Can a Southern cook really have too many cookbooks? No. The answer is no.
While there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of wonderful cookbooks in the world, how do you know which ones are worth precious counter space? Time after time, I’ve found the cookbooks from the Junior Leagues are always top notch.
Being a part of a Junior League that published the Toast of the Coast cookbook, we had the opportunity to do many cookbook swaps with other Leagues. Each one I received has been a treasure.
I love most when cookbooks not only give you tried and true recipes, but also ideas on how to use them. Most of the Junior League cookbooks provide menus, entertaining ideas, tablescapes, and many other helpful tips. There are cookbooks for children, cookbooks by cuisine, cookbooks by area. In fact, some of the most popular and sought after cookbooks come from right in the South. Since the first Junior League cookbook was published by the JL of Augusta in 1940, the South’s Junior League clubs have led the association in cookbook favorites. Birmingham’s Tables of Content is one of the most popular cookbooks, in and out of the league. Nashville’s Notably Nashville is another favorite. If you can find a copy of Charleston Receipts or A Taste of Georgia, you’re in luck! There are compilations of the best, put out by the AJLI (Association of Junior Leagues, International) if you just can’t decide.
In addition to the scrumptious recipes and beautiful photography, you can be sure that these recipes are submitted and tried out by real women and families. They are elegant but simple recipes, and always delicious!
And most of all, if you don’t have the time to volunteer with an organization such as the Junior League, you can know that the purchase of a cookbook goes to a good cause — literacy, foster homes, nutrition, public schools — all in your own community. And since we’ve been talking a little this week about ways to give back to your community, what better way than to donate, and get a home cooked meal out of it!
So next time you’re looking for a great selection of recipes, or a gift for a friend, hop on over to the Junior League website, browse the cookbooks from all over the country. And see if your local Junior League has published some of their favorites.