Visitors to my Brooklyn apartment are typically treated to a healthy dose of hospitality. Often that comes with a shaken or stirred cocktail, nibbles aplenty, and once in a while it arrives with a flurry of coursed out dishes meant to tempt, soothe, and delight.
And, typically, new visitors to my home are not only struck by the hospitality at Chez Vamp, but are also taken by a collection of magazines on my coffee table -- a pile of Garden & Gun issues that sport cover photos of hunting dogs, Southern beach scenes, and mouthwatering food and drink from below the Mason-Dixon line.
What is a nice gal in New York City doing with a subscription to a magazine called -- of all things -- Garden & Gun?
Did you not just read the earlier sentence about the dogs, beaches, and food?!?
This is a magazine about the modern South -- but a bit mythologized and curated by design. From tales of roadtriping and partying from New Orleans-based author Julia Reed to an essay of a bad dog gone good by non-fiction writer S. C. Gwynne to thoughts on Mardi Gras and the importance of bees from literary legend and humorist Roy Blount Jr, the writing is top-notch.
Plus, a wealth of insights on Southern travel, books, music, and more.
And, then there are the photos. Lush. Sly. Transporting.
Oh, and did I mention the recipes?
More than once, the magazine has inspired me to whip up a bit of Dixie. Most recently, I tried my hand at making James Beard Award winning cookbook author Virginia Willis' cast-iron skillet Blueberry Cobbler (pictured above).
It was divine. Are you surprised?
I anticipate that my kitchen will be taking many a "trip down South" this summer, compliments of recipes and inspiration from Garden & Gun. If you're lucky, you'll get an invite to my table.
Word to the wise though: don't mock the mag. It might not be the hand that feeds you, but it's certainly feeding this home cook's imagination.