“For starters, I have a great weakness for little bites that don’t leave me stuffed before the main event. The idea is to serve something provocative, to coax the appetite, to develop a tantalizing unrequited hunger, not to satiate it.” – Frank Stitt’s Southern Table
“There’s nothing better for kids than a bucket and shovel at the beach.”
“Cassoulet is the God of the Occitan cuisine. The Castelnaudary version is God the Father, the Carcassonne recipe is God the Son, and the Toulousain is the Holy Spirit.” – Prosper Montagné, Le Festin Occitan. 1929
The Cathedral of San Lorenzo
“The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you’re hungry again.” – George Miller, Director
Christmas Tree at the Chateau de Chenonceau
It was a sweltering hot July afternoon in 1945 when famous jazz vocalist Mel Tormé showed up for a writing session at the Toluca Lake house of his lyric partner Bob Wells. Mel let himself in and walked over to the piano. There, on the music board, was a pad of paper with four lines of a verse:
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like Eskimos
When Wells walked in the room, dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, Tormé asked him about the little poem.
“It’s so damn hot today, I thought I’d write something to cool myself off,” Wells replied. “All I could think of was Christmas and cold weather.”
And that is “the rest of the story” behind one of America’s most loved contemporary Christmas hits, A Christmas Song. With this intro, I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and all of the best for 2018.
“In the South, I think, food mirrors our lives. When I was growing up, no matter what you were grieving or celebrating, my mama would be at the door with a cake or a pie.” – Kimberly Schlapman
“Brunswick Stew is what happens when small mammals carrying ears of corn fall into barbeque pits.”– Roy Blount Jr.
Benton’s Country Ham*
“There’s no secret to anything I’m doing: a tiny bit of knowledge, and a lot of time and patience. People have been making bacon like this for centuries.” – Allan Benton
While we were in Piemonte, we enjoyed Brasato Vitello al Barolo (braised veal in Barolo wine) in several restaurants. I was so taken with the dish that, when we returned home, I thought it would be a cinch to duplicate it. How hard could it be? Put a veal roast and some veggies in some red wine and let it cook for 3-4 hours? Well, I was very wrong.
Duck Ragout with Tagliatelle
“Oh, while Iris was eating her duck leg, she pointed to a piece of cartilage and said, “I think that’s the duck’s gill.” Perhaps we haven’t adequately explained the whole waterfowl concept.” – Matthew Amster-Burton, Roots and Grubs