Monday, June 13, 2011

A Southern Feast

Last night was the Spring meeting of GULP, a wonderful group of friends who cook for each other every three to four months.  The theme was Southern cooking, and with a beginning reading by the esteemed thespian, Bob Mashburn about what it means to be a Southerner, fifteen of us ate ourselves into a stupor.  Fortunately, we are all talented cooks, and all appreciative of each others' talents.
  I wish I had photos of the wonderful food, but somehow, I always forget my camera in the onslaught of courses.  There was cold melon soup by JudyAnn and Sue, followed by a version of Waldorf salad by John and RJ, including ham cured by Alan Benton.  There was an amazing cup of shrimp and cheese grits by our hostess, Ginna.  Then, we all bellied up to the buffet of fried chicken from Cindy's talented skillet; green and yellow beans from JudyAnn and Sue; cornbread and biscuits by Pat and Dan; Jeff's award-winning macaroni and cheese; Susan made a beautiful peach & tomato salad; Dennis brought potato salad and congealed salad.  Now there's something I definitely should have photographed!  It was a lovely pale shade of green, and much more delicious than promised.  And then plates were cleared for dessert.  I had promised strawberry ice box pie, but South Carolina strawberries have succumbed to the heat, and the peaches haven't achieved even goodness yet, let alone greatness.  I did find some North Carolina blueberries, though, and they became blueberry ice box pie.  They slid a little off-center in transit, but they were pretty yummy.  They're on graham crackers--yes, homemade!--and were served with some blueberry puree.  John provided a sprinkling of lavender, which harmonized lovely with the blueberries.
  And now we spend today recovering!  I have a house to clean and animals to hang out with before I go back to the sweet grind of work.  Sadly, Suzy gave notice this week, to move to Chicago.  I don't want her to leave, but I know that it's the right thing for her career at this point.  That's how we chefs build our resumes, moving every year or two to work with different people, learning and growing.  I'm a teeny bit jealous, because Chicago was one of those places I'd have enjoyed working in.  But I'm happy here, in my pastry home!
  Suzy got hold of the cotton candy machine last week, and has been developing sugar recipes to make for the treats our guests get at the end of dinner.  Here she is, making blueberry cotton candy:

 Playing with our food!  We get paid to do it!


LA said...

Yum-yum!!! All you missed was the fried okra (and maybe some moonshine!) What a fun evening!

Tina J said...

That all sounds so delicious! I am sure you all did it justice. Are those are your hands reaching for the Cotton Candy?

Roxie said...

Congealed salad? That sounds like whats left at the bottom of the ice chest. Other than that - it sounds a most delectable meal.

Sharon said...

You have no idea what it means to me to have the whole inside world of chefdom unveiled through programs like Top Chef. Hearing them talk about flavor combinations is - I'm searching for a word - it's like being a freshman in college. New. Tantalizing.

I grew up on an organic farm where food was cooked. Taste had nothing to do with it. I'm learning how spectacular braised greens are - who knew?! Back your cars out of the McD's drive-through, go home and make simple delicious food. There are more flavors than salt and fat - though I have to admit they're pretty tasty.

Keep doing what you're doing. It's important!