Damon Lee Fowler

Food * History * Words

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In History's Kitchen

17 October 2014: Mushrooms with Sausage-Bourbon Filling

October 17, 2014

Tags: Stuffed Mushrooms, Mushrooms, Classic Southern Cooking, Sausage

Small Brown (also called crimini, "baby bella" and golden Italian) mushrooms are ideal candidates for stuffing with savory fillings, so long as the cook doesn't get carried away with the idea of being "interesting" with the filling.
Stuffed mushrooms come and go in popularity, but never seem to go out of style in Savannah. Anytime they appear on the cocktail buffet table, they disappear quickly. They’re so popular, in fact that I’ve always wished I could be more enthusiastic about them, especially since mushrooms are one of my favorite things. But while stuffing mushrooms with savory fillings is a great idea for a finger-food spread, most of the time the execution is a disappointment. They’re either too bland to be interesting or too interesting to be good. (more…)

15 October 2014: Cheese Straws and Leaves

October 15, 2014

Tags: Southern Cheese Straws, Cheese Leaves, Classic Southern Cooking, Essentials of Southern Cooking

Cheese Straws don't have to be extruded from a cookie press. Here they're cut with small seasonal cookie cutters into fall leaves.
Cheese straws and toasted pecans are to a Southern party what cards are to poker, a standard for any Southern hostess worth her iced tea. And yet, these crisp morsels often intimidate novices. They needn’t: once you grasp that they’re just a savory butter shortbread—one of the simplest of all cookies—they’re a snap to make. (more…)

13 October 2014: American Chili, Southern Style

October 13, 2014

Tags: American Chili, Classic American Cooking, Classic Southern Cooking, Autumnal Cooking

My Southern-style chili, gussied up just a little with sliced chilies, sour cream, and grated cheddar. Photography by the incomparable John Carrington
Last week Savannah had its first real taste of autumn weather with about three days of cool temperatures, low humidity, and clear skies. It was finally, magically, chili weather, an opportunity not to be missed: my first batch of the season was soon simmering away in my well-used Le Creuset enameled iron round oven. (more…)

6 October 2014: Remembering Daisy Redman and Chicken Madeira

October 6, 2014

Tags: Classic Southern Cooking, Savannah Cooking, Daisy Redman, Chicken, Madeira, Autumnal Cooking

Daisy Redman's famous Chicken Madeira, photographed by John Carrington in the dining room of Savannah's historic Battersby-Hartridge House, where Mrs. Redman's cooking frequently graced the table.
At the end of the 1970s, DuBose Publishing Company of Atlanta released a slim little volume called Four Great Southern Cooks. Despite its unassuming appearance, this book was destined to become one of the great treasures of traditional Southern cooks and food historians. Tattered copies that survive are fiercely guarded as family heirlooms, especially here in Savannah. (more…)

23 September 2014: Welcoming Autumn

September 23, 2014

Tags: Autumnal Cooking, Classic Southern Cooking, Essentials of Southern Cooking, Bacon, Shrimp, Shrimp Stew

Shrimp Stew with Bacon and Tomatoes, the perfect warm-up for welcoming Autumn in Savannah. Photography by Rich Burkhart
It doesn’t often happen, but the first day of autumn was met here in Savannah with a hint of genuine coolness in the air. It’s not quite chili, pot roast, and hearty stew weather, but the suggestion that it is on the way is an unexpected gift that’s not to be ignored. (more…)

17 September 2014: Leftover Chicken, Mushrooms, and Cooking for One

September 17, 2014

Tags: Cooking for One, Chicken Tetrazzini, Mushrooms, Leftovers

Quick Chicken Tetrazzini for one
One of the saddest things I ever hear as a cooking teacher is “I don’t cook much anymore, because it’s just me and it’s so hard to cook for one or, worse, it’s not worth the trouble. First, there is someone to cook for, the most important person in your life: you.

Secondly, it is not any more trouble to cook for one than for two, and it’s a heck of a lot less work than cooking for six. (more…)

15 September 2014: Pan-Roasting with Garlic and Learning New Tricks

September 15, 2014

Tags: Pan-Broiling, Pork Tenderloins, Marcella Hazan, Classic Italian Cooking, Classic Mediterranean Cooking

Pork Tenderloin Pan-Roasted with Garlic, Rosemary, and White Wine
One is always learning: a couple of weeks ago, supper was something I’d made hundreds of times—pork tenderloin pan-roasted with garlic, rosemary, and white wine. That lean little cut is great for two people on a busy work night: it has very little waste, is just enough for us to have two meals from it, cooks quickly, and, as its name implies, is always tender, even when it’s accidentally overcooked. (more…)

10 September 2014: Fresh Black-Eyed Pea Ragout

September 10, 2014

Tags: Late Summer Cooking, Fresh Field Peas, Field Peas, Ragout, Classic Southern Cooking, Essentials of Southern Cooking

Fresh Black-Eyed Pea Ragout over Rice: hearty enough to satisfy that early craving for heartier fare, but light enough for late summer's lingering heat
Every year by mid-August, the ancient pecan tree that canopies our back yard and dominates the view from my office window decides “okay, I’m over this” and starts shedding its leaves. By September, more than two thirds of its foliage has abandoned its branches and become a brown, crackling carpet underneath, creating a mocking illusion of autumn amid the stubbornly lingering heat and humidity of a Lowcountry late summer. (more…)

30 August 2014: Seafood Cocktails

August 30, 2014

Tags: Seafood, Seafood Cocktails, Shrimp Cocktails, Classic American Cooking, Classic Southern Cooking, Bonnie Gaster, Tybee Island, Mrs. Dull

A Timeless summer classic: Tybee Shrimp and Crab Cocktail
Labor Day weekend is traditionally summer’s last hurrah for most Americans, even though the season won’t officially end until the autumnal equinox later in September, and, in the Deep South, won’t be effectively over until well into October. But never mind about the calendar and heat index: Summer’s waning, whether actual or merely symbolic, is as good an excuse as any for one more outdoor party. (more…)

19 August 2014: Summer Squash Soup

August 19, 2014

Tags: Yellow Crookneck Squash, Squash Soup, Summer Squash, Southern Cooking, Essentials of Southern Cooking

Summer Squash Soup with Sage and Thyme
Of all the produce of summer, nothing is as deeply entwined with memories of my childhood, mother, and grandmother, as yellow crookneck squash. Possibly one of the reasons that they stand out is because most of the things that came from my mother’s and grandfather’s gardens were cooked only one or, at best, two ways, but those sunny crooknecks knew no limits. (more…)

Selected Works

Cookbooks
A collection of more than twenty-five years of writing about and teaching the history and techniques of the cooking of my native American South, the collection of cuisines that we loosely call Southern Cooking.
A portrait of Savannah's growing restaurant scene in recipes and stories.
A Celebration of the Cuisine of the Old South, hailed as a modern classic and Bible of Southern Foodways.
A loving portrait of a proud old port city in recipes
Classical Southern Cooking in today's kitchen
Traditional Southern Baking for modern cooks
A sampling of the South's Cookery for the hundreds of regional fruits and vegetables.
Seventy five recipes that were documented to have been used at Mr. Jefferson's Monticello during his lifetime, translated for use in a modern kitchen, with essays by the Foundation's curatorial staff.

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