The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma’s Table
If you’ve read books by Rick Bragg before, you know he has a gift for detail that sets you right down into the middle of his characters’ lives and the locales he so beautifully paints from the opening sentence. In The Best Cook in the World, this style is present as ever but is enhanced with the love and dedication Bragg feels for the subject of the book, his mother.
Bragg opens the book by establishing who his mother is: a strong, funny, no-nonsense woman whose culinary gifts were on display from a young age. Her cooking is honest, built often from necessity, and it has been constant. In the Prologue, Margaret Bragg claims to have worn out eighteen stoves, and the recipes in the book are testament to how that happened. She uses no measuring spoons or cups, cooking with “tads,” “smidgens,” and “dabs.” The measurements the author uses for the recipes featured in the book’s thirty-five chapters come from an estimation, but having made a few them myself, I can attest they seem to be right on in their amounts.
But the gift of this isn’t just in a seemingly no-fail recipe for buttered rolls or melt-in-your-mouth pecan pie or the simple yet decadent buttermilk and cornbread patties. The gift is in the way Bragg reveals his mother through her cooking, the way Margaret discovered herself in the kitchen and gave those discoveries to the ones she fed. What Bragg has created is feast for the eyes and soul as well as the body. It is a book for every single one of us who loves to cook, who loves to eat, and who knows what it is to see everyday miracles at the hands of our mothers.
Chris Hayden been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.
|Page Count||512 pages|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Biographies & Memoirs|