In conjunction with Memphis in May, there will be a tasting of Tunisian wines and olives oils on Tuesday, May 18th, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
On Saturday, May 22nd, at 6:30 p.m., it's "Gourmet at a Higher Level," a dinner benefitting the Memphis Farmers Market.
Bruce Meisterman is the Advertising Director for Flyer sister publication MBQ. Meisterman is also a talented photographer. When we heard he was planning on attending last weekend's Barbecue Fest, we asked him to take some photos.
Happily, he obliged. Click here for the slideshow.
I moseyed on down to Barbecue Fest around 1:30 p.m. Friday, braving the heat and the searing afternoon sun. Around that time, people were shuffling past me with white Styrofoam boxes, hurrying into the judges’ tent with their entries in the seafood competition (some of them even followed closely by cameramen.) The first tent I came across was the Cattlemen’s tent, where they were selling grills along with the book Everybody Grills. Someone told me that if you win a competition at Barbecue Fest and say “Thank you, Cattlemen!” you get a $1,000 extra in prize money. (I think they were just pulling my leg?)
The first competitors I met were the representatives from Cajun Cookers in Jackson, TN, who teamed up with Sysco for the competition. Darron Hicks came out to chat with me a little, having just entered his barbecue shrimp in the competition. His family started competing in 1985, and he has been trained by his father ever since. The recipe for their barbecue is around 100 years old, and Hicks describes it as “real basic.” “The brown sugar brings out the natural taste of the pork,” he says, adding that it isn’t too sweet. He says, “If you want something sweet, I’ll get you some apple pie.”
They were handing out these boxes yesterday at Barbecue Fest.
Lidia Bastianich, known as the First Lady of Italian cooking, was in Memphis last week for the Brooks' Art of Good Taste. She also signed copies of her most recent cookbook, Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy, and celebrated the distribution of her line of Bastianich wines at Buster’s Wine and Liquor. After a wine tasting at Café Society on Saturday, she was gracious enough to grant me an interview (and a sampling of some of her wines.)
In Lidia Cooks, you once again explore a variety of lesser-known areas in Italy. How do you develop distinct recipes for these regions when there seems to be so much overlap?
In Italy, there are 20 regions, and the beauty of Italy — why there’s so much diversity— is the regionality. As small as Italy is, there are a lot of microclimates and a lot of effects from the water. It’s just different — you go from one region to another and the same dish changes. It never ceases to amaze me, each region and their repertoire of recipes.
On a stroll through Barbecue Fest today, I spotted ...
The panties and bra decor of the Boardello's booth.
“Memphis has made its reputation on barbecue. It’s an indigenous phenomenon,” says Peter Calandruccio.
Calandruccio is publisher of the recently released Memphis Q, a Handy Map of sorts to the area’s barbecue restaurants, subtitled “Your Complete Directory to the Joints That Make Memphis THE BAR-B-Q CAPITAL of the Universe.”
I couldn't make it to the Botanic Garden to pick up this week's CSA share, so a friend picked it up for me. The take was so bountiful that I wonder if I got a full share by mistake instead of my usual half share.
In the bag this week: radishes, turnips, carrots, a head of cabbage, basil, salad greens, and red potatoes.
One of the perks of working in a building so close to the river, as we do at the Flyer, is having easy-access to the Memphis in May events.
The flip side of that coin is that the traffic and parking situation can get maddening. This is particularly the case with the Barbecue Fest, which seems to encroach earlier and earlier each year.
On Tuesday, post-work time, the lot adjacent to the Flyer's building was already starting to fill up. That's where I came upon an RV and its occupants, the Wagners.
I could say that all those who entered our Barbecue Team Name Contest were winners, but we all know that's not even close to being true.
The real winners — those who will receive two tickets to all three days of the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest — are:
You Sow Crazy, submitted by Chris10G
When Porky Met Saucy, submitted by TRP3
Payback for Swine Flu, submitted by The Sheriffs
Winners can email me to get prize details.
“Just watch what you’re fixin' to get,” says Chef Timothy Moore.
He adds a few finishing touches to dish and presents the plate, declaring, “This is a nasty sandwich.”
The sandwich is a hand-made sausage topped with made-from-scratch barbecue sauce and coleslaw.
And, indeed, it is a nasty sandwich — the glorious type of nasty in the way that foods topped in barbecue sauce and coleslaw tend to be.
What’s more, this messy delight is totally vegan.
3:15 p.m., Saturday. Tom Lee Park.
Today was the first day that teams could start "loading in" for the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.
In this week's CSA, I got a quart of strawberries, some lettuce, green onions, radishes, mint, oregano, and a bag of organic basmati rice from McKaskle Family Farm.
I have what I want to make pretty much mapped out, so we shall see.
Grand Masters of Cooking Disasters
Got a better team name than those competing at the this year's World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest? Let's hear it.
Winners will receive two tickets to all three days of the contest, May 13th-15th.