Saturday, December 2, 2017

Sunday Suppers (Book Review)

The Southern Living cookbook has over 50 menus and recipes for family gatherings.  The meal was designed to be the last meal on Sundays before the family was back to the weekday Monday routine.  There are 3 meal components per menu-an entree, side and dessert-all of which can be exchanged for the like component on another day.  There is a nice variety of protein foods, vegetables and fruit.

Most entrees are set-up for 8 servings that can be reduced to 1/2 or even 1/4th to accommodate smaller families.  I did that in the Tomato and Feta Shrimp dish (above) to serve just the two of us.  The recipe was easy to prepare and easy to follow.  While I did see a few recipes made with whole grains in the book (corn tortillas, corn), there are not many.  My version serves the shrimp/feta/tomato dish over whole wheat spaghetti (cooked in strained shrimp shell broth).

I love the full page photos of each recipe, as seen above for the Brunswick Stew.  While the recipe called for a bottle of Chili Sauce, I made my own.  The recipes in the book "allow for wiggle room" for making changes and are very forgiving.  Some of the baked goods and desserts call for mixes, such as "cornbread mix", self rising flour, ready made crusts and jams/jellies.  Most cooks can mix their own flours, leavening ingredients and salt to achieve a similar product without added inventory or waste.

There are breakfast menus and dishes to try.  Rather than an "all-purpose baking mix" I made my own waffles with chia in place of poppy seeds.  I loved the Citrus Salad with Spiced Honey recipe.

I made the Grilled Spicy Chicken recipe with sweet pepper in place of jalapeno pepper and on stove-top rather than outside, but the food processor pesto type mix of greens, as in the recipe was very tasty.  The recipe took less than 30 minutes to prepare and made a beautiful presentation.

I particularly loved the "Southern Savvy"  paragraphs throughout the book with etiquette topics like "RSVP, Cell Phones, Allergies, and Tardiness".  Consideration of others is a component of eating pleasure and gatherings.

The table settings throughout the book are lovely.  There are many settings, adaptable to many situations.  The recipe above is for "Meatball Minestrone".  I have never cooked meatballs in broth before, and these 1 tablespoon raw balls cooked in just 12 minutes of boiling broth.  The lean meat did not add layers of fat to the soup.

Finally, the section on "Timing a Menu" is so important, particularly when guests are invited.  I was glad to review the process as I was preparing my Thanksgiving plans.

Thank you Time Inc. Books for the review copy!


In the South, relaxing Sunday afternoons regularly drift into laid-back, informal Sunday suppers. These evening gatherings are sometimes a full meal, sometimes a soup and sandwich, but they are always all about family.

Sunday Suppers: Simple, Delicious Menus for Family Gatherings (Oxmoor House, November 7, 2017, $27.99) by James Beard Award-winning author Cynthia Graubart is new full-color cookbook that will revitalize the iconic Southern Sunday meal, inspired by suppers of the past and present.

Whether the plan is a small family gathering, a feast for a crowd, or a summer afternoon cookout, readers will find 52 inspired menus with classic Southern flair for a year of Sunday suppers, including:
• Fall Chicken Casserole, Fresh Herb Spoon Rolls, and Tart Cherry Crisp (page 26)
• Slow-Cooker Pork, Baked Macaroni and Cheese, and White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (page 66)
• Lemon Grilled Salmon, Roasted Carrots with Avocado and Feta Vinaigrette, and Vanilla-Buttermilk Tarts (page 100)
• And much more!

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