The Big Jones Cookbook

Recipes for Savoring the Heritage of Regional Southern Cooking

Paul Fehribach

The Big Jones Cookbook
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Paul Fehribach

288 pages | 36 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2015
Cloth $30.00 ISBN: 9780226205724 Will Publish April 2015
You expect to hear about restaurant kitchens in Charleston, New Orleans, or Memphis perfecting plates of the finest southern cuisine—from hearty red beans and rice to stewed okra to crispy fried chicken. But who would guess that one of the most innovative chefs cooking heirloom regional southern food is based not in the heart of biscuit country, but in the grain-fed Midwest—in Chicago, no less? Since 2008, chef Paul Fehribach has been introducing Chicagoans to the delectable pleasures of Lowcountry cuisine, while his restaurant Big Jones has become a home away from home for the city’s southern diaspora. From its inception, Big Jones has focused on cooking with local and sustainably grown heirloom crops and heritage livestock, reinvigorating southern cooking through meticulous technique and the unique perspective of its Midwest location. And with The Big Jones Cookbook, Fehribach brings the rich stories and traditions of regional southern food to kitchens everywhere.
Organized by region, The Big Jones Cookbook provides an original look at southern heirloom cooking with a focus on history, heritage, and variety. Throughout, Fehribach interweaves personal experience, historical knowledge, and culinary creativity, all while offering tried-and-true takes on everything from Reezy-Peezy to Gumbo Ya-Ya, Chicken and Dumplings, and Crispy Catfish. Fehribach’s dishes reflect his careful attention to historical and culinary detail, and many recipes are accompanied by insights about their origins. In addition to the regional chapters, the cookbook features sections on breads, from sweet potato biscuits to spoonbread; pantry put-ups like bread and butter pickles and chow-chow; cocktails, such as the sazerac; desserts, including Sea Island benne cake; as well as an extensive section on snout-to-tail cooking, including homemade Andouille and pickled pigs’ feet.
Proof that you need not possess a thick southern drawl to appreciate the comfort of creamy grits and the skill of perfectly fried green tomatoes, The Big Jones Cookbook will be something to savor regardless of where you set your table.
Natalie Dupree, co-author of Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking
“In The Big Jones Cookbook, Fehribach has provided a firm sense of culinary place and heritage when it comes to southern food, along with recipes you can’t wait to make. He takes readers on a journey of the background of each recipe, both in his life and from a historical perspective. Time to go back to Chicago and enjoy eating his food in person again!”
Ronni Lundy, author of Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes, and Honest Fried Chicken
“You need not be from the South to get the South and southern cooking; you simply need to be devoted. Fehribach is very devoted, complete with a side serving of biscuits smothered in savory debris gravy! He brings to his subject the factual ferocity and curiosity of a historian. He cooks it up with the contemplation and invention of a true artist. He serves it to us with genuine heart. I’d like to tell you a whole lot more about why I am giving The Big Jones Cookbook a wide space on my kitchen counter, but I need to go now and find the ingredients for Reezy-Peezy, ca. 1780. You should, too.”
Matt Lee and Ted Lee, authors of The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen
“Fehribach is a bighearted anthropologist, history nerd, and kick-ass kitchen technician—in other words, the ideal chef to introduce Chicagoans to the pleasures of regional southern cuisine. The Big Jones Cookbook distills the magic of his restaurant, the way Fehribach’s cooking manages to honor southern culinary traditions and ingredients in a resolutely contemporary way. This is food that tells stories, and here are all the hero recipes we’ve been craving, from Big Jones’s legendary fried chicken to classics like gumbo z’herbes to new originals like chicken-fried morels and benne ice cream. The Big Jones Cookbook is major news on the southern-food front.”
John T. Edge, coeditor of The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook
“Fehribach has committed to memory the southern culinary canon, defined by writers like Grosvenor and Egerton. In The Big Jones Cookbook, he channels their ethics and aesthetics, shaping an agrarian approach that he calls ‘modern homestead cooking.’ From turnip greens with potato dumplings to pawpaw panna cotta, Fehribach renders a cuisine that's both erudite and stomach-rumbling.”
Susan Spicer, chef and owner, Bayona, New Orleans
“Through extensive research, intuition and personal experience, Fehribach gives context to many of our great southern classics, and creates some of his own along the way. His reverence for southern cooking and the people who help sustain it shine through in every recipe. I have already dog-eared dozens of pages!”
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