Friday, February 28, 2020

Taste of Memphis Dinner with Chef D. Arthur, Heart & Soul Food.

By Laura Medina

Taste of Memphis is Memphis' Tourism Board bringing, literally, a taste of Memphis to a select group of Los Angeles-based writers and influencers.  Ironically, some of the Los Angeles-based writers are from the South, such as this scribe.

They want to show that Memphis is actually an American cultural center from Stax Records to Graceland to the blues that defined American culture.  They, also, talked about  all the new and current developments happening in Memphis right now.

Even though, young, contemporary Chef. D. Arthur showcased classically Southern cuisine, his family's fried chicken, he's also very contemporary with his Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken & Waffle Cone,
He is what Memphis considers real and the brightest of Memphis talent, evolving while keeping tradition alive.  They're not mutually exclusive.

Accompanying his family's top secret fried chicken, are traditional, only in the South collard green with ham hock or bbq pork.  Stewed flavored collard greens are kale, before kale was popular. 

Chef D. Arthur baked 5-Cheese Mac n' Cheese and only in Memphis, BBQ Sauce Pork n' Beans.  Yes, the collard greens and the BBQ pork and beans are your "clean" vegan fare but this dinner also showcases American history.  Yes, in the past, there are vegan sides, not because of trendiness but because of thrift and resourcefulness.

But, the star of the dinner was Chef D. Arthur's family fried chicken.  Before fast food and burger and fries, fried chicken was the only portable and travel-ready meal to go.

But the Pièce de résistance was Chef D. Arthur leading a class in how to assemble a Banana Vanilla Wafer Pudding.

He's real.  He's realistic.  If it's easier, quicker, and cheaper for you to use instant vanilla pudding than made from scratch, then go ahead and use it.  There's no shame in that.

He makes his Banana Vanilla Wafer Pudding richer, using cream cheese mixed with a dash of cinnamon and whipped cream. As for whipped cream, you can use ready-made whipped cream.  Again, no shame in that.

What makes his pudding special is technique and assembling.  It's alternating layers of pudding, banana slices, and wafer cookies then topping with wafer cookie, banana slices, and whipped cream.  This is the Southern version of tiramisu.

What are the real top secret ingredient in this dinner party? Warm hospitality of acceptance and love, expressed through food and that...

Fresh Peach Iced Tea, that you can spike with whiskey and bourbon. It's thrift, using abundance of fresh peaches.  Using slices of fresh peach or even fresh fruit-anywhere-to naturally and healthly, sweeten iced tea, if you don't want pure sugar.  With the abundance of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, California can do the same thing to iced tea.

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