The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma’s Table

By: Carl Christensen
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A celebration of circle of relatives recipes and the very best gift for Mother's Day.

From the beloved, best-selling writer of All Over but the Shoutin', a delectable, rollicking food memoir, cookbook, and loving tribute to a region, a vanishing history, a circle of relatives, and, especially, to his mother. Including seventy-four mouthwatering Bragg circle of relatives recipes for classic southern dishes passed down through generations.

Margaret Bragg does not own a single cookbook. She measures in “dabs” and “smidgens” and “tads” and “you understand, hon, just a few.” She can't be pinned down on how long to bake corn bread (“about 15 to 20 minutes, depending at the mysteries of your oven”). Her notion of farm-to-table is a flatbed truck. But she can tell you the secrets to perfect mashed potatoes, corn pudding, redeye gravy, pinto beans and hambone, stewed cabbage, short ribs, chicken and dressing, biscuits and butter rolls. Many of her recipes, recorded here for the first time, pre-date the Civil War, handed down skillet by skillet, from one generation of Braggs to the next. In The Best Cook within the World, Rick Bragg in any case preserves his heritage by telling the stories that framed his mother's cooking and education, from childhood into old age. Because good food at all times has a good story, and a recipe, writes Bragg, is a story like anything else.

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