I have a theory that in a previous life, I hailed from the deep south of the US.
I love the food. Don’t mind a bit of New Orleans Jazz and can say “y’all” with aplomb. The handful of times I have been south of the Mason Dixon line, I felt very much at home.
One trip to New Orleans some time in the early 2000s, I was traveling with my friend Allan, who contracted what we would later find out to be pneumonia (which also necessitated an Emergency Room visit while in DC). We stayed in a huge southern mansion which had been converted to a guest house and every morning the cook would make us a traditional breakfast with grits. The grits left us cold but the hospitality was great.
While Allan holed up in our room coughing, spluttering and generally dying, I explored the city and its food, having my first po boy and even a sneaky hurricane on Bourbon Street. These memories are still strong 14 years later.
So this weekend has been especially social and I was invited to three parties, one of which necessitated bringing a plate (I am a good guest). The other two – one hosted by Kiwi friends, the other by Lebanese friends – were more liquid.
This event was hosted by a friend from Louisiana. In honor of this, I found a recipe for Charleston Cheese Dip which is actually from country star Trisha Yearwood’s cookbook.
The recipe involves combining shredded Monterey Jack Cheese, Cheddar, Cream Cheese, Mayo and topping with crushed Ritz crackers and baking. It is then topped with bacon.
I modified it to include Monterey Jack, Gouda, Cream Cheese, some Labne and adollop of jalapeno mayo I found lurking in the fridge. I topped it with some fried and crumbled salami. The results wowed the notoriously tough crowd of Americans (British and Kiwi ring-ins as well)
I admire the Americans and their commitment to the science of dips. We also had an opportunity to try tis blue cheese number at the party…
Creamy and with just the right amount of bite.
Another friend, Marne, is a renowned cook. We line up for her home backed goodies and she even makes her own tortilla.s Last night she made a stromboli – a type of folded pizza. And when I mean folded, I really mean stuffed – with ham, cheese, veggies. I could have devoured the whole lot. This is cheese as it should be.
But these were all window dressing. Our hostess with the southern mostest had made enchilada in her crockpot. And it was laced with cheesy goodness in the form of cheddar. a delight in every bite…
These friends are so used to my blogging habits, they always ask “Rach, have you taken the photos yet?” before we eat.