Live! From the CNN Secret Supper
November 10th, 2010
06:00 PM ET
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We've been teasing you all week that today, November 10th, Eatocracy is hosting its inaugural Secret Supper in Atlanta, Georgia, centered around the topic of how chefs' increasingly close collaboration with farmers figures into the preservation and evolution of Southern cooking. We've been encouraging you take your place at the (virtual) table, by joining in the conversation and cooking along at home.

And now, the time has come for the big reveal. Ring that dinner bell, Linton! Yup - chef Linton Hopkins and the kind folks at Atlanta's Restaurant Eugene are serving up the night's fare with a distinctively Southern sense of place. Not only is Chef Hopkins the president of the Southern Foodways Alliance, he is a two-time James Beard Award nominee and was named one of Food & Wine magazine's "Best New Chefs" in 2009. We've always been so impressed with his relationship with local and artisan farmers and purveyors, we knew he was our guy - that, and he's just so gosh darn darlin'.

As the first guests start to arrive and the kitchen gets ready for the passed hors d'œuvres - we snuck back for some preparation picks. Candied bacon, anyone?
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5@5 - 'Top Chef: Just Desserts' Judge Dannielle Kyrillos
November 10th, 2010
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Dannielle Kyrillos is an entertaining expert, the editor-at-large of DailyCandy and judge on Bravo's "Top Chef: Just Desserts."

Depending on your perspective, and your relatives' relative degree of craziness, one of the great or not-so-great aspects of the holidays is that heated, extended-family conversation moves from the phone and e-mail to the dinner table, and somehow, as long as you're talking about food, it's O.K. for the gloves to come off. Way off. You don't need to be reminded that your mother-in-law will get away with pretending it's your stuffing she's calling career-obsessed and barren.

Of course, we should never judge food carefully prepared by another human being, as food is love - but everyone does. In this or any other situation calling for culinary critique, take the high road, yes, but get your point across.

5 Ways to Judge Other People's Cooking Without Sounding Mean (Or at Least Not Too Mean): Dannielle Kyrillos
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Filed under: 5@5 • Television • Think • Top Chef


Lunchtime poll – favorite regional Southern fare
November 10th, 2010
01:00 PM ET
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On Wednesday, November 10th, Eatocracy is hosting its inaugural Secret Supper in Atlanta, Georgia, centered around the topic of how chefs' increasingly close collaboration with farmers figures into the preservation and evolution of Southern cooking. Take your place at the (virtual) table, by joining in the conversation and cooking along at home.

In anticipation of tonight's surely scrumptious Southern supper, we've been talking an awful lot about what Southern food actually IS. We quoted from Craig Claiborne – the seminal New York Times food editor and restaurant critic born in 1920 in Sunflower, Mississippi – statement on the difficulty of this culinary definition.

As he explained in his 1987 cookbook, ‘Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking,’ “It is not a question of chauvinism, but I have always averred that Southern cooking is by far the vastest and most varied of all traditional regional cooking of the nation. … Complete volumes could and have been written about each of these elements of Southern cooking – Creole, Cajun, Tex-Mex, soul food and barbecues. An encyclopedic, exhaustive study of all Southern dishes would, of necessity, demand a number of books sufficient to fill a library shelf, and more.”

Yeah – but you can't eat your books. Pick a favorite and wax rhapsodic in the comments below.

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Filed under: Buzz • Cuisines • Lunchtime Poll • Secret Suppers • Southern


Southern food: more voices from the field
November 10th, 2010
12:15 PM ET
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On Wednesday, November 10th, Eatocracy is hosting its inaugural Secret Supper in Atlanta, Georgia, centered around the topic of how chefs' increasingly close collaboration with farmers figures into the preservation and evolution of Southern cooking. Take your place at the (virtual) table, by joining in the conversation and cooking along at home.

Earlier today, we wrote about the chefs who are devoting their lives to reclaiming the soul of Southern food from its prevalent representation as bad-for-you, deep-fried and cream-smothered genetically modified and overly-processed comfort food.

Here are some more thoughts on the matter from chefs and writers who heavily invested in the past, present and future of Southern food.

“One of the beautiful things about the South is that we are so enamored with every aspect of past, present and future. One of the most exciting challenges about being a chef in the South right now is the balance of those three pieces of time with respect to ingredients and technique.

A great example would be greens. You can put a pair of fancy pants on a pice of meat, but if you serve it with greens it better damn well be the greens your grandmother cooked. Southern food is, in my opinion, a great microcosm for the way we live. We always have progress on our minds, but never for a second do we abandon our traditions and forget who we are. The movement for heritage breeds of 'meats' and 'threes' suits us just fine.” – Chef Kelly English, Restaurant Iris

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Filed under: Cuisines • Secret Suppers • Southern


Box lunch
November 10th, 2010
12:00 PM ET
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Sink your teeth into today's top stories from around the globe.

  • Wendy's puts on its schmancy pants and begins sprinkling its French fries with sea salt. - USA Today



  • New research has found an enzyme in saliva that could explain why certain people like/dislike various textures of food. - Wall Street Journal



 

  • When you're stuck at sea on a Carnival cruise ship, nothing hits the spot like airlifted SPAM and Pop-Tarts. - Daily Mail
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Filed under: Box Lunch • News


Reclaiming the soul of Southern food
November 10th, 2010
10:00 AM ET
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On Wednesday, November 10th, Eatocracy hosted its inaugural Secret Supper in Atlanta, Georgia, centered around the topic of how chefs' increasingly close collaboration with farmers figures into the preservation and evolution of Southern cooking. You can still take your place at the (virtual) table, by joining in the conversation and cooking along at home.

Sean Brock wants to serve you the Southern meal of your dreams. He just needs to go have a little chat with the earth first.

His new restaurant Husk opened this week in Charleston, South Carolina, stocked with a pantry of over 4000 lovingly put-up cans of preserved meat and produce (Brock jokes, “We bought up every empty mason jar in the South.”) – and little else. The chef-imposed mandate for the restaurant is: if it doesn’t come from the South, it’s not coming through the door.

While that might seem like a brand of culinary handcuffing, the disallowance of Italian olive oil, Napa Valley wines and Middle Eastern spices, and the added necessity of daily – possibly hourly – conversations with local purveyors of fresh meat and heirloom produce and artisanal goods is what enables Husk to serve the purest expression of Southern food that he possibly can. It’s the kind of food he says he “took for granted” growing up in Virginia, the kind he claims hasn’t been properly, widely, truly available since factory farming and genetically modified produce became the norm, even in the heart of farmland.

The need for such ascetic rebellion was sparked, in part, by the desire to reclaim the soul of Southern food. Brock, along with a growing number of chefs like Atlanta’s Linton Hopkins and Steven Satterfield and Roanoke’s Josh Smith, is on a mission to change the image of his region’s cuisine from overcooked vegetables and deep-fried, cream gravy-slathered everything, to a celebration of its idiosyncratic produce, rich culinary history and the people behind it.

So what is Southern food, exactly?

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Filed under: Cuisines • Favorites • Feature • Sean Brock • Secret Suppers • Southern • Think


November 10th, 2010
09:15 AM ET
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Breakfast buffet
November 10th, 2010
09:00 AM ET
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While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday and the most delicious finds on TV.

Not to be outdone by its chocolate counterpart, November 10 is National Vanilla Cupcake Day.

One of our favorite things about the vanilla cupcake is its versatility. You can dress it with any type of frosting – cream cheese, almond buttercream, strawberry, and yes, even chocolate - and the generally white-color leaves plenty of options for vibrant sprinkles and icing.

The vanilla cupcake is a baked canvas of sugar-coated goodness. How will your garnish yours?

What's on TV?
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