I was the ballast and the hydration distribution engineer

I graduated from Brandon High School on the afternoon of Sunday, May 26, 1996, at the Jackson Municipal Auditorium. Once we all finished walking across the stage (with the exception of Mark who was on crutches after falling out of a tree while wearing a tutu a few nights before), I turned in my rented cap and gown and took pictures with my friends and family. Then, my fellow graduates and I  boarded charter buses and spent the next 15 hours going all over the metro area in order to prevent us from getting drunk and dying. We had a great time with good food, a band, dancing, and gambling until 7:00 the next morning. (Here’s the point where Mom and Dad should probably stop reading.) Continue reading

Barbecue isn’t necessarily barbecue

There aren’t many cities, towns, or crossroads in the South that don’t have some sort of purveyor of smoked meats in one form or another selling their wares by the pound or in  three-compartment styrofoam boxes accompanied by sides of baked beans, cole slaw, and a grocery store roll. The range of establishments from which customers purchase their plates of pork range Continue reading

I’ve got a beef with steak

Chances are, the way you cook your steak would make me think less of you if you were to tell me your process. I’ve eaten steak prepared a bunch of different ways by a bunch of different folks.  Most of them involved some sort of wet marinade with a haphazard combination of pre-mixed spice blends, individual spices, liquid marinades, Dale’s, and Coke with none of the ingredients being measured. I’d be surprised if the cook could replicate the ingredient list, much less the correct proportion of each ingredient in their super-secret, self- Continue reading

I’m a snob, and here’s why.

I’m sure many others’ lives changed with the culinary awakening caused by the Food Network. We watched Emeril BAM! out the dishes for an hour every night just wishing we could sit near the stage and sample the surely-delicious dishes. We discovered pancetta, prosciutto, shallots, new ways to use grits, what al dente means, and many other Continue reading