The Farmhouse Chef

The Farmhouse Chef, Recipes & Stories from My Carolina Farm by Jamie DeMent, UNC Press 2017, hardback $35.00, 276 pages

How luscious lies the pea within the pod.  

Emily Dickenson

In her book’s introduction, Jamie DeMent writes with mild amazement about the fragile anomaly of today’s family farm–that seems to be an agritainment economy. The New York Times writes about her chickens, people pay to hear her talk about fried chicken, students apply for a chance to harvest turnips.

Things that were once survival, perhaps chores to be escaped, have been branded and styled. It’s a new kind of rural romanticism that works when the Times catches on and you set up your own rural economy.

DeMent and her husband farm at Coon Rock Farm in North Carolina’s Piedmont, and their heirloom vegetables and heritage breed meats are served at their Durham restaurant, Piedmont, in a Golden Triangle of people who appreciate and can afford real food.

DeMent describes the book’s seasonal recipes as “southern in spirit” and easy to cook, meant for busy people. That said, she does start the book with summer and plenty of pantry-stocking recipes like Watermelon Rind Pickles and Pickled Okra.

Other dishes are up-to-date with international ingredients and inspiration, like Cretan Lamb Kabobs, picked up on a college study abroad stint  or Zimbabwe Curried Chicken Gizzards, learnt from one of their first student interns. Dishes like quiche, pesto, fresh fruit cocktails add polish and style.

Like her farm life, the book is back to basics–good food cooked well and simply will keep you, and everyone around you, happy and healthy.

About Appetite for Books

read, cook, eat, repeat
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