In this interview, The Up South Cookbook writer and chef Nicole Taylor shares her favorite cookbooks and budding book collection.
What books have most impacted your life (or life as an author)?
I didn’t grow up with cookbooks in the house. My cousins Tom and Bonnie Gartrell had a few cookbooks and many newspaper recipe clippings. For over 50 years, they both were cooks at a University of Georgia sorority house.
My first cookbook Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook was given to me by a college roommate. By my mid-20s I started collecting titles. I treasure all my signed books by noted foodways historian Jessica B. Harris.
What books are you currently reading? Why this author?
On my desk right now are Waffles: From Morning to Midnight by Dorie Greenspan (brunch research), The Jemima Code by Toni Tipton Martin (a new classic on the history of black cookbooks), and Grandbaby Cakes by Jocelyn Delk Adams (one of the fresh voices in the blogger-to-book world).
What new authors have piqued your interest?
I can’t wait to get my hands on Kelis’ new cookbook and Stories from my Grandmother’s Kitchen by Darius Williams.
What are five of your favorite books and why?
The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila is probably the most used in my kitchen because it gives the nuts and bolts in creating things from granola to mayo.
Dick Gregory’s Natural Diet for Folks Who Eat is on my nightstand. Written in 1974, it predates the gluten free and vegetarian craze.
Afro-Vegan by Bryant Terry because he kicked the door open for the new generation of black cookbook writers.
The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale is hands down my favorite motivational book. I listen to the audio version when I need a push.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley is the first book that shifted my thinking about navigating in the world.
For tasty recipes, check out Taylor’s cookbook The Up South Cookbook at amazon.