Southern Snacks Cookbook

The Southern Sympathy Cookbook

I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Festive Favorites 2012

Holiday shopping season is upon us once again, and I love to share gift ideas for the food lovers in your life. As always, these are just some ideas about personal favorites – no one has asked me to promote any products.

I love nothing more than a cookbook as a gift.  After all the excitement of the holiday season has calmed down, nothing is better than curling up on the couch with a book full of new and exciting inspiration.  This year, I am hoping Santa brings me Nathalie Dupree’s essential Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking.  Fred Thompson’s Southern Sides will keep up the Southern kitchen inspiration. And I’d love to take some time to peruse Ann Willan’s Cookbook Library for a taste of the history of the cookbook.  Everyone loves a Barefoot Contessa book, and Ina Garten’s new Foolproof is no exception.  If you are ready to get your family off to a healthy new year, try Michelle Dudash’s Clean Eating for Busy Families.  And Cheryl Sternman Rule’s beautiful Ripe will inspire you with fruits and vegetables in whole new and exciting ways.

Le Creuset products are a perennial favorite, and this year you can give a gift that benefits No Kid Hungry with these special little mini cocotte sets.  This bright red Lodge 3-quart apple pot would look festive on any stovetop.  Sur La Table offers a wide selection of food and cooking themed ornaments for the tree.  Fifties chic Kobenstyle cookware is back and as cool as ever, particularly this handy baker.  I sprinkle a dash of Maldon Sea Salt on most everything and these little pocket-sized tins make a perfect stocking stuffer for any gourmand.  And for the party guest on the move, this classic canvas wine tote is a great gift.

If you and your family share some favorite recipes, there are so many fun ways to make them into a permanent kitchen fixture. Scan grandma’s handwritten recipe and have it engraved on wooden cutting board.  Or have it transferred to a porcelain platter.  Or have that famous recipe made into an art piece to hang on the wall. You can even add a favorite recipe to your holiday cards.

Homemade food gifts are always on my list, and packaging is part of the fun.  For me, its jars of produce I’ve put up over the summer, and I can’t wait to package them in these adorable muslin bags stamped with mason jars.  If baking is your thing, make your favorite muffins or quick breads in these sweet little Christmas paper baking pans.  Or bake your favorite cupcakes in these festive red striped baking cups. Package them up in personalized goodie bags.

But maybe the best gift of all is giving on behalf of someone you love to someone in need. There are so many great organizations to give to that will create special cards you can wrap up for your recipient or have it sent directly to them. Heifer International is really cheeky. Give a friend a goat, or a hive of bees, that will help a community sustain itself. They have a gift catalog and make great cards for giving. And for all those peanut butter sandwiches you make during the year, make a gift of Plumpy Nut, a therapeutic nut paste feeding thousands of hungry children through UNICEF. And as food banks are under more strain than ever, Give-A-Meal through Feeding America to a family in need in honor of a family you love.  And remember your local food bank with monetary donations or canned goods.

For some more ideas about my favorite fun kitchen finds, book and movies – check out The Spoon’s Store, powered by Amazon. Just click on the box on the right hand side of the page

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