Southern Living Annual Recipes: A Cookbook Tradition For Over 40 Years

Southern Living Annual Recipes 1980s
Photo: Southern Living

The Story Behind Southern Living Recipes

So many great dishes have made their way across the South because of one simple question: "Could I get that recipe?" In the first issue of Southern Living, which was published in February 1966, we asked readers to share their favorite dishes with us. And as the magazine grew in popularity, the trickle of submissions quickly swelled to a deluge, with thousands of handwritten recipes arriving every month. Along with those recipes came letters and postcards, which played a vital role in educating the staff about how Southerners were eating, cooking, and entertaining; where they were grocery shopping; how much they were spending; and most of all, what they wanted from the magazine.

By the mid-seventies, our editors had started developing an elaborate system of filing, testing, rating, and editing recipes that not only went a long way toward ensuring success for the home cook but also gave our Food Department additional tools for answering reader calls and letters. Once the editors combined foolproof recipes with a communication style that was personal and approachable, they had hit upon the essence of their brand: a powerful bond with a fiercely loyal audience.

The History Of Southern Living Cookbooks

During those early years, the Southern Living offices were inundated with mail that was proof that our readers used and enjoyed our recipes. Not only did they submit recipes for publication (which we accepted, tested, and published at the time), but also a significant portion of the daily mail contained requests for recipes previously published in a prior issue of Southern Living. A common theme of these letters is that through the years a favorite recipe has been misplaced or possibly loaned to a friend who had – yikes! – forgotten to return it.

Another comment that appeared frequently in those letters was that many of our readers clipped and saved each month's recipes. Not only is that a time-consuming task, but we believed most of our readers would really enjoy keeping each issue intact.

And that was when the idea for Southern Living Annual Recipes was born.

This new concept for a cookbook contained every single recipe published in Southern Living magazine during 1979. In addition, the annual collection included special occasion features, step-by-step how-to photographs, helpful cooking tips, and more.

Southern Living Annual Recipes 2017

Annual Recipes Is A Cookbook Tradition

The idea took off. The 1979 edition of Southern Living Annual Recipes, which has sold well over 21 million copies since its first printing, was just the beginning. The popularity and reliability of Southern Living recipes, coupled with a steady flow of comments, questions, and suggestions from readers, led to a highly successful extension for the brand – this annual cookbook has been published every year since.

Annual Recipes is more than just for those familiar with the magazine, and now our website and social media channels. It's for home cooks everywhere who are searching for new ways to delight family, friends, neighbors, and more with delicious recipes and helpful tips. We believe you will find our cookbooks to be the most practical, usable cookbooks in your kitchen.