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Cooking to Honor Edna Lewis


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is that a regular column of his or is that Southern Recipe Restoration Project?

Scott Peacock doesn't have a regular column .. articles on food appear in the AJC (online too, of course) on Thursdays ...

Is there a weekly eGullet digest of the food section for the AJC? Sounds lt would be interesting.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Had a great couple of days of cooking.  I'm not sure where to put food we make that isn't Miss Lewis' but still have it be in this forum but for now hope she won't mind.

Why not start a thread called "My Adventures in Southern Cooking"?

Or "Yankee Does GRITS" or something along those lines, complementing your thread devoted to cultural anthropology? Then all other outsiders could join in, coached by the experts.

(I scored 19% on the final quiz devoted to Dixie/Yankee linguistics and my buttermilk pancakes are based on Deborah Madison's recipe. Nonethelss, I have been buying buttermilk almost weekly those days. Addictive ingredient, though, would never drink the stuff straight.)

Also, glad to see you've an open mind about okra. I agree about size and freshness. My favorite prep is from a book by Paula Wolfert, though.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Or "Yankee Does GRITS" or something along those lines, complementing your thread devoted to cultural anthropology? Then all other outsiders could join in, coached by the experts.

This sounds really good!! We are trying to take that tact with the meals we make. We put the laptop on the table during dinner last night and listened to 6 or 7 of the oral history peices on the tamale trail website as we ate and talked with the children. It was a lot of fun!

Also, glad to see you've an open mind about okra.

I do indeed, my wife and newly added to the club daughter love it. It is deceptively mouth filling if that makes sense, I need to wrap my head around that feeling. :hmmm:

There is a tomato and okra stir fry side dish that we will try very soon....and what dosen't taste better fried!?

-mike

-Mike & Andrea

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Is there a weekly eGullet digest of the food section for the AJC?  Sounds lt would be interesting.

There was ... I wrote the Southeast Digest from May, 2004 until June 28, 2005 ...right here ... but I did it until I took on other duties ... the links are rather old and probably out of date but some of the other things there are interesting ...

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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NYC Mike,

Your okra looked wonderful and I think it is great you are being so open minded about it. I love okra. growing up, my mother had to stop buying pickled okra because it was not cheap and I would eat the whole jar in one sitting. It became a special occasion treat (what?! you didn't know pickled okra was special occasion food/). :raz:

My favorite way to eat okra is boiled. As others have rightly said, it is important to buy fresh, smallish okra. Also, if you avoid cutting it before boiling it, it will not be ropey(sp?), which is the term used to describe the sliminess it can acquire. No cutting=minimal slime.

Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you and be silent. Epicetus

Amanda Newton

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NYC Mike,

Your okra looked wonderful and I think it is great you are being so open minded about it. I love okra. growing up, my mother had to stop buying pickled okra because it was not cheap and I would eat the whole jar in one sitting. It became a special occasion treat (what?! you didn't know pickled okra was special occasion food/). :raz:

My favorite way to eat okra is boiled. As others have rightly said, it is important to buy fresh, smallish okra. Also, if you avoid cutting it before boiling it, it will not be ropey(sp?), which is the term used to describe the sliminess it can acquire. No cutting=minimal slime.

Those are great tips. Looking back at my pics the okra we purchased could easily be catogorized as very large, as big as my hand at least!! Ropey! I wouldn't have said that at first blush but yes my okra last night were quite ropey. :smile:

-mike

-Mike & Andrea

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  • 2 weeks later...

Aloha,

I am seeking the recipe for the Honestly Good Crab Cakes on behalf of eG member oneidaone who is presently in Chicago without internet access. She wants to make these for her mother's upcoming birthday. If anyone has it to hand, it would be deeply appreciated.

Mahalo nui loa!

"Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." TMJ Jr. R.I.P.

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Aloha,

I am seeking the recipe for the Honestly Good Crab Cakes on behalf of eG member oneidaone who is presently in Chicago without internet access. She wants to make these for her mother's upcoming birthday. If anyone has it to hand, it would be deeply appreciated.

Mahalo nui loa!

I just PM'd you the recipe, as I have the book handy :raz:

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Aloha,

I am seeking the recipe for the Honestly Good Crab Cakes on behalf of eG member oneidaone who is presently in Chicago without internet access. She wants to make these for her mother's upcoming birthday. If anyone has it to hand, it would be deeply appreciated.

Mahalo nui loa!

I just PM'd you the recipe, as I have the book handy :raz:

Which only goes to demonstrate the value of being a member of eGullet yet again! :biggrin:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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  • 1 month later...

It seems like forever since I’ve been home with more than 5 minutes of free time. I think I finally found the one downside to us moving south; my territory is geographically larger which means I have been traveling a lot more!! Finally, I am on vacation for the year and I can sit back and enjoy my guilty pleasure of EG again!

This post is WAY out dated but we enjoyed it so much that we wanted to still share. (the time delay between the meal and my post can give you an idea how little I’ve seen home :P) In honor on my family’s first annual Alpharetta Thanksgiving we wanted to do a 100% Southern inspired menu. As usual we were not disappointed. In almost all cases we stuck with the recipes to the letter and most were things we were trying for the very first time.

The pics just don't do it justice.

It was just the 5 of us so we skipped soups, starters etc. None of our NYC relatives were brave enough to make the trek down but the invitations are open and we expect them next year. As a side note, I really think its hilarious how our NY/New Englander friends and family view the south, its as if they envision this as an old episode of Green Acres or Mayberry or something. Very funny stuff.

For the majority of the meal we went right to The Gift of Southern Cooking. This book continues to amaze us, we are well over one dozen recipes tried and have not found a broken or unfavorable one yet. In our experience with cookbooks of all kinds this is very rare indeed. If you don’t own it, buy it with confidence.

Alright, here is the good stuff!

Roast Turkey with Giblet Gravy

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We are now hard core fans of brining the poultry. I’ve modified the salt recommended by the book for brining in half and it still produces the most flavorful and moist finished product in every case (fried, baked, roasted you name it). All the seasoning used was new for us but we loved it all. The use of the thyme/citrus compound butter gave amazing flavor as did the addition of chicken stock to the pan. We find dried thyme is used everywhere in almost every dish to some degree. I wonder why that is, is it just grown in abundance in the south? We love it! The best turkey I’ve had!

The gravy was an intense experience. It solidified for me my thoughts on southern cooking in general in that it requires absolute commitment and interest. You can’t just read a recipe, smack a few things together and go watch TV while it takes care of itself. Much to my pleasure, I’ve found it requires a high degree of steady attention and love and rewards in kind with the good stuff!! This gravy was worth every hour of simmering and stirring. Again, the best I have ever had.

Cornbread Pecan Dressing

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This is the only place we made modifications. I just could not do without pork sausage in my Thanksgiving Stuffing. We reduced the pecans by 75% for the children and added 2 pounds of pork sausage.

Corn Bread + Pork Fat + the Gravy = Heaven.

We clearly see the difference now between “Corn Bread” and corn bread with sugar or “Corn Cake”. I can now say that until we moved down here and made it ourselves we had never had real corn bread in the north. All places serve corn cake advertised as corn bread. The difference is astounding and while it took the kids four or six tries they have acquired the taste. If you love corn, you don’t really need the extra sugar in it. I’ve taken preference to having corn kernels in mine too.

Sweet Potato Casserole

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This was a first for all of us. We had heard of it many times and with many variations, most notably with marshmallow toppings. We followed directly out of the book and used Ms. Lewis’ crumb crust topping. The only modification being that we left out the pecans again for the kids. This was as advertised, the perfect match for the turkey and dressing. We were worried that it was going to be too sweet but it really was not at all, there was a perfect balance between flavors. What a keeper recipe. We love how everything we have tried so far focuses on taking high quality naturally produced ingredients and doing very little to them in order to bring out the amazing natural flavor.

We then rounded the plates up with fresh peas and corn, mashed white potatoes for my daughter, store bought rolls and cranberry sauce.

We also made a slew of pies for teachers and neighbors. The two we kept for ourselves for Thanksgiving were Leah Chase’s Sweet Potato Pie I found on EG and a pumpkin pie. I’d had sweet potato pie before but not like her recipe it was amazing.

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Washed the whole thing down with some sweet tea which I have to say I've become very hooked on. I've tried a few difference recipes but like the one in the book, minus the mint...im not a real big mint fan.

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mike

Edited by NYC Mike (log)

-Mike & Andrea

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If you'd posted that meal at Thanksgiving, you'd have ALREADY been carrying your official G.R.I.T.S. membership card. What a feast, and authentic down to the pork sausage---lots of my family and neighbors added a good chunk of homemade sagey-sausage to dressing.

So---as the assumed conveyor of the G.R.I.T.S. membership---I hereby declare that you are retroactively named a Guy Raised In The South, with all the attending honors, privileges and appurtenances pertaining thereto. You're the second NY member, I think, with Daniel gaining his status with all those collard dishes, and his brave attack of the crab boil and a forty-pounds-of-pork dinner. :cool:

Y'all please pass the gravy---and no mint in my tea, either.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This week I've read and talked/asked about smothered doves, grits for supper and greens.

Our Sunday supper was a culmination of those conversations and one out of this world meal.

We didn't get quail this time, went with Miss Lewis' Roasted Chicken with collard greens, grits and corn bread. Oh mama!

As always, forgive the low quality pics with a bad cam. :biggrin:

gallery_39050_2669_64890.jpg

-Mike

-Mike & Andrea

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This week I've read and talked/asked about smothered doves, grits for supper and greens.

Our Sunday supper was a culmination of those conversations and one out of this world meal.

We didn't get quail this time, went with Miss Lewis' Roasted Chicken with collard greens, grits and corn bread.  Oh mama! 

As always, forgive the low quality pics with a bad cam.  :biggrin:

gallery_39050_2669_64890.jpg

-Mike

"Gentlemen: Madame Dodin-Bouffant."

So, when there is the slightest doubt, Marry the Cook!

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This week I've read and talked/asked about smothered doves, grits for supper and greens.

Our Sunday supper was a culmination of those conversations and one out of this world meal.

We didn't get quail this time, went with Miss Lewis' Roasted Chicken with collard greens, grits and corn bread.  Oh mama! 

As always, forgive the low quality pics with a bad cam.  :biggrin:

gallery_39050_2669_64890.jpg

-Mike

Mike,

I lived in the city for 15 years and I must say your picture is impressive.  If that dinner was as good as it looked, you must have had fun!

I had the pleasure of eating at Cafe Nicholson (many times) back in the day, when Edna was cooking there.  She would have enjoyed the picture.

Johnny used to give us all rides in his Rolls.  It was all a wonderful time, the wine was included and one could just drink and eat and then have the fabulous chocolate souffle.

Oh my.

Anyway, thanks for the picture.  It took me back.

Bob

"Gentlemen: Madame Dodin-Bouffant."

So, when there is the slightest doubt, Marry the Cook!

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This week I've read and talked/asked about smothered doves, grits for supper and greens.

Our Sunday supper was a culmination of those conversations and one out of this world meal.

We didn't get quail this time, went with Miss Lewis' Roasted Chicken with collard greens, grits and corn bread.  Oh mama! 

As always, forgive the low quality pics with a bad cam.  :biggrin:

gallery_39050_2669_64890.jpg

-Mike

So, you have finally prepared greens.

I am pleased and proud of you. Wasn't so hard was it? And certainly less hard to eat.

Looks great. I would sit and eat all day. Nothing wrong with roasted chicken.

By the way, that is a very nice slice of cornbread.

Edited by annecros (log)
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Preparing the greens was SO easy and the final product was SO amazingly good that it will more tham likely replace many other things as our regular veggie in rotation. 2 out of 3 kids absolutly loved it, the 3rd just dosen't try new things :raz: .

I am having a cup of the pot likker with a silce of leftover cornbread for lunch right now. Life is good! :wub:

-Mike

-Mike & Andrea

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Preparing the greens was SO easy and the final product was SO amazingly good that it will more tham likely replace many other things as our regular veggie in rotation.  2 out of 3 kids absolutly loved it, the 3rd just dosen't try new things  :raz: .

I am having a cup of the pot likker with a silce of leftover cornbread for lunch right now.  Life is good!  :wub:

-Mike

That is honestly my favorite breakfast.

The nutrional density in collard greens is greatly underappreciated, I have always thought.

The turnips and mustard will be in for you soon. Have fun.

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I was looking for an excuse to have greens again. Someone on another thread said that the texture of doves reminded them of liver so thats what we had. Calf liver with peppers and onions, grits, greens and cornbread. Of course we loved it.

-Mike

gallery_39050_2669_91870.jpg

-Mike & Andrea

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I was looking for an excuse to have greens again.  Someone on another thread said that the texture of doves reminded them of liver so thats what we had.  Calf liver with peppers and onions, grits, greens and cornbread.  Of course we loved it.

-Mike

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NYCMike, I think you have been successfully assimililated, and are now part of the Southern Collective.

Resistance is futile...

:biggrin:

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We did a little plates dinner this weekend out of The Joy of book. It was a combination of what was advertisted as "old standard" recipes and some inspiration from Brook's recent posts on Watershed and Salmon.

We continue to be amazed at effect the history of the food culture has on us as we learn and enjoy it. We are having a ball as a family trying to put the dishes in historical context and talking about the stories we have read, including the ones you have all shared. So, we are learning new things, have a ton of fun and doing it as a family....what more could you ask for!?

The plate pic needs serious modification, I will try and post tonight if I can get it looking at least decent. Some of the food I'll describe below just ain't photogenic. :biggrin:

Beni Wafers: These were great and after this meal they were put many different uses. I think next time we will roll them out a little bit thiner, we got them to around a 1/4 inch thick on our first batch. Peice of cake to make, we will be keeping a batch on hand for a while.

Pimenocheese: The kids really liked this in the little tea sandwich form my wife made for them, especially the 3 yr old. I thought it tasted good, its like instant cheese sandwich, but I'll reserve the room in my stomach for something else. I kept wanting to melt it on something. :P

Shrimp Paste: WOW! This might be my favorite recipe out of the book so far! The first taste while it was still warm lit me up. My wife and I kept looking at each other while we were preparing it like we were crazy. I mean, 1 month prior we would have never thought of grinding up good eating shrimp that way. But, in the name of research we followed through. I've eaten it a half dozen ways since then, I can't get enough of it! For our meal I spread it on the Beni Wafers and stirred a bit of it into my grits.

Salmon Cakes: We all like fish cakes so this was an easy thing to get the kids to eat but never with salmon. As I've said before in NY growing up salmon was something you put on a bagel with cream cheese. We tried to be true to some of the stories you've shared and bought the pink can of salmon to use. Next time I think we will use fresh salmon. :raz:

Washed it all down with fresh lemonaide for the kids and sweet tea for me.

I think its more than great food and that is what is so easy to love about it. It is so unpretentous and pure and important. It was the original "farm to table" way of eating long before corporate America figured out a way to make that way insanely profitable.

Each month the children have to do a book report for school. February's report is on a famous, important or historical African American in support of Black History Month. So over this meal we discussed with my daughter who she might choose. She would love to do Dr. King but as she said "everyone will do that one". How about Will Smith (we use Will Smith a great deal as a model since teen culture is so focused on bling bling, foul mouthed rappers and negative sterotypes, we love that he refuses to bend to that), no she says "movies aren't important enough". Medgar Evers, no. Fredrick Douglas, no. She has decided to do Edna Lewis and when asked why she is important enough her reply was "even after she is gone Miss Lewis' work is important in preserving the culture of the south, and that is proven by all we have learned by cooking from her books.

-Mike

-Mike & Andrea

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You daughter sounds like a very smart young lady. I bet her report turns out great.

Do try the pimento cheese melted.

Years ago at small coffee shop where I worked, one of our most popular lunch items was a croissant, cut in half and spread with our pimento cheese, sprinked with garlic powder and run under the broiler until the cheese was melted and just browning. it was a twist on an old southern classic.

Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you and be silent. Epicetus

Amanda Newton

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You daughter sounds like a very smart young lady. I bet her report turns out great.

Do try the pimento cheese melted.

Years ago at small coffee shop where I worked, one of our most popular lunch items was a croissant, cut in half and spread with our pimento cheese, sprinked with garlic powder and run under the broiler until the cheese was melted and just browning. it was a twist on an old southern classic.

That sounds really good!! I will try it with the leftovers.

-Mike

-Mike & Andrea

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