Study up on Southern style with new book

  • Thursday, October 31, 2013


An interesting aspect about the South is the amazing bounty of things in the natural world in terms of harvest, in terms of sporting or game, according to Garden and Gun vice president and editor in chief, David DiBenedetto.

As a Southerner, one must really hone their skills to address the natural bounty, he said.

That’s why whether you live below the Mason Dixon Line or just wish you did, “The Southerner’s Handbook,” curated by the editors of Garden and Gun Magazine, is a must read - as it is your guide to living the good life. This compilation of more than 100 instructional and narrative essays offers a comprehensive tutorial to modern-day life in the South.

“You’ve got to know when to get out and catch shrimp such as a full moon tide and how to throw a cast net and how to sharpen a knife. You’ve got to know when it is dove season and know how to shoot a gun,” he said.

The South is a very sporting type of culture and at the same time Southerners like a celebration. We even celebrate the seasons.”

And of course Southerners are not afraid to have a good time with good food and good drink.

This new book is full of fun things too, DiBenedetto said, like knowing how to fall off a horse so you can get up and dust yourself off.

“There are a lot of skills we have to know as Southerners so we decided to address those and put them in a book,” he said. Certianly it was a challenge to cull it all down - I mean where do you start? But the nice thing is we got to work with such great writers and learn about their expertise.”

From Food and Drink to Sporting & Adventure; Home & Garden to Style, Arts & Culture, you’ll discover essential skills and unique insight from some of the South’s finest writers, chefs, and craftsmen — including the secret to perfect biscuits, and how to wear seersucker.

You’ll also find: Roy Blount, Jr. on telling a great story; Julia Reed on the secrets of throwing a great party; Jonathan Miles on drinking like a Southerner; Jack Hitt on the beauty of cooking a whole hog; John T. Edge on why Southern food matters and much more.

As flavorful, authentic and irresistible as the land and the people who inspire it, “The Southerner’s Handbook” is the ultimate guide to being a Southerner (no matter where you live).

DiBenedetto is an outdoorsman and a Southerner himself, but he even learned a few things. “I certainly had to pay a little more attention to the fashion side of things,” he said. “I learned a little about making biscuits the proper way. I am a horrible shot in the dove field so I paid attention to how not to embarrass yourself in dove field.”

The book is largely instructional about how to have fun but it is chock full of deep personal essays as well.

There are stories about Southern food and what it means and why it is important.

There are stories about traditions, and so many great traditions and stories go hand in hand in the South, he added.

The contributors are Garden and Gun favorites and work closely with the editorial team so there was very little arm-twisting to get contributors to share their stories, DiBenedetto said.

It takes some know-how to be Southern or to even visit the South. From throwing a crawfish boil to betting on a horse at the Derby to, yes, even whipping up a stiff drink, That’s why the audience for this book is anyone interested in a guide to living the good life. “You don’t have to be Southern or even an expert on Southern,” said DiBenedetto. “You’re going to find things in this book you didn’t know and you’ll enjoy reading it.”

The true gift of “The Southerners Handbook” is that people will be surprised on every page. They’ll read about something they didn’t know right down to a turn of a phrase. “I’m not sure who this book wouldn’t work for,” he said.


Homegrown Wisdom: A few words on Southern Ingenuity by Guy Martin


- Make Devilish Deviled Eggs

- Fry Chicken Skins

- Go Whole Hog by Jack Hitt

- Pickle Anything

- Boil Peanuts


- Drink with Style by Jonathan Miles

- Make Your Own BBQ Bitters

- Mix a Stiff Punch

- Raise Your (Home) Bar


- Take Your Best Shot by David E. Petzal

- Grab a Frog Like a Cajun

- Bet on the Kentucky Derby

- Find a Brook Trout Hole


- Tell a Great Story by Roy Blount, Jr.

- Throw a Crawfish Boil

- Pick a Southern Paint

- Find the Good Stuff

- Build a Library


- Mind Your Manners by Guy Martin

- Master the Pocket Square

- Wear White Bucks

- How to Accessorize

So grab a glass of fine bourbon, head out to the porch, and get comfortable. You’re in for an experience as surprising and enchanting as the South itself.

The book will be on shelves October 29, but you can preorder your copy now at www.gardenandgun.com or

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million and IndieBound.

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