Tastebud: Potlikker

collard greens

A popular Southern treat, potlikker is the tasty green liquid that remains in the pot after boiling collard, mustard, or turnip greens. As the leaves simmer, vitamins and minerals seep into the cooking water, creating a fortified sipper that could fetch a fortune at a juice bar for the Yankee elite. (But the health food–phobic need not fret: Southern cooks commonly season their potlikker with bacon or pork fat.) Like many Southern staples, potlikker was once the slave owner’s refuse and the slave’s riches: after serving cooked greens to their masters, slave cooks would bottle the leftover, nutrient-rich liquid for their own families’ meals.

Today potlikker is a source of pride for all Southerners: when the New York Times mistakenly misspelled the food as “pot likker” in 1982, Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor Zell Miller mailed in an indignant response. Potlikker also inspired the name of the... Read more >

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Tastebud: Southern Pies

The James Beard Foundation reports on pies from the American South

Sometime between Prohibition and World War II, apple pie became a token of homespun America, and it has since been trotted out in support of a political score as often as it has been pulled from an oven. We can’t help but feel a bit slighted on behalf of all the other wonderful pies that have a place in our country’s history, particularly those of the American South.

Chess pie, a traditional dessert with a custardy, cornmeal-thickened filling, is often served with tea to keep its sweetness in check. According to The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine, chess pie was invented to use up extra butter, eggs, and molasses in plantation kitchens. James Beard claimed that the chess pie recalls English cheese tarts, and the lineage suggests that the name “chess” is a corruption of the word cheese. Others argue that the name refers to the chests or safes in which the pies

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Eye Candy: Port Royal Shrimp Rémoulade with Fried Green Tomato Salad and Benton’s Country Ham

shrimp rémoulade Mike Davis of Terra in West Columbia, South Carolina, served this classic New Orleans shrimp rémoulade at the Beard House last month; he made the dish extra special by adding fried green tomatoes and Benton's country ham. See more photos of his Southern menu here.

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