Damon Lee Fowler

Food * History * Words

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In History's Kitchen

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…)

7 August 2014: Mama’s Pickled Okra

August 7, 2014

Tags: Okra, Pickled Okra, Southern Cooking, Classical Southern Cooking, Beans Greens & Sweet Georgia Peaches

Mama's Pickled Okra, a classic taste of Deep South Summer
Cleaning out my fridge — not just tossing out spoiled leftovers but taking everything out, sorting through and purging half-empty jars of condiments that are no longer really usable, wiping down the ones that were still good, giving up the lame hope that my sour dough starter, untouched for more than a year, might still be alive, and scrubbing every shelf and bin—is always both cathartic and depressing. But it was especially so after the two years of neglect that had been the fallout of three back-to-back book deadlines. (more…)

29 July 2014: Really Fresh Okra and Tomatoes—Okra and Tomato Salad

July 29, 2014

Tags: Okra, Raw Okra, Tomatoes, Tomatoes and Okra, Classic Southern Cooking

Fresh Okra and Tomato Salad
One of my favorite summer snacks is a handful of small, raw okra pods — eaten as is, without so much as a speck of salt or pepper. When very young, small, and tender, okra has a delicate flavor that knows no equal. And contrary to what you might expect if you’ve ever chopped or sliced it for a gumbo, or tried to eat it when it was overcooked, the raw pods are not in the least gooey or sticky, but are as crisp and refreshing as a chilled cucumber. (more…)

16 July 2014: Triple Comfort

July 16, 2014

Tags: Comfort Food, Vintage Tableware, Mama's China, Marcella Hazan, Ilda, Classic Italian Cooking, Spaghetti, Spaghetti alla Carbonara, Pasta

Triple comfort: my mother's china pattern, Ilda's pasta, and Marcella's voice in the background
My mother’s wedding china still stands as it did in my youth, in neat stacks in her dining room hutch. Rimmed in gold and sporting a pair of pink-tinged gardenia blossoms at its center, it was old-fashioned, feminine, and just plain “girly.” Yet it was the very essence of elegance and sophistication to my child’s mind. (more…)

14 July 2014: Watermelon Salad

July 14, 2014

Tags: Watermelon, Watermelon Salad, Greek Cooking, Greek-American Cooking, Southern Cooking, Beans Greens & Sweet Georgia Peaches

Watermelon Salad, a simple triad of melon, onion, and feta. Photograph by John Carrington Photography
One of the loveliest and most refreshing salads to be found on summer’s table is this simple triad of watermelon, sweet onions, and the bright, salty counterpoint of feta cheese. It should be no surprise, then, that over the last couple of decades, melon salads have become a trendy thing. However, back in the mid-nineties when I first developed this version for my second book, they were almost unheard of in the South, and weren’t much more familiar to the rest of our country. (more…)

8 July 2014: Sautéed Summer Squash with Onions

July 8, 2014

Tags: Yellow Crookneck Squash, Summer Squash, Classic Southern Cooking, Beans Greens & Sweet Georgia Peaches

Sauteed yellow crookneck squash is the very essence of a Southern summer
When we were home a couple of weeks ago, the summer squash vines in my mother’s garden were bright with yellow blossoms and the most precocious vine was sporting a single fat, sun-yellow crookneck. By the time we got back to Savannah, a bumper crop of yellow crooknecks was already coming in from local farmers. The sunny color and graceful swan necks of this vegetable are, for me, the very essence of summer. (more…)

5 July 2014: Pan Broiled Hamburgers

July 5, 2014

Tags: American Cooking, Pan-Broiling, Pan-Broiled Burgers, Oven-Roasted Sweet Corn

Independence Day Supper without a grill: pan-brioled hamburgers, oven-roasted sweet corn, sugar-snap peas, and French potato salad
Because we don’t have a grill and a huge pecan tree shades our back yard, making it an ideal nursery for mosquitoes, I don’t cook outdoors at home. So, grilled burgers and corn on the cob, the traditional offering for Independence Day, have to be cooked indoors. I pan-broil burgers and steaks, and it’s actually a lovely way to cook them. (more…)

20 June 2014 For the First Day of Summer—Buttermilk Fried Chicken

June 20, 2014

Tags: Southern Fried Chicken, Essentials of Southern Cooking, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Cream Gravy, How to Cut Up a Chicken for Frying, Classic Southern Cooking

Buttermilk Fried Chicken, photograph by John Carrington Photography
Since tomorrow (21 June) is the first day of summer, it seems like a good idea to visit one of the great icons of the Southern table—fried chicken. Surely no one would argue with that. But it has become so commonplace and universal that most of us, Southerners included, have completely forgotten that it was once a seasonal delicacy, something that could only be had in the spring and summer, the only time of year when very young, tender chickens could be found in the barnyard. (more…)

27 May 2014: The Art of Balance

May 27, 2014

Tags: Marcella Hazan, Culinary Balance, Classic French Cooking, Classic Creole Cooking, Butter Braising

Butter-Braised Spring Vegetables, an exercise in judicious balance
Marcella Hazan’s husband, Victor, recently reminded us that his late wife liked to say, “If I could persuade someone to cook for six months without a single herb or spice, I’d have a chance to make a cook out of her.” (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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