Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Creating a Wiki

I have been searching the web for a site that really tells the story of Southern food. I can find very interesting sites which are full of information. But I have not found one single Southern food site that really covers all of the aspects of Southern food with cross references and with a deep discussion of influences. So we are going to launch one.

We are planning it now. If you have any ideas, if you are an expert on a particular topic related to Southern food, or if you just want to have input, please get in touch with me. As the "Southern Food and Beverage Wiki" is launched we will be building an important document that will belong to everyone. Think about your state. Think about your favorite foods. Don't let them be neglected on this wiki.

We would like to launch within 90 days, so let us hear from you.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Even more Memphis

What a great town. Our event at The Inn at Hunt Phelan was a real success. My belly is full of Chef Stephen Hassinger's menu, a salute to southern cooking, as well as some delicious beer from Jim and Nicks and pomengranate cocktails concocted by David Parks, mixologist extraordinaire from rum and vodka graciously donated by United Liquor. There were food writers Andria Lisle (most recently published in Gardens and Guns) and Jennifer Chandler (whose book Simply Salads is sitting open on my kitchen counter) and Melissa Peterson from Edible Memphis. Museum directors Deborah Leman from Casey Jones Museum and Ken Hall of the Memphis Cotton Museum also attended, along with a bevy of Memphis food lovers, like the Squirrel Squad and Kjeld Peterson of Slow Food Memphis. Everyone who came ( and even some who could not attend) donated menus to our collection, which seems to be growing exponentially! Keep those menus coming folks and I hope to be back in Memphis soon with our exhibit Restaurant Restorative. And thanks to all who made the evening so delightful.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Exploding Opportunities

I would so like this blog to be a way to express my excitement about all of the opportunities that are appearing in the ever widening path of SoFAB and share all of these opportunities with you. I am actually frustrated by the fact that prudence and good sense tell me that I can only share those opportunities that are fully realized and not just the inquiries and the possibilities. So let me share one exciting reality that is formed enough to discuss... SoFAB has partnered with the French Consulate in New Orleans as well as the Ogden Museum of Southern Art to bring to those who can attend on October 29, 30 and 31, 2007, training by the noted, Institut du Goût. This training can then be brought to the classroom to help children understand how to appreciate food and how taste happens. The details will be on our website soon.

So as you can see very real and important activities are forming, and the depth and importance of them continues to grow. I cannot wait until I can write about more.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery

I just returned from England and the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery. Despite jet lag, i have returned invigorated and a reminded of how food connects us all. The symposium is two days of intellectual stimulation, fun, eating and companionship. I heard presentations and considered challenges on the theme of Food and Morality on topics ranging from the culture of growing poppies in Turkey to considerations of cannibalism. The vibrancy of the research and the breadth of topics merely underscores the importance of the study of food.

Upon returning I find an in-box full of emails referencing great projects for SoFAB, many menus and ephemera having been donated and plans for new exhibits. I am very excited to see just how relevant SoFAB is to the world. I am glad to be back.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


So I just got back from Memphis. What generous, gracious town, especially the folks at The Inn at Hunt Phelan. Chef Stephen Hassinger and the whole staff fed and watered me so well. If you are visiting Memphis or lucky enough to live there, make sure to try the tasting menu at Hunt Phelan. My delicious meal was a sure sign that our dinner there next week will be scrumptious. I appeared on Live at 9, a popular morning show, then held a cookbook sale at the Cotton Museum, where I served red beans and hawked our reprint of Red Beans and Ricely Yours. About 40 folks showed up to chow and chat. Wight Boggs, who runs the Memphis Restaurant Association gave me lots of contacts to invite to our dinner and I finished the night at Mollie Fontaine's, Karen Carrier's newest venture (formerly the restaurant Cielo), a tapas lounge in Midtown (At least I think it's in Midtown. My Memphis geography is still a bit fuzzy). While there, I got to meet the Knipples, the family behind the Squirrel Squad, a blog about Memphis food. I also hung out with Melissa Peterson of Edible Memphis and her husband, Kjeld Peterson of Slow Food Memphis. Everyone I met was very excited about the museum and our Menu Project. I hope it is a successful evening.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

lots of updates

so many things have happened since I last posted, including things that happened before I posted. Hmmm. Ok. So I was a speaker at Satchmo Fest, this great festival held each summer to celebrate the life of Louis Armstrong. This year, the presentations were planned by my buddy John who asked me to give talk about Louis' red beans and rice recipe. John began to explain the recipe came from this out of print cookbook titled "Red Beans and Ricely Yours" till I told him it wasn't out of print anymore, since SoFAB had republished it. I had a great time talking about and eating some beans, hearing Louis stories and John later told me that everyone who attended said it was their favorite ending to Satchmo Fest. Maybe I can do a bit more research and give an updated version of the talk next year...

The I went to San Francisco, which I already wrote about. Got back and turned around to go to Kendall College, in Chicago where our Restaurant Restorative exhibit is currently on display until September 21. They showed the museum some wonderful hospitality and had a reception where they served some killer crab cakes, mini grit cakes with grillades (so delish that my vegetarian friend ate several) and some scrumptious gumbo. Many thanks to Chef Billy Alexander, a southern boy from Mo-Beel, who did the culinary honors. Almost 100 people came to see the exhibit and taste the goodies, representing many facets of the food industry, from chefs and food product testers to culinary historians and gourmet club members.

I got home and did some laundry and now am headed to Memphis tomorrow to be on TV Thursday the 6th to promote our menu Collecting Event/Fundraising Dinner at Hunt Phelan September 17 (I'll be on Live at 9, for those of you in the area) and have a book event later that day at the Cotton Museum from 11-1 , where we will be selling, you guessed it, Red Beans and Ricely Yours. I'll post next week and let you know how it went. Time to put the laundry in the suitcase...