Hi, I am Chef Zara. In this post, I will guide you through the Brenda Gantt Cookbooks.
I love discovering new food and cooking with friends and family. One of the most common questions that I often get is for cookbook recommendations. I have created this guide for friends, family, and new friends alike. I hope that you enjoy our site.
Brenda’s recipes and cooking tutorials are for everyone! 🎀
Gantt was just cruising along as a retired science teacher, enjoying the simple things in life; family, community, and food. She regularly made buttermilk biscuits for her church, where her fellow parishioners would rave about them, always asking for the recipe. One day, Brenda broke out her ingredients and began recording the process. She then posted the video to her Facebook page for all the church to see. Little did she know that her video cooking tutorials would take her from an obscure retiree to becoming the subject of magazine articles, television news stories, and even appearances on national daytime talk shows, something that Brenda could never have anticipated in all her years.
Being that this was something new to Brenda, she wasn’t prepared technologically speaking, and nothing had been e-mailed by that time. Unlike the production setups from the popular social media influencers that you see so much nowadays, the ones with specialty lighting and multiple mounted cameras, Brenda simply held her smartphone in one hand and put together the ingredients with the other. We see her adding the flour, Crisco, and buttermilk and then just digging right in to mix it while detailing each step and trying to keep her smartphone as steady as possible (there is even a point where she details her hand cleaning technique, but never once put down the phone). Interestingly enough, we never actually see Brenda, not once. This is not unusual; other very successful YouTube chefs have remained out of view, such as the highly popular Binging with Babbish and Chef John from Food Wishes and Allrecipes fame.
The Cookbooks 📚
A big part of the magic of Brenda Gantt’s cookbook is the personal stories to go along with her recipes. Good cooking would not be good cooking without a good story to go with it, and she fills the pages with many. She’s even gone as far as to include blank pages at the end, dedicated to any stories that you might want to fit for your loved ones. In addition, Brenda has requested that the pages for her second cookbook contain the same matted pages as the first. While some might find this odd or confusing, there is a method to Brenda’s madness. The glossy pages of cookbooks make for a wonderful presentation of the recipes and photos, but they do not allow for one important necessity: taking notes. Brenda talks about going through the recipes of her mother, and they were always accompanied by notes on the process. If you are an experienced chef or just love to experiment with recipes at home, you know that everyone puts their own little twist on things, and this is where the ability to take notes is vital, something Brenda is well aware of, so while she may be sacrificing a bit on aesthetics, she is doing so for the sake of practicality, personalization, and quality. When it comes to creating a cookbook, Brenda has left no stone unturned.
1. “It’s Gonna Be Good, Y’all”
Why We Love It ❤️
“It’s Gonna Be Good Y’all” is made up of simple southern recipes created by her grandmother and tweaked by Brenda. This is not a cookbook written to compete with the Wolfgang Pucks of the world, but rather one that will bring every type of heart-felt, southern comfort food to you and your family to enjoy for years to come. “It’s Gonna Be Good Y’all” has all that you would expect in a quality cookbook; recipes for appetizers to major dishes and everything in between.
Are you looking for a recipe for Fried Okra? It’s here. Maybe some chicken & dumplings. Yep! Don’t forget “Big Mama’s” Macaroni & Cheese! And what would this cookbook be without the recipe that started it all, Brenda Gantt’s Biscuit Bowl Buttermilk Biscuits?
This cookbook even has a section dedicated to a plethora of southern gravies. And, of course, Brenda includes some wonderful southern desserts like Chocolate fudge pie and orange slice cake, and each recipe is accompanied by a photo so you can take in all the visual glory before you prepare it. On the heels of the success of Brenda’s viral video, “It’s Gonna be Good Y’all,” which was originally priced at around $35, quickly sold out of both the first and second printings and can now be found on the aftermarket for an astonishing $300!
2. “Linger Around the Table, Y’all”
Why We Love It ❤️
To really get a feeling as to where Brenda was coming from, I tuned into her Facebook video and made her buttermilk biscuits. I made sure to follow each and every step exactly as Brenda demonstrated (To avoid total failure on my part, I did hunt down the actual measurements from another site).
Like Brenda, I added my flour (two cups), made a little “birds nest” in the middle, added my Crisco shortening (1/4 cup), and poured in my homemade buttermilk (3/4 cup). I also added a ¼ teaspoon of salt, as recommended by the site, with the proper measurements. I deliberately worked from the center, slowly incorporating the flower from the outside of the “bird’s nest,” and within a couple of minutes, I dumped the mixture out onto my stainless-steel surface, where I folded it over several times as Brenda did. I finished up by rolling it out, and because I was without a 50+-year-old tin can, I had to make use of a circular cookie cutter to carve out these little gems. I took the extra step to brush some melted butter over the top to give them a bit of color. I then placed them on a greased baking sheet, popped them into my 500-degree oven for the recommended time, and hoped for the best.
Mine came out looking a bit dryer than Brenda’s, so I was nervous at first. I let them cool on a wire rack for 10-minutes, broke out the butter, and went to town. To put it mildly, they were incredible! They were moist and tender on the inside, with nice browning on the top. They had both a wonderful texture and an almost indescribable taste! It is without question that I will be using Brenda’s recipe from here on out, and I’m inspired to try more from her old-school, southern repertoire!
Brenda’s second offering, Linger Around the Table Y’all, follows along the same lines as the first but with 100 additional favorite recipes, photos, and inspirational messages. And, of course, more personal stories. Oh, and Brenda has even included her own artwork! She shares her recipes for macaroni salad, chicken pot pie, ambrosia, and even cinnamon rolls. These, and the other 96 Brenda’s recipes in Linger Around the Table, Y’all, are all new!
As is evident in everything Brenda, life is about living each moment to the fullest, most productive, and enjoyable way possible, something she refers to often in Linger Around the Table Y’all. She goes into the importance of creating and maintaining life-long friendships, as she’s done for years through holiday get-togethers with both neighbors and old friends from college. Brenda also speaks on the role of simple hobbies in helping one achieve forward motion, something she expresses through her love for activities such as line dancing, gardening, sewing, and drawing. “You need to enjoy living,” she says. “We don’t get but one life.”
And as a testimonial to the popularity of this charming southern bell. At the time of this writing, the presale reprint of her second book, “Linger Around the Table Y’all,” was already sold out before it even made it to the presses. Keep reading about another great food writer.
A good reason to get Brenda’s cookbooks versus only watching her Facebook videos is that, being the old-school cook/baker that she is, she does not rely on specific measurements for her ingredients. Instead, she prefers just to eyeball them. She describes creating a well in the middle of the flour as “a bird’s nest,” where you then add “two egg-sized things of grease.” And she’s not afraid to admonish her followers to not “skimp on your buttermilk; don’t do it”! This is classic food.
Brenda proudly displays a small tin can that she has been using as her “cutter” since she and her husband were first married over fifty years ago! As she’s forming the dough and cutting out the biscuits, she says, “I know you all are laughing at this, but that’s okay because we all need a good laugh, don’t we? I won’t be laughing when I get that good butter and jelly out, or I might put gravy on top of mine today! I’m just messing up. I guess it’s because you are all watching me today?” How can you not fall in love with this woman? Read about a great author called Victoria Rosenthal in our guide on the Fallout Cookbook.
Brenda Gantt is a unique individual who found fame later in life, yet, through it all, she is still the same genuine, thoughtful, and kind-hearted woman that she’s always been. It is without a doubt that she will continue to cook and bake for her family and her community, which has now expanded far beyond the boundaries of the small town of Andalusia, Alabama, and of course, she will live her life to the fullest! As Brenda would say, “It’s gonna be good, Y’all”.
More About Brenda 🎆
In April 2020, Brenda Gantt exploded onto the social media universe with a simple video about, of all things, buttermilk biscuits.
Since her viral video, Brenda has come out from behind the camera, and it is easy to see why she has become an overnight sensation. It’s not so much about her biscuits or her cookbooks; it is about Brenda, the person. She is right out of central casting for the lead role as the charming Southern Bell with a million recipes, each accompanied by a story. She has the thick “drawl,” a smile ear to ear, and infectious energy that one cannot turn away from; she exudes realness in every sense of the word.
If we break down her biscuit recipe, we have some fundamental ingredients; self-rising flour, Crisco, and buttermilk; it’s not rocket science, so why would people go so crazy? It’s because people may tune in for the recipe, but they stay for Brenda. She makes you feel like you are there with her in her kitchen; that you’ve known her for years; you feel comfortable, that you trust her like she was your grandmother.
Even before her newfound fame, the retiree Brenda was not about sitting at home in front of the television as her remaining years passed by. She is a woman possessed and always on the move, whether that is getting up early to cook for the guests at her bed and breakfast or preparing hundreds of biscuits for the members of her church during a charity event. Brenda is one of those rare souls that are a real-life example from the famous self-help book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Keep reading about another great food writer.
While many feel that we now live in a world of separation and division, Brenda still lives in a world of community and congregation. In one video, in particular, Brenda is promoting her new cookbook and makes an offer to her fans that if they cannot get one online, a challenging task to accomplish in those early days, she will personally deliver copies to some of the “mom and pop” shops in town so that they might come by and grab one up.
Her intent here is two-fold; first, she wants to make sure that everyone looking to get a copy of her book can do so; secondly, she wants to attract people to Andalusia – Spain, as a way to support their small town and always on the search to a better economy. You see, for Brenda, it’s never about Brenda. It’s always about others.