Jed Portman

Cheerwine for the Holidays

By Jed PortmanGood EatsNovember 25, 2014

In Salisbury, North Carolina, Cheerwine has the sort of following that jam bands and football teams might envy. The cherry soda has called Salisbury home since 1917, and it is the essential ingredient in a favorite local libation: Cheerwine punch, a generally non-alcoholic blend of soda, pineapple juice, and ginger ale that graces tables all over town during the holiday season, over ice or with sherbet. This year, for the first time, the rest of the Carolinas can get in on the good times with Cheerwine Holiday Punch, a bottled version of the party drink.

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The Stories of Southern Food

By Jed PortmanSouthern SoundsNovember 24, 2014

The podcast is having a moment. Not only is true-crime broadcast Serial a national topic of discussion, with millions of listeners, but the Southern Foodways Alliance has now also taken to the digital airwaves. While the Oxford, Mississippi–based organization has shared stories about food and drink below the Mason-Dixon line for more than a decade, Gravy is a leap into new territory with help from a seasoned producer, public radio veteran Tina Antolini.

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First Listen: Robert Earl Keen’s Bluegrass Debut

By Jed PortmanSouthern SoundsNovember 18, 2014

If you know anything about Robert Earl Keen, you probably know that the man is a seasoned storyteller. His biggest hits have been meandering, sing-along narratives such as “The Road Goes On Forever” and “Merry Christmas from the Family.” On his next album, though, he doesn’t have a single songwriting credit to his name. Happy Prisoner is a collection of classic bluegrass tunes first performed by the likes of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. It won’t be out until February 10, but you can listen to the first song, “Hot Corn, Cold Corn,” right here. It’s a Flatt & Scruggs tune, and—well, without further ado, here are Robert Earl Keen’s thoughts on the song, and on the project as a whole.

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Greg Baker's Encyclopedia of Florida Food

By Jed PortmanGood EatsNovember 11, 2014

If your knowledge of Florida food stops at stone crab and citrus, you’re not alone. Greg Baker, of the Refinery in Tampa, has been one of the first chefs in the state to celebrate a rich but  underexplored cuisine built by a diverse collection of characters from a crowded history: barbecue-loving natives, Spanish conquistadors, enslaved Africans, indentured servants from the Mediterranean, swamp-dwelling subsistence farmers, and many others. Next month, he’ll open Fodder & Shine, a restaurant inspired by the history of Florida food—especially the make-do staples of the so-called Florida Crackers, descendants of the state’s earliest white settlers. Expect to see some of these dishes and ingredients on the menu.

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New and Noteworthy: Barbecue on a Stick

By Jed PortmanGood EatsNovember 6, 2014

Within the grease-spotted, sugar-dusted pages of coverage that accompany state fair season each year, you’ll find plenty of treats intended more to shock than to nourish. It’s safe to say that the deep-fried gummy bear and the doughnut cheeseburger will not become staples of the American diet anytime soon. One new state-fair creation, though, just might be able to hold its own away from the flashing lights and carnival barkers.

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The Most Southern Beers on Earth

By Jed PortmanGood EatsNovember 5, 2014

Sean Lilly Wilson, the forty-four-year-old founder of Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, North Carolina, can claim an unusual honor. To the best of his knowledge and ours, he is the only brewer who has ever designed a beer specifically for drinking with fried chicken. Not just any fried chicken, either. His Beasley’s Honey White, a witbier brewed with oats, black pepper, and local honey, is a collaboration with chef Ashley Christensen, made to complement the honey-licked bird at her Raleigh restaurant Beasley’s Chicken + Honey (click here for Christensen's recipe).

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How to Use Black Walnuts

By Jed PortmanGood EatsOctober 28, 2014

“A lot of people will turn their noses up at black walnuts,” says chef John Shields, whose monthly dinners at Riverstead, a bed-and-breakfast in Chilhowie, Virginia, attract diners from as far afield as Washington, D.C., New York, and Chicago. “But I’ve learned to love them over the years. They get a bad rap, and I love showing off what they can be.”

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Two Ways to Use Your Leftover Game-Day Barbecue

By Jed PortmanGood EatsOctober 19, 2014

Real, wood-smoked barbecue requires serious quantity in order to make any sense. When prescribed cooking times range from several hours to overnight, you aren’t going to play around with a few chops—no. The twelve or thirteen active hours required to tenderize a whole hog with hot smoke pay off with enough delicious pork to feed the parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and their friends, or a bunch of hungry tailgaters, with meat left over.

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Eat Wild: Pine-Roasted Potatoes

By Jed PortmanGood EatsOctober 10, 2014

The South is not lacking in native pines. From the longleaf to the slash pine, evergreens line byways from Florida to Kentucky. Given such abundance, you may not be surprised to learn that Southerners have eaten pine in various forms for generations. In the Myrtle Beach area, cooks in turpentine camps once boiled sweet potatoes in murky pine sap. The region’s pine bark stew may take its name from the bygone tradition of simmering it over a smoldering bed of aromatic pine bark, or even a nearly forgotten secret ingredient: pine root. And to the south, at McCrady’s restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, adventurous diners can now snack on pine-roasted potatoes, a seasonal addition to the bar menu.

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Chef to Know: The Catbird Seat's Trevor Moran

By Jed PortmanGood EatsSeptember 30, 2014

American chefs of a certain caliber like to brag about time spent in the kitchen at Noma, the Copenhagen restaurant often ranked at or near the top of world’s-best-restaurant lists. The kitchen hosts apprentices from all over the world who spend a few busy weeks, or maybe a few months, working with the staff, mark the experience on their resumes, and return home. Less common, however, is the career path of chef Trevor Moran. As a sous chef at Noma, the thirty-something native of Dublin, Ireland, spent four years helping to direct the menu. Now, he is putting skills learned in Denmark to use in Nashville as the head chef at the Catbird Seat, a daring and intimate restaurant previously known for chefs Erik Anderson and Josh Habiger’s artful interpretations of American flavors: hot chicken skin with white bread purée, charred oak ice cream. Moran is making his own name with madcap dishes such as the dessert he served at last week’s Music City Food + Wine Festival, a potato-infused—and potato-shaped—cream puff buried in chocolate “dirt.”

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