Alabama Part 1 (What To Pick Up For Your Next Cook Book)

Frank Stitt, whom I must profess is high on my list of revered chefs, has just released a new cook book Bottega Favorita: A Southern Chef’s Love Affair with Italian Food and should be placed on what to read next. For anyone not familiar with Stitt, he is a James Beard-award winning chef and proprietor of Bottega, Chez Fon Fon, & Highlands Bar & Grill, all in Birmingham.

My last experience with Highlands was about this time last year for Cooking the Book: A Celebration of John Egerton’s Southern Food: At Home, On the Road, In History, a benefit for the John Egerton Prize, which is awarded each year by the Southern Foodways Alliance to “scholars, activists, and artists whose work in the world of food addresses issues of race, class, gender, and social and environmental justice.” It featured Jake Adam York, an Alabama-born poet (whom I was seated with for the dinner and became acquainted with) and was truly a memorable evening as the dining room was glowing with candles everywhere-in hurricanes, on mirrors, votives, etc. I came across the menu when cleaning my desk at home the other day:

At the bar

Sazeracs-a sweet sip of New Orleans history

Mint Juleps-a disarmingly simple (and potent) refreshment

Roasted Pecans-the premiere nut of the South

Crab Puffs-it’s a tedious job to pick all the sweet white meat from a crab shell

Oysters Bienville-‘by all odds the most priceless gem’

At the table

Poached farm egg with crawfish, Vidalia shoots, and grits-leaving Louisiana out would be like skipping over Baptists in a treatise on religion

Beef Shoulder Pot Roast-as satisfying and delicious as any entree

Scalloped Cabbage-cabbage, thus elevated, becomes ‘company’ cabbage

Stewed Greens-pot likker is beloved by blacks and whites alike

Mashed Potatoes and Rutabagas-garden potatoes were a symbol of survival in the Depression-era South; better times brought more than just salted water to cook them in

Black Bottom Pie-‘a pie so luscious, I hope to be propped up on my dying bed and a fed a generous portion’

I also remember having to get up and leave B’ham @ 3:00am to get back and prepare breakfast for guests @ the Lodge…lol…but it was definitely worth it!!



~ by elevatedsouthern on 2009/02/02.

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