The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma's Southern Table (Paperback)

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You would be hard-pressed to find a book by Rick Bragg that wasn’t entertaining! My first introduction was All Over but the Shoutin' about growing up in rural Alabama. It’s still one of my all-time favorites! But, The Best Cook in the World is not far behind.
Bragg’s nonfiction writing is full of beautiful descriptive sentences about time, place and people; mostly people from the deep South, and mostly described as “poor whites.”  In The Best Cook in the World, Bragg tells tales surrounding his mother’s life and her off-the-cuff cooking.
When you’re poor, you make due with what you have, and his mother certainly did that. The love of his mother, of the rural South, its traditions and people come shining through. There are times when the reader will laugh out-loud or feel the consequences of being truly poor, but also, truly good.  If you plan to start a diet or if you are watching your cholesterol, you probably won’t want to try his mother’s recipes that are included. But, be sure to read them. If you don’t smile after reading the ingredients and cooking instructions, then this book is not for you. 

Even Bragg’s own life is worth a story. From an early age, he had a love of reading, but not necessarily a love of schooling. Bragg never graduated from college, but has taught in several.  His talents have garnered him many accolades, including a Pulitzer. If you love humor, beautiful writing, learning about cultures, and taking a break from politics, Bragg is the perfect solution!  You are in for a treat!  Happy New Year!

— From Karen L

May 2018 Indie Next List

“This is the funniest cookbook in the world! Packed with old fashioned southern recipes, Bragg's brilliant storytelling and old black-and-white photographs bring his relatives to life. From lost cows to dead hogs to giant turtles, his stories feature grandparents and great grandparents, aunts and uncles. But most of all, his mother's voice comes through loud and clear. More than anything, you are taken by the back-and-forth between Bragg and his down-to-earth, matter-of-fact, shy but feisty mother. I absolutely loved this book! And I recommend the pecan pie!”
— Helen Stewart, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC


A New York Times bestseller

Part cookbook, part memoir, The Best Cook in the World is Pulitzer Prize-winner Rick Bragg’s loving tribute to the South, his family and, especially, to his extraordinary mother. Here are irresistible stories and recipes from across generations. They come, skillet by skillet, from Bragg’s ancestors, from feasts and near famine, from funerals and celebrations, and from a thousand tales of family lore as rich and as sumptuous as the dishes they inspired. Deeply personal and unfailingly mouthwatering, The Best Cook in the World is a book to be savored.

About the Author

Rick Bragg is the author of eight books, including the best-selling Ava’s Man and All Over but the Shoutin’. He is also a regular contributor to Garden & Gun magazine. He lives in Alabama.

Praise For…

“Wonderful, rollicking, poignant, sometimes hilarious tales about how generations of Bragg’s extended family survived from one meal to the next.” —USA Today

“A glorious collection of tales. . . . Bragg writes stories about family . . . and he does it better than almost anybody else. His just happens to be a family of excellent cooks who do much of their relating through the food they grow, hunt, prepare and occasionally steal.” —The New York Times Book Review

“A tribute, a monument, to [Bragg’s] mother and her people, captured here in solid recipes for good food, charming details and funny conversations.” —The Wall Street Journal
“A loving, recipe-filled ode.” —Garden & Gun
“Put together, all those stories read like a lush and lyrical novel, sometimes hilarious, sometimes harrowing. . . . Bragg’s deep love for his mother, and her cooking, shines throughout.” —Tampa Bay Times

“Rick Bragg serves up a feast. . . . A love song to the woman who raised him and who has been his greatest muse.” —The New Orleans Advocate
“The stories, as much as the portrait they paint of [Bragg’s] family and their times, are baroque and profane, simultaneously moral and amoral, loving and blunt.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“One of my favorite writers of all time. . . . Both an incredibly evocative portrait of [Bragg’s] mother and a collection of his mother’s recipes.” —Ed Levine, Serious Eats
“Bragg has a bone-deep empathy for people who endure hard times. . . . [He is] a leisurely, soulful storyteller, a reporter with a poet’s eye, and an appreciative diner. Most of all . . . he’s a ferociously devoted son.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“Affectionate, funny, and beautifully written. . . . Heartfelt, often hilarious stories from an Alabama kitchen, a place from which issue wondrous remembrances and wondrous foods alike.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“An engaging read about food that is dear to me.” —Hugh Acheson, Food & Wine
“A testament that cooking and food still bind culture together.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Many of the tales Bragg tells are ones he remembers hearing from his family, which must have been full of the best storytellers of all time. . . . [The Best Cook in the World] winds through family stories, memories of his mother and recipes of their food.” —Post and Courier (Charleston)
“[Bragg] generously preserves a way of life that has endured in America’s backcountry. His prose evokes the sights, sounds, and smells of a rural Alabama kitchen and transforms apparent poverty into soul-satisfying plenty.” —Booklist (starred review)
“One of the finest American writers of our time.” —Billy Watkins, The Clarion Ledger (Jackson, MS)
“Bragg writes with a powerful, page-turning punch. The result is unimaginably delectable.” —BookPage
The Best Cook in the World is a cookbook, but not like one of those old Betty Crocker volumes. . . . Bragg’s work is more a narrative cookbook that’s heavy on stories about growing up poor, wearing out stoves and the role food plays both in his family and his native South, which gets a little more like everywhere else each time Domino’s delivers a pizza out in the county.” —Associated Press

Product Details
ISBN: 9781400032693
ISBN-10: 1400032695
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2019
Pages: 560
Language: English
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