Jed Portman

Five Things We Learned at the 2015 Charleston Wine + Food Festival

By Jed PortmanGood EatsMarch 9, 2015

1. Louisiana isn’t the only place with a culinary Holy Trinity. In Cajun kitchens, the term Holy Trinity refers to onion, bell pepper, and celery. According to chef Vivian Howard, of the Chef and the Farmer in Kinston, North Carolina, her corner of the Tarheel State has its own essential trio: sweet potatoes, turnip greens, and pork, all of which she served with local clams during her Friday night collaboration with Shawn Kelly of High Cotton.

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Gravy Podcast: The History of Derby Pie

By Jed PortmanSouthern SoundsFebruary 26, 2015

Ever tried Derby pie? To many Southerners the recipe for the gooey, bourbon-soaked dessert practically belongs to everyone. Alan Rupp would disagree. His grandparents Walter and Leaudra Kern created the recipe about sixty-five years ago, for the dessert menu at the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Kentucky. “If you wanted to get a hold of Derby Pie, you called Walter Kern’s name in the old phone directory,” he says.

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How to Make Chicken Mull

By Jed PortmanGood EatsFebruary 24, 2015

“I’ve been eating chicken mull from the time I could eat anything,” says Charlotte Griffin, the mayor of Bear Grass, North Carolina. In Martin County, people credit her grandfather with the simple porridge, thickened with crackers and seasoned with salt, pepper, and chile flakes.

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The South's Other Favorite Tea

By Jed PortmanGood EatsFebruary 17, 2015

Russian Tea is not from Russia. At least, not Russian Tea as we Southerners know it. The giftable dry mix that is the stuff of countless mid-century community cookbooks dates back to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when American urbanites sipped black tea with lemon and sugar in imitation of upper-class Russians. Within decades, so-called Russian Tea, which was by then often doctored with clove and cinnamon, washed down chicken salad and mixed nuts at meetings of bridge clubs and church groups across the South. In the transformative years following World War II, the basic formula of hot tea with citrus became a showcase for the convenience foods of the Space Age: Tang, powdered lemonade, instant tea. And there, at last, is the Russian Tea we all know and love—layered with love in a Mason jar, and tastefully tied with grosgrain or gingham.

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Gravy Podcast: Brothers, Soldiers, and Farmers

By Jed PortmanGood EatsFebruary 12, 2015

What do farmers and veterans have in common? “If you want to be a farmer today, you’ve got to be a soldier, whether it’s literally or figuratively,” Mike Lewis says. He should know. Lewis took up farming after a stint in the military (and another hosting late-night infomercials), but as he surveyed the troubled landscape of modern-day agriculture, he realized two things: First, it’s hard to start a small farm without help—not just with the crops, but also with complicated legal and business matters. Second, America is short on young farmers. According to government statistics, less than 1% of the population currently farms, and the average age of the modern farmer is fifty-eight. So Lewis’s mission changed, from one of growing greens and squash to one of helping his fellow veterans tend their own patches of land.

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Gravy Podcast: The Jemima Code

By Jed PortmanGood EatsJanuary 29, 2015

After Toni Tipton-Martin took a job writing about food and cookbooks at the Los Angeles Times, she realized that none of the books in her office were written by black cooks. Then, a chance encounter with a decades-old volume introduced her to a whole genre of little-known recipe books that bring to life generations of women dismissed in later histories as the help. “In the late eighteenth century, you’re able to see that they possessed a technical and organizational, managerial-type skill set that no one attributes to slaves,” she says.

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Southern Pantry: Lindera Farms Vinegars

By Jed PortmanGood EatsJanuary 28, 2015

Dine at Per Se, one of the best-known restaurants in New York City, and you could taste a splash of the Old Dominion on your plate. That same Lindera Farms vinegar might grace dishes at any number of restaurants below the Mason-Dixon line: Minibar in Washington, D.C., Husk in Charleston, or Rhubarb in Asheville, to list just a few prominent examples.

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5 Unusual Barbecue Spots

By Jed PortmanGood EatsJanuary 16, 2015

In many circles, the mark of a great pit master is his—or her—ability to stick to tradition. For good reason, too. It’s hard to improve on hog cooked over real wood and dressed with a simple sauce. Across the South, though, are joints that dish up something different from the barbecue most of us know and love. Some of them are rogue defenders of their own styles, and others hold down distinctive but long-established corners of the barbecue world. They’re all worthy destinations for adventure-seeking lovers of smoked meats.

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Gravy Podcast: Inside Fred's Lounge

By Jed PortmanGood EatsJanuary 5, 2015

This week, the Southern Foodways Alliance's Gravy comes from the neon-lit confines of Fred’s Lounge, in Mamou, Louisiana. On Saturday morning, when most of the country is sitting down to breakfast or sleeping off the night before, the bartenders at Fred’s are pouring beer and slicing boudin for a raucous crowd of dancers and musicians—locals and tourists alike. In fact, the sixty-eight-year-old bar is only open on Saturday mornings, an eccentric policy that has helped cement its status as one of the most legendary dives in Cajun country. The music starts at 9 a.m., but the doors are open before 8. Two-step your way through the front door with Eve Troeh’s report from the dance floor.

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The Year in Restaurants: The Thunderbird

By Jed PortmanGood EatsJanuary 2, 2015

To wrap up 2014, we’re profiling five of the South’s most exciting new restaurants—one per day. Today, we check in with one of Asheville, North Carolina’s most prolific chefs.

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