Recipes and Stories

11 April 2017: Parsley

April 11, 2017

Tags: Parsley, Potato Salad, Classic Southern Cooking, Classic American Cooking, Beans Greens & Sweet Georgia Peaches

My culinary security blanket: a bouquet of fresh flat-leaved Italian parsley
Now, here’s a curious thing that I can’t explain. For reasons that are a complete mystery to me, having a bouquet of fresh parsley in my kitchen is a kind of culinary security blanket. It reassures and comforts me, even when I end up using very little of it in the pots.

Unfortunately, that’s more often the case than not. Despite the truth in the old Italian proverb “essere come il prezzemolo” (literally “to be like parsley,” that is, everywhere), I can rarely use it all up before it starts to fade. (more…)

30 July 2015: Tomato Aspic

July 30, 2015

Tags: Classic Southern Cooking, Tomato Aspic, Beans Greens & Sweet Georgia Peaches, Marcie Ferris, Tomatoes

Tomato Aspic is a perfect beginning for summer luncheons and formal dinners
One of the half-forgotten and much misunderstood delights of summer’s table in the South is tomato aspic, a cooling, velvety concoction usually made with canned tomatoes or tomato juice, even at the height of tomato season. In my youth, it was considered the quintessential first course for formal summer luncheons and company dinners, especially when that dinner, following a long-gone Southern custom, was served early in the afternoon.

Yet, as little as twenty years ago, when my first cookbook Classical Southern Cooking was published, tomato aspic was a long way from being forgotten. (more…)

20 February 2015: Broccoli in the Cold Season

February 20, 2015

Tags: Broccoli, Classical Southern Cooking, Beans Greens & Sweet Georgia Peaches, Classic Southern Cooking, Camille Glenn

Broccoli Gratin, broccoli casserole as it was meant to be.
When I began working on my first book, Classical Southern Cooking, broccoli wasn’t thought of as an especially Southern vegetable. But what I found as I delved into the kitchens of our past was a different story. Broccoli had been growing in the South at least since the eighteenth century, and was included in all the old Southern cookbooks, beginning as early as Mary Randolph’s iconic Virginia House-wife in 1824 right through to Mrs. Dull in the twentieth century. (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…)

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…)