Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cornbread and Meat

Celebrating “The Global South” with The Southern Foodways Alliance

Oxford, Mississippi, in October conjures visions of leafy college campus paths, tailgating in the grove and cheering on Ole Miss. But each year, on an “away game” weekend, the Southern Foodways Alliance, based at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississppi, hosts its annual symposium. Southerners and outlanders alike gather to celebrate, study and discuss the state of Southern food and the diverse and changing culture that brings us all to the table.

The 13th annual gathering focused on “The Global South” as its theme and explored not only the oft discussed African, Native American and Western European influences on our cuisine, but the more modern role that Vietnamese, Cuban and South American and Mexican tastes have played in the evolution of how we eat in the American South.

“Cornbread and meat”, Drew Robinson, Executive Chef of Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q ponders, “it’s really cornbread and meat when you get down to it” Drew is speaking to the similarities between a Latin American’s way and a Southerner’s way with cooking meat—low and slow. He’s speaking to the corn tortilla or the masa inside tamales or the cornbread along side the pork on our Sunday supper table. This year, Jim ‘N Nick’s was honored to drive their Bar-B-Q rig to Oxford town to cook for the attendees of this year’s SFA event. Inspired by this year’s theme, the folks from Jim ‘N Nick’s prepared a feast of traditional Mexican-style tacos, “Elote” (traditional Mexican grilled corn with mayonnaise, lime, chile powder and a sprinkling of cotija anejo cheese) and queso fundido. The tacos were filled with organic, grass-fed beef tongue from White Oak Pastures and Riverview Farms pastured pork, both from Georgia. Goat meat was sourced from Ledbetter Acres in Lafayette, Alabama and vegetables for the pickles and three fresh salsas were sourced from Jones Valley Urban Farm in downtown Birmingham, Alabama.

A team of folks from Jim ‘N Nick’s worked for two days straight smoking meat, shucking corn and making fresh, corn tortillas! Not just mixing masa cornmeal with water, they actually ground the corn, boiled it and milled it to press and cook fresh, authentic, hand made corn tortillas!!!! It was a noble and incredible effort that sent the strong message of honoring the people and ingredients that get us together in the kitchen and around a common table. For more information on the Southern Foodways Alliance visit

No comments:

Post a Comment