Is Barbecue Barbaric? A Small Treatise on a Large and Controversial Subject

The All-American favorite cooking method, “barbecue,” sounds uncannily like “barbarism.” When warm nights and hotter days rev up cooks’ tempers as summer suddenly seems interminable, cooks turn to the trusty (and maybe rusty) BBQ grill and primal techniques of searing meat over an open flame. Age-old these methods are, indeed. And frankly barbaric, to the…

* Biscuits and Buttermilk: A New Year and New Directions

After a long fallow period, spent baking (and eating) many Christmas cookies, I have decided to bloom/cook where I am planted, so to speak. Lately I’ve become more intrigued by the cuisine that surrounds me, here in the American South.  After all, I’ve basically been a Southerner for over 30 years. Although many cookbook authors…

Hog Butchering Time with Harry Crews

I came within ax-handle length of hog butchering only once. And that was enough for me. My grandparents lived agrarian lives and they carried over many of their habits to their small acreage in southern California, where they raised chickens and rabbits for their table. I, on the other hand, grew up in the shadows…

If on a Winter’s Night, a Bowl of Garbure

Nights spent huddled by fires snapping  and popping and providing respite from the howling winds and wolves, when you think of the dark and the cold and the danger, don’t you — all snuggled up in your down comforter or quilt passed down from your great-grandmother — feel a slight shiver? Of déjà vu? Not the…

C’est Pas Foie Gras, Or, Liver Follies and Foibles

I have a confession to make: I don’t really like liver. For one thing, the gamey taste lingers on the back of my tongue a tad bit too long. For another thing, the smell of liver frying in butter nauseates me. It’s enough to gag a goat. Don’t ask me why on earth I ended…

Winter’s Leafy Greens: A Romantic History à la Française

A few mornings ago, the pumpkins sprawling on my front porch sparkled with frost. And you know what that means. It’s time for some serious rustic cooking. (And I’d like to include a recording right here of someone yelling “Yippee!”) It’s time to turn to the hardy greens of winter, something that French cooks* use…