One of the things I discovered during my research was how much southern cuisine has impacted food culture in New York. At first glance, it’s the most obvious manifestation of southern influence over the past few years–just think of the recent proliferation of hipstered-out fried chicken and BBQ restaurants–but southern cooks have been frying okra and braising greens here for way longer than most of us realize. Fortunately, this city is glutted with resources to give us wayward migrants a true sense of our culinary heritage.
The James Beard House features an amazing cadre of southern chefs, including Mike Davis of Terra in Columbia, South Carolina, who prepared a Deep South smorgasbord on February 9. Mike is an Alabama native who trained under Susan Spicer and Frank Stitt, but for me, his real claim to fame is his relation (by marriage) to the culinary wizards behind Lizard’s Thicket. Those looking for a broader perspective on our southern food heritage should check out “The Great Migration & Southern Cooking in New York City,” John T. Edge’s discussion on, well, exactly what its title suggests. It’s scheduled for 6:30pm tomorrow night at the Museum of the City of New York–which I’m betting you, like me, have never visited.