The Best Cook In The World

Tales From Mama's Table

by Rick Bragg

Alfred A. Knopf Books

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.

rick-bragg-presents-the-best-cook-in-the-world.jpgMargaret 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 to bake corn bread ("about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the mysteries of your oven"). Her notion of farm-to-table is a flatbed truck. But she can tell you the secrets to perfect mashed potatoes, corn pudding, redeye gravy, pinto beans and hambone, stewed cabbage, short ribs, chicken and dressing, biscuits and butter rolls. The irresistible stories in this audiobook are of long memory -- many of them pre-date the Civil War, handed down skillet by skillet, from one generation of Braggs to the next. In The Best Cook in the World, Rick Bragg finally preserves his heritage by telling the stories that framed his mother's cooking and education, from childhood into old age. Because good food always has a good story, and a recipe, writes Bragg, is a story like anything else.

About Rick Bragg

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 usually written about only in fiction or cliches. They chronicle the lives of his family cotton pickers, mill workers, whiskey makers, long sufferers, and fist fighters. Bragg, who has written for the numerous magazines, ranging from Sports Illustrated to Food & Wine, was a newspaper writer for two decades, covering high school football for the Jacksonville News, and militant Islamic fundamentalism for The New York Times.

He has won more than 50 significant writing awards, in books and journalism, including, twice, the American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1993, and is, truthfully, still a freshman at Jacksonville State University. Bragg is currently Professor of Writing in the Journalism Department at the University of Alabama, and lives in Tuscaloosa with his wife, Dianne, a doctoral student there, and his stepson, Jake. His only real hobby is fishing, but he is the worst fisherman in his family line.