cherish your heritage…

Have I mentioned before how much I love cookbooks?  I love them.  I read them.  I get inspiration from them.  I devour them.  I will pour over a new cookbook like a good book.  A cookbook given to me truly is a gift, not just a present.

At Christmas this year I received Heritage, a cookbook by Sean Brock.  Sean Brock, for those of you unfamiliar with him by name, is chef/owner of HUSK in Charleston, and he has been a big driving force behind part of the huge food movement that has been building there in recent years and is now making waves everywhere.  He is creative to say the least, especially in utilizing the bounty of Southern foods and the history behind them.  He and I share a common belief that a large part of cooking is part of your growing up, part of who you are, your heritage.  For me there have been several influences, but as I read his words I simply  could not stop picturing my grandmother, Ruby, in her frilly apron over her small kitchen stove flipping fried chicken, or dropping biscuit dough into a pot of chicken and dumplings, turning squash fritters, and checking to be sure “the boys” were washing up for Sunday dinner.  She in turn influenced my mom, who always prepared dinner, who influenced me, and I hope the trend will continue from here.

He writes something clever in the front of his cookbook called “My Manifesto” and it has some awesome words I wanted to share with my readers.  It is lengthy and I am going to choose my favorites, but you are welcome to borrow the full version anytime.

In his words…

  • Cook with soul-but first, get to know your soul.
  • Be proud of your roots, be proud of your home, be proud of your family and its culture.  That’s your inspiration.
  • Cook in the moment.  Cook the way you are feeling, cook to suit the weather, cook with your mood, or to change your mood.
  • Listen to your tongue, it’s smart.
  • He who dies with the biggest pantry wins

Heritage.  Where we come from, what we are taught, traditions.  Cherish yours, and the best food and life has to offer when we will open our eyes, and ears, and hearts, and soak it in.

Enjoy, the best of food and life.


fifty shades of chicken…

Cookbooks are a lot of things, but typically funny isn’t among them.  Until the day I ran across a unique cookbook called Fifty Shades of Chicken, “a parody in a cookbook” by FL Fowler, where all recipes are “bound to be delicious”.  Even the title and cover is funny.  I blogged about this once before and it was met with lots of requests for more, so if you are new then enjoy and if if you are an old hat I’m sure you will laugh again!  So, stop here and let me remind you this is about chicken, and if your mind wanders to anything else then you need help.


(Excerpt & recipe below quoted from the cookbook referenced above.)

Dripping Thighs

     The way his apron hangs from his hips already has me all wobbly.  But as he coats my thighs with sticky liquid I can hardly contain myself.  Is it the wine, or is my aroma starting to drive him crazy, too?

He heats me up fast, and it won’t take much to finish me off now.  His lips quirk up into a smile.  My own juices are mixing with the coating and running all over the place.  I get the strangest, sweetest, most hedonistic feeling up and down.  It’s epicureanism run wild!

He spreads my thighs out on a plate.  Sticky hands and at least five wet napkins.  What will the housekeeper think?  Who cares?

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Sweet & Sour Onions, serves 2-4

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, patted dry with paper towels

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp plus a pinch kosher salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced

1 cup white wine

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons unsalted butter


1.  Preheat the oven to 450.  In  a large bowl, toss together the chicken, garlic, 1 tsp salt and pepper.

2.  In a small saucepan, simmer together the onion, wine, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and pinch of salt until most of the liquid has evaporated, 15-20 minutes.  Mix in the honey and butter.

3.  Spoon the mixture over the chicken and toss well.  Spread the thighs, onion mixture, and any juices into a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake until the chicken is no longer pick and the onions are meltingly tender and caramelized, about 25 minutes.

Remember, this is about cooking chicken and perhaps if you’re so inspired you might want to try the recipe for “Roasted Chicken with Sweet & Sour Onions”.  Enjoy the best of food and life, and a warm Valentine’s weekend with the ones you love.