So, following along a trend of looking at Southern Living cookbooks, I’m diving into the Southern Living Annual cookbook from 1982. For those of you unfamiliar with it, the Southern Living Annual is released every year, since 1979, and contains the recipes, month by month that have been released in that year’s magazines.
As the recipes are laid out month by month, placed together as they would have been in the magazine (with food articles/tips interspersed throughout) browsing for a specific type of recipe can be a little difficult. However, Southern Living also does a very good job with their indexes, one being alphabetically by Recipe title, one being a month by month index, and one being a general recipe index where you can look up recipes based off of ingredient or food type.
The range of recipes types is pretty wide here, overall. You can bet on finding some season-appropriate recipes if you flip over to the corresponding month (there’s a chunk of pumpkin recipes in October and chilled soups in July and an Easter Bread recipe in April), but there’s plenty of other segments as well, including: ‘Mexican Food Fest’; microwave chilis; ‘light’ italian foods; ‘Texas Breads’; ‘Breakfast and Brunches’; and jellies and preserves.
This was the first year that the “Cooking Light” segment had been added, thus a portion from each month are lighter recipes, sometimes low-sodium, sometimes a grouping of salads, sometimes low-calorie deserts.
Additionally (this being the early 80s and all) there’s a segment from each month devoted to “Microwave Cookery”. I’m not sure how often one will want to cook a ham in the microwave, but should you wish that there’s a recipe for Ham with Raisin Sauce which should have you covered.
What I especially like about this cookbook is that, with some exceptions- especially in the “Cooking Light” and “Microwave Cookery” sections, the recipes are largely those submitted by readers- coming from anywhere in the Southern US, from Florida to Texas to Virginia. They, mostly, feel pretty achievable, while also not being overly simplistic.
The illustrations can be spotty, considering the large amount of recipes. There’s no guarantee you’ll find an illustration or an image of the recipe in question, but there’s still a decent amount of photos interspersed throughout the book, with fifteen glossy pages. There’s the occasional black and white print image throughout as well.
Overall, I’ve found the Southern Living Annuals to be among the more ‘normal’ cookbooks in my collection, and this one’s no exception. A little less interesting on the weirdness scale, but certainly more useable.