SMORGASBORD: Seed bombs ... Burger book ... Cornbread nation

Seed bombs Be ready to cook up your garden's edible bounty with an assist from Culinary Herbs Seed Bombs from Agrarian, the Williams-Sonoma gardening line. Just "throw and grow" the 15 balls (five each: Italian parsley, cilantro, basil) into the ...

Culinary Herbs Seed Bombs

Seed bombs

Be ready to cook up your garden's edible bounty with an assist from Culinary Herbs Seed Bombs from Agrarian, the Williams-Sonoma gardening line.

Just "throw and grow" the 15 balls (five each: Italian parsley, cilantro, basil) into the garden or containers, outside or indoors. Some recipes and tips included. Also available: Cocktail Garnish Seed Bombs (lemon mint, cinnamon basil, lime basil). Each assortment is $19.95.

To purchase go to

Burger book


The queen of the 30-minute meal would like to direct attention to her buns.

Here, we have a Sicilian-style tuna burger, with tomatoes and capers on ciabatta. A portobello mushroom burger with spinach pesto. A decadent French-onion-dip beef burger, stacked with potato chips and pickles, that is, in a word, yum-o.

In "The Book of Burger" (Atria, $24.99), TV food star Rachael Ray's newest addition to her ever-expanding list of cookbooks, almost 200 creative recipes for burgers and sandwiches, plus hot dogs, sloppies, fries and sides celebrate the mass appeal of all things bunned.

"I've been obsessed with burgers for a long time because I love what burgers say to people," Ray, 43, said. "Everyone is included, you're never intimidated to pick up a burger."

Ray's next book is "My Year in Meals," a collaboration with her husband, John Cusimano, who was responsible for the cocktails. It comes out in November.

Cornbread nation

It is possible to live in the South -- to even be born and bred in the South -- and to have no idea how to define Southern food.

Southern cuisine is a moving target, unwilling to lie still for even the discriminating palates of Southern food writers. But thankfully, those folks are still out there, cheering, challenging and chewing on everything that Southern food has come to represent.


Their stories come together in "Cornbread Nation 6: The Best of Southern Food Writing," edited by Brett Anderson with Sara Camp Arnold (University of Georgia Press, $20).

The sixth volume of the series, which was launched in 2002, features several Atlanta-based writers, including Kim Severson, Atlanta bureau chief for The New York Times; Bill Addison, Atlanta magazine's food editor and restaurant critic; Besha Rodell, former food and drink editor of Creative Loafing; and Atlanta Journal-Constitution food writer John Kessler.

Published in association with the Southern Foodways Alliance at the Center for the Study of Culture at the University of Mississippi, "Cornbread Nation 6" offers six chapters rich with food lore, including a perennial barbecue debate (is it a lost art or found science?), a disturbing journey through the food supply of slaves and a look at the global South, featuring, for example, the relationship between ravioli and country music.

• Severson contributes a semi-autobiographical profile of Edna Lewis, the Virginia-born preservationist of Southern food who lived her final years in Atlanta with chef Scott Peacock.

• Meanwhile, Rodell writes an open letter to Severson, suggesting she temper the Twitter tantrums in which Severson calls out the sorry state of food in Atlanta.

• Kessler reveals the dearth of black chefs through an intimate look at African-American chef Darryl Evans of Columbus, Ga. -- creator of Atlanta's now shuttered Spice Restaurant -- and two of his proteges who hope to launch their ideal restaurant.

• Addison ponders the question, "How do you describe Southern Food?" in his story about the commingling of foods and flavors in the capable hands of Hugh Acheson, chef-owner of Empire State South.

• Addison suggests that Acheson's pork belly over creamed kimchee with smoked peanuts is as worthy of a place in the pantheon of Southern food as fried chicken, shad-stuffed roe and buttered corn bread.


"Cornbread Nation 6" may not resolve the conundrum of Southern cuisine, but it does give a revealing and insightful look at its evolution.

Seasoned beans

S&W Fine Foods, maker of somewhat upscale canned fruits and vegetables, including 15 varieties of canned beans (six of which are versions with 50 percent less sodium), introduces a line of "recipe collection" seasoned beans. The new varieties are mild jalapeno black beans (with lime juice), chipotle pinto beans (with mesquite flavor), Cuban recipe black beans (with onions, peppers and cumin), and pinquito beans (with onions and cumin).

Sausage burgers

On the flip side is the Johnsonville No Ordinary Burger Contest, held in conjunction with the release of the sausage company's new patty products: Original Bratwurst, Mild Italian Sausage, Cheddar Bratwurst and Chorizo. Create a flavor combination with add-ons and toppings. The grand prize is $10,000 in a live cook-off in New York City in August. Enter now through Tuesday at . This contest also will have online voting to determine a fan favorite finalist.

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