Made From Scratch

A version of this recently appeared in October/November issue of South magazine.

Ashley bio photo_credit Tim Robison
Author Ashley English. Photo by Johnny Autry.

Southern cook and homesteader Ashley English cooks up an awareness for healthy eating and living through classic Southern recipes and traditions in her latest cookbook, “Southern from Scratch.”

As if dropped from a Southern heaven above, Ashley English’s tenth cookbook, “Southern from Scratch,” was released earlier this year, claiming the hearts of food enthusiasts and, well, just about anyone who enjoys authentic Southern cookin’.

The success of this new Southern classic may be attributed to the progressive mindset English displays towards using smarter and healthier ingredients in classic Southern food, a lesson she learned from her family.

“I thought the reason my family was in poor health was completely based on their diet,” English confesses. “But when I really started to look at it as I was older, I realized it wasn’t necessarily the Southern foods they were eating. It was the processed foods that had weaseled their way in. It’s so important to be mindful of the past.”

As a result, English—who holds degrees in holistic nutrition and sociology, and has worked with a number of nonprofit organizations committed to social and agricultural issues—presents a warm and down-to-earth homage to Southern home cooking that uses reflections on the past as a way to create a happy, healthier future.

“I think, in so many ways, [holding onto the past] informs who you are, who you become,” she says. “Hopefully, as we age, we take what we have learned in the past and use it as a catalyst for bettering ourselves and our lives. We should learn from our mistakes, our families, and our families mistakes.”

With more than 150 classic recipes, “Southern from Scratch” will help you build a from-scratch Southern pantry of your own, from which you can cook and make the most of local ingredients, all while creating traditions of your own.

“I’m able to pass on these traditions to my sons, and they will potentially pass them on to their own families, which is exciting,” English says. “I hope my readers will do the same.”

Whether you’re a hardcore homesteader like English, a novice cook, or simply passionate about good ol’ Southern cookin’, pick up “Southern from Scratch” to create traditions of your own.