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Tuesday
Jul152014

Penguin to Publish the Potlikker Papers! 

It's official.

The Penguin Press will publish THE POTLIKKER PAPERS, a personal history of Southern food. My newest book, the one I've been jonesing to write, tells the modern story of the region; reveals how the South came to be at the forefront of American culinary culture; and investigates how issues of race and ethnicity have shaped the place, its people, and its food.

I look forward to working with my Penguin editor Ginny Smith Younce. And I thank my agent David Black for making it happen.

Wednesday
Jun182014

The Lunch Counter in Garden & Gun 

Fifty years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, I took a look at the past and promise of the most democratic restaurant space of all:

Lunch counters, with starburst stainless backslashes, vinyl spinner stools, and long tables of elbow-polished linoleum, are architectural and cultural icons. Everyman spaces, where lawyers and laborers sit side by side to savor burgers and fries and sweaty tumblers of tea, they were conceived as sites of workaday communion. At their best, lunch counters reflect our egalitarian ideals. The problem is, for much of the South’s history, they were not at their best. Read more...

Wednesday
Jun182014

Deep South Vadouvan in the Oxford American

"Knife and Fork" (2008) by Meryl Truett

I've gotten more positive reactions to this piece -- on commonalities in Indian and Southern cultures -- than any I've written in recent memory:

“Is that pakora?” I asked the clerk at the counter, trying to affect a deep knowledge of Indian cookery, in which fritters of eggplants, potatoes, and seemingly every other vegetable under the subcontinental sun are known by that name. “No, those are chicken nuggets,” the turban-wearing man said as he pivoted from the hot box to the cash register to sell a long haul driver a one-hitter bottle of 5-hour Energy. Read more..

Wednesday
Jun182014

Three new Garden & Gun Restaurant Columns

Garden & Gun has expanded my restaurant column, almost doubling the word count. I'm excited to have the extra room to move around in, the space to showcase the cooks I respect and the places I long to linger at table.

Here are my three most recent Fork in the Road columns:

Home Style, Hattiesburg, MS

Brenda Williams cooks week-day lunches of fried chicken, butter beans, and yams inside a trailer home, parked in a dirt and gravel lot at the back of a ragtag industrial park south of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She calls the restaurant Home Style. It is just that. Read more...

City House, Nashville, TN (triptych above)

The Nashville restaurant City House interprets Italy like a lost Southern state, tucked somewhere between Tennessee and Emilia-Romagna. Read more...

Milkwood, Louisville, KY

Folded into a cone, dabbed with corncob jelly, sprinkled with nori shrapnel, the basement ham hors d’oeuvre Edward Lee sometimes passes at his Louisville restaurant comes with a good backstory. Catch Lee in the kitchen and he’ll tell of the friend who found a brace of five-year-old Kentucky hams in another friend’s basement, knew their mold shrouds were signs of healthy maturation, and knew Lee would know what to do with them. Read more...