Eudora Welty and William Maxwell: food, friendship and letters
February 18th, 2014
11:30 AM ET
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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.

"What would I have done if you hadn’t first made that time out of thin air and that dinner & the talk & and the music out of your heads, like a story (because everything had been packed up, I could see it) and I hadn’t had that evening at your house? It was so lovely. It came & afterwards vanished like the soufflé we had, & was just as real, though, and so pleasurable & getting better every minute, like all good visits snatched from the jaws of time..." - Eudora Welty, letter to William and Emily Maxwell, June 10, 1970

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.
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Filed under: Books • Southern • Southern Foodways Alliance • Think


September 10th, 2013
02:30 AM ET
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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:

"Washing poultry before cooking it is not recommended. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces. We call this cross-contamination.

Some consumers think they are removing bacteria and making their meat or poultry safe. However, some of the bacteria are so tightly attached that you could not remove them no matter how many times you washed. But there are other types of bacteria that can be easily washed off and splashed on the surfaces of your kitchen. Failure to clean these contaminated areas can lead to foodborne illness. Cooking (baking, broiling, boiling, and grilling) to the right temperature kills the bacteria, so washing food is not necessary."

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.
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August 31st, 2013
06:30 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.

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.
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June 25th, 2013
01:30 PM ET
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Advance orders for Paula Deen's new cookbook have surged since the Food Network and Smithfield Foods axed her for using a racial slur.

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.
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Filed under: Cookbooks • Paula Deen


5@5 - Why printed cookbooks still matter
May 28th, 2013
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Editor's Note: Kaitlyn Goalen is the former National Edition editor of Tasting Table and one of the driving forces behind Short Stack Editions. Follow her on Twitter @kaitgoalen.

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
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Filed under: 5@5 • Cookbooks • Culture • Think


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