Cover art from "Heritage," a cookbook by Sean Brock.

Cover art from "Heritage," a cookbook by Sean Brock.

The American obsession with eating local has spurred a revolution in our markets, menus and meals. But for Virginia native and James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock, local doesn’t go far enough. Inspired by the low-country staples of his rural childhood, Brock has revived and reinterpreted some of America’s earliest foods, including Carolina Gold rice, Sea Island red peas and sorghum. Kojo learns how Brock grows and uses these heirloom foods in southern cuisine, and finds out how we can cook with ingredients from our own culinary heritage.

Guests

  • Sean Brock Executive Chef and Partner, Husk, McCrady's and Minero; Author, "Heritage"

Recipe: Cracklin' Cornbread

70_Cracklin'-Cornbread

Cracklin’ Cornbread, one of the recipes from “Heritage.”

Excerpted from Heritage by Sean Brock (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Peter Frank Edwards.

My favorite ball cap, made by Billy Reid, has a patch on the front that reads “Make Cornbread, Not War.” I’m drawn to it because cornbread is a sacred thing in the South, almost a way of life. But cornbread, like barbeque, can be the subject of great debate among Southerners. Flour or no flour? Sugar or no sugar? Is there an egg involved? All are legitimate questions.

When we opened Husk, I knew that we had to serve cornbread. I also knew that there is a lot of bad cornbread out there in the restaurant world, usually cooked before service and reheated, or held in a warming drawer. I won’t touch that stuff because, yes, I am a cornbread snob. My cornbread has no flour and no sugar. It has the tang of good buttermilk and a little smoke from Allan Benton’s smokehouse bacon. You’ve got to cook the cornbread just before you want to eat it, in a black skillet, with plenty of smoking-hot grease. That is the secret to a golden, crunchy exterior. Use very high heat, so hot that the batter screeches as it hits the pan. It’s a deceptively simple process, but practice makes perfect, which may be why many Southerners make cornbread every single day.

Makes one 9-inch round loaf

4 ounces bacon, preferably Benton’s
2 cups cornmeal, preferably Anson Mills Antebellum Coarse Yellow Cornmeal
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1½ cups whole-milk buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Put a 9-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven to preheat for at least 10 minutes.

2. Run the bacon through a meat grinder or very finely mince it. Put the bacon in a skillet large enough to hold it in one layer and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently so that it doesn’t burn, until the fat is rendered and the bits of bacon are crispy, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the bits of bacon to a paper towel to drain, reserving the fat. You need 5 tablespoons bacon fat for this recipe.

3. Combine the cornmeal, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and bits of bacon in a medium bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat and combine the remaining 4 tablespoons fat, the buttermilk, and egg in a small bowl. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just to combine; do not overmix.

4. Move the skillet from the oven to the stove, placing it over high heat. Add the reserved tablespoon of bacon fat and swirl to coat the skillet. Pour in the batter, distributing it evenly. It should sizzle.

5. Bake the cornbread for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm from the skillet.

Transcript

  • 13:06:39

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIFrom WAMU 88.5 at American University in Washington, welcome to "The Kojo Nnamdi Show," connecting your neighborhood with the world, it's Food Wednesday.

  • 13:06:55

    MR. KOJO NNAMDILater in the broadcast, it's been in the making for years, we'll discuss the sudden disappearance of Arlington County Streetcar Projects. But first, what foods define your heritage? It's a simple question with answers that are as colorful as the country's ethnic tapestry. For some, meat and potatoes might form the crocks of family cuisine, for others, spice, rice, and seafood might come to mind.

  • 13:07:17

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIFor Sean Brock, a Virginia native and James Beard Award-winning chef, it was farm fresh produce and his grandmother's homemade meals that formed his culinary DNA and it was those low country roots that now inspire his high end southern cuisine. But Brock's unconventional path couldn't be more different from the celebrity chefs in his orbit.

  • 13:07:38

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIFor Brock, find dining means resurrecting flavors of the past. It's a mission that's found him digging in the dirt, slopping the hogs and combing through seeds that were last sewn by 19th century farmers. So how do you revive a nation's culinary heritage and how can we tap into our food roots? John Brock is here to explain. He's executive chef and partner at McCrady's, Husk and Minero. He is the author of "Heritage." John Brock joins us in studio, thank you for joining us.

  • 13:08:09

    MR. SEAN BROCKHey, thanks for having me.

  • 13:08:10

    NNAMDII should also mention that McCrady's and Minero are in Charleston and Husk has two locations, both in Charleston and in Nashville. I should also mention that Sean Brock will be at the 6th and I Synagogue tonight at 7:00 p.m., talking with Michele Kayal of American Food Roots. If you have questions or comments for Sean, give us a call, 800-433-8850. Are you a native Virginian? Do you have a food or dish you consider quintessential Virginia, 800-433-8850?

  • 13:08:41

    NNAMDISean, you're a native Virginian but for anyone who thinks Virginia ends right around Stafford County, your roots are in the southwestern part of the state, near the Kentucky border. You're the son of coal workers. How did your passion for food and cooking develop?

  • 13:08:57

    NNAMDIWell, when you live in such a rural place, food is a very, very important part of the day. I lived in a place that was so rural that we didn't even have a restaurant to go to. In fact, I didn't sit down and eat in a restaurant until I was probably 15 years old, which is kind of crazy considering what I do for a living now.

  • 13:09:20

    NNAMDIThat you're now in the restaurant business.

  • 13:09:23

    BROCKBut what happens in that environment is, the food that you consume and the food that you cook and share is food that you raise yourself and you see that from the soil to the plate. And it was witnessing that, at a very young age, that made me fall in love with food and how it made people feel and how cooking was a way of making people feel welcome and comfortable. I just knew, right away, that that's what I wanted to do with my life.

  • 13:10:01

    NNAMDIYou witness it because at 11 years old, you went to live with your grandmother and she became a huge influence on your cooking. What did she teach you?

  • 13:10:10

    BROCKI had the picture -- the storybook grandmother that you hear about in the south, one that was always handling food and always telling stories and was always in the garden or preserving foods or cooking and just being around someone that passionate about ingredients and that passionate about cooking, was a big, big influence on me. And I took to her at an early age and just tried to learn as much as possible from her, I idolized her and I'll spend the rest of my life trying to cook like her.

  • 13:10:48

    NNAMDIIf anybody who can bake corn pone was my grandmother, I'd still be -- probably be living with her today. Your grandmother, however, did die about six years ago and she left you a little bequest in her basement. Can you tell us about it and what you did with it?

  • 13:11:04

    BROCKYeah, well, one of the things about southern food and that kind of southern food, is the idea of passing things down and, to me, that's kind of what the book is all about, it's the idea of heritage being, passing something down that's beautiful and important to you, that you take to share with the next generation. And once -- when she passed away, I was lucky enough to get her grandmothers cornbread skillet, her cast iron pan, along with lots of the seeds that meant a lot to her and the plants that she grew up eating and was passed down through multiple generations of my family and things like vinegar mothers and lots of great recipes and stories and traditions.

  • 13:11:52

    NNAMDIAnd now, you have all of those seeds and they're all stuffed in cardboard boxes and plastic bins and displayed -- you're one of the countries few antebellum farmers. Tell us about the farm northeast of Charleston where you grow most of your produce. What interesting varieties do you grow and how do you use them in restaurants?

  • 13:12:11

    BROCKWell, one of the issues today with southern food is the plants that made up that cuisine, that made that cuisine so wonderful and so memorable and the cuisine that was celebrated, aren't being grown on a scale large enough for restaurants to be able to purchase those particular plant varieties or breeds of animals and serve them in the restaurant. And that's the core of the cuisine, that's where the soul comes from.

  • 13:12:42

    BROCKSo I've taken it, as my responsibility, to try and resurrect and revive and repatriate all of these plants that have just an incredible flavor but also a really amazing story. And those plants teach us incredible lessons about the past and it’s a very rewarding project, to take a seed that is almost extinct, a story that is almost not told and to be able to carry that on and grow it and share it with people, it's a lot of fun.

  • 13:13:17

    NNAMDIYou're not only growing it and sharing it, you're carrying it along on your person. I'm looking at the cover of the book and when I look up at your left arm, it's the same arm on the cover of the book. And this arm had -- has red -- jimmy red corn tattooed above the album, along with ramps garlic scapes, black radishes, fiddlehead ferns, dozens of other plants. They're all heirloom plants that you grow and you put into your cooking. How do you translate your passion for these heirloom foods to the people who work for you at Husk and McCrady's?

  • 13:13:48

    BROCKWell, it's one of those things that's contagious, you know, inspiration and passion is so powerful and when you're around beautiful ingredients, and you're as lucky as we are to be able to handle them every day, it's hard not to get so excited. And, I think, something that I always try to bring to the table is an incredible excitement for the small and humble things. And once you start cooking that way, you look at food in a different way and it just catches on and people start to pay attention and they find out that it also makes them very, very happy.

  • 13:14:26

    NNAMDIWe're talking with Sean Brock, he is executive chef and partner at McCrady's, Husk and Minero. He is the author of "Heritage." He joins us in studio. You can join the conversation by calling 800-433-8850. What dish reminds you of the south? Do you have a favorite southern dish? How does your family preserve its culinary heritage, 800-433-8850? You can shoot us an email to kojo@wamu.org or a tweet @kojoshow. Sean, hopping john is the quintessential low country dish and it's one that changed your life as a cook. Could you tell us that story?

  • 13:15:01

    BROCKYeah, you know, each culture has a rice and beans dish, and it's very interesting to look at it that way. And the rice and beans dish that is from Charleston is referred to as hopping john. And it's a dish that taught me one of the most valuable lessons of my career because the first time I had it, I was about 18 or 19 years old, I think, and I'd been reading about low country cooking and all these amazing 19th century books and all this great food. I was dreaming up, in my head, was gonna be the most amazing food I'd ever eaten. And when I ate that bowl of hopping john, I couldn't have been more let down. I was...

  • 13:15:49

    NNAMDIDidn't work for you, just didn't work.

  • 13:15:51

    BROCKIt tasted like nothing and I was so confused and I was so heartbroken and let down, it just didn't make sense to me. But now I know why and it's the whole reason that I get up in the morning every day. The bowl of hopping john that I ate that day, was made with inferior products. It was made with commercial foods, foods with no flavor, no character. And the first time I had it with Carolina gold rice, with sea island red peas that came from West Africa, I -- it was like this big moment for me. It all made sense. And I started to realize that there are a lot more stories out there like that and a lot more plants that need to be on the southern table.

  • 13:16:45

    NNAMDIYou mentioned West Africa, you have spent time in West Africa, tracing the roots of our early southern cuisine. Tell us about your work then, what you've learned about how African cuisine contributed to popular dishes that we eat today.

  • 13:16:59

    BROCKI was fortunate enough to go to West Africa, a couple times, last year in search of, you know, the roots of low country cooking. And I learned a lot. It was really one of the most amazing trips I've ever been a part of and what I picked up there was something that I think about every day and something I think about every time I cook, and it's -- was kind of a moment where I understood the common thread and I understood the beauty of food cooked with care.

  • 13:17:38

    BROCKAnd you start to really understand comfort food and southern cooking and soul food, on a different level, when you realize the beauty and the craft involved, when you can take these really humble ingredients and through providing them with -- cooking them with care and knowing a couple little tips and tricks here and there, you can create something extraordinary. And to me, that's the power of, like, southern food. It's a very specific emotion that -- a very specific feeling that comes from a plate of food cooked with that kind of care. And you see that in all cultures and it's one of the most beautiful things that you can experience as a cook.

  • 13:18:28

    NNAMDIBenne is an ingredient I see a lot in your cookbook. What is it and how do you use it in your recipes?

  • 13:18:35

    BROCKI get made fun of a lot 'cause I use so much benne. But to me, it's a great example of how food used to taste. It's a form of sesame, actually. And sesame went through some pretty serious modifications in the '30s and '40s and it was modified to produce more oil and that drastically changed the flavor. And if you taste benne, the West African varietal, you'll see, all of a sudden, you're tasting something for the first time. And it has a completely different flavor from the sesame that we've all been eating for all these years.

  • 13:19:19

    BROCKAnd then you realize that all those old dishes from the 19th century, that you've been making with modern sesame are completely new dishes and it's a flavor that didn't exist for a long time, people weren't growing it. And so those are the kind of things I like celebrating.

  • 13:19:36

    NNAMDIHow can home cooks get this flavor in their dishes if they don't have access to benne?

  • 13:19:41

    BROCKWell, the idea, really, is to take a look around and try and understand the region that you live and cook in and what you'll find is, there are plants and there are flavors and there are foods that belong in a certain area and I think those are the foods that we should all be cooking and those are the foods that'll make us the happiest. You know, the idea of recreating a recipe, word for word, isn't really the idea of the book, you know. It's more about, you know, find your benne seed, you know? Like, find that plant that means something to your area and celebrate it.

  • 13:20:23

    NNAMDIThe book we're talking about is "Heritage," Sean Brock's book. He joins us in studio. He is the executive chef and partner in McCrady's, Husk and Minero. You can call us at 800-433-8850. Here is John in Shepherdstown, W.V. John, you're on the air. Go ahead, please. Sean, put on your headphones, please, so you can hear John.

  • 13:20:42

    JOHNHi.

  • 13:20:42

    NNAMDIThere you go, John.

  • 13:20:44

    JOHNHi, Kojo. I'm calling in. Grown up in northern Virginia. I just have memories of this peanut soup from when I was a kid. And it was described to me as a quintessentially Virginian food. And, in fact, like the only restaurants you ever see it at are these kind of old tiny sort of places. And now that I've grown up and I'm cooking for myself, I've started sort of experimenting with that recipe because it just tastes like home. And it's wonderful stuff.

  • 13:21:22

    NNAMDITasting like home is what "Heritage" is all about, Sean.

  • 13:21:25

    JOHNYep.

  • 13:21:26

    BROCKI love that old dish and I'm glad you brought that up because I'd forgotten about it. I -- that's a great example of a dish that belongs in an area, and a dish that's unique to an area. And when people first hear about peanut soup, it sounds strange to them but what people forget is that peanuts are legumes, they're beans essentially. They're peas, and that makes perfect sense to me. That's a dish that you see in a lot of old books and that you don't see enough in restaurants unfortunately.

  • 13:21:58

    NNAMDIGot to take a short break. When we come back, we'll continue our conversation with Sean Brock. He is executive chef and partner at McCrady's, Husk and Minero. We're talking about his book "Heritage" and inviting your calls, 800-433-8850. Have you ever raised heirloom crops or even crops that were verging on extinction? How did they fare? What kind of heirloom foods to you love, 800-433-8850? I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

  • 13:22:50

    NNAMDI...Food Wednesday. Our guest is Sean Brock. He is executive chef and partner at McCrady's, Husk and Minero, author of the book "Heritage." McCrady's and Minero are in Charleston. Husk has two locations, Charleston and Nashville. And Sean Brock will be at the 6th and I synagogue tonight, 7:00 pm, talking with Michele Kayal of American Food Roots.

  • 13:23:10

    NNAMDISean, pork is the essence of southern cuisine and it takes up a lot of time, brain power and shelf space at your restaurants. But before these pigs even end up on plates, you spend a lot of time raising them, caring for them. Tell us a little bit about why you do that and how you do it? And you can get pork anywhere these days.

  • 13:23:29

    BROCKWell, when I first started growing my own vegetables, the impact that it had on my way of thinking was really amazing. And I knew that the next logical thing was to raise animals. And when you wake up every day and you're responsible for the health and happiness of an animal, once it's time to prepare that and share it with your guests you do it with a completely different level of respect that I think can only be achieved by doing that.

  • 13:24:03

    BROCKYou know, you raise an animal. When it comes time to slaughter, you know, you have a different emotion about preparing that and cooking it and eating it. And I'm really glad I got to experience that.

  • 13:24:21

    NNAMDIShould mention that Sean does not use commercial pork and only buys from people who treat animals humanely. That philosophy extends to sheep and cattle. What heritage breeds do you raise and what should real pork taste like?

  • 13:24:34

    BROCKWell, what's interesting about the pork in the low country is that it was brought over by the Spaniards in the latter part of the 15th century. And it's this crazy pig that's been on this island, Ossabaw Island. And it's very, very, very fatty. But it has this true character to it that you can only get from that breed. And one of the things I love is traveling around and seeing what breeds other people are raising and cooking in different parts of the country. It's great to see how an animal can thrive in a particular region and how that translates to a plate.

  • 13:25:20

    NNAMDIYou -- the way you raise pork seems to represent your overall philosophy about raising livestock. How has America's push towards mass-produced convenient food changed the flavor of meat?

  • 13:25:33

    BROCKWell, I think people are starting to realize that anything raised with care is going to taste better. It matters how happy that animal is. It matters how happy that carrot is. And if you can put that level of care into food while you're raising it, it's going to taste better. Older breeds tend to taste better. Older plant varietals tend to taste better. And we're getting back to that. And it's really, really promising and it's a lot of fun to be cooking in America right now.

  • 13:26:03

    NNAMDIGot an email from Ashby who says, "The pickles at Husk took me back to my childhood the second I put them in my mouth. It was sensory overload. Emotions came flooding. I grew up in South Carolina and now live in D.C. Is it the method, the ingredients? I would love to make those pickles for my kids to add to my stories about their grandparents, great grandparents, great aunts, etcetera. Is there any way I can get the recipe? I promise not to share it."

  • 13:26:28

    NNAMDIWell, fortunately pretty much every single pickle recipe from Husk is in this book. And one of the great methods of preservation that means so much to southern food, building that pantry up. And those flavors do bring back so many memories. The nostalgia involved in that is one of the beautiful things about food and the power of food.

  • 13:26:53

    NNAMDIOn to Nathan in Vienna, Va. Nathan, your turn.

  • 13:27:00

    NATHANGood afternoon. I was just wondering about how the author may view the changing kind of social landscape and its acceptance or denial of accepting wild game into the kitchen? And for instance, take the Brunswick Stew, a great Virginia tradition. And I feel I meet so many people that when I mention the fact that I'm cooking up some squirrels, they just cringe and say, how could you? Oh. I don't know, it's such a rich history. And when it comes to animals, well, wild lean meat is delicious.

  • 13:27:38

    NNAMDIYour thoughts, Sean.

  • 13:27:40

    BROCKWell, some of my greatest memories as a child were hunting and fishing and eating those foods. And one of my dreams is that hopefully some day in America we'll be able to serve those foods because those animals live in the wild and they live naturally and the forage and they eat acorns and all these wonderful things. And that's why they taste delicious.

  • 13:28:01

    NNAMDIThank you for your call, Nathan. Sean, you've come to a lot of turning points as a chef in your career. And one of them was when a Virginia farmer named Craig Rogers called you up at McCrady's. Tell us about Rogers and how he changed your menu.

  • 13:28:15

    BROCKMeeting Craig was a big turning point. I'd never spoken with someone with that much passion about breeds and the way animals are raised. And since that we've become quite close. And I consider him a great friend and it's just fantastic to watch people be so caring and passionate towards what they do for a living. And luckily I get to cook and eat that all the time. Craig's a very, very special guy. And if you haven't had his lamb, you should definitely get some. It's really my favorite.

  • 13:28:50

    NNAMDIWhere can our listeners find this amazing lamb and poultry?

  • 13:28:53

    BROCKBorder Springs Farm. He's in Patrick County, Va. And I love his lamb.

  • 13:29:01

    NNAMDIA few weeks ago, Chef Ann Cashion joined us. She's considered a culinary pioneer here in Washington. She spent her career championing locally-grown food and seafood from the Chesapeake Bay. She has now opened an authentic Mexican taco joint. And I've noticed you're doing the same at Minero. What's the attraction to Mexican food for a chef?

  • 13:29:22

    BROCKWell, I've been thinking a lot about it lately and it's the idea of comfort food and soul food. And it's that food that people are craving now. It's that emotion that people are craving now. And I've always loved Mexican food and it's always been one of my favorite things to eat and it makes me the happiest. And I was wondering, like, why is that? And I know exactly what it is. It's a cuisine that its foundation is dried corn, which is the foundation of the cooking of my childhood. You know, think about all the great things in southern culture that comes from dried corn, things like bourbon and grits and cornbread.

  • 13:30:03

    NNAMDII was wondering at what point you would mention bourbon, but thankfully you mentioned it first.

  • 13:30:09

    NNAMDIAnd it's that kind of -- it's that flavor and that feeling you get from eating corn that's been ripened in the field. And a tortilla makes me just as happy as a slice of cornbread.

  • 13:30:22

    NNAMDIWe got an email from Liza who says, speaking of comfort foods, "Macaroni and cheese is my favorite comfort food, so I have to know how does Sean Brock make this staple American dish at his restaurants?

  • 13:30:32

    BROCKI like to take the same approach to something as common and as simple as macaroni and cheese. I think any time you're cooking you should use the best ingredients that you can afford. And for me, I see that as a way, when you're cooking something like macaroni and cheese, to celebrate a cheese maker. We're able to use some pretty fantastic cheeses that are being made all throughout the south right now, ones that I think will rival the ones from Europe. So for me, macaroni and cheese is about using this beautiful Tennessee cheddar that gets lightly smoked and kind of has that fantastic soul food element to it.

  • 13:31:13

    NNAMDI800-433-8850. Our guest is Sean Brock, executive chef and partner at McCrady's, Husk and Minero. We're discussing his new book. It is called "Heritage." 800-433-8850. What is on your Thanksgiving table this year? Do you have questions for Sean Brock on how to make it better?

  • 13:31:32

    NNAMDISean, despite your drive to get back to basics and southern eating, you're also a huge fan of molecular gastronomy and creative modern cuisine. You shook up Charleston's restaurant scene in 2006 with the substances you incorporated into your dishes at McCrady's. Tell us a little bit about this journey and how you blend old and new cooking techniques.

  • 13:31:53

    BROCKWell, what's interesting about my take on cooking and the way I see cooking is I love modern cooking and refined cooking as much as I love a cheeseburger from a diner. For me, it's really about finding what makes you happy. And I get a lot of joy from the craftsman aspect of being a chef and the technical aspect of it. To me modern cooking and refined cooking is a lot about that. It's practicing your craft and being a technician. And that's a lot of fun.

  • 13:32:30

    NNAMDII think a lot of us still think of southern food as heavy but do you feel that fine dining has been redefined in recent years by the movement for local sustainable food? Is low country food now highbrow?

  • 13:32:45

    BROCKWhat's great about what's happening in America, and most certainly the south, is people are starting to taste the difference of grade ingredients. And once that happens you prepare them minimally. You do very little to them. And if you look back at the cuisine of my grandmother, it was very vegetable-driven. She didn't fry anything at all. It was all fresh or preserved vegetables. And that was kind of the center of the meal. And people are cooking that way in restaurants now. Vegetables are getting a lot more attention than they used to because now we're getting these vegetables that are insanely delicious.

  • 13:33:30

    NNAMDIHere is John in Annapolis, Md. John, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 13:33:35

    NATHANHi, Kojo and Sean. Glad to hear you folks today. You were talking about pork a little while ago and my wife and I spend a lot of time at local markets around here in Baltimore and D.C. and we're always looking for the more fatty pork like the Bercher. Can you recommend any heritage brands or breeds that sort of approach that? It seems like over the years they've bred all the fat out of the pork and plus the flavor too.

  • 13:33:59

    BROCKYeah, in the book I talk a lot about the importance of heritage breeds. And any time that you can buy food directly from a farmer, you're going to be able to get the story of that breed and you're going to be assured that it's going to have that flavor that we all crave and that character that exists in those old breeds. You know, I would suggest doing a quick and simple Google search in trying to find those farmers and which farmers markets they set up at in your area.

  • 13:34:32

    NNAMDIThank you very much for your call. We got an email from John. "I'm from a small town about 40 miles northwest of Charleston, S. C. I grew up with my great grandmother preparing catfish stew. I haven't had this stew since my childhood. Is it a dish with which Mr. Brock is familiar?"

  • 13:34:49

    BROCKThose old fish stews are one of my favorites. And I saw a lot of that when I was in West Africa, these fantastic fish stews that have such a depth of flavor and so much soul. That catfish stew I'm sure is a product of those dishes and one that can be translated to all kinds of different cuisines. But the idea of, yeah, creating this stew out of a fish that not a lot of people are familiar with is a flavor that I just love.

  • 13:35:24

    NNAMDIIf you're going to have a restaurant in the south, you've got to have cornbread. You have called yourself a cornbread snob. So what's the best way to make it?

  • 13:35:33

    BROCKI would say that the act of making and eating cornbread is my favorite thing in the whole world. I can't recall a meal as a child that didn't include a cast iron skillet full of cornbread. And I think cornbread, especially the recipe in the book, is a perfect example of why good ingredients matter. If you take Anson Mills yellow cornmeal and good buttermilk and a good egg and you mix that up, put it into a hot pan with a little bit of bacon fat, you're going to be a very, very happy person. And there's no need to add sugar or flour when you have those beautiful ingredients. And to me that's real cornbread.

  • 13:36:19

    NNAMDIIf you go to our website kojoshow.org, you can find that recipe for Cracklin' Cornbread. Here is Cory in Waldorf, Md. Cory, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 13:36:30

    CORYHi, how you doing?

  • 13:36:31

    NNAMDIDoing well.

  • 13:36:33

    CORYHi. I actually was calling, this year my family has moved down to North Carolina and I live in Maryland. And I wanted to (unintelligible) I was told I (unintelligible) ...

  • 13:36:46

    NNAMDIOh, you're crackling, you're breaking up, Cory. Go ahead.

  • 13:36:50

    CORYOh, I'm sorry. Can you hear me?

  • 13:36:50

    NNAMDIYes, we can.

  • 13:36:52

    CORYHi, yeah, this is the first year my parents moved down to North Carolina. And we're celebrating Thanksgiving down there. And I'm thinking -- I'm trying to find a good thing to bring that will survive the trip and it's easy to cook for a limited time period.

  • 13:37:05

    NNAMDIOne dish for Thanksgiving that Sean Brock can recommend that he take to North Carolina with him.

  • 13:37:12

    BROCKOh, there's a lot in the book, a lot of my favorite things. The rabbit and dumplings is a fantastic thing that travels well and that would be great. The creamed corn recipe is my grandmothers and I have lots of great memories of eating that at my grandmother's home for Thanksgiving.

  • 13:37:29

    NNAMDIYou can find all of those in the book "Heritage." We're talking with the author, executive chef and partner -- Sean Brock, the executive chef and partner at McCrady's, Husk and Minero. You can find him tonight at 7:00 pm talking with Michele Kayla of American Food Roots at the 6th and I synagogue. Sean Brock, thank you so much for joining us.

  • 13:37:49

    BROCKHey, thank you.

  • 13:37:50

    NNAMDIWe're going to take a short break. When we come back, whatever happened to the streetcars project in Arlington, Va.? We have some answers. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

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