Blenheim is the kind of existential culinary experience that leaves no room for questions. To drink it in less than ideal circumstances—after a poor night’s sleep, for example, or in an imperfect state of concentration—is to invite an aggressive physical reaction, and not just coughing. The sinuses buzz and start. The eyes pour water. The urge to sit is palpable. Taken correctly, on the other hand—with bread and a deep breath—Blenheim feels at times like a religious experience...
There, chef contestants use the eponymous pan to re-imagine traditional ingredients and recipes into creations that evoke the spirit of New Appalachian cuisine, dishes like greens in sweet-and-sour vinegar sauce, beans in mole sauce, and custard-filled corn bread. Anne Hart, the chef/owner of Provence Market, a French restaurant in Bridgeport, West Virginia, has submitted entries like moonshine haute chocolate, ramp bisque, and (coming full circle) squirrel nachos.
When you feed pimento cheese to someone in Seattle there’s something at stake: communicating the South—what it is, what it feels like, what it sounds like. It’s what The Wandering Goose is doing with little effort, simply sharing this thing that they love with other people.
Which brings me to the fried pies of the Delta. Fried pies can be found all over Arkansas, from fine dining establishments like the Capital Bar and Grill in Little Rock, to barbecue joints like Nick’s BBQ and Catfish in Carlisle, to roadside diners like Ray’s Dairy Maid in Barton, to gas stations like Rison Country Store. The Arkansas Delta has the greatest saturation of places to procure fried pies.
North Carolina gets a lot of love for its barbecue. This is not so much the case with its neighbor to the south. But what the SFA has discovered is that South Carolina has its own barbecue traditions; if they are not as famous as North Carolina's, they are at least more diverse. As Jack Hitt explains in his introduction to the South Carolina leg of our Southern Barbecue Trail, "the whole state is a big messy spill of sauces." Almost all South Carolina barbecue is pork—whether whole hogs, ribs, or shoulders. But the sauce ranges from vinegar to mustard to tomato-tinged.