What Your Favorite Southern Cookbook Says About You

Which cookbook do you reach for off your kitchen shelves? It says a lot about you.

Lisa Cericola
Heritage by Sean Brock

The Cookbook: Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking
What it means: You’re a fan of traditional Southern dishes, and you like having a go-to reference for everything at your fingertips. For many folks, this is the Bible of Southern food. This weighty book—with more than 700 recipes for classic and regional specialties—was heavily researched and tested by Southern food experts Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart. This is not a book for people who love leafing through pretty pictures. It's a workhorse of a cookbook that is destined to be grease-spattered, dog-eared, and reached for time and time again.

The cookbook: The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook
What it means: You aren’t from the South, but you wish you were. Brothers Matt and Ted Lee were born in Charleston, but made a name for themselves in the food world writing about it for the New York Times. The Lees bring a Northern sensibility to Southern food, demystifying dishes like Kentucky Burgoo and sharing the secrets to mastering classics, like shrimp and grits.

The cookbook: Heritage
What it means: All the farmers at your local market know you by name. You spend more money than you should at Anson Mills. You plan your vacations around restaurant reservations. Charleston chef Sean Brock’s first cookbook, a love letter to all things seasonal and local in the South, was made for you. The book includes recipes for his favorite at-home comfort foods (Hoppin’ John, Pickled Shrimp), as well as fancier dishes inspired by his high-end, award-winning restaurants, Husk and McCrady’s.

The cookbook: The Taste of Country Cooking
What it means: If you think farm-to-table is a way of life, not a restaurant buzzword, this is surely your favorite Southern cookbook. Edna Lewis shares her unique culinary history of living in a small farming community in Virginia started by free slaves. Long before seasonal cooking became trendy across the country, her cookbook paid tribute to the way the Lewis family ate with beautiful descriptions and simple, incredibly delicious recipes.

The cookbook: Charleston Receipts
What it means: You think the best recipes come from the kitchens of home cooks and most of your cookbooks are spiral-bound. If you don’t already own a copy, you should pick up Charleston Reciepts, one of the original Junior League cookbooks. This well-loved book, first published in 1950, is a collection of Lowcountry favorites and family recipes, some dating back to the 1700s.

The cookbook: Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen: Recipes from My Family to Yours
What it means: Food Network is your favorite channel, and you never miss an episode of Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. Even if football is on. Trisha Yearwood’s charming debut cookbook captures her food-filled childhood spent in Oklahoma, as well as her days as a world-famous country star living in Nashville and touring the world.

The cookbook: Gift of Southern Cooking
What it means: You love to entertain and think food is the strongest force that brings people together. Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock, two Southerners of different races, ages, and genders, forged a beautiful friendship over their shared love of traditional Southern cooking. This beloved book is a reflection of their relationship told through mouthwatering recipes like Hot Crusty Buttermilk Biscuits and Warm Apple Crisp.

Southern Cake Book

The cookbook: The Southern Cake Book
What it means: You believe no occasion is complete without a cake. You are the go-to baker in your family for any gathering, from birthdays to funerals. This book will be your ultimate resource for decadent Southern-style cakes. Our test kitchen compiled Southern Living’s most popular cake recipes including our world-famous Hummingbird Cake along with beautiful photos and helpful baking tips.