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Regional Comfort Food Meets Modern Technique

By mahir | June 8, 2011

Sean Brock is a James Beard Award-winning chef famous for his revolutionary take on Southern cooking. He has two restaurants in Charleston, SC: McCrady’s, which combines classic Southern cooking with new molecular gastronomy techniques, and Husk, which focuses on regional food and draws from Brock’s roots in rural Virginia. Eater.com recently featured Brock’s perspective on the trend of bringing heirloom ingredients and cooking techniques into a modern era.

Southern food is all about regionalism, and part of that is a personal connection to the food. Brock remembers the feeling of eating preserves that his grandmother had made from vegetables grown in her own garden. In creating Husk, Brock wanted to focus on historical recipes and ingredients in order to capture that essence. “I realized that a big part of southern cooking is the cultural influence, which differs from region to region,” he says.

All the ingredients used at Husk are grown, fished, or raised in the South; Brock adheres to a strict policy that states, “If it’s not from the South, it’s not coming through the door.”

While comfort food is often associated with Southern cooking, for me, comfort is a part of all cooking. Where you grow up shapes your experiences, including what you eat. Sometimes the best recipes aren’t the most advanced ones – they’re the ones that make you feel good. This is what Chef Andrea Reusing‘s cookbook is about. Cooking in the Moment focuses on simple foods done right. Read about her local-centric southern cooking here.

Depending on where you’re from, comfort food might mean your city’s favorite down-home breakfast, or maybe mom’s mac ‘n cheese recipe. It could even be a national tradition, like Sweden’s meatballs or Great Britain’s shepherd’s pie.

What are some of your favorite traditional recipes?

 

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