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The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma's Table
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The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma's Table

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  249 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
From the beloved, best-selling author of All Over but the Shoutin', a delectable, rollicking food memoir, cookbook, and loving tribute to a region, a vanishing history, a family, and, especially, to his mother.

Margaret Bragg does not own a single cookbook. She measures in "dabs" and "smidgens" and "tads" and "you know, hon, just some." She cannot be pinned down on how long
Audio CD
Published April 24th 2018 by Books on Tape
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”It's funny how it's the little things in life that mean the most
Not where you live, what you drive or the price tag on your clothes
There's no dollar sign on a piece of mind this I've come to know
So if you agree have a drink with me
Raise you glasses for a toast
To a little bit of chicken fried

“And cold beer on a Friday night
A pair of jeans that fit just right
And the radio up
I like to see the sunrise
See the love in my woman's eyes
Feel the touch of a precious child
And know a mother's love”

Diane Barnes
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I don't know when I have ever enjoyed a book more. Just sheer pleasure every time I opened the covers. I read this one as my "bedtime book" for a couple of weeks and looked forward to the hour or so spent with Rick Bragg's people, as he likes to call them.

Of course, it was a no-brainer that I would love it. It combines memoir with food and recipes, Rick Bragg's wonderful prose and humor, great people, past and present, and family pictures. His family is a large cussin', fightin', drinkin', God-f
Susan Kendrick
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don’t think this is a five star for everyone, but it is for me. It’s awfully long and a funny sort of hybrid cookbook and memoir. But I love the way that Rick Bragg writes, and if he wants to take his time and write a big fat book of memories and recipes, I’m ok with that.

It doesn’t hurt that I’m from Alabama and feel a connection to the land and the tradition he describes, though perhaps his people would call me “rich folks”, being from the fancy big city of Birmingham and all.

But I can’t h
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Rick Bragg relates family stories as he shares some of his mother's recipes. His mother, like most Southern cooks of that generation, did not follow recipes. She cooked by eyeballing things and getting the ratio correct based on practice. The family stories needed editing. They failed to draw me in, partly because of excess verbiage and lack of action verbs. Most recipes can be found in other Southern regional cookbooks. In the electronic advance copy, the recipe's conclusion often bumps into te ...more
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received this as an advanced readers copy from NetGalley and it’s my first book by Rick Bragg. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more had I already read a couple of his earlier books and been familiar with his family. The first half of the book moved around in time and left me uncertain if I was reading about Ava or Margaret since he didn’t use their names. And for that reason the second half of the book was far more enjoyable - I finally knew who I was reading about and I am in awe of the ...more
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have put off writing a review of this book, because I have found it hard to find the right words. To say I loved it just does not portray the feelings I have for this memory of family and food. Except for a few regional differences, these are the recipes of my North Carolina family, and these are their experiences. Every photographs, with so many appearing to be made in those old carnival photo booths, touched my heart.

I cried over turtle stews as I recalled my uncle once a year firing up the
Amy Booth
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book brought back so many great memories of helping my Mamaw make biscuits(without a recipe, of course) and of sitting in the swing with my Nanny while she told me stories about “back home”, never using anyone’s given name. Braggs is an excellent storyteller; I found myself crying over a recipe for green beans with potatoes!
Sue Em
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Storytelling at its greatest. Each chapter limns the hardscrabble lives of his kin in Alabama through love and food with stories and recipes. A chapter or two each night was a perfect cap to my day. For lovers of Southern writing and Southern food.
This is a book to visit and revisit. Lots of down-home wisdom and more cooking advice than you can imagine.

The past is where we go when we are helpless; the past, no matter what the psychiatrists say, can’t really hurt you much more than it already has, not like the future, which comes at you like a train around a blind curve.
Marjorie Elwood
This started off promisingly, with fascinating stories about the author's family and life in the South, as well as mouth-watering recipes (butter rolls, buttermilk pie, real biscuits, deviled eggs). Unfortunately, it could have used some editing and tightening up as it dragged on a bit.
Martha Avans
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Netgalley for letting me read this early.
This was the first Rick Bragg book I've read. And I can't wait to read more. Loved the inside look into this family by memories and recipes. Loved all the recipes, because I know they are family, shared over the years, just like some of my favorite recipes.
Diane Ferbrache
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
OMG! I loved this book! From Rick Bragg's engaging and amazingly readable prose to his family's endearing, funny, and (sometimes) shocking stories to the wonderful recipes that I can't wait to try, this is a great book. Part memoir, part homage to his mother, this is a great addition to Bragg's story that began with All Over but the Shoutin'. His dysfunctional family has produced an amazing writer. Read this book AND try the recipes!

Thank you, NetGalley, for letting me read this book!
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
May 02, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: zzz2018-may-new
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read an advanced reader copy, this book is out in March of 2018 I believe.

Ricky Bragg is a true southern storyteller and this book blends his tales and stories of his family with generations of recipes. From fried chicken to roasted possum with sweet potatoes, it’s all here. It’s all funny, reverent and irreverent. My favorite stories revolved around Grandma Ava and Cousin Sis. The simple recipes for slaw or meatloaf or bbq sauce my favorites. Gentler and more loving than Bragg’s other books
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Rick Bragg has become a legendary storyteller in his own right. With a knack for words and the right amount of humor, he has a way of shaping a story to make it belong to his readers.

His newest release is a perfect mix of food memoir, cookbook, tall tales, family history, Southern culture, and a love story to the South itself. If you’ve read any previous autobiographical books by Bragg, you’ll know that he loves and respects his momma Margaret and is also a proud son of the South. This book furt
Rebecca Elswick
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I buy all of Rick Bragg's books on audio because he is the person who reads them. They come to life with his voice and if you haven't heard him read his stories then you are missing a fantastic experience. When I listened to Rick's "My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South" I often drove past my driveway! After work, I would go to pick up a pizza only to "wake up" at home forgetting to stop! His stories cast a spell and when he's reading them, it is a strong one so watch out ...more
Kay Wright
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Never heard of Rick Bragg, just a mention on NPR about his newest book, a cookbook with his mother’s “recipes” so I picked it up in the library. A full 500 pages it takes time but it’s well worth it. Included are many pages are pictures of a surprisingly appealing family. The only person missing and desired is one of Sis, an aunt apparently as big and strong as a redwood who cooked like an angel. And made men quiver in their boots when she got mad. Once mad enough to shoot her husband in the tee ...more
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Pulitzer-Prize winning Rick Bragg has a unique style that seems deceptively simple. It is heartwarming and endearing, but is also piercingly intelligent. The title suggests a sentimental attachment to his mother and her cooking which for many evokes wonderful memories. Yes, it is that, but this is so much more that just a journey down memory lane.

Bragg captures the flavor of the Deep South primarily in the first half of the 20th century. He honors those who are dirt poor, those who survive on su
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rick Bragg is an incredible storyteller, with a family tree full of stories to tell. This is a moving and hilarious tribute to his mother, his family culture, and the food culture of the rural Alabama/Georgia communities. If you've never read any of Bragg's work, this isn't the one I'd start with, but if you have, you will love this one too. And thanks to this book I even mastered the perfect fried egg. I'm not likely to try turtle soup or opossum.... but I will remember the stories about them!
Susan Liston
I really enjoyed the first part of this, about Momma and down home Southern cooking in the good old days, but it did go on way too long, and I felt bad that I started to get tired of it. A little bit of people named Jimmy Jim goes a long way. Edit out about half of the stories and you would have a fun, snappy little book. A lot of the recipes are guessed at or approximated, because Momma never even owned a measuring cup, but they are interesting to read. And I suppose an experienced cook doesn't ...more
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think Rick Bragg is amazing and I'm so glad someone talked him into writing this book. What a great concept combining the things he knows best--good Southern food and good Southern family stories, but most of all, his love and adoration of his Mama. She's a precious hoot, so you know where he gets a lot of his humor. Add in his mouth-watering descriptions of old country recipes (well, maybe not the possum) and you will find yourself drooling over the pages.
If you love his back page of Southern
Annie Quinn
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
My son and daughter in law gave me this book for Mother's Day. I originally met Rick Bragg at the Panama City Book Festival. Since I am from California I had not been exposed to this wonderful Southern author. I thoroughly enjoyed his book, "The Best Cook in the World", a remarkable memoir of his Mom. l loved his reminisces of his childhood and the comfort food he remembered. The recipes in the book are easy to read and I think I will be able to try some of them.
I would recommend this book, espe
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Loved it. There are some great "quotable quotes" in here - some of which ended up on my Facebook, because they were just too good not to share. I also ended up reading great chunks of it out loud to my husband, who was thoroughly confused. I should dock a star for the "Bad beans and big hats, that's how you know they're Texans" quote (native Texan here), *laughing*. But yeah, highly recommended. If this book had a soundtrack, it'd be The Civil Wars "Barton Hollow".
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderful memoir about cooking and family with recipes mixed in. While Bragg is from Alabama and his mother is a southern cook, it so reminded me of the stories my Mom and Dad told about my Dad's Mom and her cooking. When my parents visited them on the farm in North Dakota for Christmas in 1962, my Mom asked my Grandma for a recipe. Grandma Ann said she didn't have a recipe and walked through the steps and ingredients which were "a pinch, a tad, enough." Highly recommend this.
Beth H. Foss
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Best Cook in the World

I am guilty of skimming through and reading recipes before the story because I enjoy cooking and eating. I

The recipes were not disappointing so I went back to enjoy meeting the people who cooked the food and survived hard times and good times. The stories were so well written that I wanted to pull up a chair and have a bite to eat
May 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: didn-t_finish
I only read about 1/2 of this audiobook but I liked it, I like to read about food and the preparation of it. It's read by Rick Bragg, the author and it's his family's recipes and stories. He's a good storyteller, I did speed him up to 1.25 and could have probably gone to 1.5, Southerners, amiright?
Cheryl W Bruce
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great food combined with laughter, hard work and good memories

At times I laughed so hard it brought tears to my eyes. I could smell the food cooking and sometimes taste it. Although my mother could not cook, some of these same meals were served at Granny's house. Rick has outdone himself.
Karen Willis
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
I loved this book for so many reasons! The first couple of pages had me questioning if I would be able to read it because it brought memories of my mom and her cooking so close to mind. I almost stopped reading it there and then. But I am so glad I didn't! There is so much love and heartache between the pages. So much laughter and tears. Everyone needs to read this book.
Jon L Brown
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delicious Tastes and Stories from the Old True South

Eating out way through laughter, tears, births, and deaths! The life of true Southerners. Highly recommend, but be prepared to laugh and cry, plus get Hungry with each chapter!
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Rick Bragg is the Pulitzer Prize winning writer of best-selling and critically acclaimed books on the people of the foothills of the Appalachians, All Over but the Shoutin, Ava's Man, and The Prince of Frogtown.

Bragg, a native of Calhoun County, Alabama, calls these books the proudest examples of his writing life, what historians and critics have described as heart-breaking anthems of people usual
More about Rick Bragg

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