We’ve all had occasion to attend an impressive dinner party with friends, but few of us have New York Times national editor Sam Sifton and columnist Mark Bittman at our disposal. Over the weekend of the Charleston Wine and Food Festival earlier this month, the two NYT foodies spent a day barnstorming local shops and vendors to stock up for a traditional Charleston “spring holiday dinner party—a Passover-Easter fusion feast,” menu-planning on the fly and grabbing up whatever’s available from duck fat at Ted’s Butcherblock to Cheerwine at the Pig.
As always, the Times did a great job of translating the Magazine spread to the web, with plenty of interactive tidbits and recipes to peruse.
We went looking for spring, Mark and I, down in Charleston, S.C., a stunning city, rich with history both sad and ecstatic, in a region that offers a tremendous bounty of fresh ingredients and regional flavors. We had the vague idea of a holiday feast for the season — one that was grand and nondenominational — that would help banish memories of winter. The hitch was that we had only about eight hours to shop and cook before a dozen people showed up to eat with us in a marvelous old house off the Battery.
At the end of the day, supper consisted of grilled leg of lamb prepared two ways, ham biscuits, braised carrots and parsnips, grits, rice pudding, stove-top shrimp, and plenty more. Bittman and Sifton narrate their day of shopping and prep, excited over the number of fresh ingredients the Holy City had at the ready. Beware: Best not to read on an empty stomach (or pantry).
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