Links #5: soul food, gadgets, eating bugs

I found out this week that the top food trends for 2013 include US Southern food, drinking chocolate and sandwiches. I’m not too inspired by the last two, but I’m salivating at the thought of some soul food.

Last week’s Radio 4 Food Programme was also about US Southern cuisine (you can listen again here, thanks to my uncle Ben for the tip). The programme features some inspirational foodies from Charleston, South Carolina, who have been helping to revive the region’s ‘lost food culture’. They include chef Sean Brock, culinary historian David Shields, food writer Nathalie Dupree and Glenn Roberts who farms heritage grains including California Gold Rice.

US Southern, aka low country, soul food or creole cuisine spans 250 years and many more miles, deriving from the culinary traditions of immigrants including Jewish exiles from Spain and French Huguenots. The most pertinent influence however, is known as geechee or gullah cuisine, and comes from the cooking and farming traditions of West African slaves.

It’s no surprise that the Southern diet is becoming newly popular: it’s rich in healthy and cheap whole foods such as rice, pulses and oats, and yet fatty, meaty, dishes such as pulled pork and fried chicken take the edge off its virtuousness and offer some real comfort in hard times. I am now really looking forward to cooking some, although I doubt I’ll get close to the super-authentic dishes described in the Food Programme, I mean, forget heritage grains, where do I even get grits in this town? I’m damned if I have to settle for instant polenta.

I acquired some great new kitchen gadgets this week for the princely sum of 69p. First up, I learnt how to open a stubborn jar using half an old tennis ball (but preferably not one that the dog has chewed). Then I saw this video, that shows how to separate (and rejoin!) eggs really neatly using a vacuum created inside an empty plastic drinks bottle. And to top it off, I then discovered Mirko Müller’s bestselling Perfect Egg Timer app (just 69p) which calculates the precise time needed to boil an egg to your taste, taking into account variables such as the egg’s diameter, altitude and starting temperature.

And lastly, for now, it must be the end of the world as we know it because another culinary trend for 2013 seems to be insects. In London this April René Redzepi of Noma is hosting a Nordic Food Lab pop-up restaurant with bugs on the menu at the Wellcome Trust-backed event Pestival 2013. I really REALLY want to go.

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About Chloe King

I'm a freelance writer, designer and webby type. I live with my husband and daughter in the south of England. I like to cook and can throw a good party.

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