Heresy or Apostasy ?

Monday, September 28, 2009

So, Hector came to work yesterday with a take out container of brown green beans. You remember them, of course. They were the first things we learned to make fun of when cooking began to refine itself in this country in the 1970s. I hadn't tasted them in years. They were delicious. It got me thinking. I love rare lamb, but I also love the roasted leg of lamb that Grandmother used to fix that was crunchy on the outside and falling off the bone done. They are like two different foods, each one delicious in its own way. I wonder if this old way of cooking was dismissed too quickly. It might be a good way to use those big tough late season beans that turn up about now. On the other hand, I doubt that even I am bold enough to reintroduce Grandmother's green beans just yet.


The end of September also means the end of a murderous fall schedule. I once again found myself exhausted with a big pile of unread New Yorkers. In my garden there is a four o'clock plant that a friend gave me two years ago. I've always loved theses flowers. They flourish without much care and every afternoon at around four o'clock the flower buds bloom. They last only one evening. All month I looked forward to sitting a minute to admire them. Never once during the month that they were in bloom did I have a free afternoon. For the rest of the year I'm limiting myself to one or two extracurricular activities per month. Having complained so, I would now like to quickly add that the projects I took on were individually enjoyable. On a Monday night when we were closed, I held a class in Crook's kitchen whose proceeds went to benefit the Lucy Daniels Foundation. Another was a reprise of the class that Marilyn Markel and I did at A Southern Season with the Kitchen Sisters. Once again we did tamales in banana leaves and that wonderful stuffed corned ham from eastern Maryland. A third was another fund-raiser for WUNC Radio, our NPR affiliate (left, courtesy of Jim Shaw Photography) . This October I've only signed up for two things: The Pittsboro Pepper Festival and the fall symposium of the Southern Foodways Alliance. Readers will recall that when attending these symposiums I claim to be at work while I behave as if I were at a cocktail party.



Even though August was sort of dry, we had an embarrassment of fall produce this year. The fig season has been very long and I've been able to serve both Figs Bellevue and fresh fig ice cream on and off for months. Persimmons are coming in the back door by the wheel barrow full. Last Wednesday alone, Mrs. Andrews showed up with 34 pounds. Pudding galore. Beverly Dixon brings chestnuts almost every week. We've had a really wonderful chestnut and onion soup. If I ever have time I have a few desserts I'd like to try with them as well as well. Finally, I ended up with so many scuppernong grapes that I had to give some away. I have made delicious scuppernong sorbet and an utterly vile grape hull pie. We didn't serve the pie.

posted by Bill Smith at 2:50 PM

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