September 6, 1992 |
A humorist once noted that the three basic food groups for Southerners are sugar, lard and bourbon. A simplistic statement, of course, and an incomplete one. There are actually four food groups, and the most important one, the one no self-respecting Southerner would turn down, is grits. People from Away (anywhere north, east or west of the South) don't always understand the attraction to the bland, mushy, white mound of cereal that justly could be called the national food of the South.
February 3, 2008 |
It is often in the attention accorded the lowliest of ingredients that a chef's truest love can be discerned, and at Marigold Kitchen you cannot help but notice the ritual surrounding the grits - coarse yellow, ground by stone, from historic Byrd Mill. In the end - after hours of low-simmering and whisking (every 10 minutes, dictated by the buzz of a timer!), chilling, and hard-beating over the space of two days - they are transcendent things, buttery and risottolike in their classic pairing with shrimp, an altogether different species from what you'd expect.
April 11, 1993 |
The first time I encountered them, I confess I was truly perplexed. There on my breakfast plate, next to the eggs and bacon, where the hash browns should have been, was a pile of steaming white mush. "Grits," explained the waitress, with a touch of condescension in her voice, as though the identity of this strange breakfast food should be obvious to any red-blooded American. Grits are dried, hulled, coarsely ground white corn kernels. The corn is treated with wood ash to facilitate hulling, a trick discovered by American Indians.
July 31, 1988 |
What's going to be the warmest memory of Campaign '88? Issues? Nah. It'll be the popular nicknames given to each presidential ticket. Who can forget the catchy label for the Carter-Mondale duo of '76? "Fritz and Grits. " This year's odd coupling of Gov. Michael S. Dukakis and Sen. Lloyd Bentsen on the Democratic ticket deserves an equally classic nickname. Here's the best possibility: Bentsen & Hedges. Dukakis hedged his bet by choosing Bentsen, a Texas millionaire on the party's conservative side.
June 19, 2015
Improving the Hot Dog As meat preferences shift toward the free-range, the grass-fed, the hormone-free and local, the backyard BBQ must evolve, too. Enter the "Frankford'er" remix of the old hot dog, an all-natural beef and pork frank courtesy of the whole-animal butchers over at Fishtown's Kensington Quarters on (you guessed it) Frankford Avenue. No nitrates means these poached (unsmoked) links are gray, slightly firmer than industrial dogs, and with a shorter - three-day - shelf life.
September 21, 2009 |
It was a potentially explosive question. But "Humble" Bob Shoudt of Royersford, a.k.a. "The Notorious B.O.B.," delicately deflected it. After winning three world eating titles this month - for gobbling grits, burritos and chili spaghetti - what, uh, gave him the most gas? "Shell gas station," he said this morning. ". . . I had to drive 3-1/2 hours to get to the grits contest. So I did go through a lot of gas. " On Saturday, 42-year-old pro eater/information technology manager polished off 18.98 pounds of grits in 10 minutes in Louisiana.
January 22, 2015 |
Two Saturdays ago on a stretch of Germantown Avenue they cleared the chairs out of Geechee Girl, the homey "rice cafe" that since 2003 had been cooking up the coastal South's Low-Country shrimp and stone-ground grits, tomatoey red rice, and a crispy-fried version of Hoppin' John, the rustic pilaf informed by bacon and black-eyed peas and, now and then, John's little sister, Limpin' Susan, in which the peas are replaced by thin-sliced okra. Most of the tables went out, too. The crowd that night was going to overflow the house.
January 22, 1993 |
Friday's lunch menu at the cafeteria of a big auto plant in Normal, Ill., offered meatloaf and egg rolls. It wasn't expected to cause a stampede by gourmets. But it was politically correct and sensitive. You never know where political correctness and sensitivity will rear its stern head. It's something new almost every day. This is how it came to the company cafeteria of the Diamond-Star Motors Corp. Some time ago, an executive asked the firm that operates the cafeteria to broaden the menu, offer more choices, provide some variety.
July 20, 1988 |
Dear Polly: Do you have a formula for a homemade solution that you can dip silver into for the purpose of removing tarnish without heavy rubbing? - Maggie Dear Maggie: You may be thinking of this method of silver cleaning, which depends on a chemical reaction to remove the tarnish. It's quick and easy, but it can leave silver looking dull and lifeless, so don't use it too frequently. Place the silver on a sheet of aluminum foil in an enameled pan. Cover with 2 quarts boiling water and 4 teaspoons baking soda.
May 27, 2010
Fusion groove As we rev up for Philly Beer Week in early June, it's also worth casting a glance toward one of the best beer lists in South Jersey, at Cork. This Westmont survivor has grown a serious brew list in recent years, with 20-plus bottles and 15 taps ranging from Chimay "Cinq Cent" to Germany's Weihenstephan pilsner. But Cork's kitchen, headed by chef Sae An, has also made serious strides since its initial lukewarm review five years ago. Aside from lowering entree prices into the neighborhood-friendly teens, An has found his fusion groove with Korean-themed tacos, Asian-flavored short ribs over jalapeno-cheddar grits, and my favorite - this crispy flatbread topped with the Chinatown fixins for Peking duck, with crispy skin and savory meat strewn amid crunchy green scallions over a grilled pizza dough smeared with hoisin.