“The Southern Vegetable Book: A Root-to-Stalk Guide to the South’s Favorite Produce.” By Rebecca Lang (Oxmoor House, $27.95).
Some of us who grew up on the land get nostalgic every summer when the peas and butterbeans come in.
As Athens cookbook writer Rebecca Lang says in her new volume: “Families that used to meet on porches to shell peas, shuck corn, and string beans are becoming a thing of the past.”
Joining Steven Satterfield’s “Root to Leaf” (Harper Wave, $45) and Hugh Acheson’s “The Broad Fork” (Clarkson Potter, $45) on the Southern veggie shelf, Lang’s latest showcases recipes both homespun and uptown. She tells you want to do with all the showoffs of the summer garden: tomatoes, field peas, cucumbers, eggplant, corn, whether you eat it now or put it up for later.
Speckled butter beans with bacon and basil, crispy fried sweet onion rings, spicy icebox pickles, eggplant and roasted pepper frittata, creamed corn: These are some mighty fine looking vegetables.
While many of these classics remind me of the food I ate as a South Georgia farm kid, Lang has some new tricks up her sleeve that I have every intention of borrowing. She smashes okra prods before frying to maximize the crunch surface, and she cooks winter collards with the three B’s: bacon, beer and bourbon. (Boozy greens! Who’d a thunk it?) Lang’s lady-pea summer salad looks cool and inviting. I just wish I had a hamper of tiny white cream peas so I could sit in the backyard all day, shelling.
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