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VOL. 129 | NO. 164 | Friday, August 22, 2014

Chandler’s ‘Southern Pantry’ to Hit Shelves Soon

By Andy Meek

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The next cookbook from Memphis chef, writer and restaurant consultant Jennifer Chandler hits stores in October, and she has a few signings already scheduled in Memphis to promote it.

“This particular book is close to my heart, because the recipes are all rooted in my Southern experience. Having roots in Louisiana and Tennessee, I feel lucky to have enjoyed the best of what the South has.”

–Jennifer Chandler

“The Southern Pantry Cookbook: 105 Recipes Already Hiding in Your Kitchen,” comes out Oct. 14, and in it Chandler has put together a go-to guide for keeping kitchens stocked and prepared for any daily meal as well as unexpected dinner guests. Accessibility is what she says she’s going for here – showing readers how they can cook enjoyable meals with ingredients they may even already have on hand.

“This particular book is close to my heart, because the recipes are all rooted in my Southern experience,” Chandler said. “Having roots in both Louisiana and Tennessee, I feel lucky to have enjoyed the best of what the South has to offer.

“My hope with all my books and articles is that my readers will use my books. I always joke that I hope to see them dog-eared, tattered and splattered with grease stains when I go into someone’s kitchen. I want some of these recipes to become family traditions in my readers’ homes just like they have in my home.”

Chandler brings years of experience and top-level training to her culinary creations like these. A graduate from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, her time there and in the city in general taught her to experience food as something to be savored, not a kind of three-times-a-day pit stop.

And in addition to her work as a cookbook author, she’s a restaurant consultant, freelance food writer and full-time mom. For the new book, she has a pair of appearances scheduled in Memphis in October, with the first happening Oct. 18 at Babcock Gifts, 4626 Poplar Ave.

Her second signing that month is Oct. 23, when she’ll stop in at The Booksellers at Laurelwood, 387 Perkins Road Extended.

“The Southern Pantry Cookbook” is the latest in a string of releases from Chandler that, until now, have tended to include the word “simply” in the title: “Simply Salads,” “Simply Suppers” and “Simply Grilling.”

The latest book includes Southern-inspired fare, with recipes that include roasted sweet potato salad with dried cranberries and pecans; white bean and country ham soup; braised chicken with mushrooms and grits; and cheesy-jalapeno hushpuppies. There’s also a section on “freezer favorites,” and throughout the book, Chandler shares her pantry shortcuts, variations and substitutions.

Summing up the work, Chandler says it’s about showing how basic supplies – everything from rice and beans to sauces and produce – can be turned into Southern-style meals. Breakfast, lunch or dinner can be elevated, in her opinion, with just a little planning and tricks she’s picked up over the years.

“The good news about Southern home-cooking is that if you have a well-stocked pantry, you can easily whip up a delicious meal without having to rush to the store,” Chandler said. “My hope is that when armed with the recipes and tips in this book, my readers will be whipping up homemade meals most every night of the week.”

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