Good Eats

The South Wins Big at the James Beard Awards

By Jed PortmanGood EatsMay 5, 2015

The James Beard Foundation awards are probably the highest-profile in American food, and a win can elevate a chef to the heights of the industry. The South represented itself well at the awards ceremony last night. (And also at the Broadcast and Journalism Awards, on April 24, where Heritage, chef Sean Brock's seven-month-old cookbook, and Gravy, a quarterly magazine published by the Southern Foodways Alliance, both won big-deal endorsements.)

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A Dinner to Remember: Celebrating the Civil War's End

By Jed PortmanGood EatsApril 30, 2015

At the end of the Civil War, the city of Charleston, South Carolina, was starving. It had been years since even the rich had seen some of the dishes that locally renowned caterer and restaurateur Nat Fuller served to a group of war-weary diners in April of 1865, drawing upon his many connections in and outside the area. But perhaps more surprising than the fare on the table at his restaurant, the Bachelor’s Retreat, was the racial makeup of the restaurant that night. Fuller was a former slave, and he invited both white and black guests to the banquet. The dinner ruffled some aristocratic feathers at the time, and it also served as a modern-day inspiration for two culinary scholars who decided to bring its message of reconciliation into the twenty-first century—to a city that still needs it.

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The Art of the Beaten Biscuit

By Jed PortmanGood EatsApril 29, 2015

The beaten biscuit doesn’t disintegrate into buttery crumbs. It lacks the tang of buttermilk and the lightness of baking powder. It’s a dense holdover from the antebellum era that can require more than an hour of hard work, or a bulky, nearly extinct piece of equipment. Even so, devotees like chef Karl Worley of Biscuit Love Brunch in Nashville believe it’s worth the trouble.

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The Most Southern Ice Cream Ever

By Heather RichieGood EatsApril 24, 2015

It isn’t honey, it isn’t molasses, and it sure isn’t sugar. Sorghum syrup is a homegrown Southern sweetener in a class of its own, with a distinctive and lingering flavor. In Sorghum’s Savor, North Carolina­­­–based food writer Ronni Lundy takes an equally deep look at the lengthy history of this versatile Appalachian staple, which can lend bittersweet base notes to everything from biscuits and cocktails to curries and salads. You’ll find recipes for all of those in Lundy’s new cookbook, alongside passages explaining how modern makers distill syrup from pressed sorghum cane juice, and why they still bother.

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A Southern Icon Turns 100

By Jessica MischnerGood EatsApril 23, 2015

Artist Andy Warhol once observed about Coca-Cola’s universal appeal: “You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you can know that the President drinks Coke. Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too.” That easy recognizability and refreshment-for-all ethos didn’t just happen by accident.

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Case Closed on Pappygate? Not So Fast...

By Jed PortmanGood EatsApril 22, 2015

The sheriff always thought it was an inside job. In 2013, when the Buffalo Trace distillery reported that sixty-five cases of Pappy Van Winkle whiskey had disappeared from a secure area, it seemed likely that the perpetrators had access to the supply. Until recently, authorities couldn’t prove it. Then yesterday, a grand jury indicted a group of nine people in conjunction with the thefts. The likely ringleader, Gilbert “Toby” Curtsinger, is indeed a twenty-six-year veteran of Buffalo Trace, where he worked on the loading dock. (Another one of the accused worked at the Wild Turkey distillery, which suffered similar losses.) Here are five more things you should know about the latest developments in the biggest bourbon theft in recent history.

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If You Like Green Tomatoes...

By Jed PortmanGood EatsApril 22, 2015

At the Market Place restaurant, in Asheville, North Carolina, strawberries are more than just rosy slivers in springtime salads and the stuff of sweet preserves and cocktails. Chef William Dissen also buys firm, not-quite-ripe green strawberries from local farmers. He pickles them, and then deploys them as an acid-spiked condiment for grilled venison, rabbit paté, and more.

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The Dressing the South Forgot

By Jed PortmanGood EatsApril 16, 2015

Pimento cheese. Coleslaw. Potato salad. Those staple side dishes help keep the mayonnaise companies in business during the spring and summer. But in the days when cooking oil was a luxury, cooks below the Mason-Dixon line bound them with a different sort of dressing.

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Rediscover a Southern Classic: Pea Salad

By Jed PortmanGood EatsApril 10, 2015

Travis Milton can’t remember her name, but he remembers the crunch of the pea salad she used to bring to church picnics in Castlewood. Most cooks in his southwestern Virginia hometown added bacon to the ever-present side dish, but she preferred water chestnuts. Years later, when he developed his own recipe for pea salad, he followed her lead. But he also added a splash of rendered bacon fat, among other ingredients inspired by family gatherings past.

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Make Your Own Livermush

By Jed PortmanGood EatsApril 8, 2015

At Garden & Gun, we love livermush. Okay, not all of us. When we cooked a batch at the office a while back, some of the editors were less than enthusiastic about the name. But those who were brave enough to sample the North Carolina treat realized that it’s actually a lot tastier than its unappetizing moniker implies. That’s why we included livermush in our April/May issue, on our list of fifty reasons to love the South now.

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