The cover photo of a flowery apron filled with ripe peaches is surely a tempting invitation to read A Southerly Course, Martha Hall Foose‘s book – Recipes & Stories from Close to Home (Clarkson Potter 2011). Though peach season in the South is still a few months away, it is a pleasure to sit down with a cookbook about the warmth of the South. Home is the Mississippi. Martha writes in the introduction: “This peculiarity, of my trait of meandering, is markedly apparent in my cooking as well as in my conversation, a tendency to take switchbacks in time and place and even tastes.” (p. 9) So we are ready for the twists and turns a river takes through the imagination – and our tastes.
This is a book filled with the luscious food and homey photographs of Chris Granger. It starts off with the silly sounding Rum Tum Tiddy (p. 14) a kind of tomato-y, cheese-y baked dish topped with pickled okra. Martha’s Fig Pecan Fondue (p. 17) is fun just for the head note: “I love her preservers. I love them so much that I always think I’m going to save them for a special occasion, and they end up collecting dust until the next jar arrives.” So, she ends up using them in the fondue – along with the fondue pot that was a wedding gift. The Rabbit Terrine (p. 51) comes with a story about Rufus Hussy, the greatest slingshot shooter that ever lived. There is a picture of her son, Joe, with a dogwood slingshot given to him by grandfather.
As for the peaches, they end up in simple Peach Shortcake (p. 228) with a touch of ginger. There is another handsome picture of the peaches in a basket. Summer.