This month we examine cookbooks from two groups in the United States that are historically much-maligned by its citizens. I mean, of course, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Cherokee Indians of Texas.
Carol is known around these parts as “the forest granny,” and she harvests roots for many people, who give her things like eggs and meat in return. “I harvest a little bit of a lot of things, but the ones I harvest are the ones I make use of,” she told me as she dug. Yellowroot is her favorite because it’s the most all-purpose medicinal plant in the mountains.
Potlikker, the soupy leavings at the bottom of a pot of greens or beans, is now vogue. Perfect Little Bites, a personal chef service in Frederick, Maryland, stirs gin and vermouth with frozen potlikker cubes to chill martinis and infuse the drinks with briny vegetal funk. The restaurant Lower 48, in Denver, fries eggs and tucks them in a bowl of collard green and maitake mushroom potlikker. Travis Grimes at Husk in Charleston serves pork shoulder with crispy belly, smoky butterbeans, rice, and broccoli, swaddled in potlikker broth. When I ate at the Nashville location of that restaurant, the pork came in chops and Morgan McGlone used rapini instead of broccoli, but the potlikker remained. At their recent summer fest, Southern Soul Barbecue in St. Simons Island, Georgia, served green peanuts boiled in collard green potlikker. Upstate at Five and Ten in Athens, Hugh Acheson occasionally poaches mountain trout in boiled peanut potlikker. Inevitably, Acheson calls the broth nutlikker.