First Gullah-Geechee Pop-Up of 2014 Announced

dennis2Chef B.J. Dennis has one of the city’s most appetizing Instagram feeds, thanks to his habit of chronicling nearly everything he cooks. His photos have lately included plenty of stewed royal red shrimp, one of the dishes on the menu for Dennis’ first pop-up dinner this year.

The Apr. 17 Gullah-Geechee supper at L’Atelier de Le Creuset also features chicken purloo; braised turnips and greens stewed with coconut milk (a preparation Dennis earlier this year shared with the Post and Courier: You’ll find the recipe here.) Dessert is strawberry cobbler, and High Wire Distilling Co. is providing the liquored-up punch.

Tickets to the 6:30 p.m. event are $50 apiece, and available online at L’Atelier de Le Creuset is located at 116 Ripley Point Dr.

Following the Chicken Feet Story Further

chxfeetMy blog post about chicken feet, which last Wednesday migrated to print, gave a number of readers occasion to reflect on the Gullah-Geechee tradition of enjoying the same portion of the bird.

The trick to eating feet, according to a Gullah-speaking caller who left a message on Life Editor Teresa Taylor’s voicemail, is avoiding the toenails.

Maverick Southern Kitchens chef Frank Lee concurred in an e-mail, describing the local dish as tender-cooked chicken feet surrounded by potatoes. “Just chew ‘em up and spit out the toenails,” he writes (he also sent along this photo of stock-making at SNOB.) Continue reading

Tomato Shed Cafe Hosts Holiday Gullah-Geechee Pop-Up

In honor of the season, chef Benjamin “BJ” Dennis is staging a holiday version of his popular Gullah-Geechee pop-up dinner, capped off with a baked pumpkin souffle.

The Dec. 13 supper at the Tomato Shed Cafe on Johns Island will also include smoked turkey wings, braised greens, red rice, roasted vegetables and lettuce with buttermilk dressing. A $30 ticket includes tea, but beer and wine will be available for purchase. The event is free for children under 10.

Doors open at 7 p.m., and dinner’s served at 7:30 p.m. For reservations, call Stono Market at 559-9999.

Read Southern Foodways Alliance’s Tribute to Vertamae Grosvenor

Award by Blair Hobbs

Award by Blair Hobbs

The Southern Foodways Alliance this past weekend honored and celebrated women working in every sector of the Southern food world: The symposium program featured lectures about Eugenia Duke, who launched a mayonnaise empire; Patricia Barnes, the Sister Schubert behind a frozen dinner roll line so successful that daily production’s counted in the millions and civil rights fighter Joan Marie Bonton Williams, an ardent collector of cookbooks who pointedly stored her Junior League cookbooks in the bathroom.

Speakers also highlighted the work of the nameless female domestic workers, farmers and restaurant servers who play an integral role in getting Southerners fed. But the highest accolade was reserved for lowcountry champion Vertamae Grosvenor, the Hampton County native who in 1970 captivated readers with her take on instinctual cooking, Vibration Cooking, or the Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl. The freewheeling memoir-cookbook made a strong impression on a diverse readership, including – according to presenter Tamar Alder – David Bowie and her great friend, Nina Simone.

In awarding the organization’s Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award to Grosvenor, food writer Ronni Lundy said of her classic, “It gave life to and nurtured for many of us a whole new way to come to the table and talk about race. It did so by filling the table with food, and telling that food’s story.” Continue reading