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Publisher's Summary

From the beloved, best-selling author of All over but the Shoutin', a delectable, rollicking food memoir, cookbook, and loving tribute to a region, a vanishing history, a family, and, especially, his mother.

Margaret Bragg does not own a single cookbook. She measures in "dabs" and "smidgens" and "tads" and "you know, hon, just some". She cannot be pinned down on how long to bake corn bread ("about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the mysteries of your oven"). Her notion of farm-to-table is a flatbed truck. But she can tell you the secrets to perfect mashed potatoes, corn pudding, redeye gravy, pinto beans and hambone, stewed cabbage, short ribs, chicken and dressing, biscuits, and butter rolls. The irresistible stories in this audiobook are of long memory - many of them predate the Civil War, handed down skillet by skillet, from one generation of Braggs to the next. 

In The Best Cook in the World, Rick Bragg finally preserves his heritage by telling the stories that framed his mother's cooking and education, from childhood into old age. Because good food always has a good story, and a recipe, writes Bragg, is a story like anything else. 

©2018 Rick Bragg (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Wonderful, rollicking, poignant, sometimes hilarious tales about how generations of Bragg’s extended family survived from one meal to the next." (USA Today)

"This book is a tribute, a monument, to his mother and her people, captured here in solid recipes for good food...All the stories in this book... gleam with a special luster; they’ve been polished by time, and no one is meant to get hung up on the details." (The Wall Street Journal)

"A beautifully written memoir... For readers who crave soul with their recipes this is a fitting tribute to foodways that are fast escaping." (Library Journal)

What members say

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Rick Bragg Never Disappoints

I loved every word. These recipes remind me so much of my great grandmother, from whom I learned to cook with love. Thank you, Mr. Bragg, for sharing your family recipes with all of us.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Just a recipe book? Hardly. Wake the hell-o up!

Rick Bragg is a voice not only from the past, but through his recipes he relates a wondrous story of growing up to his present. He learns about a grandfather who died before he was born and a mother in her last years before she passes. I can not remember the times I chuckled, until I laughed then laughed so had I cried. His recipes made my mouth water to the point I wanted to find him and slap his face silly,as I smelled the juicy,creamy,crispy,crusty descriptions of the tasty delicacices. Peppered throughtout is his family members. Rick, would you adopt me? I've read all of you books. Honory family member, maybe? Anyway it's not my place to tell you his story. Read it for yourself, and for a few hours become a member of the Bragg family.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Best Audio Book!

I literally cried when it ended. I laughed, cried and shot hot coffee out of my mouth at one point. I wanted to be part of this family. Rick, please keep writing about your family. Thank you seems small. This book will be with me forever. Listened on Audible and immediately ordered the hard back.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Noreen
  • WICHITA FALLS, TX, United States
  • 05-08-18

Delicious Tales

My mouth watered with every recipe. I laughed and cried, but mostly laughed, with every story.

Rick has captured, once again, the tender family stories of his childhood and gives “his people” their due as these great cooks on all sides of the family tree, taught the generations the simple, hearty, fresh from the garden, made from scratch, recipes that are the gold standard of southern cooking.

I didn’t want this book to end. Listening to
Rick, with his Alabama drawl, takes the listener into a slower pace of life, like floating down a lazy river in summer.

It was so wonderful to be sitting at the table with all Rick’s best cooks in the world. Now I have to get the book for the recipes.







2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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I will now buy the print book too!

I always love Rick Bragg’s stories about his people who, though not mine, share the same tenor. It’s specially nice to have him read it to me.
Now I’ll buy the print edition so the recipes are easier to find and for the pictures.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Takes me back to a sweeter time

Highly recommend 👏

Audio version is read by the author which adds authenticity due to his accent and pronunciation of colloquial words and phrases.

I was raised in the Tennessee mountains. His recipes are the food I grew up enjoying.

His mother is my mother except she never said potato. 😉

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Not even finished with it and alreay LOVE this!

I just want anyone looking for something special to listen to, This is well worth it! Some of the best stories and recipes I’ve ever heard! Its nostalgic, raw & real! Full of struggle, good times, and love of family and home! Its just a beautiful book and totally relatable!
Thank you for sharing it with the world!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Delicious!

I love Rick Bragg's word craft--he is a phenomenal expert! I loved this book and so appreciate that he shared these exquisite stories about his family and their traditions. The narration of this book lovingly matched the pace of the south. The incredibly detailed stories, entwined with the food that is enjoyed across the south, was so real and enjoyable. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants a culinary experience with individuals you will want to have as part of your own family!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Masterful story-telling in tribute

Rick Bragg is no doubt one of the best storytellers ever, and he delivers this book as tribute to his mother and the assortment of characters who taught her to cook. The cooking we learn here makes the book a prize, and Bragg layers stories around the recipes to produce a masterpiece. Don’t miss this new classic!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Real people. Real food.

This may be Rick’s best. I’ve read them all. Before this one, All Over But the Shoutin’ was my favorite.
These extraordinary stories and recipes are about “ordinary” people who did not see themselves as such. Their resourcefulness and fortitude is inspiring and moving. Their humor is laugh out loud funny.
Rick’s performance is masterful. His voice and cadence and accent are a lullaby to my ears. My mama’s people were from Alabama, too, and my mama cooked “plain food,” she called it. It was anything but. Like Rick’s mama, she cooked the best food in the world with little to work with. Thank you, Rick Bragg, for preserving this culture from another time and place that is precious to those who have known it and tasted it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful