Parnassus Books is delighted to welcome Amber Wilson as she discusses and signs her cookbook, For the Love of the South: Recipes and Stories from My Southern Kitchen.
Amber Wilson, the creator of the beloved food blog For the Love of the South, has just published her first cookbook, an alluring collection of 100 mouthwatering, accessible, and easy-to-make recipes for Southern classics—all photographed by Wilson herself. For the Love of the South: Recipes and Stories from My Southern Kitchen captures the essence of Southern culture and honors family, friends, and food and Wilson’s experience growing up on the bayous of Louisiana.
“Everything I hold dear about Southern culture rests in its narrative. The photographs throughout this book are personal—as personal as the stories I share. The images of satsuma trees, pecan trees, and cotton crops are taken on family land. Almost all the silver, cast iron, stoneware, and glasses in this book are family treasures. My china pattern and silverware are adorned with one of my favorite flowers, a gardenia, which represents grace and hospitality in the South. The dark wooden background for many photos is an old painter’s table discovered at an estate sale in Decatur, Alabama. The marble background is a restored piece from an old home, Rocky Hill, that my husband’s family owned.”
No matter where in the country you live, no matter if you’ve barely used a stove or are an old hand around the kitchen, Wilson teaches you how to master a host of Southern dishes, from starters to desserts. The recipes feature inexpensive, readily available ingredients and come with instructive, encouraging directions. Learn to make a roux, perfect the popover, fry okra, lattice a piecrust, and create irresistible gumbos and jambalayas like a true Southerner. From Pain Perdu, Pimento Hushpuppies, Corn Bisque, and Spicy Oven-Roasted Okra to Tomato and Bacon Sandwich with Chipotle Mayonnaise, Nashville Hot Chicken, Cajun Jambalaya, and Bacon-Latticed Apple Pie, there’s something tasty for everyone. In the book’s section called “Kitchen Wisdom,” Wilson offers a pantry-full of time- and money-saving kitchen tips—from storing and freezing bacon to prolonging fresh berries in the fridge, seasoning cast-iron skillets, and making vanilla extract—and provides helpful do-ahead and leftover-saving tips for many recipes.
This is an artful and accessible cookbook that Wilson wants you to really use. As she says, “I hope there are blackberry juice starbursts splattered across the pages, dog-eared corners, and handwritten notes in the margins. Above all, I hope you find comfort in these recipes and make them your own,” she explains in her introduction. So, grab a chair, sit down for a spell, and enjoy a taste of Southern life and food with For the Love of the South.
Amber Wilson is a self-taught home cook with an insatiable desire to honor the culinary culture of the South as well as to create new dishes. Once on a career path in science and offered a job at NASA, she decided to change course and start her blog, For the Love of the South. An homage to her Southern roots, the blog was a finalist in Saveur’s Best Food Blog Awards (2013) and was one of PBS’s Best Food Blogs (2013). Wilson was also one of Southern Living’s “30 Bloggers You Should Be Following” in 2015. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Michael.