A granddaughter of freed slaves, the late Edna Lewis left home when she was just 16 years old and went on to become a reknowned chef at Manhattan's star-studded Café Nicholson. Her books have spread the gospel of genuine southern cuisine and inspired a generation of home cooks. In this never-before published essay, she shares a lifetime's worth of experience as she answers the question, "What is southern?"
Cheese straws; fried chicken with bacon and pepper cream gravy; mashed red-skin potatoes; buttered peas with onion; sweet cucumber and radish salad; and a luscious lemon meringue pie keep the accent on easy.
Since 2000, the Atlanta metropolitan area has absorbed nearly 900,000 new residents. Until recently, though, it didn't have many restaurants that exalted true regional food and tradition. Now a new crop of chefs is embracing the past while redefining the future.