Cookbook Review – Southern Pies, Nancy McDermott

by Robyn on November 20, 2010

Cookbook. Southern Pies, Pie recipesCookbook review – Southern Pies, A Gracious Plenty of Pie Recipes From Lemon Chess to Chocolate Pecan by Nancy McDermott Photographs by Leigh BeischPublisher – Chronicle Books 168 pages $22.95

Publishers excerpt:  Ask any pie lover—the words “southern” and “pie” go together like ripe fruit and flaky pastry. And behind all the mouthwatering, light-as-a-cloud meringue peaks and the sticky dark butterscotch fillings lies a rich and delicious history. In Southern Pies, some of the South’s most famous bakers share recipes for 70 pies. Perfect for bakers of all skill levels, these pies are made with simple, easy-to-find, and gloriously few ingredients. Featuring such classics as Sweet Tea Pie and New Orleans Creole Coconut Pie, this tasty homage will fill everyone at the table with Southern hospitality.

Nancie McDermott is the author of six cookbooks, including Southern Cakes. A food writer and cooking teacher born and raised in North Carolina, she now lives with her family in Chapel Hill.

Leigh Beisch is a San Francisco-based photographer.

Typical of all Chronicle Books this cookbook is done beautifully. The photographs visually tell the story of the pies invitingly, enticing you to try not one but all of the pies included in the book. Nancy McDermott approached the writing and compilation of this cookbook on pies with equal enthusiasm as her other works.

Her words take you on a southern journey through the mountains of Appalachia to the southern shores of Louisiana. You not only begin to feel the sod beneath your feet, but you get to know a few of the wonderful people from the south. I love the deep history of food. You know, the why and how a recipe came to be, and its importance not only for its great tastes but for the person sited for its fame. George Washington Carver will invite you in for a piece of his Sliced Sweet Potato Pie. You won’t be disappointed. With a bit of work, you’ll soon learn why everyone in the south loves this pie.

You’ll drool over the Apple Fried Pies of Virginia Willis’. You simple must try a fried pie, if you’ve not had one. Those of us who’ve enjoyed them have a fond memory of a grandmother or aunt standing in her kitchen making those wonderful delights. When you’ve made a few you’ll be fast friends with Virginia!

I had not heard of a Green Tomato Pie, Mountain Home Soup Bean Pie, or even a Tar Heel Pie. However, seeing familiar favorites and long time loved pies, Ms. McDermott has me thinking I really so need to try a Mountain Home Soup Bean Pie! I’ve seen the Blue Ridge Mountains, and driven the back roads of Virginia, the farms, the people bring the feeling of a far away home away from home. Certainly that history is built into that pie. How can it disappoint?

The sheer variety of pies Ms. McDermott provides in this volume is tremendous. From cream pies to springtime pies and on to fall pies. You find a pie for your every need and a few to call up when you really want to wrap your arms around someone and hug them. These pies will bring warmth and deliciousness to your table and have your friends a neighbors asking you to bake them a special pie. You’ll proudly present pies at every occasion using these superb recipes.

Also included in the tomb is an equipment list, a table of equivalents, a well thought out glossary and a source for obtaining many of the ingredients not always familiar to those living in other locales. The stories beckon, however, the recipes will keep you using this book for a long time to come. Make a few pies and a few new friends. You never know, maybe you’ll be one of those people in a history book someday with a story about your famous pie recipes.


Robyn November 29, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Nancie, You are so welcome! Thank you for writing such a great cookbook. Not all cookbooks are created equal and yours, I must say, took me on a wonderful journey. It is definitely a book I will go back to time and time again.

Irvine! Carlsbad. Wonderful places to live. To be anywhere near the ocean in SoCal is such a fortunate thing. Glad I was able to remind yo of good times here as well.

Nancie McDermott November 28, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Hello from a most grateful and delighted writer. I just found your blog with the review of Southern Pies, via checking myself out on google-alerts. What a treat for me. Your kind words about the book make me very proud and happy. And in visiting around your blog I see that you are in Southern California? We lived in Irvine 1985-1989, and in Carlsbad from 1989-1999. So many good memories of those times and places — that bakery Con Pane wasn’t there in my day. All good wishes to you and 10,000 thanks, a little after Thanksgiving.

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