have you heard

Well, a week or so ago I stumbled onto a book that made joy-bells ring in my heart! I was at Barnes and Noble and happened upon Rick Bragg’s newest work, The Best Cook in the World: Tales From My Momma’s Table. I picked up this thick and hefty book filled with half stories and half recipes and knew right then and there I had found my summertime reading. The cover looks like faded linen and there’s an old family photo right there on the front and it made me feel right at home.


Rick Bragg is a wonderful Southern writer with several books under his belt including It’s All Over But the Shoutin’. He also has his down-home essays featured in Southern Living Magazine…one of the first things I look for when I flip open those beautiful glossy pages.

This book, The Best Cook in the World, is a wonderfully heartwarming tribute to his sweet, good cookin’ Momma. This is one of those books that you’ll want to savor each and every heartwarming morsel.

rick bragg

After Rick’s Bragg’s Momma spent a whole spring season laying in a hospital bed he wrote “…since that day in her cold kitchen, I knew I had to convince her to let me write it all down to capture not just the legend but the soul of her cooking for the generations to come…”. His momma has a whole lot of gumption, grit and grace, she earned those badges of honor workin’ in the cotton fields as a youngin’. With determination she declared,  “If I can just get home, I’ll cook some poke salad, and I’ll cure myself…And I’ll tell you something else. Salt is good. It says so in the Bible.”

Rick writes, ” I made up my mind to do this book not on a day when my mother was in her kitchen, making miracles, but on a day she was not. Most days, unless she is deep in Ecclesiastes, or Randolph Scott is riding a tall horse across the TV screen, she will be at her stove, singing about a church in the wildwood, or faded love, or trains. In the mornings, the clean scent of just-sliced cantaloupe will drift through the house, mingling with eggs scrambled with crumbled sausage, and coffee so strong and dark that black is its true color, not just the way you take it. At noon, the air will be thick with the aroma of stewed cabbage, sweet corn, cornbread muffins, and creamed onions going tender in an iron skillet forged before the First Great War. Some days you can smell fried chicken…as far as the pasture fence, or…blackberry cobbler in a buttered biscuit crust.”


“The scripture says we are not supposed to glory in the things we make with our own hands,” she told me, not long after she came home from the hospital, in the late spring. ” But when I got out of that place, that last time, I stood in my house and it just dawned on me, ‘I’m home. I’m back in my own house. I’m back in my own kitchen. And God forgive me, but I gloried in that.” ~Rick Bragg’s Momma

granny apron and eggs

“I remember one night, when Momma was yearning for something sweet, she pated out tiny biscuits and plopped them down in a pool of milk flavored with sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and cubes of cold butter. She baked this until the liquid, half whole milk, half thick, sweetened condensed milk, steamed into the biscuits, infusing them with the flavors underneath. It created not a dense slab, like a traditional, New Orleans–style bread pudding, but– little islands of perfect sweet, buttery dumplings; the spacing, not the ingredients or cooking time, was the secret here.” –The Best Cook in the World


This, cozy-as-grandma’s-kitchen, book is peppered with old family photos of Great Aunt Plumer, Cousin Mary, Cousin Betty, Aunt Edna, Grandmother Ava, Great Uncle Jimmy Jim, sweet Aunt Jo and more beloved home-folks that by the time you’ve read all the stories in this book you’ll probably feel like part of the family.

“Prepare to fall in love with (Momma) Margaret Bragg…with her devoted and exceptionally talented son Rick Bragg, who has delivered in The Best Cook in the World the freshest and funniest work of his life–a book to be savored, along with 74 mouthwatering recipes for classic southern dishes passed down through generations.” ~Publisher, Alfred A. Knopp

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Rick Bragg and his sweet Momma

Well, I’m pretty sure Rick Bragg wrote this book for me! Lol!! In other words it’s just my cup of tea!  As a matter of fact, I think I’ll pour myself a tall glass of ice-cold sweet tea, sit out on my front porch rocker on this warm summer day and read more from this book filled with old fashioned values, recipes and stories from the deep south. With 485 pages I think it’s going to take me the whole summer!

You can find this book at your local bookstore or here with my affiliate link…The Best Cook in the World; Tales from my Momma’s Table

Here are some of my other posts that you may enjoy:


HAVE YOU HEARD? Something for Your Peace of Mind




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Bless your family…make home sweet!

Aunt Ruthie

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