Word of mouth
Family history, friend's recipes shared in soul food cookbook
"Sylvia's Family Soul Food Cookbook: From Hemingway, South Carolina, to Harlem"
Web posted at: 11:19 a.m. EDT (1519 GMT)
By Wendy Wolfenbarger
(CNN) -- Sylvia Woods, considered by many to be the mom of Northern soul cooking, is sharing her family, both close and extended, in "Sylvia's Family Soul Food Cookbook: From Hemingway, South Carolina, to Harlem."
This isn't restaurant food. Many of those recipes were put in to Woods' 1992 book, "Sylvia's Soul Food: Recipes from Harlem's World-Famous Restaurant" from Hearst. Instead, the subject is at-home cooking -- a mix of Woods' revved-up classics and community favorites from her hometown.
As much reminiscence as recipes, the book opens with a history that mirrors part of American culture as Woods' family leaves the rural South to pursue more promising opportunities in the industrial North. When her father died three days after Woods' birth -- he was a victim of gassings in World War I -- her mother moved to Brooklyn to become a laundress.
For a time, young Sylvia was cared for by her grandmother. And a northward migration became part of the family history. The recipes and culinary traditions are brought along with that movement in the book, as Sylvia's Restaurant -- opened in 1963 -- becomes a Harlem favorite.
This very personal publication is almost weighed down with its many family photos, but real feeling is reflected in the food, all of it attached to memories and country lore.
Recipes are pulled from daughters, sons, aunts, cousins and a Hemingway, South Carolina, cook-off that produced such neighborhood dishes as Bert's Catfish Stew; Doretha's Rise and Shine Flapjacks and Sweet and Lovely Pecan Pie.
Cooking directions are clear, recipes are uncomplicated and oh-so authentic.
Grits: Stone-ground and slow-cooked
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