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Lacy's Lit

Holiday Books for Foodies

Okay, here are a few of my favorite books for gift ideas this holiday season.

“North Carolina’s Roadside Eateries: A Traveler’s Guide to Local Restaurants, Diners, and Barbecue Joints,” written by D.G. Martin. (UNC Press; $16) The affable D.G. Martin, who grew up in Davidson, N.C., developed a kinship for these types of places as a high school football player. It started at the annual Mallard Creek Church barbecue, he recalls. Martin, a retired attorney and college administrator, noticed that “friendly people make a meal into something memorable.” This guide is organized by interstates and features more than 100 notable local roadway haunts that serve not only as eateries but also as fixtures of their communities. This is kind of culinary roadmap you must keep in the car for those trips throughout NC. I think this book should be paired with a gift card from one of the local eateries.

“The Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food,” edited by award-winning author and foodie Randall Kenan. (Eno Publishers, $17.95) This collection offers food-related stories and poems set in North Carolina, though geography is sometimes secondary to the main theme, which is food in any form: meals and manners, cooking and ingredients, recipes and recollections. These mouthwatering stories are the perfect gift for any food lover. This book would be nicely paired with a gorgeous apron or tea towels.

“Chicken,” by award-winning cookbook author Cynthia Graubart. Chicken is one of the latest SAVOR THE SOUTH® cookbooks. It was listed as one of the best cookbooks of 2016 by The Washington Post. This slim volume features recipes for the whole chicken and chicken parts. Recipes range from Southern classics such as Country Captain to more contemporary takes on yard bird like Chicken and Parslied Dumplings. Every home cook could probably use a new way to prepare the convenient and versatile chicken.

“Soup Swap: Comforting Recipes to Make and Share,” by Kathy Gunst. (Chronicle Books, $24.95) This gorgeous cookbook features more than 60 soup recipes ranging from vegetables soups to seafood chowders. Gunst gives lots of tips on making the most flavorful soup. She covers canned beans versus cooking your own. In addition, she includes recipes for yummy sides, salads and croutons to serve with your bowl of comfort. This book would go perfect in a basket with gorgeous tea towels and some homemade bread.

Happy Holidays.

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Cooks in the Cemetery

I returned to the home place, Lynchburg, Va. I was so happy to see familiar faces at the Old City Cemetery for a book signing. My mother, Esther Claxton who suffers from painful sciatica, was even able to come. She caught the train from Washington, D.C., to attend the event in her hometown.I couldn’t have written Sunday Dinner without having her sharing stories and recipes from our collective past. It was also great to meet new kindred spirits as well such as author Jessica B. Ward. She’s written two books, “Food to Die For: A Book of Funeral Food, Tips, and Tales From the Old City Cemetery,” and “Food to Live For.” Her books are filled with comfort food recipes from Southwest Virginia. Ted Delaney, the executive director of Old City Cemetery, said this cemetery loves cookbooks. The 27-acre historic landmark is one of the oldest public cemeteries in the country still in use. About 75 percent of the buried are African-American including my paternal great-great grandparents. This was my first visit to the Old City Cemetery but it won’t be my last. I want to explore the grounds and learn more about my ancestors and discover more recipes. You never know who you may find standing among the tombstones. Maybe another good cook.

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