Editor's note: The Southern Foodways Alliance delves deep in the history, tradition, heroes and plain old deliciousness of barbecue across the United States. SFA filmmaker Joe York wrote this remembrance of pitmaster Ricky Parker after attending Parker's funeral on Wednesday, May 1, in Lexington, Tennessee.
They buried Ricky Parker yesterday. A few miles down the road from the cinder block pits where he cooked whole hogs for more than half his life, from the sliding glass window where he sold sandwiches, from the creosote-stained door where he hung the “SOLD OUT” sign every afternoon to let the latecomers know not to bother, they gathered to say they were sorry, to say goodbye, to say that they didn’t know what to say.
They dressed him as he dressed himself. In blue Dickies, a tan work shirt with a pack of Swisher Sweets peeking from the breast pocket, and his burgundy and brown ball cap resting on the ledge of coffin, he went to his reward. The only thing missing was his greasy apron. I imagine it hangs on a nail somewhere back by the pits where he left it.
There are some foods that are so tied to their region, eating them is like a hug from home. Expats seek creative ways to get them shipped or find the closest equivalent in their new city. In the first installment of Hungry for Home, contributor Cara Reedy pines for St. Louis' Provel cheese.
When I moved to New York eleven years ago, I got a lot of blank stares when I told people I was from St. Louis. Some people would say genius things like “Oh right, you have that arch,” or my favorite, “I’ve been in the airport, is there anything in the city?”
People went out of their way to tell me I spoke weirdly. Cab drivers consistently tried to take me on long rides around the city, thinking I was a tourist. I got really homesick after six months.
To cheer myself up I decided to make a St. Louis-style, crisp-crust, square-sliced pizza. I went to my local grocery store to buy supplies. They had everything I needed except the most important ingredient, Provel cheese.
Provel is a little hard to describe. It’s processed, gooey, a little smoky and when heated is takes on the qualities of molten lava. It’s really just delicious and it tastes like home.
Chefs with Issues is a platform for chefs and farmers we love, fired up for causes about which they're passionate. Jason Bond is the chef at Bondir in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Follow him on Twitter @jwadebond.
The day started with the Boston Marathon and a state holiday. It ended in tragedy and left residents, like me, with so many unanswered questions.
Why would someone attack an event that was about celebration, one where many of the thousands of participants were raising money for over two thousand charities? Why would they use such a ferocious method as bombs packed with ball bearings and nails?
In the span of 15 seconds, three people lost their lives. Hundreds of others, from the injured and their families to those who witnessed the blast firsthand, were cruelly ripped from the lives they'd always known and forced into a darker view of the world. The residents of Boston were shocked, sickened and even pissed off.
Most of us felt helpless, but wanted to be of use. The city and its people quickly mobilized to help each other. Boston is tight and takes care of its own.
We realized that we each help by doing what we do; medics medicate, journalists report, the police protect. As a restaurateur I did what I do, which is care for people and provide sustenance and healing.
World-renowned chef, author and Emmy winning television personality Anthony Bourdain visits Los Angeles' Koreatown in the next episode of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown," airing Sunday, April 21, at 9 p.m. ET. Follow the show on Twitter and Facebook.
Roy Choi created a brave new world of gastronomy almost single-handedly with his Los Angeles-based Kogi BBQ taco truck.
A Korean-American who grew up on the fringes of Mexican and hip hop culture, Choi's food reflects a new American idea of natural fusion - culinary influences that grew up next to and with each other.
In this episode of "Parts Unknown," Anthony Bourdain examines the meeting point of Asian, Latino, Mexican and even Bangladeshi culture in modern L.A. Koreatown.
Drew Robinson is the pitmaster at Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q. He previously wrote about why barbecue matters. This post ran a while back, but it seemed worth surfacing today. See CNN's Impact Your World for ways to help the people of Boston.
My friend John Egerton told me once that sometimes when people have lost a loved one or are in despair all you can do is take them a bowl of potato salad and tell them you’re sorry.
He went on to say, emphatically, that there is great power in that sort of action. John spoke specifically about Southern foodways at that moment, but there was a universal truth in his message. I know from personal experience on the receiving end that is true and it is even more powerful when that compassion is delivered in numbers.
Read "Burning Passover's 'garbage of the soul'" at CNN Belief
Plenty of traditional foods pack an emotional whallop, but few of them back it up with a sensory punch as strong as horseradish's. The pungent root is a key part of a Passover Seder plate (along with salt water-dipped vegetables, a shank bone, a hard boiled egg, a sweet paste of apples and nuts called charoset, and a bitter vegetable - often lettuce) and symbolizes the harsh lives of the Israelites before they were delivered from slavery in Egypt.
Ashley Strickland is an associate producer with CNN.com. She likes tackling English toffee, channeling summer with sunflower cheesecakes, sharing people-pleasin' pizza dip and green soup, cajoling recipes from athletes and studying up on food holidays.
There is a grace in the harmony of simple flavors and taking the time and care to introduce them to one another. I like to think it’s embodied in a perfect pound cake.
Take a moment to get to know the grand dame of Southern desserts.
Alessandra Bulow (@abulow on Twitter) is Food & Wine's associate digital editor.
If foraging for shamrocks and downing marshmallow-filled cereal endorsed by a cartoon leprechaun hasn’t brought you the luck of the Irish by now, then it may be time to rethink your strategy on St. Patrick’s Day. From traditional dishes like noodles that symbolize longevity to a simple ham sandwich, superstitious chefs share their picks for good fortune.
Editor's note: Bruce Feiler is a columnist and the author of "The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, & Much More." To hear more from Feiler, don't miss "Sanjay Gupta MD," at 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday and 4:30 p.m. ET Sunday.
A tip for stressed-out parents: Beware conventional wisdom.
If parents have heard anything in the last few years, it's that family dinner is great for kids. And there is research that suggests this. Children who regularly eat dinner with their families are less likely to drink, smoke, take drugs or develop eating disorders.