Good Writing on Good Food

Reviewed by Randall Williams

Vol. 13, No. 3, 1991, p. 30

Side Orders: Small Helpings of Southern Cookery and Culture, by John Egerton. (Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 1990. 224 pp. $14.95.).

A highly readable, entertaining and informative tour along the region's stovetops and sideboards by the author of the definitive Southern Food. The present book consists of previously published essays which presumably makes it a collection of leftovers, and in this case the flavors survive. There are sixty or more recipes, and a lot of what the author describes as "just talk--kitchen talk, table talk." Even the recipes, for everything from turnip greens to Duke of Norfolk Punch, are anecdotal in style. "The social and cultural dimensions of Southern food are as important as its appearance and taste and quality...It is not just the food itself that matters; it's also the people, the setting, the precedents," Egerton writes. In nine chapters on Cookery and Culture, he shows why.