Editor's Letter from 2022's Spring Issue of the Local Palate magazine
Toward the end of 2021, I found myself poring through the cookbook Getaway by the accomplished and beloved Seattle chef Renee Erickson. A few weeks earlier, she’d been in Nashville, cooking recipes from the book at Henrietta Red, one of my favorite spots. The night was transportive—an evening bright and glowing, filled with bites that took us on the journeys Erickson writes about in her book. The conversation at my table revolved around wanderlust. In 2022, we decided would go to far-off places, experience life-changing adventures, and travel well and intentionally. Cue the season of spring road trips.
The years since Covid 19 have made all of our worlds feel smaller and more confined. When I did travel, I went to drive-able destinations where safety and protection remained the priority (including places like Gulf Shores, Alabama, and Cashiers, North Carolina). Reading through this issue, I’m filled with the same jolt of excitement of the possibility to get whisked away.
It’s time to return to the road and visit the Southern cities I’ve missed these past years. And, what better way to plot out our destination than with a cheat sheet from a local? From Raleigh to Houston and spots in between, we asked chefs, including Cheetie Kumar and Dawn Burrell, to share their recommendations for what to eat and do in their hometowns.
Speaking of eating on the road, I wish I’d been a fly on the wall for Samantha Fore’s road trip through Eastern Kentucky with her friend Patrick Hallahan. Or, have hit the docks early alongside Jacob Hollifield, our assistant editor, as he traced the work of a handful of colorful stone crabbers who set off from Clearwater, Florida, to bring the desirable, yet fleeting catch to an insatiable audience each season.
If travel is still off the table, I recommend chef Adrienne Cheatham’s recipes for dressed-up Southern dishes, from her new book Sunday Best to brighten the air a bit. And a cocktail recipe from Fritai in New Orleans will whisk you off to a Caribbean beach. Should that fail, Mason Hereford’s book Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin’ in New Orleans brings the mad-fun chef’s specific flavor of New Orleans straight to you—just take care to buckle up for the ride first.
—Erin Byers Murray, editor in chief