Our 5th Birthday Dinner to Benefit Southern Foodways Alliance with Matt Lee and Ted Lee

April 18 we are proud to host a special Piggybank Dinner to benefit The Southern Foodways Alliance with James Beard Award-winning authors Matt Lee and Ted Lee in celebration of their awesome new cookbook, The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen.

This one is especially dear to our hearts, because while they bring their own refreshing spins to such classic dishes as hoppin’ john and she crab soup, you’ll read about historic dishes of Charleston as they bring new life to lost classics like chewy and crunchy groundnut cake, salsify oysters, and the 19th-century standby, syllabub. We thought this was a great fit for our cooking here at Big Jones because their approach gives proper nod to history and heritage, while never being shy to break new ground, always in a way that seems perfectly natural. In this dinner, you’ll get to sample some of their New Charleston style in kumquat sparklers and collard green sandwiches, while also experiencing some ancient Charleston gastronomy in their adaptations of dishes such as peanut and oyster stew and syllabub, a dish I’ve been dying to serve at Big Jones for years.

Matt Lee and Ted Lee’s cookbooks are especially useful for home cooks because their experience is almost entirely cooking from home – they’re not restaurant people and that’s a good thing, because they understand the peculiar challenges of home cooking. After attending their first Cookbook Boot Camp, I can attest that their recipes are some of the most carefully written and tested, edited and retested, recipes out there. You can count on their recipes working. More important, you can count on their recipes being delicious.

You can purchase their cookbook on Amazon, or even better, check out their catalog including their other cookbooks and special Southern delectables from their Boiled Peanut Catalog at mattandtedlee.com. We also will have books for sale at the dinner, and Matt and Ted will be signing. You can purchase a book during the cocktail reception or bring your copy in for signing.

I’ve written many times about The Southern Foodways Alliance, and could not be more excited to be working with Matt and Ted on a benefit for one of my absolute favorite organizations. 50% of your ticket price goes to The Southern Foodways Alliance to continue their work to document, study, and celebrate the diverse food cultures of the changing American South. As they state in their mission statement in which we join, “We set a common table where black and white, rich and poor — all who gather — may consider our history and our future in a spirit of reconciliation.”

I grew up in a family which still cooked at home and came together at the dinner table every evening, which was a time to hang up our differences (and with six kids in our family, there were many differences!) and take repast and nourishment while pondering our day as one family. Perhaps it’s this concept of food not only as sustenance but as a common bond of trust and reconciliation in my own family that led me to adopt the Southern Foodways Alliance as family – at SFA events this spirit is very much alive; in fact it is central to SFA’s mission.

Please join our family for an evening of great food and drink, meet two of our favorite food authors, and enjoy something special that pervades every SFA event – great company. According to tradition, seating will be at communal tables, though service will be plated.

Thursday April 18, 2013

6:00 Cocktail Reception and Book Signing

Kumquat Champagne Sparklers

Rock & Rye Cocktails

Collard Green Tea Sandwiches on Sally Lunn

Shad Roe Spread on Buttered Toast

Henry’s Cheese Spread on Savory Benne Wafers

7:00 Dinner

Peanut and Oyster Stew

Pickled Shrimp with Fennel Nestled in Butter Lettuce

Deviled Crab

Smothered Pork Chop with Hoppin’ John and Brussels Sprouts with Benne and Bacon

Grapefruit Chess Pie

Syllabub and Macaroons for the Table

Lowcountry Limoncello

Paired wines TBA


$100 per person includes tax, gratuity, and a $50 donation to Southern Foodways Alliance

For reservations, call 773-275-5725

Lee Bros