A Special Dinner with Author Virginia Willis and Slow Food Chicago

Virginia Willis

We are pleased to announce acclaimed Southern cookbook author Virginia Willis will be joining Slow Food Chicago at Big Jones for  a special dinner on Wednesday, June 24. Reservations can be made by calling 773-275-5725 and the dinner will sell out, so please reserve soon.

One of the most beloved voices working in Southern food today, Virginia Willis is the author of such best-selling books as Bon Appetit, y’all!, Basic to Brilliant, y’all!, Okra, and Grits. Her latest effort, Lighten Up, y’all!, is a celebration of the vegetable-centric Southern table and re-imagines many classic dishes, yielding a cuisine that it wholesome, nutritious, and healthy enough to eat every day. It’s a landmark book in the Southern lexicon because this is very much the traditional Southern way of eating – from the garden to the table as fresh as can be. When we first began talking with Virginia about doing a dinner, dates in May and even April were tossed about, but ultimately we settled on late June when local produce would be in full swing. This being a Wednesday dinner, most of the vegetables and fruits will be purchased that very morning at the Green City Market.

We also welcome Slow Food Chicago, and this is a particularly appropriate occasion, as the last time we welcomed them to Big Jones was for a celebration of low-on-the-hog cooking, in which the richest parts of the pig were feasted upon in a look at historic Southern foodways as the ancestor of soul food. In this dinner, we fast forward to the present with a leading author who is on the leading edge of Southern home cooking today, and the menu will reflect those current tastes with delicious results.

The price of dinner includes a copy of Virginia Willis’ new book Lighten Up, y’all!, a donation to Slow Food Chicago, tax and gratuity. Virginia will be around all day and evening to sign books, converse, and otherwise hold court. All dishes on the menu are from the book, and everyone will depart with a whole host of ideas for utilizing farmer’s market produce through the rest of the season.

Please join us for a very special evening. Reservations will go fast and can be made by calling 773-275-5725.

Big Jones and Slow Food Chicago
welcome Virginia Willis

Author of Lighten Up, Y’all!
Wednesday, June 24, 2015

6:00 reception

Planter’s Punch

Barbecued meatballs on cornmeal griddle cakes
Parmesan-herb cheese straws
Zucchini crisps

6:30 dinner

Smoky Amazing Shrimp etouffee
Purple hull pea hoppin’ john with limpin’ susan
Braised collards in tomato-onion gravy
Summer squash casserole
Grilled potato salad with bacon vinaigrette
Brown sugar-strawberry shortcakes
Claire’s cream cheese swirl brownies

Wine pairings TBA

Seventy-five dollars per person, one hundred twenty-five dollars per couple
includes one copy of Lighten Up, Y’all, tax, and gratuity

For reservations, call 773-275-5725