Editor's note: The Southern Foodways Alliance delves deep in the history, tradition, heroes and plain old deliciousness of Southern food. Here’s a tidbit from the latest issue of Gravy quarterly. The author of this piece, Michael Oates Palmer, is a Los Angeles–based television writer whose credits include The West Wing, Army Wives, and Rubicon. Painting by Hayley Gaberlavage.
She lived almost her entire life in Jackson, Mississippi. He left his home state of Illinois as soon as he could, splitting his time between New York City and its suburbs.
Through five novels, three works of nonfiction, a children’s book, and—perhaps most importantly—dozens of short stories, Eudora Welty cemented her status as the South’s most prominent literary export since William Faulkner.
As fiction editor of The New Yorker for over forty years, William Maxwell played confidant and counsel to a pantheon that included J.D. Salinger and John Updike. His own writing career produced six acclaimed novels, two works of nonfiction, and several volumes of short stories.
Theirs was a journey spanning more than half the twentieth century, one in which their relationship grew from that of writer and editor, to good friends, to, by the time they were both near ninety, surrogate siblings.
Separated by over a thousand miles, the intimate friendship of Eudora Welty and William Maxwell would have been impossible were it not for a correspondence that invited each other not just into their literary work, but into their day-to-day lives.
Home cooks have been all a-cluck over recent guidance not to wash raw chicken before it's prepared and cooked. While it may seem counterintuitive, food safety resources like the United States Department of Agriculture's "Ask Karen" website advise:
The same goes for beef, pork, lamb and veal. Eggs, too, can incur an uptick in potential contamination, because according to the USDA, "the wash water can be 'sucked' into the egg through the pores in the shell."
So why did we all start bathing our birds in the first place? Probably because Julia Child, James Beard, Bettie Crocker, Fannie Farmer, Margaret Mitchell and the "Joy of Cooking" told us - and our parents and grandparents - to.
While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.
It may technically be a Saturday, but it sure feels like Fry-day to us - August 31 is National Bacon Day.
While the bacon craze may have reached peak sizzle in the last decade, with dedicated festivals, bacon-based couture, and appearances in non-breakfast courses from sundaes to cocktails, America's fixation with delicious strips of cured pork is nothing new.
Orders for "Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up" surged on Amazon by nearly 1,300% in the last 24 hours.
5@5 is a food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
For most of my career, I’ve been writing about food for digital publications. Twitter, Instagram, cat GIFs (pronounced “jif,” we now know) and endless e-mails are all part of my daily routine.
But when it comes to my own culinary reading list, a surprisingly heavy percentage is dedicated to cookbooks. Not apps, not e-books. Physical printed cookbooks. It was a realization that recently led me to take a break from the digital landscape and launch a printed cookbook series called Short Stack.
Why, some may ask, when you can just as easily find recipes online and for free? Here are five answers to that very question.
Five Reasons to Care About Cookbooks in a Digital Age: Kaitlyn Goalen
The first time Meyer Wolfsheim met Jimmy Gatz, the young man hadn't eaten in days. Freshly released from Army duty and on the hunt for a job, the major wore his medal-decked uniform around town not to tout his valor or value - but rather because he couldn't afford civilian clothes.
For the princely sum of just over $4, Wolfsheim stuffed the starving kid full of food and locked in his loyalty for life.
Black swan. Unborn puppies. A hundred live doves “baked into a great pie” and prepared to “burst forth in a swirl of white feathers.”
Those are some of the dishes I decided not to attempt for my Game of Thrones-themed dinner party.
George R.R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” books are famously long (1,040 pages for the latest installment), and roughly 50% of the word count is devoted to describing what the characters are eating. One wedding feast features an ode to most of its seventy-seven courses; even a rundown of frozen defense outpost’s dwindling supplies is good for a three-page litany about storerooms filled with “potted hare, haunch of deer in honey, pickled cabbage, pickled beets, pickled onions, pickled eggs and pickled herring.”
The HBO series embraces the books’ gluttonous spirit: The producers got a castle banquet into the very first episode.
For food fans, this is clearly a challenge. A thrown gauntlet. One week ahead of Game of Thrones season 3 premier, I rounded up a few of my geeky friends - and some novices we hoped to convert - for our own recreation of a Westerosi feast.
When we were 11 and 13 years old, our parents dressed us in neckties and blazers and marched us to a French restaurant in our hometown, Charleston, South Carolina. We sulked through dinner until dessert arrived: crème caramel. And in that instant of magical custard, its essence of burnt marshmallow skin made silken-smooth (and grown-up-approved), everything changed. We’d never been to France, but we knew this crème caramel was a journey unto itself, to another place.
Walking home, we conspired to re-create this trip ourselves. We waited until a day when our parents were out of the house, took down Mom’s dusty, stained "Joy of Cooking" from the cabinet above the telephone table in the kitchen, and went to work.
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.