Food & Dining

Georgia Apples

     Amanda Wilbanks walked away with highest awards at Flavor of Georgia, a food competition sponsored by her alma mater, The University of Georgia.  Her pies, created and sol through her Gainesville-based company were already gaining local fame, but this high-level recognition catapulted her hand-crafted pies into the gourmet marketplaces of Atlanta and as far away as New York City.  Wilbanks is on a roll with her Southern Baked Pie Company's retail expansion from Gainesville to Alpharetta and Buckhead. To keep reading, click here

Cooking with Wine

Wine has occupied a prominent place in Georgia's kitchens since Colonial times. Madeira was brought into Savannah and was the wine toasted by signers of the Declaration of Independence celebrating severance from England. It remains a favorite as an aperitif and as an ingredient among chefs and cooks. For the full article, click here.

Winter Feasts

The culinary heritage of the South is a patchwork of traditions brilliantly chronicled by the legendary chef and cookbook author Edna Lewis, who spent the last decade of her life in Georgia, and became a beloved Decatur celebrity. In her earlier days, she made dresses for stars like Marilyn Monroe and cooked for homesick Southerners Truman Capote and William Faulkner when the visited her New York City restaurant. Miss Lewis, as she was called, was widely quoted and once said that "Southern is Christmas."

Click here for the full story.

The Great Pumpkin

Like baseball and bluegrass music, pumpkins are American originals. The globe shaped fruit comes in myriad sizes and varieties. You can carve or eat them. One, a disease resistant variety developed by the University of Georgia’s agriculture department is officially named the Orange Bulldog. Roger Miller, the creator of the Broadway classic Big River, quipped “the pumpkin is always oranger on the other side of the patch.” In the classic TV special “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” cartoon philosopher Linus, announces that each year the pumpkin “rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere.”

Click here to keep reading.

Chef Nick St. Clair

Antebellum Restaurant has put downtown Flowery Branch on the gastronomic map. Its latest kudo comes from MSN this spring in its Get Lost: 20 Must-Visit U.S. Restaurants in the Middle of Nowhere. Antebellum is listed first. Ever the gentleman, chef and owner Nicholas St. Clair smiles as he says, "Well the list is alphabetical." However, Antebellum is in good company with eateries in Washington State, Colorado and Upstate New York in remote towns not necessarily near big cities.

Click here for the full article.

Yesteryear's Puddings

These days, we think of pudding as a cool, custardy treat eaten with a spoon. Leafing through the pages of antique cookbooks, however, reveals that to our great grandparents, pudding could be savory or sweet and was cooked by various methods - inside a cloth bag suspended in boiling water, steamed in a lidded tin, oven-baked, or stirred on a stovetop. In fact, today’s expectation of pudding is far from its original definition - be it creamy, baked, steamed or boiled.

Click here for the full article and delicious recipes.

Holiday Cookies

One holiday tradition that many people enjoy is baking cookies with their family and friends. There is something special about gathering in the kitchen to make these treats and many people insist that the holidays would not be the same without this family ritual. Even though decorating cookies may seem like a daunting task, you can create festive' cookies with really little effort. The laughter and the time spent together outweighs the appearance of the final product, so don’t stress about them looking perfect or being professional grade.

For the full article and delicious recipes, click here.

Biscuit Beauty

"Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits," Carl Sandburg said. The mention of biscuits stirs a powerful image. Here in the South, biscuits are fluffy and tender and delicacies that can be enjoyed at anytime of the day, but across the pong in Europe they are crisper and a cookie-like-cracker treat to be nibbled with tea or coffee. But here in the south, biscuits are a staple.

To read more of this article, click here.

Lemons to Lemonade

Front porches with oversized rocking chairs, gray blue smoke rising from a patio's grill, or the slow hum of celling fans under a portico, these are the images of summer. A time for gatherings. Nothing embodies the spirit or taste of summer like lemons. Their cheery rough exterior, the zing of their zest, and their acerbic juice evokes the senses.

Read more about lemons in cocktails, dishes and desserts and find great recipes in the article here!

Celebrating Spring with Warm Weather Recipes

Spring has just about sprung in the peach state, though it won’t officially arrive until the vernal equinox on March 20. Everywhere there are signs of nature’s rebirth, from the daffodils and forsythia bursting with brilliant yellow blooms, to the first ruby-throated hummingbirds arriving back from their wintering grounds. And there is no better way to celebrate the return of the sun than with some good warm weather foods, such as salads that make use of the fresh greens now rising from the earth and meats smoked or grilled in that green-again backyard.

Click here to continue reading about these great spring recipes!

For the Soul: Soups and Stews

There is a chain of restaurants in London that Brits look to when the weather turns cold and damp and the city seems eternally pinned between grey cloud cover and the crunch of ice underfoot, which is to say most of the fall, winter and well into spring months. The Stockpot is a favorite haunt for escaping heavy pub fare and pricey hotel dining rooms, and it thankfully has storefronts throughout the city, from Chelsea to Picadilly Circus.

To read more, click here.

Southern Influence at ECHO

The year is 1942, and instead of ladies in swimsuits and men in bermuda shorts meandering down the halls of The King and Prince, an energetic seaside dance club and hotel located on Georgia’s coast, uniformed naval officers are darting from classrooms to headquarters. With the US Navy purchase of the air station in town, it required a residence and command post, and the regal resort structure filled the need. WWII training is in full swing on St. Simons Island and at The King and Prince.

To read more, click here.

A Summer Taste of Athens

Seasonal cocktails to cool the heat, here is a version of Ella Fitzgerald singing “Summertime” accompanied by Louis Armstrong on the trumpet that will absolutely stir your very soul. Summertime... and the living is easy....

So, speaking of stirring and summertime, Georgia Connector is on the search for crisp and refreshing drinks that will take the edge off these hot summer days. I’d be willing to bet that while DuBose Heyward and George Gershwin were composing “Summertime” they were on a breezy front porch sipping Mint Juleps.

To find out more about summertime cocktails, click here.

Cast Iron Feasts

It was probably the most abused pan in the kitchen, but mothers and grandmothers, for as long as most of us can remember, used it as their ‘go-to’ pan. The cast iron skillet, black as soot and scorching to the touch, was used in heavy rotation never succumbing to time or need. It stood the test of time, and now, it’s coming back for more.

To learn more about cast iron, click here.

Southern cook, Gena Knox

Expecting her third child, Gena Knox is as radiant and as welcoming as she appears on the cover of her new cookbook, Southern My Way: Food & Family. Both in person and on pages, she radiates that Audrey Hepburn classic simple styling, but all that know her realize it's simply that Southern charm, that Southern upbringing that defines her style and her cooking.

To find out more about Gena's cooking, click here.

Fall Gardening is Cool

The year’s first campfires are crackling, the Dawgs are  raucously  barking  at  Sanford  Stadium,  and the  pumpkin  patches  and  corn  mazes  are  in full-swing.  But  fall  is  also  a  prime  season  for spending   time   in   the   garden.   When   people think  of  gardening,  the  images  of  summertime fruits  and  vegetables  are  often  evoked  –  tomatoes,  okra,  squash, blueberries – to name a few. But, with mild days and cool nights, Northeast Georgia is a prime location for fall gardening. Growing cooler weather crops such as lettuce, garlic, and a variety of herbs is rewarding and provides healthy food, without the summer heat.

Enjoying the Summer Harvest

AS THE PINNACLE OF SUMMER APPROACHES, the kitchens of Northeast Georgia residents are filled with the.bounty of early summer harvest. Common Southern vegetables like cucumbers and pole beans grace family plates in a variety of recipes and concoctions, Whether, enjoying locally-farmed heirloom tomatoes, long necked squash from one's own garden or pie with self-picked blueberries, summer flavors are in full-effect.

To learn more about all of the good foods coming from your own garden, click here.

King of Taste

HE EARLY MONTHS OF THE YEAR, Cajuil Cuisilie teilds to spike in popularity, due to its rich history during the celebration of Mardi Gras.

Cajun food is a cuisine named after the French speaking immigrants in the Acadiana region of Louisiana. When deported from Acadia to Louisiana, the Cajun people developed their own kind of food.

Typically Cajun cuisine includes simple and ready-made ingredients that make larger quantities. The food often has a three pot affair, with a main hearty dish, another that has rice or seafood, and then finally a vegetable dish. While Cajun cuisine has been around for hundreds of years, it only became popular within the last 30 years.

To find out why Cajun cuisine has become so popular all over the United States, click here.

A Chocolate Affair

It's like an old friend. It’s where we sometimes turn when we’re celebrating something good, or it’s the first thing we look for when we’re seeking comfort. We may hit the “fountain” at a local event or we may binge on it when no one is looking.  However you enjoy it, there’s nothing quite like savoring its smooth sweetness and enjoying its allure.  It is our good friend, chocolate. 

Here are some of the recipes in this issue:

  • Chocolate Pork Tenderloin
  • Mama's Black Bottom Pie
  • Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
  • Chocolate Heath Trifle
  • Crockpot Candy

To get these and more delicious recipes containing this bewitching confection, click here.

Come Give Thanks

A Thanksgiving feast from our family to yours.

In the South, Thanksgiving feeds the body and the soul. It’s not simply the longing for turkey and fixin’s that keeps one pining for the last week in November, but it’s the anticipation of a crowded table, sparkling laughter and abundant hugs that symbolize a season of gratitude. Only during this time of year, do family and friends drop other commitments and make their way home, creating memories that they hope will keep them warm until the next year rolls around.

The staff at Georgia Connector wishes you a blessed Thanksgiving, complete with all the new memories you can hold. We share with you recipes from our readers and area chefs that will make it back to your table year after year. Not your customary spread, but fresh tastes and unexpected flavors that will create new traditions for a holiday that joins everyone together with a thankful heart.

To read about our regional professional and home-based chefs and receive some delicious recipes, click here.

Summer Wines and Summer Cuisine are the Perfect Match

“Drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life’s most civilized pleasures.” – Michael Broadbent

Whether sitting poolside, lounging by the lake or relaxing on your own back patio, Southern summers seem to bring with them a little lethargy, luxury and diversion from the rest of the year.

Whatever the setting, summers are ideal for indulging in some of the South’s seasonal offerings. From juicy tomatoes fresh from the garden, to figs ready to fall from the tree, to summer berries ripe for the picking, summer in the South, and Georgia in particular, is a magical time. In addition to the fruits that first come to mind when thinking of Southern summer cuisine, northeast Georgia’s wineries have a variety of refreshing beverages to complement the season.

Click here to read about food and wine pairings along with some delicious recipes.

Chef Hugh Acheson is Technically Gifted and Clearly Southern

In 2007, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution chose Athens’ Five & Ten as its Restaurant of the Year, an interesting move for food critic and writer Meridith Ford Goldman since the restaurant is 70 miles from Atlanta.

“I had been following Hugh Acheson at Five & Ten for a while. I was in love with the laid-back approach he took with his dishes,” says Ford Goldman recently, now an editorial director of The Reynolds Group, a marketing and public relations firm in Atlanta, and a food-and-lifestyles blogger. “It was clear to me that he was technically gifted, but his dishes were so soulful.”

When she made the decision she wrote, “There’s no doubt in my mind that Hugh Acheson and his team deserve the honor, and the restaurant defines destination. It’s chef owned and operated and honors what’s right about local cooking and good sourcing. And Acheson’s take on modern Southern cuisine is as welcome as rain would be right about now a testament to community, not just neighborhood.”

Five & Ten was being recognized outside Atlanta for what Athenians had known since the restaurant opened in 2000: the food was simple yet innovative and just plain good.

Click here to learn about Athens' Top Chef Hugh Acheson and his book, A New Turn in the South.

The Heartbeat of the Blue Willow Inn

WHEN THOMAS WOLFE WROTE ‘YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN’, he had never traveled to the wishing-well town of Social Circle. For in this small Southern township dwells the Blue Willow Inn where simply walking up the steps and opening the front door causes an instant flashback to Sunday dinners at mama's house. Whether it's the first visit to this traditional icon or the hundredth, it always feels like home.

To learn more about the historic Blue Willow Inn, Mrs. Billie Van Dyke, and some of her recipes, click here.

Tailgating Southern Style

Tradition in Athens bleeds red and black. A Saturday meeting ‘Tween the Hedges rivals no other weekend activity. Here, unwritten heroes pour their heart and soul into one of the South’s greatest games.

This is more than football; it’s a way of life.

To read the rest of this story and learn about a game, a wedding, and a splash of hot sauce, click here.

Brewing the Good Life

For a growing number of Athenians, living the good life isn’t really complete without a good, cold brew. Many of them have forgone the well-known brews with multi-million dollar advertising budgets and large-scale distribution centers in favor of craft beers.  Craft beer is brewed in smaller quantities and in the traditional way, and home brewed beer falls into this category. Both of these movements have been gaining momentum in Athens.

To learn more about Home Brew, click here.  (Photo by Len Garrison)

Swine Dining

Generally speaking, Georgia barbecue is said to be grilled, smoked or pit cooked pork shoulders, ribs, hams or whole hogs, according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia.  The sauce isn’t mustard-based like our South Carolina neighbors or tomato-based like Western North Carolinians enjoy, nor is it always vinegar-based like that of Eastern North Carolina barbecue.

Click here to find out about fantastic BBQ opportunities.  (Photo by Judy Garrison)

A Family Affair

It all started with a cake decorating set at the age of nine. And then, instead of favorite kid’s shows like Sesame Street and Bugs Bunny, the TV was set to Great Chefs of New York and Frugal Gourmet. And in front of the screen, a little girl grabbing paper, hurriedly writing down every detail of the recipe in hopes that her mother would buy the ingredients and then turn the little girl loose in the kitchen.

To read more about executive chef Emilee Greer, click here.