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Classic Southern Food Gets A Makeover

Brothers Matt and Ted Lee like to draw inspiration from Southern cookbooks. One day, they were looking in a community cookbook from 1964 when they saw a recipe for a deviled egg casserole.

Twenty-four deviled eggs, shrimp and gravy, thickened with cheese and cream — served over crunchy Chinese noodles.

"It's a disgusting dish," Matt says. "But within that dish, what's so exciting is that there's this great idea, which is combining shrimp — sweet, crunchy shrimp — with deviled eggs."

With that, the Lee brothers concocted a shrimp and deviled egg salad roll, combining fresh shrimp, chopped egg whites and a deviled-egg dressing.

It's one of the recipes from their new cookbook, Simple Fresh Southern. It's a collection of dishes that put a new spin on old favorites, like pork tenderloins with Madeira and fig gravy, and pimento-cheese potato gratin.

"The changes that we make, and the license that we take with Southern recipes, is always thinking about the spirit of the dish," Ted says.

There's another spirit the brothers like to follow. "I love making a mess in the kitchen," Ted says. "There's something sort of therapeutic about seeing your kitchen all blasted to hell during the making of a great meal, and then taking the time to put it back to rights."

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