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“Food is a religion of its own. This is my sermon about my Soul food.” I love reading the words in Todd Richards’s book as much as I love cooking from it. Richards starts each chapter with a recipe that is relatively traditional in African-American cuisine (like Collard Greens with Smoked Ham Hocks) then follows it with recipes that explore new techniques and flavor combinations (such as Young Collard Greens with Bacon, Calamari, Tomatoes, Olives, and Mint). This book is a beautiful example of how honoring your heritage can give you the roots to grow.
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James Beard Award-nominated Chef Todd Richards shares his personal culinary exploration of soul food.
Black American chefs and cooks are often typecast as the experts of only one cuisine—soul food, but Todd Richards’ food is anything but stereotypical. Taste his Hot-Chicken-Style Country-Fried Lamb Steak or Blueberry-Sweet Tea-Brined Chicken Thighs as evidence. While his dishes are rooted in family and the American cuisine known as soul food, he doesn’t let his heritage restrain him. The message of Soul is that cooks can honor tradition yet be liberated to explore. Todd Richards celebrates the restorative wonders of a classic pot of Collard Greens with Ham Hocks, yet doesn’t shy away from building upon that foundational recipe with his Collard Green Ramen, a reinterpretation that incorporates far-flung flavors of cultural influences and exemplifies culinary evolution. Page after page, in more than 150 recipes and stunning photos, Todd shares his creativity and passion to highlight what soul food can be for a new generation of cooks. Whether you’re new to Southern and soul food or call the South your home, Soul will encourage you to not only step outside of the box, but to boldly walk away from it.
The chapters in Soul are organized by featured ingredients: Collards, Onions, Berries, Lamb, Seafood, Corn, Tomatoes, Melons, Stone Fruit, Eggs and Poultry, Pork and Beef, Beans and Rice, and Roots. Each one begins with a traditional recipe and progresses alongside Richards’ exploration of flavor combinations and techniques.
About the Author
Todd Richards is a self-taught chef who paid his dues in numerous restaurant kitchens before becoming an executive chef who garnered national attention. He has two James Beard nominations for Best Chef in the Southeast, was an Iron Chef competitor, and was named one of “Four New Chefs to Watch” by Esquire magazine. He is the owner/chef of Richards’ Southern Fried at Krog Street Market in Atlanta.