The government was shut down, but you know what wasn’t? The world. And that includes the bakers, makers, and creative risk takers in that magical place we call the South. Here’s some of the best of what’s happening in our neck of the woods this week:
Life of Pie
If you think the holidays are over, think again. Today is National Pie Day! Not to be confused with National Pi Day, which celebrates the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, this pie day celebrates the ratio of a delicious circular pastry to your tummy’s diameter.
To mark the occasion, we have three essential tips to making the perfect pie, straight from Brie Golliher, the “Pie Queen” and co-owner of Boyce General Store in Alvaton, Kentucky. (Head over to Brie’s blog for recipes, including her Nest Pie.)
1. A crust day is a must: One of my pie hacks that I absolutely live by is to freeze the crust beforehand. Set aside a day where you prep a few batches of pie crusts, pop them in your freezer and just use these whenever you bake your next pie to save time.
2. It’s all in the filling: Filling is one of the most overthought elements of the pie baking process when it truly doesn’t need to be! You can make your pie fillings with just a few ingredients that you have in your pantry. Right now, I’m whipping up a pie with just brown and white sugar, butter, chocolate chips, eggs, and vanilla extract.
3. When in doubt, bake a pecan pie: These pies are amazing for a multitude of reasons—they are the easiest pies to freeze, are perfect for any occasion, and can be eaten year-round. I always set aside a day with my friends every couple of months to bake a few batches of pecan pies and keep them in my freezer.
Songs of the South
When the Grammy Awards are handed out in New York on Sunday, it’s the Southern artists, many of whom we’ve covered at G&G, that we’ll focusing on. Gregg Allman’s soulful final album, Southern Blood, is up Best Americana Album, along with Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit for The Nashville Sound, and The Mavericks, for Brand New Day. R.L. Boyce’s Roll and Tumble is nominated for Best Traditional Blues Album; Rosanne Cash is up with Rodney Crowell and John Paul White for Best American Roots Song; and Atlanta’s Migos are nominated for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song.
Along with Southern Blood, the sentimental favorite of the night might be Despacito. The summer hit became the most streamed song of all time, and it made headlines again in September when Hurricane Maria destroyed the Puerto Rican neighborhood that the song celebrated. A Grammy won’t turn back time, but it can honor what was loved so much, before it was lost.
How to NOLA
There may be no city better known for throwing a good party than New Orleans. But there has never been a central place to learn how to NOLA other than heading South and watching the locals work their magic. All that’s changing with the recent groundbreaking for the New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute’s $32 million training center, a place to school the best and brightest in the culinary and hospitality arts, including entrepreneurship.
NOCHI will occupy the former home of Louisiana ArtWorks, a five-story building at Howard Avenue and Carondelet Street. Scheduled to open in 2019, the facility will have five teaching kitchens, a beverage lab, retail and café spaces, and classrooms where courses will be taught in partnership with Tulane University. Even civilians will be able to sample classes, like “Knife Skills 101” and “New Orleans Cocktails.” As Ti Martin, chairman of the culinary center’s board and co-proprietor of The Commander’s Family of Restaurants, said at the groundbreaking, “How do we not already have this?” Soon we will.
History at Hand
African American History Month starts next week, but may we suggest visiting The Green Book as soon as possible? The deeply researched, mobile-friendly site from the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission serves as both a virtual tour guide and a real-time mobile travel map, highlighting more than 300 historical sites across South Carolina that are of special relevance to African American history and heritage.
Stop at the air field where the Tuskegee Airmen trained during World War II; take a trip through the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor; or experience the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden, a two-acre horticultural masterpiece by Pearl Fryar, one of the country’s most accomplished topiary artists. If you’re planning a visit to, or even a drive through, South Carolina, it’s a seamless way to engage with the history that suffuses the state, no matter where you turn.
This week, the team at The Shot is: Loving the post office’s gorgeous new Meyer lemon stamp—both because the Meyer is the champagne of lemons and because the stamp was drawn by John Burgoyne, who illustrates G&G’s “What’s in Season” every issue. (Unfortunately, it’s a not a full-fare “forever” stamp, but rather a two-cent stamp—still ideal for making up the difference for all those 39-cent stamps Granny gave you.) … Rooting for the Southern cities on the list of Amazon’s top 20 finalists for “HQ2.” (We boldly predict Atlanta will put another “A” in Amazon.) … Applauding the all-female advisory council named last week for Atlanta’s Food & Wine Festival set for May. …. And finally, we’re reading the February/March issue of Garden & Gun, of course, now available in your mailbox, on your digital device, and at newsstands.
Until next week, friends …