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Beloved comic actress Faith Ford puts a fresh and healthy new spin on down-home cooking with 125 updated Southern classics and traditional favorites cooked by three generations of her family.
You wouldn't know it by looking at her -- either during her years as Corky Sherwood on CBS's Murphy Brown or now on her hit ABC comedy Hope & Faith -- but Faith Ford loves to eat.
Growing up in Pineville, Louisiana, Faith learned how to cook the great Southern classics from her mother and grandmother: Old-Fashioned Smothered Chicken, Mom's Smoky Beef Brisket, Southern-Style Fried Catfish, Cora's Skillet Candied Sweet Potatoes, Snap Beans and New Potatoes, Buttermilk Biscuits, Fluffy Lemon Icebox Pie, and more.
Then, at age seventeen, she left Pineville for a modeling and acting career in New York City and later Los Angeles. She longed for the comforting foods of home but sought to adapt them to match her new, California, health-conscious sensibility. Thus began a lifetime of experimentation in the kitchen, developing healthier versions of foods from her childhood by cooking with olive oil; incorporating loads of vegetables -- staples on the family farm in Louisiana -- into every meal; oven-frying; and using chopped fresh herbs for maximum flavor. The delicious results -- Golden Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken; Broiled Red Snapper with Olives, Onions, and Tomatoes; Grilled Veggie Po' Boys; Dilled Egg White Salad; Green Beans Braised with Balsamic Vinegar and Soy Sauce; Asparagus with Tarragon Vinaigrette; Peaches-n-Creamy Shake; and Sweet Summer Melon-Mint Salad -- regularly wow friends in Los Angeles and have even won over Mom and the folks back home.
An inspired combination of the best of both worlds -- the homespun, heirloom dishes Faith grew up on (because every once in a while you need to indulge and only the "real thing" will do) and her own healthier, more modern versions and creations -- Cooking with Faith is also about the bonds that grow between family and friends as they spend time together in the kitchen. After all, says Faith, "well-made food is an experience. It's about taking pride in what you eat. It's a remedy for an increasingly fast-food-reliant society -- I mean, how can you be that much in a hurry?"