EdibleNotesReviews's Reviews > Cornbread Nation 4: The Best of Southern Food Writing

Cornbread Nation 4 by Dale Volberg Reed
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Jan 02, 11

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Recommended for: cookbook, traditional foodways

Cornbread Nation 4: the Best of Southern Food Writing should be propped open and read while eating; preferably hunched over a basket of fried fish. Just make sure you wipe your fingers on your pant leg before flipping a page and enjoying this satisfying collection of stories and recipes, condolences and confirmations.

Readers of the earlier editions of Cornbread Nation will not be surprised by the unhurried stories of southern foods or cooking or the people behind them. The renditions of cooking collards or the history of Moon-Pies or—God help us all—the nutritional value of ‘co-cola’ ring true to the anthology form but the best of what is ‘best’ in Cornbread Nation 4 are really about two common themes; loss and confirmation.

Born of distance or doctor’s orders; loss means separation from the foods that soulfully sustain the South. It is these same foods; and their rituals, that give each of us confirmation of where we are, where we’ve been and where we would like to be. Dale and John Reed do an admirable job editing pieces from a who’s who of Dixie scribes under the watchful eye—and appetite, of the series’ general editor, John T. Edge. It is a stellar list of authors who are obviously writing about subjects they love; you can always tell.

Cornbread Nation 4 finally includes what many have always hoped for in the series—recipes. Not the sort that appear in food magazines; but that serve to re-connect us—and the series, with food itself. The book and the entire series should be on every southern reader’s table; and please pass the hot sauce.

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