From Morning Quaff to DIY Classic

9781607745358The Old-Fashioned is the quintessential classic cocktail. In the title of his new book devoted to its history, New York Times drinks writer Robert Simonson calls it the “world’s first classic cocktail.”

But classic shouldn’t be confused with unchanging. As Simonson makes clear in his well-researched and thoroughly enjoyable “The Old-Fashioned,” the drink was pretty much designed to be customized.

And not only by savvy barkeeps with access to coriander syrup and specific Aquavits, although their contributions to the Old-Fashioned canon are included in a lengthy compendium of recipes, old and new (yes, Wisconsin’s famed brandy Old-Fashioned merits a page.) The Old-Fashioned is a chance for cocktailians who’ve fallen into the habit of ceding spirit decisions to the experts to have a say about what’s in their glasses. Continue reading

JCC Bookfest Stages Russian Cafe, Complete With Literary Discussion

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In the tiny village of Anatevka, food was very simple: As Tevye the Milkman says in the film version of Fiddler on the Roof, “When a poor man eats a chicken, one of them is sick.”

But the Charleston JCC this Saturday is putting out a fancier spread for a Bookfest lecture by the author of The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem: The Remarkable Life and Aftermath of the Man Who Created Tevye. Jeremy Dauber’s 8 p.m. talk will be followed by a Russian café-inspired reception featuring babka, macaroons, rugelach, chocolate-covered apricots, tea with preserves, coffee and wine.

Tickets to the event are $10 for JCC members; $14 for non-members. Call 571-6565 for more information.

Author of Food Network History to Speak in Charleston

It’s been seven years since the Food Network last produced a marketable star. But in just one month, Charlestonians can hear investigative journalist Allen Salkin explain why.

Salkin, author of From Scratch: Inside the Food Network, will appear on Nov. 14 at the Charleston JCC in conjunction with the Charleston Jewish Bookfest. I’m introducing Salkin, so I’ll definitely be there. Tickets are $12, although JCC members get a $4 discount. Call 571-6565 for reservations.

The program officially begins at 7 p.m., but there’s a cupcake decorating contest beforehand; bring your pastries by 6:30 p.m. if you’d like to play. Salkin and I are judging the entries on looks alone, so don’t sweat your sugar ratio.

From Scratch was featured yesterday on Weekend Edition Sunday: Rachel Martin’s interview with Salkin is here.

Author Brings His Barbecue — Er, Barbeque — Book to Charleston

863.4-sc-bbq_home-team-001Lake High is coming to town this Saturday to promote his new book, A History of South Carolina Barbeque. That’s “barbeque” with a “q”, a stylistic decision that’s likely to inflame partisans of a tradition that prizes debate as much as deliciousness.

Barbecue – as the AP Style Guide prefers it – is commonly abbreviated as BBQ, Bar-B-Q and just plain ‘Q’. As Texas Monthly’s barbecue editor, Daniel Vaughn, last year wrote in a blog post for the Southern Foodways Alliance, such shorthand is so popular with pitmasters that “I once asked Aaron Franklin if he spelled out the name of his Austin brisket temple, Franklin Barbecue, on purpose. He confirmed that it was intentional—‘BBQ just sounds like you’re in a hurry’.”

But putting a ‘q’ in ‘barbeque’ is slightly more controversial. That’s because the word barbecue is universally acknowledged as having derived from the Spanish word barbacoa. The spelling ‘barbeque’ recalls a debunked folk theory that the word came from the French barbe a queue or head-to-tail. Continue reading

Callie’s New RV Needs a Name

calliervHot on the wheels of Limehouse Produce’s photograph-our-truck promotion comes another contest involving an oversized vehicle, this one sponsored by Callie’s Biscuits.

In conjunction with the fall release of owner Carrie Morey’s book, Callie’s Biscuits and Southern Traditions: Heirloom Recipes From Our Family Kitchen, the bakery recently purchased a used Coachman RV. While the company’s taking care of the clean-up, it’s looking to customers to supply the perfect name for the promotional vehicle.

The person who provides the best name will receive four dozen biscuits, delivered by the RV. To enter, post your suggestion in the comments section of Callie’s Biscuits’ blog.