Farm-to-table dining is a term most popularly used to describe restaurants that source ingredients from local or regional producers—in such relationships, the executive chef proudly sources ingredients directly from food producers (from farmers to winemakers, ranchers to cheese makers, and so on). It’s an arrangement that can yield fresh results.
Salt is the stuff of life. It infuses our oceans, which average 3.5 percent salinity. It’s in our bodies, too: a typical-sized adult is comprised of around 100 grams of sodium chloride. Of course, salt has long been used for preserving and seasoning food, but it’s responsible for more than keeping grub fresh and flavorful. Humans need to ingest salt to live, something our ancestors must have guessed; salus, the Latin word for health, originated from sal(salt). Among other bodily functions, sodium helps our muscles to contract and our blood to circulate. It’s crucial to preventing dehydration, too.
To celebrate The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel’s 125th anniversary, its historic in-house bar, The Sazerac Bar, is now serving a commemorative “Sazerac 125” cocktail, offering a few discerning guests and locals a chance to take a sip of history.
Beginning in Natchez, Mississippi and running 444 miles to Nashville, Tennessee (or vice versa), the Natchez Trace Parkway follows the historic Old Natchez Trace through three states. Initially used by Native Americans who were following the tracks of large game such as bison, the Trace became an important trail for settlers, slave traders and soldiers. Today, it makes for a gloriously scenic drive filled with opportunities to stop and sample some of the South’s best food.
The tamale really is an odd little food item. Stewed meat is wrapped in some sort of mushy corn meal and rolled up in inedible corn husks. Don’t try to eat the whole thing like a dolmathakia, the Greek delicacy of stuffed grape leaves. There are better ways to get your daily fiber allotment.
But to some foodies, especially those who grew up eating tamales, they’re an object of obsession. Most folks probably associate tamales with Mexican food and those tamales usually use masa flour as the main ingredient and are served at both breakfast and dinner. In the Mississippi Delta, however, a uniquely American brand of tamales is made using cornmeal and pork, beef, chicken or turkey. These tamales are often packed by the dozen in plastic jars or coffee cans and sold on the front counter of convenience stores or gas stations.
Every state has an iconic food. Think of Maryland and your mind goes to crab cakes, Pennsylvania and it’s a juicy Philly Cheese steak, West Virginia (yes, West Virginia, hey, it’s my home state, I have to show it a little love) has pepperoni rolls, and in North Carolina, it’s barbecue. While these foods may be the first to come to mind, they’re by no means the only foods worth note. Take North Carolina, my adopted home state, as an example. Yeah, we’ve got barbecue—two styles and a dozen great places for each—but with more than 300 miles of coastline we have exceptional seafood, and every ethnic group that’s called this state home has left a greasy thumbprint on our food culture. So, if you’ve got a hankering for some of the iconic foods of North Carolina, here’s my list of where to start.