Book Biz: Greenwood cookbook author brings style of chef and storyteller

At Turnrow Book Company in Greenwood, Martha Foose is a staple. Owners Jamie and Kelly Kornegay credit the award-winning chef and cookbook author with helping build their six-year-old business.

“She’s our biggest seller,” Kelly Kornegay said. “Her books are beautiful and well written, and the recipes are wonderful.”

“A Southerly Course” has a cover photo featuring an apron full of scrumptious ripe peaches — a reminder of when Kornegay first met Foose a dozen or so years ago. “She was peeling peaches at a friend’s Bloomer-Dropper party (peaches being the main ingredient for the drink so aptly lending the party its name,” she said. “She had me immediately smitten with her hysterical stories and ease of phrase. I knew even then that she was much more than a chef; she was a true story teller, a writer.”

Kornegay found Foose’s first book, “Screen Doors and Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales from a Southern Cook” (Clarkson Potter Publishers, $32.50 hardcover), to be the perfect Delta book. “It captured the strange mix of culture here that makes it so intriguing, but in ‘A Southerly Course,’ Martha finally lets down all her walls and invites one and all to be a part of her vision of the place she calls home,” she said. “The book is stunning, the stories off-beat and honest, the recipes accessible and enticing.”

In 2009, “Screen Doors and Sweet Tea” was honored with a James Beard Book Award in the category of American cooking.  “A Southerly Course,” according to Kornegay, is definitely a Southern cookbook but one written by someone who chooses to live her life without a safety net. “She carries on the traditions of her deeply Southern family but with her own bit of flair,” she says of Foose. “I can’t imagine anyone who loves the Delta not loving this book, but it goes much further than that – I can’t imagine anyone who loves a great story, luscious photography and the imagination of a true original not wanting it prominently poised on their cookbook shelf.”

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