What’s Eating You? is a weekly advice column where I answer all of your burning cooking questions. To get the ball rolling, I’ve asked some of my friends to send me theirs. If you’d like your kitchen dilemma solved, feed it to me here.
Kate W. is a Southern Belle from a horse farm in Waxhaw, NC. She currently resides in Manhattan’s West Village, where she spends her time not cooking and working towards world domination. Kate’s favorite meals are ones that remind her of farm country, her mother, or Thayer Street (in Providence, RI), and believes that the best ones are those that are enjoyed in the company of people she loves.
I have been surrounded by such fabulous cooks and such interesting financial bonds for the past five years that I haven’t spent a lot of time focusing on my own small kitchen! Since the Derby is coming up, perhaps you can tell me what foods go the best with bourbon, as I plan on consuming a few juleps this weekend.
I will give you my answer. But first, you have to tell me who you’re betting on. Okay okay, just kidding. Bourbon is one of the things I miss most since becoming gluten-free, so this is a bit of a painful question. But here goes:
Since bourbon has a subtle smokiness to it, you can safely assume that anything with bacon or ham will be a good pairing. The Southerners do know what they’re doing down there, and I’m pretty sure most Kentucky residents drink more bourbon than water. Not to make generalizations or anything. But you will probably be off to a great start if you pair any classic Southern dish with bourbon, as I’m usually hard pressed to find any menu item without bacon or ham in it below the Mason Dixon line.
As for the sweet side of the menu, pecans and maple syrup are great compliments, as are sweet potatoes and butternut squash.
Think sweet, smokey, and maybe just a little hint of Cajun spice. Yum.
The roasted pork tenderloin recipe from my book would be an excellent option, as would the semi-sweet potato mash with spiced caramelized onions. If you want to go NOLA on your meal, try this brown rice jambalaya recipe. It’s perfect for a country girl turned city mouse like yourself.
Oh, and this Kentucky Maple Leaf cocktail is one part Southern and one part Yankee – just the way you like it.
Now, I have to see a man about a horse.
Happy cooking (and eating)!