Tag Archives: Food Blog



A Savor the South Cookbook

By Damon Lee Fowler


Retail: $20


This outstanding cookbook  series is coming to an end. However,  do not worry, as the series nears the projected finishing line of twenty books, there  is not winding down on quality. This next volume tackles an icon of the southern table, Ham and was well worth the wait

Author Howler is the skilled author of nine cookbooks and the editor and recipe developer of Dining at Monticello. He lives in Savannah GA.


Ham is discussed for all of its glory starting with the smokehouses of Thomas Jefferson , to today’s southern classics and to that glorious Italian version of ham, Prosciutto. Fowler takes us into the smokehouses where the very walls capture aromas and flavors of the hams and then, after years, bounce those accumulated scents and tastes back into the pork hindquarters that are hung inside each year.


While I worked at Mt. Vernon, we visited the smokehouse often. It was one of my favorite places on the plantation—I loved the scent of good food coming, carefully cared for, cured, into its own, to be presented at George Washington’s own table. When I cook ham, my own kitchen is redolent with the scent and flavors of history. It’s an aroma that brings everyone into the kitchen to try to cadge a bit of the outer ham “just to taste” before I slice and serve it.

Such is the continuity of ham in the south and anywhere this prince of pork products is loved and eaten. Fowler not only pays homage to Ham as a premiere food of the American South, he also recognizes it s place in other cultures and provides recipes from China, France, Italy and Spain and introduces us to their historic ham types and ways of preparing ham.


I read the front of the book with its history and terminology explanations with great interest. One could say I devoured it (except for the groaning sounds of those who hate puns.) As with the others in the series there are 50 plus, in this case, 55 recipes. Although, I cannot say I loved them all, most are wonderful and all of the recipes are explained so that both beginning and expert cooks can use them all with ease.


Why was I at odds with some of them ,especially with his basic baked ham? Simply because  I prefer my own (apple juice and cloves) way of  making it. However, his method is classic and  if you are new to ham, new to the possibilities of this fabulous meat, try his way.


Many of his other recipes will likely become classics in my own home. I especially liked his rendition of the Monte Cristo sandwich (an item that seems to be making a comeback in restaurants) and his ideas for combining southern classics—like his grilled ham and pimiento cheese sandwich. YUM! This recipe includes a very nice recipe for pimiento cheese as well. Classic ham biscuits, prosciutto and asparagus and lots of other ham and asparagus are just some of the other many delicious suggestions he offers (with full recipe) for using this most versatile meat. I could not help but chuckle as I read his recipe for ham bone soup—it called to mind the story of why cat and dog are rarely friends—all because of a fight over a hambone. Yes, even the bone, the leavings of a ham are worthy of use and can produce sublimely delicious offerings for your friends and family. Lunch, brunch, supper, soups are some of the categories in the book.  No desserts with ham—but then again, many lovers of ham (like my husband) will just as soon skip the sugary desserts for a second helping of whatever heavenly ham dish crossed the table as a main course.

As a side note, I am quite fond of the cover of this volume–I love the decorative red rose made from a thin slice of ham–says it all about the love affair the South (and I ) have with ham.


This slim volume is a very worth addition to the collection and deserves a place on your cookbook shelf.


The Newest Food Star!


ImageImageMeet Abishai Powers-

On November 23, I attended a Taste of Home Cooking School Show with Chef Michelle Robberts. She was great, but it was another attendee, chef-in-training, Abishai Powers who stole my heart. Nine year old Abishai wants to be a chef and is not wasting any time preparing for his career choice. Attendance at the Show (with his Mom, Korrene) was a part of his Christmas gift this year, along with a stylish red chef coat (complete with monogramming) and a set of business cards touting him as the culinary extraordinaire he is (at least at heart)–Abishai’s Food Lab. He already has a blog and agreed to share one of his recipes with my readers. His Dad is David Powers, pastor of The Pilgrimage in the Surfside area of Myrtle Beach SC

 Top Photo–Michelle Roberts and Me!

Photo two–Michelle and Abishai

Photo Three-Michelle, Korrene and Abishai

We did this interview between Thanksgiving and Christmas and Abishai and his family were busy making cookies and taking them around to others as gifts–to military recruiters, shut-ins and others who might need remembering with something sweet. It seems that Korrene and David Powers are also teaching Abishai how to serve others with his talent. Many good lessons


Abishai has a goal and the support of his family and agreed to be interviewed for this blog. If you haven’t heard of him yet, you will.



Joan, Q:When did you first decide you wanted to be a chef?

Abishai,a: A few years ago When I saw my mom cooking . I think I was 7 years old. –when did the blog start–about that time–


Q.Who teaches you cooking? I know you told me you learn from Mom and Grandma and from classes they’ve taken–but please tell me again, and in more detail.

A.My mom teaches me all she can. She is the one that has taken some classes, and she comes back and tells me what she learned.


Q.What classes are you taking that help you most in your cooking?

A.My mom uses math class a lot to teach the measuring with cooking. I have also written one of my own recipe creations down in a Language Arts class that has been put into a cookbook. The cookbook is for my Mamaw’s church. –the meat-a -zacki (see recipe below!)


Q.Do you do any online or TV/video training?

A.I like watching some of the cooking shows.


Q.Which Television chef shows are your favorites?

A.Master Chef Jr. – It’s a new show and I get to watch it as a school project. I also like watching Gordon Ramsey and Guy Fieri

(Note: Abishai noted that there is a junior chef contest on a show offered on the Hulu channel that he might enter.)


Q Do you have a favorite cookbook?

A.The Campbell soup recipe card box


Q.What do you like about that?

A.I like being able to take the cards out and look at them while I cook.


Abishai told us that he works to develop his own recipes as well. Pizza is one of his favorite things and he told me that he is working on a book of  “secret” pizza recipes with his Dad who also helps him with inspiration by cutting out pictures for him for the book.

My dad and I have been putting it together for a while and continue to add to it as we find new pizza recipes. It’s more kind of a like a secret pizza journal, says Abishai.



Do you read any food magazines? Which ones do you like best?

No, I don’t read any. All my reading is focused on the Magic Tree House books right now.


Are you aiming for the children’s top chef contest?

That’s what I am shooting for


What made you want to go to the taste of home show?

It was a Christmas Present from my mom and dad. They gave me the tickets and my new chef coat at the same time.


Q.Have you ever invented your own recipe? What was it; will you share with my readers? What did your family think of it?

A.Meat-A-Zaire Sandwich: Bagel Thins, Teriyaki Sauce, Spinach, Turkey (meat of your choice)


What is your favorite food?



Q.Do you look at healthy eating for your family?

A.Yes we try to put vegetables and other healthy things in our meals


Q.What is your favorite  veggie?

A.I think spinach on pizza

I usually cook spinach on pizza for my family


Q.Do you cook for the family sometimes?

A.As much as I can. I make most lunches and breakfasts


Q.What kind of a chef do you want to be (restaurant, working for a company, etc?)?

A.I want to have my own Gourmet Pizza Reteraunt


Q.What training do you intend to take to become a professional chef?

A.Classes and Learning from other famous Chef’s


Q.What are your other interests and hobbies? What subjects do you like best? What grade level are you working at now?

A.Collecting knives and a being a survivalist. My favorite subject is math. I am in 4th grade



  The Meatazaki Sandwich from Abishai’s   Foodlab
  Ingredients: (for each sandwhich)
  Thin bagel
  Teriyaki sauce
  Sliced turkey
  Fresh spinach

  Open up your thin bagel. The thick ones overpower the sandwich, and, let’s be   honest, most of you don’t need the extra carbs.
  Give a couple healthy squirts of teriyaki sauce. The amount is up to you and   depends on how much you like to hit the sauce. Put this down first so it can   soak into the bread.
  Add the sliced turkey to the bread. Put as much as you’d like. I usually go   with 2 slices, but you can pile it up as much as you like.
  Add the spinach. I like fresh spinach instead of the frozen or canned stuff   because that stuff is nasty. I’d recommend at least 10 leaves. Any less is   not healthy enough, but more is good.
  Add the cheese. Use your favorite kind of cheese. It can be grated or sliced.   Don’t use that nasty cheese product stuff that comes in slices though. My dad   says it’s not really cheese and just pretends to be real cheese. I like using   the grated cheddar my mom keeps in the fridge.
  Slap the bread on top and enjoy.
  Time to prepare: 5 minutes
  Time to eat: Depends on how hungry you are