4 Chefs. 12 Recipes. 1 Distinctly Southern Thanksgiving. In magazines from Bon Appetit to Better Homes and Gardens, Southern style seems to rule Thanksgiving this year. In its November issue, Bon Appetit sat down at the table with Alabama designer Billy Reid and Oxford, Mississippi, restauranteur John Currence. Better Homes and Gardens turned to North Carolina Foster's Market owner and Chef Sara Foster for a classic Thanksgiving menu. Here at Deep South, we decided to round up a few Southern chefs (and one bartender) of our own and ask them what they're serving on their Thanksgiving table.
Festivals celebrating cornbread, biscuits and MoonPies are taking place throughout the Volunteer State this summer.
By Kate Spears
May is here and, in the South, we all know what that means … the start of festival season! I guess I’m what you could call a festival junkie. Early each year, I scour the web and other media outlets for local festivals and slowly, but surely, each weekend of the upcoming months gets filled with events. I don’t always make it to every festival I pencil in, but some take more priority. This year, I kicked off festival season with the National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg, Tennessee.
South Pittsburg is just off Interstate 24, close to where the borders of Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama meet. This tiny town comes alive for the festival, held the last weekend of April for the past 15 years. South Pittsburg is also home to Lodge Cast Iron, and since every true Southerner knows cast iron bakes the best cornbread, this is a perfect tie-in for the festival.
After making the two-and-a-half-hour drive from Knoxville, the Southern beau and I met up with some Nashville friends who were joining us, and prepared to experience all the Cornbread Festival
Atlanta-based Chef Virginia Willis's bag of Southern recipes is filled with foods fit to grace the table at any holiday party.
by Erin Z. Bass When Chef Virginia Willis contacted us over the summer to find out if we wanted to post a couple of her recipes on our site and add a copy of her latest cookbook, "Bon Appetit, Y'all: Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking," to our library, we of course said yes. (I believe my exact response to her e-mail was: "I feel like I've been contacted by a Southern celebrity!") Virginia has worked with Martha Stewart as kitchen director for her TV show, where she cooked for President Clinton, Aretha Franklin and Julia Child, as well as tested and edited "The All-New Joy of Cooking." Her career in the kitchen began in Atlanta as an apprentice to Nathalie Dupree, credited with starting the "New Southern Cooking" movement that has spread through restaurants across the South. Dupree's influence can be found in "Bon Appetit, Y'all," which is distinctly Southern in feel without being cliche. Alton Brown may have summed it up best in his praise on the back cover: "Most Southern cookbooks, even the really
Satisfy your sweet tooth for pumpkin this season in Roswell, Georgia.
by Sandy Caldwell
Roswell is a lovely town in North Georgia, outside of Atlanta, with a booming historic district full of charming shops and delicious restaurants, cafes and bakeries for food lovers. As the holidays approach, the town’s chefs and bakers are experimenting with pumpkin, possibly the most purchased ingredient by bakers from October through December. Everything from traditional pie to cookies, cupcakes and even brulée are making an appearance on Roswell menus, and Alpharetta food writer and baker Sandy Caldwell couldn't help but set out to do some tasting. A modest little shop tucked off Canton Street, The Pie Hole sells and makes nothing but homemade pies. I walked in and briefly met the owner, Alayne Graham, who was busy making some mouthwatering apple pies piled high with 3 pounds of sliced apples. The Pie Hole has a cozy, rustic feel with a few tables to sit and enjoy your pie and wonderful smells coming out of the kitchen, while you watch Alayne and her staff busy at work.
I was given a slice of pumpkin pie with the addition of whipped cream. After taking my first bite, I could
Georgia cook Gena Knox gets back to her roots in redefining Southern cuisine.
by Erin Z. Bass With a new cookbook out, plus an existing line of grilling products, Georgia gal Gena Knox may be the new face of Southern cuisine. Growing up on a farm in the middle part of the state, outside of Macon, Gena spent her days helping her mother and grandmother in the kitchen, selling lemonade and boiled peanuts in town and checking the fields with her dad. Some of her earliest memories are of food, whether it be her grandmother's caramel cake or fried catfish and butterbeans for dinner.
"Growing up we lived on traditional Southern foods," she says. "Every Sunday, fried chicken, chicken fried steak. My mom made everything." In starting her own career, first with a fresh salsa company in Colorado, followed by a catering business and now the company Fire and Flavor, Gena wants the world to know that healthy cooking doesn't mean a compromise in taste. This is an especially hard sell to Southerners, used to cooking with that stick of butter, frying oil or pack of bacon. But Gena's goal with her latest cookbook, "Southern My Way," is to show people around
Contemplating the rare qualities of the softshell crab in Biloxi.
by Julian Brunt
The briny waters of the Gulf of Mexico offer up an abundance of seafood that is unequaled in variety and quality. Thus, the recipes created for that abundance by those lucky enough to live on its shores - gumbo, courtbouillon and etouffée come to mind - are famed near and far. But there is one delicacy that you may never sample unless you visit the Gulf Coast during late summer/early fall and have the good luck to arrive at just the right time.
The blue crab (callinectes sapidus), which is harvested by the multitudes in the shallow waters of the Gulf, must shed its hard shell periodically as it grows into a bigger fellow. When the shell is discarded, he becomes a softshell crab, but for only a few days. Called a buster when his shell first starts to come undone, this crab has three or four days as a softshell and then a few more as a paper-shell (much less desirable, but still edible). Then, if his luck holds and a big red fish has not made supper of him, it is back to life as usual for
Burkville, Alabama’s annual Okra Festival sustains its rural community in more ways than one.
by Amanda Burleigh
The 10th annual Okra Festival will be held in Burkville, Alabama, on August 28 this year. What started as a neighborhood party thrown by two friends in Lowndes County has blossomed into an annual festival drawing thousands of people to this small town located outside Montgomery.
“Everybody in my little community grows the mighty okra, which we call ‘the peoples’ vegetable,’” says festival co-founder Barbara Evans. “It’s like us, strong, Southern, can withstand anything and keep going.”
After the success of the first festival, Evans says townspeople wanted it to continue.
“Local people cook all kinds of food, from pig ear sandwiches to gumbo. Okra is fried, steamed, stewed, boiled and used in art,” she says. But that’s not all. Festival goers will also find okra casseroles, hors d’oeuvres, pie and pickled okra. Sunny Boy King, a local bluesman, has been performing from Evans’ front porch, located on the festival grounds, since the second year. Vendors sell art, preserves and crafts, and there is even the occasional yard sale. “One year we had pony rides, but it was just too hot for the ponies,” says Evans, pictured
We've been wanting to add more recipes to Deep South for a while now and would like to thank the folks at The Hungry Southerner blog for their hospitality in sharing one with us today. Their site is a wonderful place to find homegrown stories about Southern products and businesses and, of course, Southern food. And their tagline, "Stay Hungry, Y'all!" pretty much embodies what we love to do most here in the Deep South: eat - and talk about - food.
Hungry Southerner's recipe for Coca-Cola Glazed Meatloaf is perfect for a Sunday supper. In addition to its use of one our favorite Southern products, Coca-Cola, or Co-Cola as it's often called down here, this recipe and quick and fairly easy. A Coca-Cola glaze results in a sweet, sticky crust on top, taking this meatloaf to the next level. Serve with some mashed potatoes and a veggie, and you've got a delicious meal to enjoy while you talk about the next one.
Southern Meatloaf with Coca-Cola Glaze
1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground beef 80/20
2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs
1/2 large white onion, finely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 T
by Erin Z. Bass
Some Gulf waters may still be closed to fishing, but in Cypremort Point, Louisiana, the blue crabs in the bay are biting. We caught over two dozen this past Saturday with nets hung from the wharf and turkey necks as bait. This usually means a crab boil is in our future after sunset, but this time, a camp guest proposed a new idea. My brother's girlfriend's dad (take a second to process that) offered to put the crabs on the barbecue. We took him up on the idea and may not want to eat boiled crabs again. With the backs off, gradoux cleaned out and the shells basted with Cajun seasoning, the crabs soak up some smoky flavor from the pit and peeling them to get to the meat inside is worth every minute. (Scroll down to get the recipe.) Barbecued Crabs
1-2 dozen fresh, live crabs
Cajun seasoning blended with butter or oil or favorite brand of Cajun basting sauce
Place crabs on ice to shock so that backs can be removed. Using a knife, remove the underside of the crab and clean out gills and guts. Baste with sauce, then place back side down on a hot pit. After
by Dana Newsome
Strawberries the sweetest this side of heaven, as the locals claim, will be the highlight of the weekend April 17-18 in the small town of Starke, Florida. Located in the northeast corner of the state, Starke hosts the 12th Annual Bradford County Strawberry Festival each year. With a standing population of 5,700, the area Chamber of Commerce expects the rural community to welcome more than 10,000 weekend guests this year.
Strawberries were first grown in Bradford County in the late 1800s and flourished, while orange groves perished in the "Big Freeze" of 1895 and the cotton industry was destroyed by the boll weevil 20 years later. Crops of the berry have slowly diminished over the years due to the rise of cheaper, imported produce, but several families continue to grow strawberries in Bradford County and showcase them each year in April.
The Strawberry Festival hosts local artists, craftsmen and vendors along historic Main Street in downtown Starke. Visitors and locals can visit booths for shopping, enjoy family activities, listen to live music and, of course, partake in the local strawberries. Covered in chocolate, included in shortcake and fresh from the fields, the county's sweet strawberries are the main attraction. Local