Frozen Assets

 
I SCREAM… YOU SCREAM
I am, admittedly, spoiled when it comes to ice cream. I blame Young’s Jersey Dairy of Yellow Springs, Ohio. I spent countless Sunday afternoons in the parking lot at Young’s, chasing the drips from a double scoop of Cherry-Vanilla. I didn’t realize, at the time, that I was eating some of the best ice cream I would ever taste. When I moved south, I found that the abundant roadside, family-run, ice cream parlors of my youth… were scarce here. If you wanted a Sno-Cone… no problem… but ice cream? Forget about it.
 
Well, it turns out, dairy cows don’t really enjoy southern climates. They flourish in temperatures between 15 and 70 degrees farenheit. It is, according to farming folks who concern themselves with such matters, a costly affair to keep milkmaking cows in the ‘lower 48′. We stick to raising heartier beef cattle like Angus, which clearly aren’t as fussy as those prissy dairy varieties. Of course, it’s not unheard of to find a locally made ice cream south of Kentucky, but the scarcity of the dairy-adjacent, southern ice cream parlor actually inspired something even better in the south. Homemade ice cream.
 

We never made ice cream when I was a kid. We preferred to pile into the car and zip to Young’s, where we could watch the cows being milked, feed the goats and play a round of Udders & Putters miniature golf. Fifteen years later, I found myself at a birthday party in San Antonio, Texas… amused at the notion that the hosts were going to ‘make’ ice cream to serve with the cake. Preposterous. Who does that? No, seriously… let me just run to the store.

I would love to tell you that I had some epiphany with that first spoonful. I did not. No… my first homemade ice cream was runny, full of icy crystals, cloyingly sweet and barely vanilla. I loved it. Standing there in that oppressively hot backyard, being circled by screaming children while drinking a bowl of it, I knew I had to figure out the dynamics of proper ice cream making at home.

OVERNIGHT SUCCESS
          I’ve learned some invaluable constants that I hope you’ll take into consideration when making ice cream at home.
          The freshness and quality of the ingredients is key. Use the highest grade of milk, cream and eggs you can find. Organic products tend to be rotated more frequently at your grocer, so they tend to be fresher. Where flavoring is concerned, seek out actual vanilla bean pods, fine extract brands like McNess, Neilsen-Massey or Rain’s and better chocolates like Valrhona or, my favorite, Scharffen-Berger. It really DOES make a difference.
          The faster you freeze ice cream, the smoother and creamier the end product will be. That countertop ice cream machine (with the insert you store in the freezer) may seem appealingly easy, but the old ice and salt method chills ice cream faster.
          Ice cream needs to be frozen for a few hours after churning. Professionals call this stage ‘ripening’. I realize there is a serious temptation to eat your new concoction straight from the machine, but trust me, allowing it to ripen in the freezer will make for a much more luxurious treat.
          When storing ice cream (ideally between -5 and 0 degrees farenheit,) use a large, shallow container, not something tall and narrow. American ice creams are packaged that way, but a thinner, broader container, like those used for Italian gelatos, will help to preserve the texture. Press waxed paper or plastic wrap into the surface for the same reason.
          And lastly, ice cream making is a two-day affair. The ‘base’ needs to chill overnight and the churned ice cream needs to ripen in the freezer. We always talk about imbuing our culinary efforts with love… well… making ice cream is one of those laborious activities that will speak to your affections for people, without having to actually get all mushy with them. Translation? This is a fairly ‘ass-whooping’ process, if you want to make it right. I assure you, the process is totally worth it.

Modern South Ice Cream Recipes (Clockwise from top) Very Vanilla, Sweet Corn & Bacon and Strawberry-Basil

THE RECIPES

Modern South Ice Cream Base
by Jeffrey L. Linthicum
Note: This
is my foundation for every flavor of ice cream. Make this base the day before you plan to make ice cream, as it needs to chill overnight. This chilling will produce a higher yield and a more velvety texture.
INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup Caster sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup whole milk

DIRECTIONS
Using a stand or hand mixer, beat together the sugar and egg yolks until the mixture becomes light yellow and thickens (approximately 3 minutes). Bring the half-and-half and milk to a strong simmer over medium high heat. Remove from the heat and temper the egg and sugar mixture by slowly whisking in 1/4 cup of the hot half-and-half and milk. Once it is combined, incorporate the tempered egg mixture into the remaining hot half-and-half and milk. Return the combined mixture to the heat and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to take on a custardy consistency (7-10 minutes). To check for doneness, draw a line with your finger across the back of a coated spoon – the mixture should not fill in the void left by your finger swipe. Strain the mixture into a large bowl and allow to cool on the countertop for 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Modern South Very Vanilla Ice Cream
by Jeffrey L. Linthicum
INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 recipe Modern South Ice Cream Base
  • 2 vanilla beans

DIRECTIONS
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, vanilla extract and the chilled Modern South Ice Cream Base, until well incorporated. Split the vanilla bean pods lengthwise and, using the tip of a knife, scrape the seeds from the interiors of the pods. Add the vanilla seeds to the mixture and whisk until they are evenly distributed throughout. Add the mixture to your ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream (which may still be very soft) to a shallow, plastic, rectangular storage container with a tight sealing lid. Cover the surface of the ice cream with plastic wrap, seal the lid and freeze for four hours.

Modern South Strawberry-Basil Ice Cream
by Jeffrey L. Linthicum
          Cold Stone Creamery has plans to introduce a strawberry-basil ice cream… in August. August? Summer’s over in August. I couldn’t wait that long, so I created my own. When I tested ice creams for this post, this unique blend of fruit and herb was a taste-tester favorite. It’s incredibly fresh and summery.
INGREDIENTS

  • whole basil leaves and strawberries for garnish
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup strawberry preserves
  • 4-6 fresh strawberries | stems removed and finely minced
  •  1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 recipe – Modern South Ice Cream Base
  • 1 pinch salt

DIRECTIONS
Pick through the basil leaves and strawberries for the prettiest examples and set aside for garnishing. Finely mince the remaining basil leaves. Using the back of a spoon or a mortar and pestle, muddle, bruise and mash the minced leaves until they begin to get pasty and very dark green. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon of the mashed basil leaves and the remaining ingredients, until well combined. Add the mixture to your ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream (which may still be very soft) to a shallow, plastic, rectangular storage container with a tight sealing lid. Cover the surface of the ice cream with plastic wrap, seal the lid and freeze for four hours. Serve topped with a whole fresh strawberry and a whole basil leaf.

Modern South Sweet Corn & Bacon Ice Cream
by Jeffrey L. Linthicum
         
I know, I know… this sounds odd. But try it. I developed this as a second course at a private cooking gig and it was the star of the dinner. It’s not something you would want to eat every day, but if you are hoping to ‘wow’ some jaded foodies… this is your best bet.
INGREDIENTS

  • 6 strips bacon
  • 2 ears fresh corn
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper | ground
  • pinch salt
  •  1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 recipe – Modern South Ice Cream Base

DIRECTIONS
          In a large saute’ pan, fry the bacon until very crisp and set aside to drain on paper towels. Retain 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease, being careful to avoid any blackened bits or crumbs. Once cooled, finely crumble or mince the crisp bacon and set aside.
          Cut the corn from the cob, being sure to capture the ‘milk’ that will seep from the sheared kernels. (I stand my corn in the center cone of a bundt pan ring and let the corn and milk fall into the pan.) In a large saute’ pan over medium-high heat, saute the corn and ‘milk’ in the reserved tablespoon of bacon grease until tender. (5-7 minutes.) Season the sautéed corn with the white pepper and salt, remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Once cooled, pulse the sautéed corn in a small food processor until finely pureed.
          In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pureed corn, cream and Modern South Ice Cream Base. Add the mixture to your ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream (which may still be very soft) to a shallow, plastic, rectangular storage container with a tight sealing lid. Cover the surface of the ice cream with plastic wrap, seal the lid and freeze for four hours. To serve, top each portion with a sprinkling of the crumbled bacon and/or a wheel of corn on the cob.

Father’s Day Food Finds

Dear old Dad deserves to be spoiled on Father’s Day, so skip the necktie and cologne this year and appeal to his inner foodie. I’ve assembled a top ten list of items that are sure to make you the apple of his eye, all over again. But order soon! Time is running out! (Check with retailers about delivery options to your area before ordering.)

1. BBQ Briefcase – Uncommon Goods – $84.00
Tap into Dad’s secret desire to be the James Bond of backyard barbecues with this portable, grill-side case of 20 stainless steel utensils topped with heat-resistant handles. Whether he’s flipping kabobs or charring fresh corn, he’ll always have the right tool for the job and look uber-stylish doing it. www.uncommongoods.com

2. The Man Collection – Sucre’ Bakery – $48.00
Sucre’ Bakery in New Orleans is one of my favorite southern establishments. A trip to the iconic city, for me, is incomplete without a cupcake from Sucre’. This collection of their most masculine confections is sweet enough for a man, but made by some wonderful women. The gift set contains their Pretzel Chocolate Bars, Cocoa Nib & Brittle Chocolate Bars, Southern Candied Pecans, Extra Dark Drinking Chocolate, and their oh-so-addictive Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookies. www.shopsucre.com

3. Bacon Marmalade – Chef Ross – $9
I am addicted to Bacon Marmalade and I promise you, your dad will be too. ‘Tis a spreadable, savory, bacon jam that I horde in my refrigerator like the last bottle of clean water on earth. My favorite application? Smeared on a slice of freshly toasted French bread, next to a runny egg. Seriously heavenly. www.baconmarmalade.com

 

The girls who make the gourmet popcorn at Papa Dean's.... allegedly.

4. Gourmet Popcorn – Papa Dean’s Popcorn – $44.99 and up
I lived in San Antonio for several years and found Papa Dean’s gourmet popcorn shop when I was lost one day. I have been a fan ever since. They take popcorn very, VERY seriously. For example, their signature flavor, Texas Honey Pecan, is made from honey produced by fourth-generation, Texas bee-keeper Todd Youngblood. Each hand-dressed batch of the intoxicating, popcorn blend is made with honey from Todd’s Texas Mesquite Honey Bee colony, which has been churning out the liquid gold since 1925. It truly is the best popcorn I have ever had. You can choose up to three flavors for the 6.5 gallon tin, but don’t scoff at some of the more obscure flavors, like Dill Pickle, White Cheddar & Jalapeno or Watermelon. Dads like being adventurous. www.papadeans.com

5. Indoor Pressure Smoker – Hammacher-Schlemmer – $199.95
This little contraption is my new obsession. You can sear a brisket, pork tenderloin or chicken in it, add a few woodchips to an internal chamber, lock it down and return in one hour for perfectly cooked, smoked fabulosity. With just three to five wood chips (not included) the pressure works to impart authentic barbecue smoke flavor into the food, sealing it inside the smoker, and your protein, until the pressure is released. It also cold smokes cheese and fish and can be used as a traditional pressure cooker. www.hammacher.com

6. Deen Bros.’ Gift Set – The Paula Deen Store – $57.95
Who doesn’t love Paula Deen and those sons of hers? This good-old-boy gift set will serve Dad well at the next backyard barbecue. It includes a manly ‘Put Some In Your Mouth’ apron, a Deen brothers cookbook and bottles of their infamous BBQ and Merlot Wine Steak Sauces. www.pauladeenstore.com

7. Epcot Intl. Food & Wine Festival Tickets – Epcot Theme Park – (Contact Disney about pricing.)
September 30 – November 13, 2011, Epcot Theme Park will become a food-lovers paradise with specialty, international food items, culinary events and culinary demonstrations – all mixed with amazing, live, musical entertainment like only Disney can do. What dad wouldn’t want a vacay that’s all about the food? This international affair is dotted along the World Showcase Promenade that makes up one half of the Epcot Theme Park, where special marketplaces are erected for the festival. Stop at the Festival Welcome Center at the park entrance to sign up for daily demonstrations, book signings with world-class chefs and authors or shop at The Stockpot Shop, the Festival Wine Shop or the Wonders Bar. Nightly, enjoy Eat to the Beat… a food and entertainment spectacle to end your perfect, epicurean dream day. www.disneyworld.com

8. Vulcan Ultimate Tailgating Tote – Nice Gesture – $178.95
This is the hardcore, tailgater dad’s ultimate accessory. Part insulated cooler, part gas grill, this portable tote can be carried like a duffel bag or moved around on an optional steward’s trolley. The tote also includes a three-piece grill utensil set and lots of pockets for stowing the cook’s necessities. What’s the score? Who cares! Dad is making black & bleu ribeyes in the parking lot! www.nicegesture.com

9. Winemaking Starter Kit – The Artful Winemaker – $149.99
The Artful Winemaker’s All Inclusive Starter Package includes everything Dad needs to produce 12 signature bottles of wine in 28 days – in just 3 easy steps! It’s super easy to use, takes up very little space, comes in six varieties and includes a solid guarantee.

10. Wagyu (Kobe) Beef Sampler – Allen Brothers Steaks – $265.95
Allen Brothers has a sterling reputation for brokering the finest cuts of meat on the planet. This sample package includes six Wagyu (Kobe-style) cattle steaks, known the world over for unique marbling, velvety texture and juicy finish. This ultimate sampling of remarkable beef includes two 8oz. strip steaks, two 8oz. filets and two 8oz. ribeyes. Carnivorous dads will rejoice. www.allenbrothers.com

Day Tripper – South Padre Island, TX

Day Tripper posts feature a breakfast, lunch and dinner experience from a quick overnight trip to a southern destination. E-mail me your recommendations for stellar eateries that I should not miss throughout the southern U.S.: jeffreylinthicum@yahoo.com
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24 Hours On The Texas Riviera

Photo Courtesy of Hilton Garden Inn Website

Breakfast
Great American Grill
@ Hilton Gardens Inn
7010 Padre Boulevard 
          I know what you are thinking… most hotel buffets disappoint spectacularly. This one did not. A skilled omelette station attendant and a spot on waffle and pancake maker made me a believer… and while I’ll spend any amount of money for great food… I was thrilled to be offered the feast for just $6.95, a courtesy extended to the guests of the wedding I was there attending. Kudos for offering a really tempting oatmeal bar with all-natural, organic toppings and mix-ins, like dried fruits and toasted Texas pecans. Super friendly if not occasionally bumbling staff. www.hiltongardeninn.hilton.com

Lunch
Sea Ranch Restaurant
33330 State Park Road 100
          The owners and kitchen staff at Sea Ranch need to get out more often. And soon. Plagued by a late 90′s ‘touristy’ vibe, the Sea Ranch is a dated and tired rehashing of seafood platters littered with little plastic cups of tartar sauce and ranch dressing. My lunch companion and I agreed… the chemically flavored, sugary, prepared mix made for a hatefully sweet pomegranate martini and an equally vile vodka lemonade. We both switched to vodka and soda almost immediately. We were equally underwhelmed by our appetizers. The South Padre Poke’, advertised as ahi tuna marinated in soy and sesame oil and layered with fresh avocado and pico de gallo, arrived looking (and tasting) very much like an overturned can of catfood. The jalapeno shrimp wrapped in bacon were overcooked beyond recognition. Needless to say… we passed on entrees. www.searanchrestaurant.com.

Photo Courtesy of The Padre Island Brewing Co. website.

Dinner
Padre Island Brewing Company
3400 Padre Blvd.
          Handcrafting beer and feeding faces since 1995, this little gastropub is one hopping little joint… and for good reason. The brews they produce (and there are always at least four to choose from) are crisp and clean with purposeful flavor profiles that did not disappoint. I loved the champagne colored Blonde Ale with our fried appetizer medley of artichoke hearts, housemade dill pickle chips and Wisconsin cheese curds. The unlikely trio of items are hand-beer-battered, fried to golden perfection and served with requisite dipping sauces.
          Sadly… my dinner companion and I overindulged and were barely able to really enjoy the robust Cinco de Mayo Bock, or even half of the yummy, perfectly cooked Pub Burgers, served on a spectacular bun from PsychaDeli Bakery (3112 Padre Boulevard) just down the street. Can’t wait to return for one of their award-winning pizzas. www.pibrewingcompany.com.
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I own up to any errors, omissions or mistakes. I welcome your comments and/or corrections. Contact me at any time by e-mail at: jeffreylinthicum@yahoo.com
I do not apologize for embellishments or lengthy yarns. Who am I to mess with decades of southern tradition?

Sour Power

There are few things on this planet that have become as important to me as my Summer 2011 quest for ‘The Perfect Glass of Lemonade’. Not the loftiest of ambitions, admittedly, but who doesn’t get a little slobbery at the thought of a condensation-glazed, ice-choked, glass pitcher of the stuff. You probably know that lemonade is brilliantly simple to make, enjoyed worldwide, made from ingredients that are readily available in every culture and chock full of nutritional value. It’s what you may not know about this centuries-old, tarty treat that will surprise you.

IN THE BEGINNING
         
Those clever Egyptians were the first to officially mention lemonade in print. Writings as early as 700AD tell of Qatarmizat - a ‘wine’ made from lemons, dates, honey and water, enjoyed fresh or fermented by the peasants. It was so popular, in fact, that it became a staple of Egyptian export in the 13th century. With popularity, of course, comes imitation and national ‘twists’ on the Egyptian recipe began to gain notoriety. By the 14th century, India and Pakistan had added ingredients like salt, ginger, cumin and saffron, producing their exotic Nimbu Panni and Shikanjvi. Both are still popular beverages today. (Master Cleanse anyone?) In the 16th century, the French made their contribution by carbonating lightly sweetened lemon water and in the 17th century the English managed to put their ‘stink’ on lemonade by excising sweetener from the equation.

A LEMON BY ANY OTHER NAME…
         
America’s 20th century contribution to the evolution of lemonade? The ultimate lemonade lemon. Frank Meyer, an employee of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), collected a sample of an ornamental tree in China in 1908 and introduced it in his report as: Fruiting Plant # 23028. Thought to be a cross between a lemon and a mandarin, the Meyer Lemon boasted thinner skin than a traditional Lisbon or Eureka lemon, sweeter flesh and juice and a heartier disposition for mass cultivation. Four Winds Growers of California eventually perfected the seed in the 1950′s and the plant was certified and released in 1975 as the Improved Meyer Lemon that we enjoy today.

MORE THAN YOU EVER NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT LEMONADE:
          – In 2008, filmmaker Erik Proulx created ‘Lemonade’, an inspirational film about 16 advertising professionals who lost their jobs and found their calling in other creative industries.
          – Pink lemonade was first made pink by Indians who added berries from the Red Sumac, a non-toxic cousin of Poison Ivy.
          – The original Tom Collins recipe called for lemonade instead of today’s more commonly used sour mix.
          – Ingesting lemon juice, daily, is said to help ward off kidney stones.
          – Country Time, the most widely purchased instant lemonade mix, is manufactured by the folks who make Snapple. Perhaps more interestingly, lemons do not appear in the ingredients.

So, whether you prefer a Lemon Shake-up at the county fair, a bottle of imported, sparkly French Lorina made from Vosges Mountain spring water or a complex and spicy Nimbu Panni, know that lemonade is more than just something to make when life hands you lemons. And if you happen upon a glass of it that really knocks your socks off, drop me a line. My quest continues and my glass is empty.

TRY BEFORE YOU DIE – SOUTHERN LEMONADES
New Orleans, LA – Hansen’s Sno Bliz - Lemonade Sno-Bliz:
          Four words: Zagat-Rated Sno Cone. In 1939, Ernest Hansen invented the first ice shaving machine. Not long after, his wife Mary cooked up the secret recipes for her own shaved ice flavorings. Hansen’s Sno-Bliz has been a sensation ever since. The lemonade variety is said to be addictive. (Open May-August only!)

Delray Beach, FL – Bamboo Fire Cafe – Calypso Lemonade
          My sources allege that this lemonade is bettered by the addition of vanilla bean and/or angostura bitters, but the recipe is highly guarded. It ranks among the most beloved and unique, local specialties with locals and tourists alike.

Houston, TX – Irma’s Mexican Cuisine – Irma’s Famous Lemonade
          This is the lemonade of the gods. No surprise, since Irma Galvan is a James Beard-awarded Chef. A blend of fruits balances out the tartness of the lemon and the presentation is awe-inspiring. And don’t get me started on the Mexican food there. (The recipe for Irma’s lemonade appears in Houston Classic Mexican Recipes by Erin Miller – Pelican 2011!)

Atlanta, GA – The Sound Table – Clover Club Lemonade
          Located in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward, the bar menu at this trendy eatery garners as much attention as the food. The Clover Club is a heady, gin-based lemonade cocktail  spiked with Gemini Jams’ Georgia Raspberry Syrup. Heavenly.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Nacho Bizness – Chronic Lemonade
          You gotta hunt this one down, kids. This single roaming food truck services all of Ft. Lauderdale but Twitters it’s current location to die-hards. The fish tacos and burritos shine, as does their Chronic Lemonade… named for the craving you’ll have for it after just one sip.

THE RECIPES
          Note: True lemonade aficionados are few and far between, but I’ve done enough research to uncover two constants to consider when making outstanding lemonade. First, Meyer lemons are the only way to go. Regardless of your preference for the sweetness or tartness of the end product, they are larger, juicier and sweeter than any other lemon you will find. Secondly, the best lemonades are almost always sweetened with simple syrup, agave nectar or honey. Infusing raw, granulated sugar into a cold beverage is almost impossible and creates inconsistently sweet, overly cloudy lemonade.

Traditional Southern Lemonade
Yield: 10 8-ounce Servings
INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups Meyer lemon juice, strained (8-10 lemons)

DIRECTIONS
          Make simple syrup in a small saucepan by combining the sugar and 1 cup of the water. Bring the mixture to a simmer and allow the sugar to dissolve completely. Remove from the heat, cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until chilled.
          Add the lemon juice, the simple syrup and the remaining water to a pitcher, stir, chill and serve over ice.

MODERN SOUTH Phat Lemonade
by Jeffrey L. Linthicum
Yield: 10 8-ounce Servings
         
I tested lots of lemonade recipes while preparing this article and created this version as a modern spin on classic southern lemonade. Don’t freak out about using the whole lemon. The rind brings in lots of complex essential oils that, paired with the mango, gives it an uber-fresh flavor that almost takes your breath away. The pith makes this drink uniquely frothy. Just be sure you remove ALL of the seeds from the lemons before blending.
INGREDIENTS

  • 2-4 Meyer lemons | cut lengthwise into eighths and de-seeded
    (about 2 cups)
  • 2-3 mangos | peeled, pitted and cubed
    (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup simple syrup
    (See Traditional Southern Lemonade Recipe above.)
  • 3 cups filtered water

DIRECTIONS
          Combine the lemons, mangos, simple syrup and water in a large blender. Blend on the highest speed for a full minute. Chill and stir well before serving over ice. For more festive Phat Lemonade, add 2 ounces of premium vodka, stir and enjoy.
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I own up to any errors, omissions or mistakes. I welcome your comments and/or corrections. Contact me at any time by e-mail at: jeffreylinthicum@yahoo.com
I do not apologize for embellishments or lengthy yarns. Who am I to mess with decades of southern tradition?

By Way of Introduction

I wasn’t born a southerner. Shhhh.

(I can’t even confidently say I hail from the west coast. Though I was born in California , we moved away when I was just four years old.)

In truth, I was raised in the small northern town of Springfield, Ohio, just a stone’s throw from the capital city of Columbus and home to picturesque Wittenberg University. That’s right. I’m a Yankee.

Now, Ohio is a nice enough place, inhabited by nice enough people. I still have family and friends there that I love dearly. But, for some reason, they insist on continuing to welcome winter, year in and year out. At one point… I think they were even having winter every year. Crazy. My water-thin, California blood just never warmed to the idea of shoveling snow and driving on ice. In 1989, armed with a graphic design degree and a suitcase full of shorts and flip-flops, I set out to discover what the warmer southern United States had to offer.

When the graphic design world evolved, practically overnight, into a tech-driven world of computers and codes that were alien to me, I found myself hundreds of miles from home, holding a useless t-square and a dried-up pot of rubber cement. Desperate to make ends meet, I took a job as a waiter in a Florida country club and unwittingly sparked my lifelong obsession with southern food, dining and entertaining.

I would eventually call five southern cities my home and develop a uniquely diverse resumé – one that reflects what an amazing impression this beautiful, lively, historic, iconic region has left on me. The truth is, I became a southerner. I’m just still working on my accent.

I have worked in, around and with restaurants, nightclubs, world-class chefs, cookbook authors, high-end event companies, wedding planners, photographers, entertainers, foodies and hundreds of clients. I’ve forgotten more than most people will ever know about southern food, cooking and entertaining. With Modern South, I hope to impart the best of what I’ve learned, share some laughable moments from my long career (like the time I dropped a fully-dressed, camera-ready Thanksgiving turkey in a television studio parking lot, five minutes before an on-air cooking segment with a very cranky Italian chef,) and introduce you to some of the best dining, cooking and entertaining that ‘The South’ has to offer. From you, I hope to gain new insights, get feedback and create a dialogue that inspires us both. I appreciate you for joining me on this journey. I promise I’ll take good care of you and always be a gentleman. A southern gentleman, of course… as if there were any other kind.

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I own up to any errors, omissions or mistakes. I welcome your comments and/or corrections. Contact me at any time by e-mail at: jeffreylinthicum@yahoo.com
I do not apologize for embellishments or lengthy yarns. Who am I to mess with decades of southern tradition?