I am a west coaster born and bred; my family hails from San Diego and I happen to live in Seattle, which in many ways is the antithesis of the deep South. That being said, I don’t know how it happened — maybe Paula Deen is a long-lost-great-aunt-twice-removed or something (fingers crossed!) — but I harbor an intense love for Southern comfort food. Sadly, up here in the somber Northwest, I am rarely presented with the opportunity to try my hand at whipping up a grand dixie feast. With the exception of my impressive cole slaw making superpowers, I am pretty inexperienced in cooking Southern food.
So when ES was presented with the opportunity to preview Nathalie Dupree & Cynthia Graubart’s newest cookbook, Southern Biscuits, I knew this was a perfect chance. Fresh off the heels of an authentic creole food binge, I figured it was only fair to prove my love by giving Southern cooking a go myself. Southern Biscuits addressed a double whammy of insecurity, actually — not only am I lacking in the Southern cooking department, I am also mildly suspicious of baking in general. It involves so much precision, patience, adherence to directions…basically all of my weaknesses. Though Nathalie is a James Beard winner, she certainly had her work cut out for her with this book. Teaching a baking-skeptical Seattleite how to craft perfect Southern biscuits is no small feat.
Plus I had been slightly dubious about the breadth (no pun intended) of biscuit options. I mean, how many variations could there be? Turns out, about a million. After it covers the basics, Southern Biscuits also includes recipes for things you can do with biscuits, such as breakfast sandwiches, casseroles, bread puddings, etc. While some of the more complex recipes in the back of the book were tempting, I knew I shouldn’t get too overzealous. I decided to go with an intermediate biscuit recipe that included one of my very favorite ingredients: sweet potatoes.