Bragg’s Food Memoir is an Ode to ‘The Best Cook’

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Pressure cookers and slow foods might be all the rage among home chefs. But for many, cooking slowly with whatever was on hand was a way of life. It was for Margaret Bragg, whose biscuits and short ribs her son, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Rick Bragg, celebrates in his new book – The Best Cook in the World: Tales From My Momma’s Table.

His mother was reluctant to have a book written about her cooking. After all, she told him, there was nothing special about it. But Bragg recounts all of the ways it was special. It’s a food memoir, and each chapter ends with a recipe. When he lived in New York and Los Angeles, Bragg pined for his mother’s country cooking. And he says when his mother became ill, he was determined to preserve her recipes, along with the stories behind the food.

 

Here’s Bragg on slow foods:

 

 

Bragg says the recipes were simple and unpretentious, as was his mother’s cookware. No fancy Instant Pots or other gadgets in her kitchen, he says. Hear why he says that worked, and how restaurant collard greens just aren’t the same.

 

He soon discovered when your mother doesn’t measure out her ingredients, writing a recipe is hard. You have to know the difference, he says, between a speck and a smidge, or a dab and a dob. Confused? Bragg breaks it down.

 

One of Margaret Bragg’s signature foods was a favorite at breakfast: redeye gravy. Here’s how you make it.

 

 

 

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