Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A North Carolina Gem- Shub's Cooking by Shelby Stephenson

This is not just a poetry book, it is a viable cookbook. Shelby Stephenson is a North Carolina Poetry Hall of Fame writer. He has put his memory to good use here and recorded many of his mother's recipes from his youth. If you are a cookbook collector and love to read this is a must have!

Everyone of us she put our mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother's recipes into a book like this. When Shelby sent me the manuscript via Red Dashboard LLC Publishing, I had to have it. As a Chef and foodie, fellow southerner, and country farm girl I knew it was a valuable addition to our catalog.

"Poems do not need forms, they need recipes, and Shelby Stephenson’s poems cook. They inter-weave ingredients with metaphors to create delicious poems that entice our palates and our imaginations. Stephenson uses ingredients such as flour, sugar, butter, and eggs to bake enormous poetry cakes, cakes packed with memories and sensual flavors for all."

~ Andrew Jarvis, editor, poet, and author of Choreography, Sound Points, The Ascent, and The Strait

Here are just a few of the things you will find inside...

Banana Split Cake
Collard Culture
Holiday Cake
Mama Maytle's Fried Chicken 
Southern Chess Pie
Tar Heel Barbeque

Some of the titles bring back memories from my own childhood. If you remember something your own Aunt made, your grandmother, and even a neighbor then you are likely to find it in Shelby's book.

"Shelby "Shub" Stephenson's collection of Poetry, Shub's Cooking, presents what seems like a series of recipes for Southern cooking in alphabetic order; however, like a Faulkner novel, these poems morph into far more than recipes and become hymns and memorials to a way of life long gone. Shub recalls the fried chicken and corn bread we would expect.  But there is coconut pie and the celebration of the bullace grape. He recalls the hunting of squirrel with the single shotgun he purchased and the fish he caught in the creek. He includes a sauce for dove even though he never seems to have shot one.  He leaves one with the sense of life drawn from the land through his mother's efforts and his own, then reshaped into love by his mother's hand in her kitchen."

~ Tyson West, author of Home-canned Fruit

You can purchase Shub's Cooking via Amazon.com

Shelby Stephenson grew up on a small farm near Benson, in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina. “Most of my poems come out of that background,” he says, “where memory and imagination play on one another.  My early teachers were the thirty-five foxhounds my father hunted.  The trees and streams, fields – childhood – those are my subjects.”  After leaving the farm for college, he was graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He has worked as a radio and television announcer, salesman, right-of-way agent, and farmer. He retired as professor emeritus from the University of North Carolina-Pembroke, where he edited Pembroke Magazine from 1979 to 2010.  The state of North Carolina presented him with the 2001 North Carolina Award in Literature. In 2014 he was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame.  He has received the Zoe Kincaid Brockman Memorial Award, the Oscar Arnold Young Poetry Prize, Playwright's Fund of North Carolina Chapbook Prize, Bright Hill Press Chapbook Award, and the Brockman-Campbell Poetry Prize.  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mammaws Pimento Cheese

Yes, it's that good! AVA Wine Bar's Pimento Cheese Dip

However I did promise not to leak out her recipe, most chef's hold these things close, but if you make a good recipe yourself, great!

It was creamy, just the right amount of cheese blend, but I wanted a bit more pimentos (roasted red peppers). Okay, I know to stop complaining, but I like perfection.

The bread was just as good. I forgot to ask if she had a bread machine in the back, some of the plating and food had a homemade feel, but it was soft and toasted and all was good.

AVA Wine Bar in Staunton (pronounced Stanton), VA. We plan to go back in mid-Jan for a poetry festival and will be returning to Marybeth's restaurant to see what her new locally grown menu produces.

If you haven't checked out the post before this to see what those little cuties are on the plate, Watermelon gherkins (pickles), then get over there!

Do you have a favorite pimento cheese recipe to share? It's a great recipe to make for the fall and holiday gatherings, so get busy!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Are These The Worlds Smallest Pickles?

Watermelon Gherkins. Visiting Stauton, VA we had dinner at AVA Wine Bar. We ordered toasted bread and pimento cheese appetizer, and I have to admit it was the best since my grandmothers when I was a young girl, awesome. These little beauties had been bought locally (locally grown) and pickled by Marybeth, the owner.

The food was great, but if you are expecting high end presentation, there is none. The cuisine is like homemade, eating in a friends kitchen, and all around they treat you like family and friends. The waitstaff was so accommodating. Marybeth offered to give me a handful of these cuties to try before the pickling process, and they were still yummy.

They cater to meat and vegan eaters, hubs had seared duck, I had vegetarian Greek pie, and we both shared a dish of sweet potato fritters. My nosy chef interests would recommend they cut down the portion size of the fritters, it was almost too much as they were huge (two on a plate). Although, I had them for lunch at the hotel the next day, both portions of pie and fritters were just as tasty!

If you get a change, sample them, grow them, and pickle them. I read the seeds are easy to prepare for growing. It doesn't seem like they need a huge space.

The pimento cheese we tried, that will be my next post. I have been a bit MIA lately, but as I said in the post before this, I've been struggling with eating a specialized diet for my Barrett's, but my latest test came back negative, so I am having Bypass surgery Nov. 19th this year and will try and post about the journey. Eating very small portions has paid off, but with my diabetes diagnosis I have to get serious.

Happy Holidays and peace to you all...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fruit Jello, Just Like Grandma

Back to basics, of a childhood, and soft foods. My new eating lifestyle and the fact I was told there would be a chance of no bariatric surgery due to esophagus damage, I had to turn around quick. Did some research and found out some of it could have been caused (well it is from acid reflux) by not chewing food well. I'm guilty.

I feel like after turning 50 I went from spouting idioms of my mom (and dad) to making jello with fruit like my grandmother. Has life gone down-hill from here? I hope not. But the jello is good, sugar free with water packed fruit. The pineapple is a no-no, due to acid, but hubs loved it.

Coffee table clutter compliments of my grown son who has decided to enlist me in repair of thrift store finds he can't live without. That is a whole other conversation, less is more, clutter that is...maybe it is all parallel. Finding a ying to our bad yangs.