lee
May 16, 2013 Traci Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I am not a foodie (I have the tastebuds of a picky eight year old) and I am not the best cook. Well, I'm good if there are less than 5 ingredients and one pot. But the descriptions in this book really encourage me to step out of my comfort zone and try some of these recipes. And the cocktails! I'm seriously considering starting a cocktail hour for my boyfriend and I every evening. I love the little life stories that lead into the recipes and just really make you feel attached to them before you ...more
Aug 27, 2016 Lupine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, culinary
Fun read. I'll be making some of the recipes for sure!
May 14, 2014 Libby rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I started out liking this book. But gradually, Julia Reed's "And then this interesting person dropped by and then this fascinating guy dropped in and pretty soon this bunch of fascinating people were there" writing style began to just bore me witless.

The endless stories are supplemented by recipes which are interesting enough, in a retro "this is what used to be served back in the day" way. The heavy emphasis on drinking and cocktails, including advice on how to recover from over-imbibing (drin
May 19, 2013 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-read
I received this book as part of a first-read give away.

This book, while good, frustrated me. The essays were often so short, I would start getting into the tale and they were done. Which I guess is better then thinking they dragged, but still...

The recipes look good, I will have to try some when I am in cooking mode rather then planting mode. The title Sangria, maybe the first one I try.

If you like essays about food, if you like Southern lifestyle, and if you like your recipes with a little sto
Carolynn Hine
I was expecting something funny and relatable, and instead all I got was a name-dropping author who talked down and kept recommending obscure, expensive products. Only reason I gave this 2 stars instead of 1 is because the recipes ARE delicious, assuming you can substitute in cheaper brands. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone - just Google the recipes instead. The stories she pairs with each chapter just aren't worth the money. Skip it!!
Vicky Moon
Jul 12, 2013 Vicky Moon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well the notion of the vodka is not new-I've been doing it forever. Even sabotaged my guests last weekend for a Running of the Bulls Party. Light and breezy book, heaving on reprinting recipes from other books but fun. And should make a good gift.
Oct 05, 2013 April rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While some of the recipes looked interesting enough to try, the rest of the book was tedious to get through. I feel like she was stroking her own ego by all of the name dropping that occurred ... After all that I'm left wondering, "who cares?" And "who the heck are you again?" ... Sheesh.
May 23, 2013 Maggie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
If Paula Deen had a favorite book it would definitely be this one. This book is all about southern food and having a great time. Warning: This book makes you hungry!!

*Won from Goodreads Giveaway*
Jun 23, 2015 Shawnie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it, non-fiction
I am very sorry I spent money on this snobbery.
Patricia Utley
Light easy and sometimes funny little book about, as the title says, Eating, Drinking and Making Merry.

On many levels I identify with Julia Reed and found her tales "fun". A few pages followed by a few recipes the tie to those pages. The short chapter/essay style of the book makes it an easy read. A few little chapters and put it away until it's time to read again. (I read while on the ferry commuting to/from work).

While it was a light and easy read, some pieces were a little slow or seemed to t
Sep 23, 2013 Renee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I checked out "But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria!" from the library and "devoured" this book in just two nights. After closing the back page, I ordered the book on line because it is ladened with so many rich southern recipes (both food and drink) that it would be a sin not to try so many of dishes just begging to be prepared ( even though many of the ingredients are very foreign to my pallet and my familial dinner table.)

Mississippi born, and world traveled Julia Reed is an engaging auth
False Millennium
I enjoy Julia Reed's writing immensely. She has a genuine writing "voice," which is distinctive, and her stories ramble, as any good tale does, over time and events. She's been blessed with a small town extended family of characters to draw recipes and memories from. I saw some interviews of her during the time of the promotion of this book. So many of the recipes offered seemed dated and to come from Junior League cookbooks, and she'd tell you the same, but...they taste good, and they stir memo ...more
Jul 31, 2013 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Miz Julia is back and the south never tasted so good. You want to meet these people and eat their food or maybe just spend a lazy Saturday drinking with them. You read Julia Reed and you expect something good to happen. And it usually does. She is the unquestionable expert on all things from the American South but this time she takes us for a few cocktails in Paris and a meal in Afghanistan too. I am never so hungry as when I am reading and laughing along with Julia. She invites us to pull up a ...more
Feb 11, 2014 Kelley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a lot of fun. If you like to travel, and you enjoy being The Hostess With The Mostess, this book will inspire you to entertain. Julia Reed tells a good story like every good Southerner should and her "name dropping" made it that much more charming. Thank goodness somebody finally had the gumption to publish a book about Southerners that have style, lovely manners and a flair for good food and elegant good times. There is a lot more to Southern culture than Honey Booboo and that vei ...more
Sherri Tucker
Sep 19, 2013 Sherri Tucker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Julia Reed is not from New Orleans but we do claim her as our own. In the rest of the world people eat to live but here we live to eat. Seriously. We start to think about lunch during breakfast and dinner during dinner the night before. Add to that the fact that most southerners view food as love and you get a feel for the culture that Ms. Reed comes from. Her activities take her all over the world and her book reflects this but she always manages to bring it home. Warning: don't read this book ...more
Henderson County Public Library
In a compilation of essays Julia Reed takes her readers on an adventure in eating, drinking and making merry, stretching from Kabul to her home region of the Mississippi Delta. While she shares her posh knowledge of Primm’s Royales in Paris to chuletons in Madrid she skillfully includes her experience growing up in the south and tending to the garden mid-summer. Complete with recipes to fill your belly or quench your “thirst” readers will find they are full and satisfied. Those who enjoyed work ...more
Niya B
Oct 10, 2013 Niya B rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's light, entertaining, anecdotal - the text is like good cocktail party conversation. Engaging but without any real depth and quickly forgotten as you move on to the next shiny thing. One gets a clear sense of the authors stance on entertaining (hosting is serious business), being a good guest(dress for the event) and the rules for feeding a crowd (make lots of a few things, instead of a few portions of lots of things). Not bad if you're looking for something light, with a few possible recipe ...more
Jul 06, 2016 Lindsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such a fun book to read! Julia Reed captured the essence of what foodies are always interested in: What did you eat? Where'd you get the recipe? Best ingredients? Variations? Anyone who enjoys food and the stories that come along with favorite dishes will appreciate this. Not to mention I've got a fun addition to my cookbook collection. Her cocktail recipes will be making a regular appearance in my kitchen going forward. Great book!
Jul 14, 2014 Ann rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Cover caught my eye on a display as I herded my 2 year old through the library. Was hoping for something different from this. Wasn't expecting the fragmented, name-dropping chapters. I really enjoyed a chapter or two she wrote about her mother and Anne McGee, I think I would have preferred to read more about them and their influence and less of the random name-dropping.
Apr 13, 2014 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An overall interesting and enjoyable book with some good recipes as an added bonus. At times, at least for my tastes, the author gets a little too much into the social scene. Nonetheless, a book very much worth reading. It is filled with interesting tidbits and explanations of food related topics. Her passion for food and New Orleans is what makes the book so good.
Aug 29, 2015 Kara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The recipes look good, and the stories are mildly entertaining. I don't mind the name dropping; I think it's an effective way to communicate the lifestyle that she leads, which is what she's trying to sell. Had this only been a memoir, it would have been too dull. As a cookbook, I'm not sure I would have bothered. But it fits nicely somewhere in between.
Jun 13, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seemed like a number of the chapters were longer versions of her articles from Garden & Gun, not entirely new but still entertaining. The name dropping did seem a little gratuitous but I suppose if William F. Buckley was a regular visitor to your Delta home, that's to be expected. At the very least, I'm looking forward to trying a few of the included recipes, particularly the cocktails.
Nov 02, 2013 Megan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, I kept reading this for the recipes, which all sound delicious and achieveable for a mom of two like myself. Many of the stories, though, were too short with little or no point. And the name dropping!! Oh my gosh, the name dropping! It was ridiculous! Next time just publish a regular ol' cookbook, Julia Reed.
Dec 03, 2013 Amber rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was expecting more of a storyline, but it was really just a collection of recollections with way too much name-dropping for my taste (especially since I didn't recognize 1/2 of the names!). However, I did try some of the recipes and liked several - including the sangria, VD Spinach and cheese dreams. The corn bread, not so much (way too dense and bland).
Jun 20, 2015 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of very Southern recipes by such a fun loving proponent of celebrating life through the wonders of food and beverage! Love reading this while visiting the south and having been raised by a Southern mama.
Maureen Flatley
Jun 06, 2013 Maureen Flatley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In typical Julia Reed fashion this book is both hilarious and filled w/ useful information. I liked it so much I'm going to go buy it and keep it right on my reading table to read again and again. Filled w/ simple but great recipes and anecdotes that only Julia could share. Love love love!
Ellen Stewart-Klein
I spead read this book but it has some amusing stories and some intriguing recipes. I feel like someone a tad older and more familiar with the people and times she names drops would find it more enjoyable.
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