I’m back from Atlanta safe and sound, after having a great trip overall. I was a bit nervous as I flew there Thursday, going alone to a strange city without the benefit of knowing a single soul. Atlanta is huge and vibrant and ALIVE. It struck me as a city bursting with energy from the inside out. Getting off the plane and taking the taxi to the hotel on a hot night, I wondered what I was in for. As it turned out, I stayed on the 67th floor with a sweeping view of the city and a very, very loud party next door. I’d say about 30 people were rocking out to Louis Armstrong, Billy Holiday and Bessie Smith. Even though it was hideously loud, how could I complain? Their taste in music was just too good.
Fortunately, the very first morning I sat at a table full of amazing women that adopted me for the weekend. This amazing woman is the Kentucky bluegrass version of Jamie Oliver–she spends her professional time helping schools become healthier. This beautiful woman is killing me with her chocolate chip cookies today! This fantastic woman is not only a very gifted photographer, she has an amazingly witty, dry sense of humor. As you can see, I was very fortunate. I took a lot of classes (the highlight by far was a mind-blowing presentation by this woman), tried a lot of products and talked, talked, talked. I had a brief chat with this man who just came out with what looks like an awesome cookbook. As far as food goes, I noticed lots of collards and turnip greens. Barbecue was ubiquitous.
There were a fair amount of peaches and sour plums (which the locals eat with salt):
Pork products were well represented.
There was chow chow and yellow tea, which was totally new to me, so I brought some home to check it out.
There were blue crabs.
And super luscious handmade popsicles from a street cart in front of a gas station (dark chocolate/salt and blackberry mojito).
The best meal I had was a late breakfast on Sunday, by myself with a newspaper and a huge, bottomless glass of iced tea at Mary Mac’s Tea Room. I was already fairly stuffed from the weekend’s indulgences, so I went for the plate o’ sides–sweet potatoes, Hoppin John, Potlikker, Collards. It was all served with a big basket of cornbread and warm yeast rolls. Delicious. Tonight in honor of my Georgia trip I made my favorite cornbread recipe of all time, from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. This luscious cornbread is golden and crackling on top, with a rich, creamy layer of custard that bakes into the center. It is always a hit. Fire up some Bessie Smith and you have yourself a party!
- 2 eggs
- 3 TBLS butter, melted
- 3 TBLS sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 TBLS white vinegar
- 1 cup AP flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Butter an 8 inch square baking dish and place in oven to heat while you mix the batter.
- Mix together the eggs and butter well.
- Add the sugar, salt, milk and vinegar and mix well.
- Add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and baking soda and mix until there are no lumps.
- Pour the mixture into the hot pan.
- Pour the cream into the center of the batter. Do not stir.
- Bake 1 hour, until golden.
- Eat hot.