Food Reporting Syllabus
Assignments 43 through 48
North Carolina Barbecue
Flavored By Time
by Bob Garner
John F. Blair, Publisher
© 1996

While North Carolina barbeque falls off hog bones from the mountains to the coast, this 100-county countryside is divided into three geographical BBQ domains - there's the most popular vinegar-and-smoke eastern third of the state; the western sector highlighted by what's in and around Lexington; and the upscale BBQ Research Triangle. Triangle folk never eat with their fingers. The Research Triangle: Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. There's good reason for Triangle daintiness: To avoid having Q's tomato-based sauce soil computer keyboards.

Eastern North Carolina may be the only Q-sector with with major outside marketing forces. A triple punch: An Ohioan, Gary James, runs the BBQ Express, believed to be the only multi-engine airplane used for bootlegging real barbecue from Wilson, NC into the friged north; another Ohioan operates BBQ Underground, serving what he calls a "deprived northland." And there's Bill's BBQ running 18-wheelers loaded in Wilson with tons of frozen product being trucked into Michigan and all states in between.

Visit Bob Garner's BBQ Website

All About Bar-B-Q Kansas City Style
by Rich Davis and Shifra Stein
Barbacoa Press, Kansas City
© 1985

Folk in Kansas City, MO, are so very sure their Kansas City is the birthplace of barbeque, smoked, spicy beef and pork. One of the finest food writers in the nation, Calvin Trillin, left little doubt about the world's finest barbeque cook, Arthur Bryant, setting the quality standard for all others. Then, again, one must be old enough to have experienced Bryant's brisket. Arthur passed away some time ago. His eatery today is owned by white folk. Sadly. And to put the real puff on KC, we owe big time to Dr. Rich Davis. He perfected a barbecue sauce to anoint his smoked brisket. So, so have possibly a million others. But Dr. Davis had the marketing mentality to go along with his bottled smear. The nation's supermarkets still give priority shelf space to K. C. Masterpiece, his rather good mix of what should adorn beef over coals in back yards.

This book is legit. The writer Shifra Stein is a restaurant critic. There was no thought of leaving any barbecue restaurant or joint out of the listing. Page 159 proves her worth. She credits Trillin's "odes of perfection for Bryant's" in bringing the limelight to the city's meat treatment. Then, her kicker on Bryant's: "But, come on - is it really all it's cracked up to be?"

The major attraction to this book... the stylized criticism by a long tenured restaurant reviewer.

Everything You Pretend to Know About Food
And Are Afraid Someone Will Ask
by Nancy Rommelmann
Penguin Books
© 1998

Rommelmann research tip: If writing about key lime pie in the Florida Keys, chances are slim to none your slice is the real stuff, Page 79 explains. For details of a culinary scam, buy the book. This is another of those food books on the fun-read list.

You, all of us, may never be called upon to write about syllabub.(*) But, with the detailed clarity of this British writer, my suggestion is that you put it on your avoid list. There are so many food brights in this thick paperback that you may want to carry it along on any talk radio appearances. It is a discussion starter. When it first hit the stalls I used it for on-air teasers.

The cover became one of my quick openers: How can olive oil be virgin? What makes popcorn pop? Is there mud in Mississippi mud pie? Play Rachael Ray. Buy the book. There's a career-long collection of trivia to serve you should you be invited to appear on a talk show. Author Rommelmann enlightened me on the handling of whole lobsters. Do they feel pain when dumped in boiling water? Why do fish mongers clamp their legs together with rubber bands? For answers buy the book. is a starting point.

What single valuable item tweaked my memory bank? Page 210 told me that cookbooks have been around for "thousands of years (the oldest being that of Archestratus, printed in the fourth century B.C.), they were not popular until the nineteenth century when literacy boomed. The question posed: Why do so many old cookbooks use the measurement "butter the size of a walnut?" Because they were easily understood... everyone knew what the size of a walnut was, the author explains, adding that today's cooks rely on weight or measure.

A walnut sized dollop of butter... about one and a half tablespoons. How about that gent Archestratus... I missed Greek mythology class that day. So did Noah. But Brother Google had 15,300 results telling me that old Arch was something of a swinger, a poet, wrote about food, favored fish and liked young slave girls. -- D.P.C.

(*) Syllabub is an old English drink of milk or cream spiked with wine or hard cider and sweetened with sugar and spices. The mess also goes by the handle posset. Should you be directed to review such by an impaired editor, refuse. Argue that in some cultures it is a felony to tamper with the original intended taste of a wine or fermented apple squeezings.
Chinese Szechuan Cooking
by Deh-Ta Hsiung
Paragon Books
© 1995

Review Pending


Bonus 61:
Mandarin Chop Suey Cook Book:
Recipes for a Variety of Savory, Delicious and Wholesome Genuine Chinese Dishes
by Pacific Trading Company
Pacific Trading Company
© 1998

Review Pending

A Hands-on Guide to the Techniques of Southwestern Cooking
By Leland Atkinson
Foreword by Mark Miller
Photography by Renée Comet
Ten Speed Press
© 1996

At some point in the late 1970s restaurant-goers east of the Mississippi never knew the difference between the words chile and chili. Scoville as a chile heat measurement unit was confined in use to some culinarians west of Colorado. A taco was street food in Mexico in the decades when that country was a tourist destination. In the 1980s New Mexico started promoting chile peppers beyond the timid pimiento.

And all of a sudden in the mid-1980s the halapeno had company across the country. Chile competions such as those held by the International Chile Society brought hot stuff to cooking and the nation. Meet the new ingredients being used in cookery beyond a hot pot in some Texas cowboy hill country: Habanero, poblano, serrano, chipotle, Scotch bonnet, and even slow to gather wide acceptance, cilantro.

Welcome to cocina (koh-SEE-nah) n : kitchen.


Bonus 62:
The Well-Filled Tortilla Cookbook
by Susanna Hoffman, Victoria Wise
Workman Publishing Company
© 1990

Review Pending

Jack Daniel's Old Time Barbecue Cookbook
by Vince Staten
The Sulgrave Press
© 1991

Of course some of the recipes call for a jounce (a jigger and an ounce) of Jack's smooth whiskey. It is a recipe book calling for whiskey as a seasoning or flavoring. But only in a few recipes. This is broadly about comfort or southern cooking. It may as well call for the best sipping whiskey since this is set in Lynchburg, Tennessee. No one cooks with whiskey blends such as Canadian imports with fancy names and designer bottles. To step away, there is a recipe (chicken wings) using tequila.

This is a book with a great history of barbecue bragging. That may be the reason to search out this attractive text. The writer-taster has researched barbecue from Cape Cod to California. He collects barbecue recipes. He is a newspaper reporter. He is a certified barbecue judge. He is a native of Tennessee, but a resident of Kentucky. By reading his text it is difficult to find any favoritism for bourbon or sour mash. If of age and sober mind, consider a proper study with a real whiskey. Take a tall glass. Place a sprig of fresh mint on the bottom, use a tea spoon to crush the mint. Top the mint with crushed ice. Over the ice pour a jounce of Single Barrel Jack. Do not stir. Do not add water. Sip. Savor slowly.

Can be enhanced with a Habana Montecristo and good reading light.

(This review written by a member of Tennessee Squires,
Plot No. 894f, Lynchburg, TN.)

… as the man says, there's nothing like a good five dollar Montechristo …

Bonus 63:
Old Timey Recipes: Moonshine
by Phyllis Connor
© 1991

An Heirloom Keeper
Favorite Cookbooks Have Unique Origins
My FAVE is not in print. There are no pictures. There is no hard cover. The compiler has departed. Bless Phyllis Connor, 1969. Winston Salem was home. She didn't use lead type to print. All 64 pages are hand printed. Even her sassafras jelly recipe. Savor recipe for parsnip wine. No Junior League stuff here. No church affiliation noted. No big time publisher listed. Attention Ten Speed Press. Try her corn cob jelly recipe. All this before Even Google lacks her best. Make your own moonshine. First: Convert corn to sugar. Keep in warm place three days. Mash. Still. Cooker. Copper. Proof. Phyllis says 'shine recipes are many. For all the "other ways" she suggests. "Check with your nearest revenuer." - D.P.C.

Bonus 64:
Drinks Without Liquor:
For Bashes, Beaches, BBQs and Birthdays
by Jane Brandt
Workman Pub Co
© 1983

Review Pending

Bonus 65:
Jack Daniel's Legacy
by Ben A. Green
Rich Printing Company
© 1967

Review Pending