/A Good Meal is Hard to Find’ cookbook showcases charming blend of Southern food, art and storytelling

A Good Meal is Hard to Find’ cookbook showcases charming blend of Southern food, art and storytelling

“Martha randomly called me up and said, ‘Amy, the titles in your paintings would make great headlines for recipe recipes.'” Evans recalls. “I was like, “Yeah. Whatever.” Evans, who had just returned to Texas from Oxford, Texas, where she had lived for 13 years, wasn’t convinced when Martha Foose presented the idea of working together on a cookbook. Evans saw the potential in Foose’s vision only a year later. Evans reached out to Foose immediately after attending a panel discussion about collaboration at the Southern Food Writers Conference. “I was in the audience and thought, “Oh my god, this is Martha talking about.” Evans told Mississippi Today that they could do it. “So I texted her during that panel and was like: ‘Does that book still interest you?'” Soon thereafter, Evans and Sofia Grace took a roadtrip to Pluto, Foose’s hometown. Evans brought her paintings which she described as “folksy and nostalgic” and camped in Foose’s kitchen while the two women discussed the best recipes to match each piece of art. Evans described how she recalled being in the kitchen and feeling so happy that her paintings of 15 years had been given a new life by Martha’s recipes. It all just clicked. It was easy to connect the dots, have the paintings inspire recipes, and then fully develop the characters I introduced in my titles of the paintings. “A Good Meal: Storied Recipes From the Deep South” contains 60 recipes and 60 paintings. The book’s five chapters are “Morning Glories,” “Lingering Lunches,” and “Afternoon pick-me-ups,” and is due to be released Tuesday, April 28. Square Books, Oxford is currently selling copies of the cookbook. This is where Foose fell in love with cookbooks when he was a teenager in 1980s. The book’s recipes include headlines such as Lucille’s Lemon Lavender Float and Ula’s Spoonbread with Oysters and Artichokes. Each recipe begins with a brief paragraph that gives a glimpse into their lives and how they cook. Evans stated that it was a great process. Evans said that she had to flush out her painting titles in order to extend the stories. She also wrote a paragraph that gave you more of the original character that inspired the painting. Evans attended graduate school at the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture. She worked for the Southern Foodways Alliance. Evans says that her paintings are always about Southern women with traditional names such as Esther and Josephine. Evans’ maternal grandmother, Alla Grace Brwder Riley, inspired the theme. Evans visited her grandmother every summer in Alabama when she was a child. She discovered the South through her grandmother’s cooking and developed a passion for Southern cuisine and traditions. Foose stated, “This would not have happened without Amy’s paintings.” Her artwork was always a favorite of mine. I was always captivated by the titles of her paintings. Foose said that it was fun to think about the characters and their potential roles in their kitchens. Some recipes, such as Grace’s Four-Corner Nabs require more work. However, it is possible to find simple recipes that use Jiffy mix in the ingredient list. The Yazoo City native isn’t ashamed of her free-style or for trying to make things work their way in the kitchen. She said, “I don’t believe people should be shamed.” “Everybody’s busy. Now that we are all tied down, it is easier to just make do with what you have. Foose says that it is easy to feel pressured to replicate what’s pictured on social media, like Instagram and Pinterest, if you are making an effort to cook food for loved ones or yourself. Evans created a photo-free cookbook that she hopes will inspire people to be more creative and take a leap. Evans stated that the cookbook is meant for anyone who wants to enjoy a story and get into the kitchen. “In the back, we encourage readers to send us images of their dishes when they make them so that we can place it on the Good Meal is Hard to Find website. “x000D_We’re letting readers, home cooks, and others decide how the story ends in their own kitchen.”