2013, the Year of the Chef Cookbook, continues: Andrews McMeel tells Eater Pickles, Pigs, and Whiskey: Recipes from My Three Favorite Food Groups and Then Some by Beard Award winning chef John Currence will be published this Fall. This is Currence's first cookbook, and it will feature 150 recipes organized by techniques such as Boiling/Simmering and Pickling/Canning. Photographs of the dishes — including Pickled Sweet Potatoes, Deep South "Ramen" with a Fried Poached Egg, Rabbit Cacciatore, and Kitchen Sink Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches — will be done by Angie Mosier (of John T. Edge's The Truck Food Cookbook, Eric Ripert's Avec Eric, and others).
Currence, chef of City Grocery and three other restaurants in Oxford, Mississippi, tells Eater writing the book was a challenge in a field flooded with standout Southern cookbook authors:
"I am surrounded by guys I consider genius in the form of friends and mentors like Bill Neal, Bill Smith, Jessica Harris, Susan Spicer, John T Edge, Frank Stitt, Hugh Acheson, Ed Lee...and the mother of all Southern experts, John Egerton. To be the dummy in class and try to conceive of what more I could add to the conversation that these guys haven't already said, well, let's just say that consternation was a place in which I spent months."
He describes the book as the juxtaposition of "my career with the culinary journey of the South as a whole," covering portions of his life spent in New Orleans, the Carolinas, Mississippi and more. It's not just a history of the South, however: Currence is on a bit of a mission. The book, he says, "makes a case for the South being forward thinking, rather than back, but, I think, illustrates that we are never unwilling to take a look in the mirror and laugh at ourselves."
As for the rise in popularity of Southern food, Currence says he's "overjoyed that the South has been given the proverbial chair at the table in the discussion of the food of our country and I am proud to be one of the chefs responsible for guarding the tradition of and celebrating the glory of our food."