The South is known for many things, but there are two categories that shine a bit brighter than the rest: country music and comfort food. As far as the music is concerned, you can’t get much more legendary than Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. Thanks to their son, John Carter Cash, you can now combine a love for their songs with your favorite Southern recipes in The Cash and Carter Family Cookbook: Recipes and Recollections from Johnny and June’s Table ($17.62, Amazon). The dishes include breakfast staples like June’s homemade biscuits, the Cash family hashbrown casserole, and Mother Maybelle Carter’s spin on traditional sausage gravy that tosses in diced tomatoes. There are recipes outside of morning meals, of course, with main courses, appetizers, pickles, desserts, and plenty more to fill your day (and stomach) with classic southern food.
John spoke with NPR in December 2018 to shed more light on what it was like growing up with his famous parents, especially when it came to how they prepared family meals. Johnny was apparently a fan of whipping up big iron pots of chili with cuts of sirloin or venison. In order to get just the right texture and thickness, John explained, “he would go by the chili pot with a handful of cornmeal in his hand — I remember seeing this so many times when I was a boy — and he would throw the cornmeal in the pot.” John admitted you never really knew how much his dad was adding to the meaty mixture, but that was part of the “whimsical nature” of Johnny and June’s kitchen creations.
Another example he gave was his mom’s vegetable dish that was simply called “stuff” — fried potatoes and carrots with bell peppers, mushrooms, and other soft veggies and onions. The whole thing was topped with hot pepper cheese that June would steam and melt perfectly throughout the dish. “It’s delicious. It’s wonderful,” John claimed before adding, “My goodness, I’m getting hungry.” He’s not the only one!
While writing about June’s biscuits in the cookbook, John acknowledges how self-rising flour is traditionally used for the signature Southern recipe, but that it can be difficult to find outside of the South. Luckily, his mom’s recipe uses regular all-purpose flour instead. You can see the full instructions for June’s biscuits, which John cautions should be “carefully followed,” and a few more scrumptious breakfast dishes in an excerpt provided by NPR. You can also look forward to fond memories and stories from John accompanying all the recipes in the book. Plus, we can now all feel like we’re part of the “first family” of country music whether we’re serving up breakfast or supper.
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