Edible Reads: Uniquely Florida Stories, Uniquely Florida Food
Thousands – maybe millions – of recipes are available online. Have an ingredient and want to know what to do with it? You can find an answer. So why buy a cookbook?
Because with the best ones, there’s much more to the book than the recipes.
Take Good Catch: Recipes and Stories Celebrating the Best of Florida’s Waters, the latest from the trio of Pam Brandon, Katie Farmand (managing editor and editor, respectively, of edible Orlando) and Heather McPherson (food editor and restaurant critic for the Orlando Sentinel).
The authors combine stories of Florida’s people, history and culture with a healthy helping of insight into the bounty of the state’s waterways – from the open Atlantic Ocean to the oyster beds of the Gulf to the briny waters of Lake Okeechobee and the St. John’s River. And, of course, there are the recipes … for seafood, sides, desserts and more. Yes, you can find similar ones on the web, but you’ll be hard pressed to get the real flavor of the stories behind them.
In Good Catch, a peanut butter chocolate pie concoction comes with the story of the 150-year-old Rod and Gun Club that sits on the edge of Everglades National Park and has hosted at least six U.S. presidents. Lobster Creole – which stars the famous Florida Spiny Lobster – is served up with the tale of 11 brothers who left their native Cuba to start a new life and fished their way into a family business. And there’s this recipe for deviled crab, inspired by Dessie Prescott, a hunting, fishing, gun-toting Florida legend who told friends as she entered her nineties, “The world is my oyster, and I spent my life cracking it.”
Dessie wasn’t much for recipes, but this one adds ingredients – such as nutmeg and citrus zest – that seem fitting given the extra kick with which she lived.
You can use the crab shells for baking and serving – you’ll need to remove the legs and open up the underside with kitchen shears – but you can use individual ramekins instead if you prefer.
Good Catch: Recipes and Stories Celebrating the Best of Florida’s Waters
By Pam Brandon, Katie Farmand, and Heather McPherson
University Press of Florida, October 2014
Recipe and images courtesy of the authors