Craig Claiborne, world traveler, iconic New York Times food writer, and author of more than twenty cookbooks, was always a southerner at heart. This is the only one of Claiborne's cookbooks to focus exclusively on the South. It was, he readily admitted, his most personal book. As John T. Edge and Georgeanna Milam note in their foreword, Claiborne, a native of the Mississippi Delta, had a love of southern food that ran deep and wide, spanning Cajun, Creole, Tex-Mex, and other regional cuisines. Included are more than three hundred favorite recipes--from Claiborne's own kitchen, from his mother's Mississippi boardinghouse, and from some of the South's best cooks, including Bill Neal, Edna Lewis, and Paul Prudhomme. He introduces many of the dishes with comments and notes on their history, their evolution over the years, and his favorite versions; he also includes instructions on preparation and serving. Throughout, Claiborne remembers the many southern classics of his childhood, such as fried catfish and beaten biscuits and Smithfield ham. ?Nothing rekindles my spirits, gives comfort to my heart and mind, more than a visit to Mississippi and environs,? wrote Claiborne, ?and [to] be regaled, as I often have been, with a platter of fried chicken, field peas, collard greens, fresh corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes with French dressing (that's what we call vinaigrette sauce), and to top it all off with a wedge of freshly baked pecan pie.?