Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cookbooks: Atlanta Kitchens by Krista Reese

Nothing speaks as clearly about a place as the food created there. That’s one of the things both wonderful and disappointing about food writer Krista Reese’s Atlanta Kitchens: Recipes from Atlanta’s Best Restaurants (Gibbs Smith). Wonderful because the book seems to perfectly reflect the duality of contemporary Atlanta’s nature. It’s a Southern city, of course, with Southern roots and mores. But it is also a city that has become very concerned with its place in the modern world, in all ways. And so, appropriately enough, Atlanta Kitchens reflects all of that.

Reese is the perfect tour guide for this particular trip. She is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and restaurant critic who has been writing about the food and restaurants of the city for two decades. She begins with a history of restaurants in Atlanta then, in the cookbook portion of the tour, brings a really good cross-section of recipes from some of Atlanta’s top restaurants.

While much of the food in the book could come out of a good restaurant kitchen anywhere in the country, there are some things that just seem so perfectly Atlanta, their presence alone seems to make the book complete. Wahoo! Chef Scott Warren’s Grill Pork Chops with Mustard Compote and Roasted Sweet Potatoes, for instance. Or Gravity Pub’s Vandross Burger. The big secrets here? Cheese, applewood smoked bacon and a Krispy Kreme doughnut “bun.” (Here’s cookbook direction you’re not likely to see again: “Slice each doughnut and toast the halves. Place the burgers between the toasted doughnuts, with the sugar-glazed side facing the meat. Serve immediately.”) I love the beauty and simplicity of Mary Mac’s Tearoom’s Turnip Greens and Cornbread Muffins, here given a delightfully upscale presentation. And, unsurprisingly, there is a whole chapter that deals with mostly fried, but sometimes smothered chicken.

Though this is a well executed cookbook on every level, it will appeal especially to residents of Atlanta, or those homesick for the place, as well as aficionados of contemporary Southern cooking.

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Anonymous Kitchen Cupboards said...

Nice guide! thank you!/I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.

Saturday, October 30, 2010 at 5:44:00 AM PDT  

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