Damon Lee Fowler

Food * History * Words

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In History's Kitchen

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

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…)

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…)

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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