Beloved Southern cook, mama, wife, raconteur, and future best grandma ever Christy Jordan is a friend of mine. We live a few minutes apart in the same town. We are two-thirds of a brain and heart trust, along with Conni, that meets for lunch regularly.
Now, I’m disclosing this up front even though Christy just-kidding-but-not-really told me she thought the fact that we were friends might actually make me tougher on her when I reviewed her new book Sweetness: Southern Recipes to Celebrate the Warmth, the Love, and the Blessings of a Full Life. Truly, not so much. I think a lot of her, but she’s earned it.
Sweetness is Christy’s third book. Like Southern Plate and Come Home to Supper before it, it is a highly functional cookbook. It contains easy-to-follow recipes that produce marvelous treats, using cost-effective ingredients you’ll be able to find easily where you already shop.
(And if you want a capsule description of Christy as a cook—she actually bristles a bit at the word chef—that’s it. She’s not about three hours and a lot of pomp and ceremony in the kitchen. She’s into getting something tasty and time-tested that everyone loves on the table so she can sit and enjoy and visit too.)
As you might suppose, Sweetness is full of sweet things—cakes, pies, cookies, candies, and even beverages and fruit salads. There are nearly 200 recipes here, so if you want to make dessert, whether a marvelous version of a longstanding favorite or a new thing destined to become such, you’ll find many choices. There are also a lot of wonderful breakfast options. One of my favorites that works both ways is old-fashioned butter rolls. Christy was excited to tell me about them, so I’m pleased they get the deluxe treatment here.
Besides the recipes themselves, Sweetness contains numerous sidebars with kitchen tips, tricks, and even little crash courses in things like how to glaze, or simple ways to decorate a cake. (Or how to keep iced tea from clouding up, or even a basic baking inventory for your pantry!)
My favorite bonus is that, as in Christy’s previous books and on her site, she liberally shares memories of her own childhood, special moments in her children’s lives, and from-the-soul encouragements. Christy is a talented cook, but she also has a warm heart, a deep appreciation of God’s grace in her life, and a gift for distilling a positive message to its essence.
I don’t much care for turn-that-frown-upside-down inanities, but Christy’s inspirations don’t read that way to me. She can usually get me to shift mental gears and recast a situation. In a world that’s gotten as dark as this one has, that’s a true blessing.
Pre-order Sweetness here, or pick up your copy November 7. It is an outstanding use of a very few dollars and earns my highest recommendation.