Damon Lee Fowler

Food * History * Words

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In History's Kitchen

23 October 2014: Boiled Peanuts

October 23, 2014

Tags: Classic Southern Cooking, Peanuts, Boiled Peanuts

Perfectly boiled peanuts, photographed handsomely by John Carrington
Boiled peanuts: for most Southerners, those words conjure memories of running barefoot through freshly mown grass on a warm summer evening, or of cheering on the home team from rough, weather-worn bleachers. But for the uninitiated outside our region, who have never seen peanuts any way but toasted and served forth in a bowl on the top of a bar or ground and slathered between two slices of white bread, it probably sounds like a culinary train wreck. (more…)

22 October 2014: Sweet Potato Salad

October 22, 2014

Tags: Classical Southern Cooking, Southern Cooking, Sweet Potatoes, Sweet Potato Salad

My sweet potato salad as made by friend Betsy Hollis for the recent Manna Club gathering where my cookbooks were honored and celebrated.
After I left architectural practice and was waiting for the publication of my first book, Classical Southern Cooking, in a moment of what can only called temporary insanity, I let a former cooking student sweet talk me into opening the kitchen of her new downtown café. Though I had long been writing about andteaching home cooking, I had absolutely no professional cooking experience. But she needed a cook and I needed work and, besides, wanted the experience. (more…)

21 October 2014 Rejuvenating Leftovers

October 21, 2014

Tags: Rejuvenating Leftobers, Leftover Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Mushrooms, Sauteed Mushrooms

Sauteed Mushrooms and Pork Tenderloin with Sage and Garlic
If you live alone or, as I do, have only two people in your household, you’ll inevitably be faced with the dilemma of how to keep leftovers fresh and interesting. Yes, we’re a spoiled, self-indulgent lot: there are starving children in the world who would be glad to have our leftovers and we ought to be grateful that we have so much. (more…)

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…)

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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