The NYT Magazine ran a piece, Tiki’s Comeback, in 2016, and we gave it a try. Thinking of tiki cocktail culture this afternoon (maybe just ready to sit in the dark with a cocktail and think of the islands?). Not going to comment on each of these other than to say: 10/10 would visit again. Every single place we went — from Las Vegas to New Orleans to Atlanta and Nashville, was good fun. It feels nice to get snug in a dimly-lit booth, embrace a little kitsch, and roll with the vibe.
One of my fondest memories of the time I spent in elementary school in Sunray, Texas, was belonging to 4-H. Well actually, I have many favorites: the great ranch-style home we lived in *with a carpeted garage*; walking home from school with friends; piano lessons; the summer advancement group learning cake decorating, veterinary skills, computer lessons; going to rodeos; riding my bicycle everywhere; my horse obsession and collection of Breyer horses; my sweet dachshund Winnie; my sweet 5th grade boyfriend Steve. Sunray was the stereotypical small Texas town with one restaurant: Dairy Queen. And it seemed, anyway, pretty perfect.
For me, the best part of 4-H was cooking. I remember making ‘bread in a bag‘ and some sweets, and in a binder recipe book I have from then, there’s a handwritten recipe that we surely got from friends for dressing — this can be chicken dressing or turkey dressing. But it’s so good that I don’t save it for holidays, I make it whenever. If you’re someone who enjoys a recipe that’s exact — skip this one for now; this one’s more of a “add more or less if you like” recipe.
First, I make a pan of cornbread in a cast iron skillet. I like this Dixie Lily cornmeal recipe but I’ve oftentimes just used the buttermilk (and no sugar) recipe on the back of whatever bag of cornmeal I have. Sometimes I’m using a local-ish grocery store brand like the one above; sometimes I’ve been to a mill like McEwen & Sons and use their recipe. The recipe is always super similar.
Allow it to cook, break it up.
Ingredients for the dressing:
2c celery, chopped
2c onions, diced
skillet of cornbread, broken up
4 cups or so of chicken or turkey, shredded
hot broth — chicken or turkey (simply made with bouillon and water), likely will turn out to be between 4-6 cups, until mixture is wet but not soup
2tbsp sage (+ or -, what you’re in the mood for)
2tbsp poultry seasoning (+ or -, what you’re in the mood for)
salt & pepper (depends a lot on the amount of sage and poultry seasoning above)
1tbsp or so butter to sauté celery & onions
optional: four or five hardboiled eggs, chopped
Directions: In a skillet, sauté celery and onion in a little butter until tender
Add remaining ingredients on low — remember to consider that much of this is by look and taste — feel free to add more sage, poultry seasoning, (garlic sound good? would be fab.), enough hot broth to make to make it nice and wet but not at all soupy
Stir together all ingredients, pour in buttered 13×9 pan, bake at 350* for :45 – 1 hour
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Tall, medium. Shuttered hand car wash shop. Sylacauga AL. Last week.
At Bon Appetit, My Life with Edna Lewis: Chef Scott Peacock reflects on his decades-long friendship with Edna Lewis, and what it means to be a Southern chef:
Before I met Edna Lewis, I thought the South was something to recover from. I was eager to put my Alabama childhood behind me. Eager to forget summers spent picking peas in fields of hard red clay and cutting okra at dawn and dusk to escape punishing heat. And even though my Grandmaw Peacock’s slow-stewed-till-sticky chicken and rice (made with hens she raised and plucked herself) remains one of the most transcendent dishes I have ever been blessed to eat, I was eager to escape her too. Uneducated and poor, my grandmother was a struggling sharecropper’s wife whose only bathroom for much of my childhood was an outhouse.
from ‘As Mose T would See It’ exhibit at WSC in Hanceville AL, 2015.
Martha Lou Gadsden passed away this week. From the P&C: At Martha Lou’s Kitchen, Gadsden served dishes drawn from the Lowcountry home cooking canon, including fried chicken, lima beans, okra soup, beef stew with oxtails, macaroni and collard greens. “I work by air,” Gadsden said. “I do not measure.”
In March, we lost Jessica McClintock, ’70s & ’80s Sunday- and prom- dress designer extraordinaire, and “cottagecore visionary” as Jezebel put it. “I have a romantic feeling about life,” Ms. McClintock told a reporter in 2007. “I like Merchant-Ivory movies and candlelight and beautiful rooms. I like the patina of age.” PS: Hillary Rodham’s mom took her to Dillard’s and she picked out a Jessica McClintock dress there for her wedding to Bill Clinton
Old Forester’s 117 Series: High Angels’ Share“showcases a selection of barrels which lost exceptional volume to evaporation in the aging process, resulting in a bourbon that is rich and multidimensional, layered with dark flavor notes, dried fruits, and unexpected herbaceous qualities.” It’s been released at the distillery in Louisville and only limited quantities at select Kentucky retailers
Ziggy’s recipe for charoset was given to him by his Hungarian grandfather, the original deli man. It’s an Ashkenazi recipe — with apples and cinnamons, bound by apricot jam and blackberry wine—that Ziggy and his kitchen staff will spend the next few days preparing by the truckload, literally. Each year the deli sends out two refrigerated semitrucks worth of the sticky spread to families across Houston.
The Old Town Bell in Clayton AL, 2008. This old town bell was mentioned in my WPA book as having been located in the center of town for over 100 years. The book says that it was the town’s official timepiece and that it was also used in antebellum days to call together the “slave patrol” if any slaves were suspected of having run away. Today it is in the Clayton Baptist Church cemetery.
She was born in Clayton, Alabama — her grandfather, General (name, not rank) Cole, was a carpenter who worked to build the original courthouse there. Around 1860, he bought the freedom of Georgia Thompkins/Thompkins, a woman of mixed race whose father owned the plantation where she and her enslaved mother were seamstresses. They married, and Ann Lowe’s mother, Jane, was born during the War. Jane married Jack Lowe during Reconstruction. Jane’s marker at Pioneer Cemetery in Clayton reads, “The Mother of Anne Lowe.”
But by the beginning of the twentieth century Jane and Georgia had established themselves as society dressmakers in Montgomery, the state capital, catering to political wives and daughters. Ann’s education in the segregated schools of Alabama would have been rudimentary, and she dropped out at fourteen. But her apprenticeship in the family business trained her for one of the few vocations by which a woman could support herself respectably. It also gave her a rare example of female autonomy.
Okay, a total aside aside aside here because three little trivia-ish things.
As mentioned above, Ann Cole Lowe wound up finishing the ballgowns that her mother had started for Alabama First Lady Elizabeth Kirkman O’Neal. The First Lady, who went by ‘Lizzie’, was married to Emmet O’Neal, who served as Gov 1911-1915.
(1.) If you know Birmingham, O’Neal Steel = that family.
(2.) The Mountain Brook library in B’ham just changed its name from Emmet O’Neal to just O’Neal Library owing to his antiquated politics/views but keeping the surname in honor of the good works of the larger family. They’ve been generous.
(3.) And remember in A Christmas Story, about how Ralphie wanted the Daisy Red Ryder but was told “you’ll shoot your eye out, kid”? That happened with a Daisy to the then-6yo son of Lizzie & Emmet. That’s Kirkman, who started O’Neal Steel.
Using common objects such as sewing machine parts, Model T wheels and concrete and sand from a local creek, Forester created statues and wall murals. Her works were not featured in art exhibits, but by her death in 1953, she had created some 200 sculptures and murals. A garden she created around her antebellum residence included more than 200 figurative sculptures, including three-dimensional ones.
Love this tidbit: Forester, who was photographed carving a statue in her garden while wearing a fur and tiara — an image taken not long before her 80th birthday…
The baked alaska made with Shug’s name on it, at Antoine’s in New Orleans, for his first birthday celebration
Zoë François: “It’s beautiful, elegant and dramatic — a flaming dessert is an attention-grabber; it’s easy to make; it’s convenient — it can be made ahead; it’s got ice cream (enough said); it’s got meringue — which is the same as saying it’s got magic; it looks gorgeous whole and just as gorgeous sliced; it’s creamy and icy cold inside, marshmallowy all around and warm on the edges.”
Dorie has a new baking cookbook coming out in October — her books are so well regarded, they’re references at this point — and Zoe has a new book out: Zoë Bakes Cakes: Everything You Need to Know to Make Your Favorite Layers, Bundts, Loaves, and More (here at Bookshop // at Amazon)
Also: one song on the release is an interpretation of ABBA’s ‘Lay All Your Love on Me’: She explains, “It’s really a Bach chorale. Also, the idea of someone singing ‘Don’t go wasting your emotion / Lay all your love on me / Don’t go sharing your devotion / Lay all your love on me,’ over and over again very slowly, there’s a certain tragedy in it.
Passover, home, 2009.
Okay, Passover was (a.) positively great because we got to be with extended family who are all fully vaccinated whom we haven’t been with in over a year, and (b.) yummy because we had some great recipes for seder. If you’re running low on ideas for cooking for the rest of the holiday — I mean, we had matzah pizza last night so we’re def low on inspiration too — here’s what we served
***some of these recipes had little adjustments to make them pareve or Pesadicha:
Since 1870, except for this most recent intermission, and now Morning Call is back. Behold, the best beignets.
crawfish at home, 2008.
‘Tis the season: a Louisiana family starts The Crawfish App to give local boiled and live crawfish prices
From West Virginia Public Radio: This week on Inside Appalachia, we’re dedicating our show to the art of live storytelling. We’ll learn how musicians Anna and Elizabeth first met and how they incorporated the use of “crankies” into their songs. We’ll also travel to the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee where storyteller Michael Reno Harrell shared a story about his mother’s extended family.