Jackson, Tennessee is essentially the pee break between Memphis and Nashville. I can say this for a fact because this has been my primary residence for the past 20 years. In those years, I have attended and managed a lot of events. In recent years, I quit going and have taken to just writing checks because I was bored of seeing the same people work for the same, stale events. Someone needed to break out of the old-boys-network and do something new. That someone actually planned an event that got me to leave my house and not to travel to Nashville where everything is happening. The Bone-Appétit event was a benefit for the Downtown Dogs Group. I love my dogs and all, but that's not why I went. I went to see Martha Hall Foose, the executive chef of the Viking Cooking School, winner of the James Beard Award for American Cooking, and the author of one of my staple cookbooks, Screen Doors and Sweet Tea.
Kind of have a girl crush on her. If you are into southern cooking at all, hers is the book to get. Forget you ever heard the name Paula Deen! Martha was on a long list of chefs who were responsible for the night's food.
The night was everything you love about southern food and southern parties complete with a blessing before dinner. The only things missing were the mosquitoes and 85% humidity.
We starting with The Porch Party.
Lots of passed hor d'oeuvres.
Drinking, mingling, and catching up with old friends.
My friend Jan was on the committee that was able to pull this off.
A build your own Bloody Mountain Mary Bar. That's a Blood Mary made with moonshine.
Of course, we can't forget the pups.
My favorite part of any evening: the music.
We sat down to the first course, GritGirl Stone Ground Grits & Goat Cheese Soufflé with Tripp Smoked Bacon Sabayon.
And more music.
The main course was not very pretty but pretty good: Fried Catfish Fillets with Tennessee Remoulade.
Proper Fried Chicken Thighs (my personal favorite) Smoked Midnight Brisket, Three Day Slaw, Purple Hull Peas and Williams Smoked Sausage Jambalaya (the table's favorite), and Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey Corn Pudding. We washed it down with Delta's Best Sweet Tea.
Both city and county mayors were there to make declarations and to honor our local vet, Dr. Johnson.
The participating chefs received portraits by Mary Beth Hyman.
And a cake was auctioned off. The winning bid? $1000!
Dessert was served: Terry Ford's Tennessee Bread Pudding Flambé with Fig Preserves & Prichard's Rum and Sorgum Drizzle. My flames went out before I could take the picture.
We ended the meal with everyone taking a shot and yelling "Sweet Lucy!" We loved our Sweet Lucy!
After dinner we were treated to Nashville recording artist, JT Hodges.
You know an artist is good when he can hold court with nothing but a mic and a guitar and can play with the same amount of energy for a crowd of 15 or 500.
Fabulous night with great food, friends, and music. They set the bar pretty high in Jackson!