Rebecca Lang wants you to pull up a chair to her table. And once you get a taste of what the Athens, Georgia, writer is serving up in Southern Living Around the Southern Table, you’ll be happy to oblige. Rebecca is a dyed-in-the-wool Southern cook who knows that the welcome is as important as the food, and that tradition is passed on with every serving of biscuits, butter beans, and fried green tomatoes.
Her food is straightforward with creative touches that bring it up to date while maintaining its down-home deliciousness. (Thank Rebecca’s culinary school background for that.) In Brown Butter Coffee Cake with Peaches and Pecans, she uses an innovative technique of browning butter before chilling it, then creams it with the sugar. She gives cranberry compote a touch of citrus using clementines rather than oranges, and enlivens shrimp and grits with prosciutto, white wine, and jalapeños. One of our picks is Peppered Pork Roast with Blue Cheese Grits–we’d happily eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Fellow food lovers, among them Grammy award-winning Zac Brown, celebrity cookbook author Nathalie Dupree, and HGTV star Vern Yip share essays describing their Southern tables, and the role that food and family have played in their lives. For all of them, and for Rebecca Lang, gathering around the dinner table with loved ones offers sustenance far beyond that offered by the food. So go ahead and pull up that chair. You’re going to want to sit a spell.
Enter for a Chance to Win this Book! Between now and October 31st, tell us your favorite Southernism in the comments section of this post. We’ll choose the 25 we like best, and those folks will get a copy of Southern Living Around The Southern Table.
Meanwhile, here’s a sample of what’s in store.
Real Banana Pudding
Rebecca writes, “It’s a simple, from-scratch dessert that often leaves me speechless: homemade vanilla pudding layered with vanilla wafer cookies and banana slices and topped with a cloud of meringue. Some like it warm. Others prefer it like I do: nice and cold. The hardest part is waiting for it to fully chill.”
1⁄2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1⁄4 tsp. salt
2 1⁄4 cups milk
4 large eggs, separated
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1⁄3 cups vanilla wafers
4 ripe bananas, cut into 1⁄3-inch-thick slices
3 Tbsp. sugar
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk together sugar mixture, milk, and 4 egg yolks in a medium-size heavy saucepan until well blended. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 6 to 8 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla.
2. Layer half of vanilla wafers in an 8-inch square baking dish. Top with half of banana slices and half of pudding. Repeat procedure with remaining wafers, banana slices, and pudding.
3. Beat egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add 3 Tbsp. sugar, beating until sugar dissolves and stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pudding, sealing to edge of dish.
4. Bake at 375° for 7 to 10 minutes or until golden. Let cool 30 minutes, and serve warm; or chill an additional hour, and serve cold. Makes: 8 to 10 servings Hands-on Time: 25 min. Total Time: 1 hr., 5 min.