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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Let’s Get Cooking! Kitchn’s March Cookbook Club Pick Is “Deep Run Roots” by Vivian Howard.

updated Feb 25, 2020
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Hello my fellow Cookbook Club-ers! I hope you’ve had fun cooking through Toni Tipton-Martin’s Jubilee this month. February is usually dull and grey, but this cookbook is a light. I personally have the lemon-caper pork chops on my dinner menu this week, and am hopefully going to finally tackle that pineapple upside-down cake this weekend. Overall, it’s been a joy to flip through such a well-curated and thoughtful collection of recipes. The stories are so important to read.

Looking forward to March (how did that happen so fast, btw?), I wanted to give you a running start. Our cookbook pick is none other than Vivian Howard’s award-winning Deep Run Roots. Read on to see how you can follow along next month! (And please, join the Facebook group).

Kitchn’s cookbook club is a digital one (although we encourage people to get together IRL as well!). Here’s how it all works.

  1. Get the book! You can buy the book here or look for it at your local library.
  2. Join Kitchn Cookbook Club Facebook group. This is our private space for all of you to talk about the book, ask questions, and chat about what you’re cooking. Click here to join! It’s very active.
  3. Share a recipe review on Instagram and tag with #kitchncookbookclub. Make a recipe from Deep Run Roots. Post a photo of your dish on Instagram, with a short review of the recipe in the caption.
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Why Deep Run Roots Is Our March Cookbook Club Pick

When Deep Run Roots came out in the fall of 2016, it won all the awards. It won a total of four IACP awards, including “best cookbook” of 2016 and the Julia Child First Book award, and it was also a New York Times best-seller. It seemed like just about everyone was talking about how special this cookbook was — and Howard’s personal story was a huge reason for this.

In case you’re not familiar, the short version of Vivian Howard’s story is that she grew up in Deep Run, North Carolina — which is mostly a farming community. Howard had big dreams, and moved to New York at a young age where she worked with some of the best chefs in the country. 10 years later in 2006, she moved back to North Carolina where she opened Chef and the Farmer in the town of Kingston. In true farm-to-table fashion, Vivian looked to local ingredients to guide her menu instead of following trends, and the restaurant became wildly popular as a result of her creativity.

Deep Run Roots is a tribute to her story. The cookbook reads like part memoir, part recipe. The recipes (and stories) are structured around single ingredients that you would find in the South. You’ll find chapters on watermelon, peaches, summer squash, figs, and okra, to name a few.

We also thought choosing this cookbook for March felt timely because Vivian Howard is coming to the small screen again! You might remember her on A Chef’s Life, which sadly ended in 2017. Her new six-part series, Somewhere South, will follow Howard as she explores the “dishes that are uniting cultures and creating new traditions across the American South.” It will premiere on March 27 on PBS.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Get the Book

Like Joy of Cooking (our cookbook club pick for December), Deep Run Roots is a book of epic proportions. It’s huge! There are over 200 recipes to choose from, which might feel daunting at first. The book, as I mentioned, is organized by ingredient, so I think I might tackle the book by what I’m inspired by right now in my kitchen — rice, sweet potatoes, collards, and cucumbers. What recipe do you think you’ll make first? Or if you’ve already cooked from Deep Run Roots, do you have a favorite recipe to share? Let me know in the comments.

Looking forward to cooking with you this month!

— Ariel Knutson, Features Director