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I can guarantee that if you add this book to your collection, you will use it at least 12 times in the coming year. Yes, once a month.

Because this book is organized around a full meal, one complete meal for each month. Each meal has a collection of recipes from appetizers to desserts. It’s all laid out for you and, when you begin to salivate, you won’t want to make any changes to those menus. Take October for example:

Marinated Chicken Wings

Pineapple Casserole Pie

Old-Fashioned Macaroni Salad

Sloppy Joe Hand Pies

Chili Mac

S’More Pie

Yes, Pineapple Casserole Pie. This is a distinctively Southern book, so that casserole consists of pie dough, canned pineapple, flour and sugar, sharp cheddar cheese, and Ritz crackers. Parisian sophisticates? No, I suppose not. To heck with “sophistication.” This is comfort food nirvana? Oh, definitely.

Author Amanda Dalton Wilbanks did not grow up as a baker. She really doesn’t consider herself a complete baker today. But, she has a mother-in-law who is. And who taught her a single grand recipe: Southern pie dough composed of butter, flour, salt, sugar, and water. Common enough ingredients for pie dough. But here it is the relative proportions and the techniques that have been perfected.

Once you have that dough, you have a head start that is insurmountable. The Southern Baked Pie Dough [SB Pie Dough] is used in every month of meals presented here. And often more than once. In that October meal, the casserole, the hand pies and the s’more pie all use that dough. Don’t worry, the fillings are so extravagantly varied that you won’t be bored. But you will just be satisfied.

You can, of course, skip the full menus and just pick and choose your way through the recipes. You might be tempted to try:

Apple, Pear, and Sausage Breakfast Pie

Cranberry Chutney Pie Pick-Ups [a Christmas appetizer to be sure]

Lemony Green Peas [with mint and onion]

Southern Style BBQ Sauce [mayo on steroids]

Squash, caramelized Onion, and Bacon Pie

Tomato Corn Pie

Paradise Soup [gazpacho by another name; and freezable!]

Southern Baked is an homage to the classics of the South. It’s comfort food to be sure — like the Apple, Pear and Sausage Breakfast Pie. Comfort food does come in different styles. The style here is consummate.

You aren’t a baker? You have never made pie dough? Oh, you are about to have a life-changing encounter with a lively, lovely collection of Southern recipes. American recipes!

The subtitle of this book is Celebrating Life with Pie. Celebrate away.