RISE AND SHINE! is an engaging, funny, and poignant memoir about a Southern son and his life's relationship with food. Johnathon Barrett takes you on a decades-long journey of culinary exploration, starting in the 1960s in his hometown of Perry, Georgia. There in the low-rolling hills and slow-moving creeks of Middle Georgia he tells--with good humor and reflection--stories about his family, and how for generations farm-to-table food was a mainstay in their daily lives. He also relates how food was the common denominator for all aspects of life in the South, especially in small towns and rural communities. Barrett shares his need to leave behind those days of stewed squash and fried okra, and move on to what he felt were more sophisticated and global offerings. He discovered, however, that while he tried to take his palate of out of Dixie, there was always some Georgia red clay in his blood--and in his taste buds. Successfully melding those early days of learning the basics of Southern fare and later stretching his culinary skills, Barrett demonstrates in this narrative his formula for a successful casual
dinner or a formal black tie affair. With several menus and 100 recipes ranging from down-home picnic offerings such as
Joyce's Don't Mess with Success Pimento Cheese' to a magnificent platter
of 'Grouper Meunière,' the author provides a wonderful array of delights for
contemporary cooks. This culinary love letter to Barrett's parents and other loved ones
who raised him will make you laugh, maybe shed a tear, and fill your hearts with a renewed
appreciation for the magic that can happen in a family's kitchen.
Being drawn into the vivid stories told in Barrett’s new memoir is a foregone conclusion—the cadence, rituals and even the fragrances of Georgia come to life in these pages—but it’s the recipes that will bind you, stitch you into his world with the effectiveness of the best cookbooks. Rise and Shine! is a joy to read, and it’s truly a rare thrill to cook alongside Mama and JB. —Matt Lee and Ted Lee, authors of The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen