The B-52s and Me

The B-52s and Me

The B-52s and Me In which I reminisce about our 30+ year friendship. In 1989, Charleston, South Carolina, where I was living at the time, was hit by Hurricane Hugo, a harbinger of worse storms to come, but, at the time, one of the worst natural disasters the country had ever seen. I had made my living for years as a painter and photographer, but had changed careers abruptly when I landed the job in Paris as the food editor of a magazine. It was...

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Cream muffins

Cream muffins

What we call cream muffins in the Lowcountry are really popovers. These airy foils for butter and jam are also called Yorkshire pudding. In York, in Northern England, they appear at the breakfast table as well as the classic accompaniment to roast beef. I am always surprised to hear the cookery of England maligned by Americans; so many of our best dishes, especially in the South, are absolutely English. I serve these marvelous breads with lots...

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Tomato Gardening

Tomato Gardening

Tomatoes   A version of this essay appeared in Country Home magazine in August 2003. I have since grown many tomatoes, and sucessfully, but, at the time, I had given up hope.  Charleston, South Carolina, Summer 2003: For the first time in many years, I didn’t plant tomatoes this spring. As a food writer and an avid gardener, I’m likely to be ridiculed by my friends and neighbors. For years I’ve browbeat them with my call for...

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Christmas

Christmas

This was my going-away present to Charleston, a true story about The Best Christmas Present Ever a version of which appeared in Charleston Magazine in December 2004, shortly after I moved away.   PURDUE        My mother was on odd bird, at once very private and very social. Though she cooked three meals a day and did all of our voluminous laundry and housecleaning herself, she managed to play bridge often (at one...

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The Mayonnaise Belt

The Mayonnaise Belt

A version of this article appeared in a special edition of Copia (Vol. 6, No. 1), the biannual publication of the American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts. The issue dealt with food rituals and taboos.   The Mayonnaise Belt      I was not reared in what I like to call “the Mayonnaise Belt,” though that broad band of slatherers seems to occupy most of the South, which I call home. It’s a rather amusing...

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Carolina Gold Rice

Carolina Gold Rice

A version of the following article appeared in the Spring 2005 Oxford American.   Carolina Gold        February 2004. It was raining to beat hell, and we had come from all over the place — and all walks of life — to get to Middleton Plantation south of Charleston on that dreary morning to plan a symposium focused on the once illustrious rice that the fortunes of the lowcountry were built on. We...

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