Juleps to Johnnycakes: Deep South's 2014 Academy Awards Menu
The upcoming Academy Awards on March 2 are equivalent to the Super Bowl in our book and a great chance to throw a viewing party. The South is well represented this year in “12 Years a Slave” and “Dallas Buyer’s Club,” with Texan Matthew McConaughey the darling of this year’s awards and Louisiana-born Jared Leto not far behind. Their performances in “Dallas Buyer’s Club” are some of the most memorable. Kentucky gal Jennifer Lawrence also stole the show in “American Hustle,” which has an excellent chance of picking up Best Picture. And let’s not forget “The Great Gatsby,” which didn’t perform as expected but did dazzle with costumes and music.
The Mint Julep – “The Great Gatsby” may not have lived up to all the hype last spring, but it got an Oscar nod for costume and production design. Celebrate the movie on Sunday night with a classic cocktail whose silver serving vessel would fit right in with all the glitz and glam.
Bourbon Milk Punch – In another nod to Gatsby, this New Orleans favorite is perfect for a late-night or early morning party and could also be served in a punchbowl to satiate a crowd.
Blackberry Sidecar – The juice from a blackberry plays a big part in “12 Years a Slave,” allowing Solomon Northup (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) to write a very important letter. Try Ruth Chris’s version of the sidecar, which combines cognac, cointreau, blackberries and plum bitters.
Doritos – Fans of Kentucky gal Jennifer Lawrence and her nomination for best supporting actress for “American Hustle” may want to serve her favorite junk food. She’s said to have eaten Doritos while on set wearing her slinky white dress, proving you can take the girl out of the South, but …
Bisque of Curried Pumpkin, Crawfish and Corn – A dish from Houmas House Plantation, located near St. Joseph Plantation where “12 Years a Slave” was filmed, this dish is an example of elegant plantation fare that would have been served to the masters and their guests.
Pickled Okra Roll – Some of the most expensive and decadent meals are eaten in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” including a sushi lunch. Our pickled okra roll from Memphis Chef Marisa Baggett is fun to make and will hit the spot.
Meatloaf with Coca-Cola Glaze – In “Nebraska,” the only thing aging dad Woody (played by Bruce Dern) wants to order when the family goes out to dinner is meatloaf, but the waitress tells him they don’t have it for dinner. Our version is baked with Coca-Cola and would satisfy even the crotchiest of guests.
Kale Jambalaya – We can’t forget our Louisiana-born boy Jared Leto this year since he’s nominated for his amazing performance as Rayon in “Dallas Buyer’s Club.” A vegetarian, Leto has said his favorite foods are vegetables and popcorn. We think he’d love this version of jambalaya (sans the andouille sausage), which includes plenty of leafy greens.
Collard Green Gratin – Solomon Northup doesn’t get fed as much as those living in the big house in “12 Years a Slave,” but greens were always available during this time period. Bake them into a gratin for a delicious casserole dish.
Braised Greens Mac and Cheese – A crowd pleaser, guests will be asking for more greens in this creamy take on macaroni and cheese from Wisteria restaurant in Georgia.
Sorghum Cornbread – Solomon Northup is fed a johnnycake during his enslavement. This sorghum cornbread recipe from Georgia definitely calls to mind the traditional early American cornmeal flatbread.
Lavender Pecan Crisps – This sweet and savory cookie is served at Chappell Hill Lavender Farm in Brenham, Texas, and is our ode to “Dallas Buyer’s Club” and best actor nominee Matthew McConaughey’s Texas roots — and his character Ron Woodruff’s search for a bit of sweetness in life.
Doughnut King Cake – In “Wolf of Wall Street,” cocaine is referred to as doughnuts at one point. We’d describe the doughnut version of King Cake more as crack, but find out where to order one in our Guide to King Cake.