"This is my sermon about my Soul food," writes Todd Richards in Soul: A Chef's Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes, a collection richly evocative of Southern ethos and its myriad, complicated legacies.
Richards embraces tradition with a twist, creatively remixing Soul food staples. He organizes chapters by star ingredient, such as collards, berries or seafood. Standouts from among these include Collard Green Ramen; Pickled Strawberry Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette, Black Pepper Crème Fraiche and Smoked Pecans; Turkey Wings Glazed with Strawberry BBQ Sauce; Shrimp and Grits with Grits Crust and Shrimp Butter; and Popcorn-Crusted Scallops on Corn Porridge with Pickled Baby Corn and Beet Salad.
The collection feels deeply personal, with family photos, recipes and stories. Richards includes menus with complementary side dishes, drink pairings and even playlists. Turn on The Four Tops' "Catfish" (his recommendation) and invite home the aromas, flavors, stories and sounds of Richards' Soul. --Katie Weed, freelance writer and reviewer