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When it comes to solving problems, reading directions, and most definitely cooking, I’m a very visual person. I’m the one in the kitchen glued to the recipe, making sure I have done everything correct down to the last garnish set atop the final product. In my recent history, countless internal questions, Google searches, and even texts sent to my mom were all on account of the fact that I didn’t understand key words or phrases mentioned in a recipe. For example: “Use a steamer basket” or foreign terms such as “dice, baton, julienne, or cube.” And many times, I craved to see someone else prepare the recipe once before me, just so I could get an idea of how a process such as frying chicken was supposed to look.


If you also encounter these conflicts while cooking, I have found a solution for us. The folks at Southern Living and book publishers at Oxmoor House have created and put together a cookbook called Southern Living Home Cooking Basics: A complete illustrated guide to Southern cooking. It takes the guesswork out of fantastic Southern food and puts visually stunning photography on the frontlines. The cookbook not only gives a recipe, but also shows step-by-step how to prepare and cook a dish to perfection. With complete access to essential cooking tools, tips to stock a spice rack, differences in seasonal fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and types of sugar and flour, it has never been easier to be prepared and cook with confidence in the kitchen.

Here’s an example of something from the book that I will definitely be using in the future: How to Make Perfect Mashed Potatoes.

Throughout college and even recently, it has been easy for me to just pick up a couple of the microwave-and-eat mashed potato packets at the store. However, we all know that the homemade version is definitely the best and not to mention, much healthier for you! I came across the recipe for Perfect Mashed Potatoes in this cookbook and immediately stopped to read the details. There are only five simple steps to creating this homemade delight, so I immediately added it to my cooking bucket list.

A glimpse of the photography featured in this cookbook. (Click to enlarge)

A glimpse of the photography featured in this cookbook. (Click to enlarge)

Even though the book teaches you basic cooking strategies, the techniques you learn are vital tools that will help you to enjoy a lifetime of great cooking. Put a little simple, Southern flare into your kitchen today and order yourself a copy of Southern Living Home Cooking Basics.More tips and tools featured in this book: