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Congratulations to Bubba Mac, whose Giddy Swamp, South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce, won the contest for Your Best Barbecue.
1. Describe your eating and cooking philosophy. What has inspired you?
I grew up in the South, in a home that was ordered by the three meals of the day. Breakfast at 7:00, dinner at noon, and supper at 5:00. There were no processed foods served, and there was fresh bread at every meal. Gravy was a staple, too, and of course fresh vegetables -- I remember my mother throwing out corn from a neighbor because it had been picked the day before. I eventually moved to New York City to stage and enroll in cooking school; there, I worked with a lot of inspiring people: Julia Child, Paula Wolfert, and many others.
My chef at cooking school taught me a lot about food, but more importantly, he taught me the basic fundamentals and techniques of cooking. With that foundation of skills and techniques, I have been able to grow, learn and enjoy food for years.
I have to laugh when I hear people talk about "farm to table" and eating local; where I grew up, we all ate farm to table. Almost everyone had a garden and hunted and fished, and if we didn't ourselves, we knew someone who had cows, pigs, or chickens. All of this meant that there was always plenty of food to share.
2. What is your least favorite kitchen task?
Taking out the compost.
3. What is your favorite kitchen tool?
I have two. My 25-year-old carbon steel Sabatier knife I bought in France and my steel omelette pan.
4. What is your favorite comfort food?
My favorite comfort food is soup. Matzo ball, split pea, lentil, vegetable beef, avgolemono, potato leek, vichyssoise, gazpacho...whatever the season, whatever the weather, soup seems to work.