Recipes and Stories

29 September 2018: Michaelmas and Mushrooms

September 29, 2018

Tags: Classic Southern Cooking, Mushrooms, Stewed Mushrooms, Mary Randolph, Lettice Bryan, Annabella Hill, The Virginia House-wife, The Kentucky Housewife, Mrs. Hill's New Cook Book

Mary Randolph's Stewed Mushrooms
Though autumn officially began a week ago and won’t really be felt here in Savannah for weeks to come, for me September 29, the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels (commonly called Michaelmas) is the real beginning of the season, which happens to be of my favorite of the entire year.

Aside from roasted goose in parts of England, there’s not a lot of food that’s connected with Michaelmas. But among the flavors that speak of autumn for me are mushrooms: in soup, sauce, over pasta, rolled in an omelette, or just on their own, sautéed in butter or, as the early nineteenth century doyenne of Southern cooking, Mary Randolph, directed, stewed in their own juices: (more…)

27 September 2018: Ham and Coca-Cola

September 27, 2018

Tags: Classic Southern Cooking, Ham, Ham in Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola, Ham: A Savor the South Cookbook

Ham Steak Baked in Coca-Cola, a modern Southern classic
Old, in the context of culinary history, is relative. The cuisines that collectively make up the thing we loosely refer to as “Southern cooking” aren’t exactly ancient when compared with their root cuisines in Europe, Africa, Native America, and Asia, but they’re actually a good deal older than we often suppose.

As early as the mid-seventeenth century, for example, the cookery of the Virginia Tidewater had already solidified into a cuisine that was unique to the region and would be easily recognized by modern Virginians. And by the middle of the eighteenth century, the rice cuisine of the Carolina Lowcountry, the Creole cookery of New Orleans, and, many believe, the still largely undocumented cookery of Appalachia had taken on the basic form that they have today. In short, most Southerners could go back two centuries and feel right at home at the table.

That said, many of our most iconic, argument-provoking dishes are really not much older than my generation (more…)

14 September 2018: Old Friends, Mentors, and Sautéed Apples in Bourbon Caramel

September 14, 2018

Tags: Classic Southern Cooking, Apples, Caramel, Caramel Apples, Nathalie Dupree, Autumnal Cooking

Sautéed Apples in Bourbon Caramel Sauce
One blustery late autumn evening, Timothy and I had gone up to Charleston to sing in a choir for a special evensong and were staying, as we do whenever we can, with my lovely friend, mentor, and adopted big sister, Nathalie Dupree and her husband Jack Bass.

Our “pay” for singing was a dinner that, to Timothy’s disappointment, did not include dessert. When we got back to the house and had settled in at the kitchen table, Nathalie, who is a text book example of the maxim that Southerners are always talking about food, wanted to know all about where we’d eaten and what we’d had. (more…)