Pecans: A Savor The South Cookbook by Kathleen Purvis

“Show me a recipe with pecans, and I have to try it.” Attributing her own love of this American nut to the state of her birth─Georgia is the nation’s leader in growing pecans─and to the happy fact that her mother “hardly made a cookie, candy, or pan of Sunday dressing without them,”


Kathleen Purvis loves Pecans.

I am a big Pecan fan. Every recipe gets pecans substituted whenever walnuts are called for.  I love smoking with pecan wood. There’s no denying I like pecans but nowhere near as much as Kathleen Purvis.

As the food editor for the Charlotte Observer, Kathleen has a keen understanding of Southern cuisine. She has added her voice to the “A Savor The South Cookbook” series with her cookbook “Pecans.”  After reading the book I will look at pecans as something more than a walnut replacement. There are many different ways pecans can be incorporated into outdoor cooking and I’m going to figure them out.

The truth is, I can’t resist pecans. Never could. Put pecans in any dish and I will crave it.– Kathleen Purvis

Just like other books in the series, published by the University of North Carolina Press, Kathleen begins with a history of the pecan. It seems pecans are the only “nut” native to America.  I wrote “nut” because according the author pecans, botanically speaking, are not really nuts.  Native Americans crammed pecans into their diets and carried the nuts on their nomadic trips.  These trips spread pecans all over what would become the United States.  Thomas Jefferson gets credit for the first domestic cultivation of pecans.

Purvis_Author-PhotoWith just over 50 recipes “Pecans” provides some type of pecan related course for every meal.  The appetizer section has some great looking “glazed nut” recipes.  I know, already, the “Sweet Heat Sriracha Pecans” are a must have.  There are even a couple of cocktails featuring pecans.

I never would have thought of pecans as an important part of a main course.  Something to top a salad or veggies for a little crunch makes sense, but as a key ingredient in the entrée? No, wouldn’t have thought about it.  But the recipe for buttermilk fried chicken using pecan meal for the breading sounds amazing.  Figuring out how to adapt the Pecan-Crusted Grouper for the grill will make a good Summer project.

The Salad and Side Chapter has many recipes that will make great additions to any outdoor cooking event. Whether it’s the Broccoli-Pecan Salad below or Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans there are dishes for even the most finicky of eaters.  Last and certainly not least is the chapter on desserts.  On my gosh, the Chocolate Praline Cheesecake and the Pecan Cream Pie will be on my dinner table soon.

Each little cookbook in our SAVOR THE SOUTH™ collection is a big celebration of a beloved food or tradition of the American South. From buttermilk to bourbon, pecans to peaches, bacon to catfish, one by one SAVOR THE SOUTH™ cookbooks will stock a kitchen shelf with the flavors and culinary wisdom of this popular American regional cuisine. Written by well-known cooks and food lovers, the books brim with personality, the informative and often surprising culinary and natural history of southern foodways, and a treasure of some fifty recipes each—from delicious southern classics to sparkling international renditions that open up worlds of taste for cooks everywhere. You’ll want to collect them all!

Other books i the Savor The South Series Reviewed:

Broccoli-Pecan Salad
Recipe Type: Side Dish
From PECANS: a SAVOR THE SOUTH cookbook by Kathleen Purvis. Copyright © 2012 by Kathleen Purvis. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press.
  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into florets (save stalks for another use)
  • 1⁄4 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
  • 1⁄2 medium red onion, minced
  • 1⁄2 cup toasted, chopped pecans
  • 4 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat milk
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  1. Toss the broccoli, cranberries, onion, and pecans in a large serving bowl.
  2. Whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, milk, vinegar, and salt in a small bowl. Pour over the salad and toss to mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
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