Deep Run RootsStories and Recipes from My Corner of the South


Vivian Howard, the star cocreator of PBS’s A CHEF’S LIFE, celebrates the flavors of North Carolina’s coastal plain in more than 200 recipes and stories. Her new classic of American country cooking proves that the food of Deep Run, North Carolina–her home–is as rich as any culinary tradition in the world.

Organized by ingredient with dishes suited to every skill level, Deep Run Roots features time-honored simple preparations, extraordinary meals from her acclaimed restaurant Chef and the Farmer, and recipes that bring the power of tradition to life–along with the pleasure of reinventing it. Home cooks will find photographs for every single dish. 

As much a storybook as it is a cookbook, Deep Run Roots imparts the true tale of Southern food: rooted in family and tradition, yet calling out to the rest of the world. 

Ten years ago, Vivian’s opened Chef and the Farmer and put the nearby town of Kinston on the culinary map. But in a town paralyzed by recession, Vivian couldn’t hop on every culinary trend. Instead, she focused on rural development: If you grew it, she’d buy it. Inundated by local sweet potatoes, blueberries, shrimp, pork, and beans, Vivian learned to cook the way generations of Southerners before her had, relying on resourcefulness, creativity, and preservation.

Deep Run Roots is the result of those years of effort to discover the riches of Carolina country cooking. Like The Fannie Farmer CookbookThe Art of Simple Food, and The Taste of Country Cooking before it, this landmark work of American food writing gives richness and depth to a cuisine that has been overlooked for far too long.

Recipes include:

•Family favorites like Blueberry BBQ Chicken, Creamed Collard-Stuffed Potatoes, Fried Yams with Five-Spice Maple Bacon Candy, and Country-Style Pork Ribs in Red Curry-Braised Watermelon,

•Crowd-pleasers like Butterbean Hummus, Tempura-Fried Okra with Ranch Ice Cream, Pimiento Cheese Grits with Salsa and Pork Rinds, Cool Cucumber Crab Dip, and Oyster Pie, 

•Show-stopping desserts like Warm Banana Pudding, Peaches and Cream Cake, Spreadable Cheesecake, and Pecan-Chewy Pie,

•And 200 more quick breakfasts, weeknight dinners, holiday centerpieces, seasonal preserves, and traditional preparations for cooks of all kinds.

Vivian Howard is the owner and head chef of the farm-to-table restaurant Chef & the Farmer in the small town of Kinston, NC. Before the restaurant’s opening in 2006, she trained under Wylie Dufresne and Same Mason at WD-50 and later, as a member of the opening team at Jean Gorges Vongericten’s Spice Market. She now stars in the award-winning PBS series A Chef’s Life that is entering its second season.