Gritsapalooza 2013

  • Welcome to Gritsapaloozah 2013! This lovely little artistic rendering by hostess Beth Price was one of the first sights we saw upon arriving in Charleston.
  • Behold, what a classic Charleston-style cocktail party ought to look like. (We're quite proud of David, who exhibited unprecedented willpower by not pouncing before guests arrived.)
  • The Fatty Daddy Cocktail made its premiere in a regal retro coupe, much to the inflation of our own Fatty Daddy’s ego.
  • We didn’t need ice breakers or trust games, not with such nice folks as recipe tester Marilee Johnson (right) and Jan Marlor, both from Georgia.
  • Veteran recipe tester and oenophile Dan Kraan and his wife, Jan, sit at rapt attention during a seminar on Old World wine varietals.
  • Come Friday evening, all dignity was cast aside as we rolled up our sleeves, shucked some oysters, doused them with mignonette, and slurped them down.
  • Nothing like a little oyster muck under your nails and ample white wine in your glass to promote bonding amongst colleagues.
  • Tester Sita Krishnaswamy gets some moral support from her husband, Krish, before, during, and after downing an oyster.
  • Friday saw several revelers dancing well into the night. Here, Clayton Price and Marilee Johnson get down.
  • Too many cooks in the kitchen? Nah. Creating a meal to remember are, front to back, Eydie Desser, Sita Krishnaswamy, Jackie Gorman, and Beth Price.
  • Testers and fast friends Vicki Lionberger, left, and Sita Krishnaswamy, slipped out of the creative chaos in the kitchen for a spell.
  • Husband-and-wife team Shawn and Jackie Gorman are accustomed to tasting and tweaking recipes together. "Honey...?"
  • Jill Raison was one of many happy campers on the booze cruise, er, scenic cruise around Charleston’s waterways, complete with low country cuisine and local wines.
  • Sofia Reino, of Portugese descent just like our dear David, and her daughter, Rita, tend to last-minute preparations for Saturday's dinner. Like mother, like daughter.
  • Tester Melissa Maedgen refused to step foot out of the kitchen Saturday in her efforts to wow everyone with her culinary dexterity.
  • David welcomes pastry chef Jenni Field, who arrived just in time for dinner on Saturday, with a bear hug.
  • As a first course, David served up his famous Portuguese classic, clams and sausage in a cataplana—the recipe he demonstrated on the Today Show.
  • A hushed silence, the first such moment all weekend, fell over Gritsapalooza goers as everyone dove into dinner.
  • Tester Vicki Lionberger (right) and Editor-in-Chief Renee Schettler Rossi (center) lurk near the wine station and trade escapades from recent sojourns in France.
  • Wow! Wow! Wow! Witness Jenni's insanely stunning and obscenely indulgent brown sugar cinnamon pound cake. (It didn't last long.)

It’s been a little more than a month since we converged on the city of Charleston, South Carolina, for our very first LC gathering. By “we,” I mean a couple dozen devoted LC recipe testers, Beth Price, our director of recipe testing, and Renee Schettler Rossi, our editor-in-chief, and me. We’d dubbed the weekend Gritsapalooza, figuring it only fitting given the locale. (We’re actually thinking of ‘palooza-izing all of our future meetups. Boston: Chowdapalooza; New Orleans: Beignetapalooza; Kansas City: Barbecueapalooza. You get the idea.)

But I gotta be honest. In all the months we spent planning this par-tay in response to testers’ requests for some face time with Fatty Daddy, I had no inkling how it would go. I mean, it was tantamount to a big blind date. We were inviting strangers—people who knew one another only via the comments they’d shared on our recipes and via social media—to come hang with us for three days and asking them to play nicely. And that’s exactly what they did. Well, for the most part. Thanks to sufficient liquor flowing to lube the wheels of social interaction, things remained quite civil, despite a couple of teensy skirmishes. (You know who you are—and so do I. Fatty Daddy sees all, knows all. Don’t you forget it.) Read more »

The Walls Are Falling Down Around Me

Gloria Swanson

For a moment there, I felt like Gloria Swanson in that famous 1960 Life magazine photo (above), in which she stood grand and tall in her dotage amid the rubbled remains of the Roxy Theatre in New York City. (We’re talking the same theater that opened in 1927 featuring Swanson in the silent flick The Love of Sunya.) The reason for my almost mistaking myself for her doppelgänger? My Connecticut kitchen is about to be demolished—stripped bare to the dry wall—to make way for a sleek stainless-steel emporium brimming with KitchenAid appliances, custom wooden cabinets, Chroma countertops, and a bill so huge, I’ll likely have to cash in my IRA. Read more »

Fatty Daddy Cocktail

Fatty Daddy Cocktail Recipe

What do John D. Rockefeller, John F. Kennedy, Brigitte Bardot, and I have in common–besides enormous sex appeal and outsized egos? We all have something named after us: a building, an airport (et al), a ship, and (drumroll, please) a cocktail, respectively.

To kick off our very first LC get-together, held in Charleston, SC, and hence given the code name “Gritsapalooza,” hosts Clayton and Beth Price had a drink specially made for the occasion–and for me. They christened it the Fatty Daddy Cocktail. I was flattered and honored. After all, ever since my dreams of having my high school renamed David Leite High School for Extraordinarily Talented Children, Just Like Its Namesake never materialized, I thought I’d never be immortalized. Read more »

Daily Subscription

Enter your email address and get all of our updates sent to your inbox the moment they're posted. Be the first on your block to be in the know.

Preview daily e-mail

Weekly Subscription

Hate tons of emails? Do you prefer info delivered in a neat, easy-to-digest (pun intended) form? Then enter your email address for our weekly newsletter.

Preview weekly e-mail

The David Blahg Subscription

Enter your email address and get all of the The David Blahg updates sent to your inbox the moment they're posted. Be the envy of knowledgeable, savvy cooks everywhere. Sassy!