There's still time to pack in some summer reading hours. This month we amble down bourbons backroads, take a peak inside Asheville's Carolina Ground Flour Mill, delve into Gullah Gechee recipes from a sixth generation farmer and learn how to attract birds of the Carolinas to your own backyard.
Bourbon’s Backroads: A Journey through Kentucky’s Distilling Landscape
By Karl Raitz
Kentucky’s landscape is punctuated by landmark structures that signpost bourbon’s venerable story: distilleries long-standing, relict, razed, and brand new, the grand nineteenth-century homes of renowned distillers, villages and neighborhoods where distillery laborers lived, Whiskey Row storage warehouses, river landings and railroad yards, and factories where copper distilling vessels and charred white oak barrels are made. During the nineteenth century, distilling changed from an artisanal craft practiced by farmers and millers to a large-scale mechanized industry that practiced increasingly refined production techniques.
Distillers often operated at comparatively remote sites—along the “backroads”—to take advantage of water sources or river or turnpike transport access. As time passed, steam power and mechanization freed the industry from its reliance on waterpower and permitted distillers to relocate to urban and rural rail-side sites. This shift also allowed distillers to perfect their production techniques, increase their capacity, and refine their marketing strategies. The historic progression produced the “fine” Kentucky bourbons that are available to present day consumers. Yet, distillers have not abandoned their cultural roots and traditions; their iconic products embrace the modern while also engaging their history and geography.
Blending several topics—inventions and innovations in distilling and transport technologies, tax policy, geography, landscapes, and architecture—this primer and geographical guide presents an accessible and detailed history of the development of Kentucky’s distilling industry and explains how the industry continues to thrive.
By Jennifer Lapidus
Jennifer Lapidus is the founder and principal of Carolina Ground Flour Mill in Asheville, North Carolina. This is a highly curated collection of 80 recipes from twenty acclaimed craft bakeries in the South that showcases superior cold stone-milled flour and highlights the importance of baking with locally farmed ingredients, while providing instruction and insight into how to use and enjoy these geographically distinct flavor-forward flours. Southern Ground is a love letter to Southern baking.
By Matthew Raiford
Chef Matthew, with collaborator Amy Paige Condon, explores the ancestral recipes of Gullah Geechee cuisine and the story of a community brought together by food. The phrase “Bress ‘n’ Nyam,” Gullah for “Bless and Eat,” captures the essential spirit of this important cultural and culinary exploration into Gullah Geechee tradition. As a child growing up on Gilliard Farm, Matthew was inspired by the homestead’s bounty. Following the lead of his great-grandfather, he knocked muscadines from the vine, picked wild blackberries, and pulled onions from the dirt. Beside his Great-Aunt Ophelia, known as Nana, Matthew learned about his family’s ancestral food and culture – Matthew’s fond memories of Nana and his mother preparing Gullah Fish Stew and Shrimp Creole are examples of the charming anecdotes throughout the book. He charts his journey from childhood to military service and college; culinary school to his return to Gilliard Farm as the prodigal son. Chef Matthew invites the reader to explore his
family’s community, and to understand how the foods they cooked are the story of a people and a place. Gullah Geechee tradition dictates that when one needs answers, one turns to the wisdom of the ancestors.
By James F.Parnell, William C. Alexander, and Frances B.Parnell
Covering the Carolinas from up-country to the Piedmont to the Coastal Plain, this book is an in-depth yet accessible primer on the many ways that Carolinians can attract birds--from large wildlife refuges to private sanctuaries, and from farms to suburban homes and even apartments. The book includes information on birds’ basic needs and their annual reproduction and migration cycles, and provides helpful tips on how to modify your outdoor space to invite avian visitors. In addition to helpful information on attracting particular species, the guide offers practical advice for managing problem species—both avian, such as the European Starling and Mute Swan, and nonavian, such as squirrels and snakes.