a bit of Kentucky food & drink

Jefferson Julep from Nick Ryan’s Saloon
Old Grand-dad 114, Appleton Estate V/X rum, spiced ginger syrup, blood orange bitters, fresh mint

Friends in the flesh will know that I’m a split-personality kind of American. While I grew up in Maine, consider it my home, and love my little island more than any other place in the world (yes, including Paris), I was born a Southerner. I’ve always loved me some pecan pie, cornbread, and some annual Kentucky Derby celebrations.

Kentucky Hot Brown from Nick Ryan’s Saloon
bread, country ham, roast turkey, crisp bacon, cream sauce & cheddar

About two years ago, my parents called to inform me that they had found and bought a house near my dad’s hometown of Lexington, KY, and that they would be spending winters there in the future. As far as I knew, they were just down South for a week to visit my godparents and decided not to leave. I guess this sort of thing runs in the family. In any case, their change of scenery has allowed me to get more in touch with my southern roots than I had been the majority of my life. And I’m lovin’ it. Evidence of this can be seen in many ways, including a newfound obsession with all kinds of thoroughbread horse racing, but also, of course, in the food.

Nick Ryan’s Shrimp and Grits

Growing up, the evidence of a southern background was clear in my house. Dinners often included fried chicken or cornbread, and the first weekend in May was always a study southern specialites. But some things are best not messed with away from the source–the heart-attack inducing KY Hot Brown being one of them. Seriously, do not eat one at home, or on a regular basis for that matter. And since the family move down south, I’ve had the pleasure of partaking in far more southern food than I’d ever dreamed.

Fried Catfish Po’boy from Windy Corner Market

Barbeque Boy from Windy Corner Market
Po’boy topped with BBQ pulled pork, white cheddar & creamy cole slaw

Barbeque burger & red potato salad from Windy Corner Market
burger with Black Jack BBQ sauce, crispy bacon & Bourbon Barrel Beer Cheese

French do comfort food just fine. Cassoulet, confit de canard, raclette. Not bad choices for a wintery, homesick kind of day. But the South really does kick our ass on this front. Who wouldn’t want to cosy up to any of the dishes above on a blustery kind of day ? really ?

Oh, and what trip to Kentucky would be complete without a slab of pork ribs served in a styrofoam container on a folding card table in front of a football stadium ?

Food shown from:

Nick Ryan’s Saloon
Windy Corner Market
Billy’s Bar-B-Q

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