NEARLY TWO DECADES AGO, Taste of the South hit newsstands on a quest to spread the love of good Southern cooking. That inaugural issue featured a grand three-layered chocolate cake dripping with caramel sauce on the cover, a culinary journey through Lowcountry cooking, a weekend at South Pittsburg, Tennessee’s National Cornbread Festival, and a story on the origins of cornbread to boot. Autumnal delights filled pages with apple-studded desserts and easy-to-make family meals suitable for busy weeknights. Even in the premier issue, Taste of the South dove in headfirst, and devoted readers soon followed suit.
“When Taste of the South began, few magazines devoted to Southern cooking were on the market,” says Lorna Reeves, the magazine’s inaugural editor, and now editor of sister publication, TeaTime magazine. But a demand for more classic Southern recipes was the driving force behind its founding. Southern Lady, a Hoffman Media publication that was founded in 1999, began including enticing recipes, and Lorna says readers wrote in wanting more. “So many of our Southern traditions are centered around food,” wrote Phyllis Hoffman DePiano, CEO of Hoffman Media, in the premier issue of Taste of the South. “Holiday gatherings always include food, and there are dishes that must be prepared in order for special occasions to feel, well, ‘special.’ Whether it’s fresh coconut cake or a favorite casserole, we Southerners like to celebrate with food, especially great food. Southern Lady readers are no exception and have asked for more quick, easy-to-prepare recipes for flavorful, Southern-style dishes—and that’s exactly how Taste of the South came to be!” Today, nearly 20 years later, the yearning for homespun, Southern-rooted recipes has only grown.
“Taste of the South was born out of a love for Southern foods and the creative ways of cooking in the South,” Phyllis says today. Since its inception, there’s no doubt that plenty has changed. Renowned restaurants have shuttered, and extraordinary cooks and chefs have passed away. Yet, at the same time, we’ve seen exciting new restaurants open, chefs become local legends and award winners, and Southern cooking—and the talented people behind it—gain a worldwide audience. And Taste of the South has been there every step of the way, celebrating every person who helps make the South a delicious place to be.
Now on our 20th volume, Taste of the South has told stories from the bayous of Louisiana and the foothills of the Carolinas to the rolling plains of Texas and everywhere in between. “What started out to be a food magazine has grown into a magazine of people, restaurants, and travel,” Phyllis says. “It’s the ultimate source for planning trips exploring the nooks and crannies of the South!”
To every home cook, chef, farmer, craftsmen, writer, and reader who has been a part of Taste of the South, we thank you as we reach 20 successful volumes and look forward to many more years of good eats to come.
And please enjoy the following recipes for the Southern staple: biscuits! We’ve selected some of our favorites from over the years, perfect with breakfast or as a savory side.