Thursday, December 6, 2018

Southern Baked by Amanda Wilbanks

Celebrating Good Food

~Doc Lawrence

Just in time for holiday giving. That’s the thought that danced in my mind as I turned the pages of the new and exciting cookbook by Amanda Dalton Wilbanks. The gloriously photographed images of pies, cakes, appetizers, entrees, luxurious table settings in Southern Baked: Celebrating Life With Pie (Gibbs Smith, 2018), is nothing short of a masterpiece, a true work of art with meaningful content that will excite the palate of those who want to learn more about the unique food traditions of the Deep South interpreted and advanced by a genuine Georgia girl.
Flavor of Georgia Winner

Ms. Wilbanks, a skilled and original kitchen master, not only graduated from the University of Georgia but came back to enter and win top prize in its prestigious Flavor of Georgia competition. A seasoned entrepreneur with the success of her Southern Baked Pie Company and with her pies on the menus of top Atlanta gourmet restaurants, she seemed destined to create this useful and elegant book. 

Prior to the publication of Southern Baked, I included Ms. Wilbanks pie enterprises in two stories I wrote for magazines. The more I learned about her, the hungrier I became. Bowing to temptation, I ordered an apple pie that arrived still warm. I had one slice and her all-butter pie dough triggered the endorphins. My son ate the rest. I gleefully remain under her spell.

Don’t be fooled by the word pie in the title. Ms. Wilbanks masterful assemblage of recipes covers the spectrum of the Southern kitchen. The seasons, special occasions, holidays and more are celebrated with a full range of staples like cole slaw, blackberry hand pies, roasted potato salad, Bourbon marinated flank steak, Tabasco fried chicken plus an exciting six recipe Tailgating section. And a few dozen more.

This is not your ordinary cookbook. It’s an aesthetic wonder, a well-designed hardcover production featuring the highest quality enameled paper with brilliant studio photography.  The almost 3-D images of entrees and desserts look good enough to eat.

Cookbooks abound. I’ve reviewed dozens this year alone and a few standout. Southern Baked is alone at the top. For anyone who loves to cook and entertain, especially those who are searching for the soul of the real South, here’s the perfect gift. 

Available at Amazon and bookstores everywhere.

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