Monday, April 09, 2007
The term "biscuit" comes from the French meaning "twice-cooked."
Bis - twice
Cuit - cook
The term also originally referred to any bread or pastry that are baked until dry and hard (a la biscotti) - but has evolved into the American morsel we love - full of solid fat, baking soda, and buttermilk.
That, my friend, is our heritage.
Pour THIS over your biscuits this time around:
Southern Oyster Gravy
4 oz. bacon lardons (or streaky bacon, coarsely chopped)
1/2 c. chopped leeks
1/2 t. garlic, minced
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
8 shucked oysters, drained and rinsed
Salt and Pepper, to taste
In a hot pan, drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil and add the bacon lardons, cook until fat has been extracted and bacon is crispy.
Add leeks and garlic, and saute until the garlic is fragrant and the leeks are transparent.
Gently pour in heavy cream and add oysters.
Reduce until thick, about 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour generously over fluffy, hot biscuits and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
Three seventy-something-year-old men break into a chorus of “Daddy’s Little Girl” as they cradle their vodka tonics in their hands reverently. In the pastel light of the retirement community-style living room, full of white-washed oak furniture and sea green carpet, the Master’s tournament glows on the television and murmurs in the background. A tan woman with squinty eyes and a brusque
“Did you bring your Tupperware, Veronica?” Grandma asks. Our care package is already being planned, the remnants of the feast are already being packaged up in our minds eye, ready for the three-hour trip back to
The dinner begins with the pouring of wine, of course. White Zinfandel for the older ladies, Merlot for the rest of us. After appetizers, none of us are willing to wait very long. Along with the customary chips and salsa and crudités, buttery crackers accompanied an unusual layering of cream cheese, cayenne pepper, apricot preserves, and sliced almonds. Unexpected, crunchy, creamy, sweet, and spicy. After that, our appetites are ready – we need Grandma Food.
We pass the bread around as the virtues of Jonathan Winters are extolled, John Travolta’s home is admired, and more wine is poured. We laugh, we pray for rain, we talk about Passover dinner, and the old times in
Grandma Food is always the same – comforting, homemade, unmarketable, and perfect. It always fits in the Tupperware. It always tastes the same when you heat it up. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter are all Grandma Food holidays. After the egg hunt, we all sit down in at the lace-covered table and pray that allergy season will be over soon. But it’s
Sunday, April 01, 2007
There’s no denying it, residents of
The term “comfort food” typically relates to any food that grants the eater a sense of security, contentment, and nostalgia. These foods are the ones we turn to in order to find respite from high-stress situations.
White foods continue to make appearances on menus all over the country, but in the South, they are special. Of course, the most regional of them are grits – coarsely ground corn kernels made into a kind of porridge – which have affectionately been given the acronym: Girls Raised In The South. Grits typically serve as a vehicle for cheese, butter, and cream, which are also white and therefore fall into the group. Also included are mashed potatoes, biscuits, creamed vegetables (including, but not limited to, spinach and corn), macaroni and cheese, and rice.
Nothing is more Southern, or more
Long-cooked foods are those that involved one or more ingredients and a significant cooking time. These foods are usually stewed, braised, or boiled, and end with concentrated flavors. An example of this is the traditional preparation of collard or mustard greens, which are cooked until completely tender, generally in conjunction with bacon. Other examples are stews (jambalaya and gumbo are included), chitlins, boiled peanuts, and beans.
These three categories are best found together, making the quintessential Southern meal. Try Mozaik’s Pecan Crusted Grouper, served with grits and collard greens, or