SCENE 1 Christmas afternoon. Foyer of cottage on rural road. (Sound of doorbell, followed by barking dog.)
KAY: (Rushing to door, removing apron.) Merry Christmas!
Come in, come in! Hurry, or Nora will run out!
Nora, get back here!
(Toenails clicking on floor. Door shuts.)
Wonderful to see you! Glenn will take your coat.
What a nice surprise to get this light last-minute snowfall.
You brought mashed potatoes? Perfect!
Dinner is almost ready. Honey, could you pour some wine?
I’ll pass the grits cakes. Careful, hot! Oh, thank you.
We really didn't make a big fuss this year.
(Ball bounces across floor, guest stumbles with full glass.)
Well, excuse you, Nora!
So sorry! (Passes guest a cocktail napkin.)
Nora, please take the bone Santa brought over to your bed.
Where was I?
Yes. A nice, homey dinner with an extra shot of Southern tradition.
Noooo, not too much work! Pretty much make-ahead.
Do come and sit down.
Could somebody grab the ham there on the sideboard?
Ahh. This is nice.
(Butter knife striking lightly on crystal goblet.)
Let’s raise a glass and thank goodness we made it through another year!
Glenn, would you care to propose a toast?
Pickled Shrimp on Rice Grits Cakes ••◊••
Southerners make grits cakes all the time and usually from corn, which is cooked like polenta, poured, chilled, stamped out, and fried. Our cakes, however, use Carolina Gold rice grits. Imagine if you took your greatest risotto experience and made it crispy, or the best arancini you ever tasted and squished them into cakes. You’d be approaching the satisfaction quotient of this recipe, which can be served with all manner of appealing toppings—not just pickled shrimp.
Cornmeal Crusted Smoked Ham ••◊••
A rustic touch for the old-fashioned baked ham, one that moves ham off a lace tablecloth and onto a vintage sideboard. With fine yellow cornmeal oven-toasted to sensory brilliance and blended with hot water, this simple coating is just brushed on the ham where it bakes to a crunchy buttery crumb coat.
Collard Greens with Cornmeal Dumplings ••◊••
Collards braised gently in a smoky broth give fine cornmeal dumplings a soft place to land. The dumplings are light and graceful with stunning corn flavor.
Sea Island Red Pea Gravy ••◊••
Carolina Gold Rice prepared alongside Sea Island Red Peas and served together create reezy peezy. Traditionally cooked with smoked pork neck, onions, and spices that can range from simple dried red pepper and laurel to a touch of curry, the peas bring rich satiny warmth to plucky rice grains—be they grits or whole.
Caramel-Baked Apple Dumplings ••◊••
McIntosh or Macoun apples rolled in cinnamon sugar, wrapped in a buttery crust (we offer two superb pastry recipes), and baked to high, singing creaminess. A caramel syrup bathes everything in bittersweet burnt sugar.
Sticky Sorghum Pudding ••◊••
Think of sticky sorghum pudding as a Southern accent laid thick on an English classic. Sorghum is so high in minerality it vibrates through the sauce and into the pillow-tender cake like a clarion bell. With whipped cream on the side, the overall palate experience is mellow and bright—like Christmas.