The Best Cook in the World by Rick Bragg

The Best Cook in the World by Rick Bragg

The Best Cook in the World by Rick Bragg

This is a delightful book that is as much about blue-collar Southern culture as it is about cooking. As Rick Brag collects and records his mama’s recipes, he also weaves tales about how the best cooks in the family taught them to her.

It all began in 1924, when Rick’s grandfather, Charlie Bundrum, mounted his mule and went in search of his father, Jimmy Jim Bundrum. After killing another man in a drunken knife fight in 1919, Jimmy Jim fled into the North Georgia mountains, leaving behind his sickly wife and family.

Despite the fact that his father was an outlaw and a rounder, Charlie knew Jimmy Jim Bundrum was the best cook in that part of the country. It was for that reason alone he pursued his father. When he found him, the old man spoke first.

“What do you want of me boy,” he said.

“You have to come with me,” the young man said, “’cause I’ve married a pretty and hard-headed woman who can’t cook a lick, and I do believe that I am a-starvin’ to death.”

“Does the girl have a name?” the old man asked.

“Trouble,” the boy said.

Jimmy Jim taught Rick’s grandmother Ava to cook, and Ava taught Rick’s mama, who also learned from some of the other fine cooks in the family. With each added recipe, Bragg serves up the piece of family lore attached to it.

The book will appeal to anyone who loves simple, comfort food and enjoys a good story. Read more about the book in Kirkus Review.

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