It may seem strange to start my new french-titled blog with a series on Southern foods but this is part of where I come from and dang it - the food is just good down there. When I decided that I'd go to Nashville for a visit, I knew that food would be high on the list. In the end, there was too much to put into just one post so here is the first of four.
Nashville was not always great for food. Or, maybe it was, but you had to know where to look. In the late 80s when café culture blossomed in California where I grew up and as a posing teenager I was part of the crowd I was shocked that a latté was not to be found. Or, later at the turn of the century when my summer drink was Campari & soda with a twist of orange I was served, in a new and trendy restaurant a Campari and Coke from the bar (blech!). I think that restaurant folded. Now I find that the city benefits from a new generation who grew up, maybe, more connected to national trends or are more exposed. Whatever the reason (I'll let the sociologists and cultural anthropologists sort it out), I find that in the past few years and not just in cuisine but in other areas as well, the getting is good.
Still, the best food is our comfort food coming from those that love us. As part of my visit, my Mom and I took my sons to see my best friend and her mom, and to meet her three adopted children. We decided on a spot in the Midwest, the mid-distance for each of us. My cousin also joined for our long weekend in a rented cabin. We lucked out because that made adult to child ratio 1:1. During this fantastic gathering of catching up with people not seen for a long time, getting to know new kids and reminiscing on old times, we ate.
We ate homemade pork shoulder BBQ that my stepdad prepared before we set off. My mom contributed cornbread and bean salad while my cousin made slaw with a twist - mango and pineapple added. My brother, who works at Village Wines in Nashville stocked us with a Rosé from Bordeaux. YUM.
The second night we had an all-American grill. Hamburgers made from high-quality ground beef that my cousin brought from a butcher she trusts. Grilled zucchini and yellow squash from the first growth from her garden. Grilled pineapple. Corn on the cob and a cobbler made from farmer's market peaches that came from Alabama.
The Grill Queen! She was brave - it was HOT.