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I celebrate Birmingham’s home cooks after being inspired by two articles: One, about a program in Italy that lets tourists experience Italian cuisine at the tables of home cooks. (I want a Southern version.) In the other, John T. Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, writes in the Summer 2010 issue of The Oxford American about a tragedy: One community cookbook publisher now instructs church and civic groups to “cut the attribution lines for cooks” and to “source recipes from Internet-based recipe portals and then tweak.”

Good home cooks deserve better. They deserve recognition. Kisses. Ovations! They are stewards of cuisine and culture. With their gifts they can soothe, comfort, sustain, give hope, bring people together, and make memories.

This blog started with a post I wrote for Wade on Birmingham‘s month-long Birmingham’s Best Eats series in August 2010. My only criteria for the cooks here are that they are amateurs, and that people rave about their food.

So, praise these home cooks for filling our tummies and tending to Birmingham’s unique flavor. Each is living proof that home cooking is not a dying art. Long live the legacies they create. And blessed are you to score an invitation to sup at their tables.

If you know a fabulous cook that I should write about for a future Birmingham’s Best Home Cooks post, or if you’re willing to let me peek inside your kitchen, drop me a note!

Shaun Chavis

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