I am as cheap as they come. I revel in a $7.35 lunch for two at the Krystal. Fifty percent off of anything? I’m there. But once in awhile you just have to kick out the jams.
The Southern Foodways Alliance, of which I am a proud member, holds these Stir the Pot suppers around the South. They’re fund raisers for the SFA’s documentary film program. Watch one of the films here. I promise you it’s worth it.
So the Stir the Pot came to Nashville starring Chef Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Diner in Raleigh, N.C., ably assisted by Chef Tandy Wilson of City House (where the event was held) and Chef Tyler Brown of the Hermitage Hotel’s Capitol Grill. Yes, my cheap self shelled out $300 for Mark and I to gluttonize ourselves. I do not believe gluttonize is a word but it should be. And it was worth every mouthful.
So without further delay, here’s the menu:
Hook’s 3-year Cheddar pimento cheese
Oyster stew with vermouth and turnip
Cornmeal fried green tomatoes with roasted tomato slaw
Chicken liver pate with whipped honey and Fallot Dijon (I had to look up what that was – it’s mustard with a pedigree)
Wood-roasted asparagus with frissee, beets, Chapel Hill Creamery Calvander (a cheese) and tarragon emulsion
Crispy N.C. softshell crab with sunburst tomato and marinated white acre peas
Rabbit confit pizza with Carolina ramps, pickled carrots, and black pepper aioli
Slow-cooked flank steak with oyster mushrooms, macaroni au gratin, and broccoli raab in vinaigrette
Warm cornmeal strawberry shortcake with Cruze’s Dairy buttermilk anglaise and rhubarb jam.
This is more food than I eat in three days, folks. But you know what? I’ll remember every bite. And do you know what? The next day this is exactly what I ate: a package of cheese crackers. That’s how full I was from the night before.
This is so decadent in these times of trouble, spending $300 on dinner. But here’s why it’s worth it. If
you appreciate food, you appreciate it at every level from bacon-wrapped crackers to pimento cheese to a dinner like Stir the Pot. But Stir the Pot takes it up a notch. You taste things you’ve never tasted before. I practically licked the tarragon emulsion off the plate. The oyster stew with vermouth and turnips? One of our dinner companions said she hates oysters and she ate every smidge of it. Oh and let’s just wax poetic for a second about the
warm cornmeal strawberry shortcake. This was the last thing on the menu, after eight other offerings. I cleaned my plate.
Recipes? I have no idea. I could spend three years trying to figure out exactly what was in all this stuff and never come close. That’s why it’s worth $150. I can cook. I can cook damn well. But I can’t come close to that dinner.
By the way, I am making bacon-wrapped crackers right now for a Community Resource Center event. They are not worth $150 but I’ll bet I could get $5 a cracker for them.