A monthly newsletter on the most interesting people, places, and sometimes pointless things related to cast iron.
BREAKING IN YOUR BUTTER PAT
Whether you’re a soon-to-be customer or a kit-and-caboodle collector, it’s worth knowing what to do when you finally get a piece of Butter Pat cast iron. Unfortunately, the internet has added a bunch of misnomers and malarkey to the process of getting to know your pan—it should never involve a potato, for starters, unless you plan on cooking it. Instead, just follow these simple, common-sense instructions.
THE GREAT GAS DEBATE
In our continued quest to better understand the pros and cons of induction, and in a time of uproar over the dwindling future of our beloved gas stoves, we’ve turned to our chef friends for their two cents on these flame-free appliances. For the most part, they like them. But their takeaways come with some caveats, too.
OUR END OF YEAR RECAP
It was another long, strange year on Planet Earth, but luckily, amidst the madness of the human race, it was full of fine food, drink, books, music, and much more. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites as a parting gift to all of you. Happy cooking, and happy New Year, y’all.
When she’s not slinging sweets with her small-batch Milk Glass Pie bakery, hosting Sunday supper on her Old North Farm in North Carolina, or writing about food for the likes of Southern Living and Bon Appétit, Keia Mastrianni can be found schooling us on how to make a mean crust (no Lily White Flour, folks) and exuding the warmth of her “love is pie” ethos. We chat about her home state’s foodways, the wonder of local grapes, and her other must-have ingredients.
It was big news when Sean Brock took off his toque in Charleston, South Carolina, and moved closer to home in Nashville, Tennessee. His renowned restaurants, Husk and McCrady’s, would undoubtedly be tough acts to follow, but the Virginia son and James Beard Award-winning chef has always made a name for himself by reinventing the wheel. Now at his all-star lineup of Music City restaurants—from his fast-food ode at Joyland to his rebirth of heyday hotel dining at The Continental to his flagship Audrey—he is digging even deeper into his culinary roots and breaking new ground on the Southern cuisine’s sense of place.
He might now live in the Lonestar State, but John Tesar will always be a New Yorker at heart. With an ever-so-slight accent, the 65-year-old Manhattan-born chef suffers no fools—he’s a firebrand, an iconoclast, the self-destructive Jimmy Sears in Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, and once dubbed the “most hated chef in Dallas,” all with an undeniably expert eye for a damn good steakhouse. So much so that he just received his first Michelin star. One bite of his dry-aged strip and you’ll understand why.
STRAWBERRY COBBLER WITH BLACK PEPPER-CORNMEAL BISCUIT
Finally! Spring brings strawberry season, and we’d be lying if we said we haven’t been waiting all winter to pluck a few pieces of fruit from the garden and, eventually, bake the excess into turnovers, cobblers, and pies. This recipe from Milk Glass Pie’s Keia Mastrianni has all the charm of her Southern home in North Carolina, and best of all, captures that sweet, so-needed feeling of warmer days ahead.
CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS
The shoulder season has us craving both spring chicken and lingering winter comforts, from slow-cooked foods to sweatpants. Nashville chef Sean Brock’s “last meal,” which he claims this dish would be, serves up both. The one-pot Southern classic features a recipe that has been in the Brock family for generations, made by both his mother and grandmother, and now featured on the menu at Audrey.
VIETNAMESE-STYLE WHOLE FISH
This is a complex recipe. But John Tesar doesn’t take shortcuts. His Texas restaurants pride themselves on prized pieces of protein, as showcased in this Vietnamese-inspired celebration of local seafood. Save it for next year’s Feast of the Seven Fishes—or consider it the courageous start of 2023.