A moment of hospitality in Django Unchained . . . until the raw ugliness of slavery appears again and all hell breaks loose. Slaves weave in and out, a mouth articulates racist physiognomy and all around plentiful, elaborate food. This fictional scene echoes history, voices letters from the past. In Culinary Conversations of The Plantation … Continue reading Southern Hospitality: Then And Now
Looking through the ground-breaking, original four-volume series The Image of the Black in Western Art, the myriad of interpretive decisions highlight problems and struggles with the representation of people of African descent in Western art. A project started by John and Dominique de Menil in the 1960’s as a response to segregation in America, the … Continue reading Further Thoughts Toward A Lecture In North Carolina: Lowcountry Seafood Boil.
I discover Edna Lewis in the pages of the New York Times. Edna Lewis and the Black Roots of American Cooking by Francis Lam casts me into the world of Freetown, Virginia where people lived close to the land, cooking their harvest in wood stoves, using wells and streams to keep food cool. Lam carefully chooses … Continue reading Edna Lewis And Kidney Bean Soup
Let’s read the opening sentences of Jane Grigson’s Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery, an awe-inspiring journey through cooking and prose. It could be said that European civilization –and Chinese civilization too–has been founded on the pig. Easily domesticated, omnivorous household and village scavenger, clearer of scrub and undergrowth, devourer of forest acorns, yet content with … Continue reading Jane Grigson, Pig Tails, Henri Michaux And Debussy–All From a Far-Off Country.
Who would I like to have over for dinner? Well, Vincent Price, of course. Besides terrorizing my younger years with such movies as House on Haunted Hill and The Raven, he also was a noted art collector and gourmand. My grandmother passed down to me A Treasury of Great Recipes by Mary and Vincent Price … Continue reading Vincent Price Cooks Small Boys, Final Words With The Dead, The Surprise Of Wild Boar, And Eating Pork Belly While Listening To Ralph Stanley. (Part 4)
The day begins with bourbon. Well, actually the day began with the removal of the pork belly from its brine, lighting of hickory wood, and now since my only duty today calls for a careful watching of the smoker, I feel morally sound in tipping a glass . . . or two. Three pounds of … Continue reading Smoking Pork Belly, Making Black Truffle Butter, Drinking Some More Woodford Reserve And Talking To The Dead, While I Listen To Barbara Dane And Uncle Tupelo. (Part 3)
Look at it. Three pounds of Mangalitsa/Berkshire goodness. Oh, the marble-like fat, smooth and wet to the touch. The Mangalitsa certainly has its share of attention these days, with an appearance recently in the Slow Food 2014 Almanac, which highlights its taste profile, “the fat of Mangalica pigs has been shown to be better for … Continue reading Another Day With The Appalachian Book Of The Dead, While Brining Pork Belly And Pouring Woodford Reserve Double Oaked With Johnny Cash And The Civil Wars. (Part Two)
The “Weighing of the Heart” in The Egyptian Book of the Dead offers a moment we may live any day or minute on earth, and one we may believe judges all our actions and thoughts after we die. This particular Book of the Dead presents Ani, a royal scribe, descending to the underworld–a descent which transforms … Continue reading The Appalachian Book Of The Dead, Woodford Reserve, And How To Smoke A Pork Belly On Your Son’s Birthday (Part 1).
It’s late, cold and I’m drinking Jefferson’s Kentucky Bourbon Very Small Batch. Much spice and vanilla on the nose with citrus notes everywhere–green apples and rum in there as well. Taste? Very clean, refreshing, slightly sour with red-hot candy, anise, a bit of lemon, bit of grass, and cookie dough. A roll of nectar in … Continue reading A Good Man Is Hard To Find, Jefferson’s Very Small Batch Bourbon, And Grits.
On March 25 at the Houston Country Club, I’ll sit at a white-cloth table, dine on a salad, a fowl perhaps, and some sort of pie, while drinking a few glasses of wine. This is the annual Great Conversation hosted by the august Honors College at the University of Houston–where I work. Along the way, … Continue reading A Rose For Emily, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, And A Lowcountry Seafood Boil