Saturday, June 13, 2009

Friday: Southern Foodways Alliance, Rock On! (or- I got to meet Jacques Pepin!!)

Wow, I had a really great time at the Southern Foodways Alliance's event 'Craig Claiborne: Mississippi Boy Makes Good, Defines and Deifies American Cookery.' This was a free event on Friday Evening at the Astor Center, but apparently you had to know about it way in advance in order to reserve a spot. Fortunately my wife has some connections with the Alliance and had our places reserved. I'm not very knowledgeable about US culinary history, so this was actually a fascinating experience for me to learn about how much Craig Claiborne helped to shape our modern views on Food in America.
The panelists were Jacques Pepin, Zarela Martinez, Edward Giobbi, contributing editor of Vanity Fair and author David Kamp, and moderator Pete Wells (editor of NY Times Dining Section).
Coloring my opinion of the evening in a major way was the fact that I got to meet and have a conversation with Jacques Pepin who it turns out is incredibly nice and super down to earth. I had a great time chatting with him and it was especially cool that he got to meet my wife, to whom he had provided a most witty blurb for her first novel, a number of years ago.
Another great thing about the event was of course that they served a few representative dishes of Mississippi and had plenty of Champagne flowing and some wonderful bourbon at the end. The coup de grace was the parting gift of Southern biscuits with country ham folded in. Oh my God, I did not know how amazing country ham tastes. I'm a convert!
Here are some photos of the event.

John T. Edge presenting the panel

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