Food Stuff 

Charlie Trotter, the celebrity Chicago chef and cookbook author, will visit Papa Joe's in Birmingham from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Saturday, March 11, to flog his organic sauces, marinades and vinaigrettes, and to sign copies of his high-end, always beautiful and sometimes impractical (for the home cook) food books, among them his newest, Workin' More Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter. If you want to stick around and learn how to use ingredients sold by both Trotter and his host store, chefs from Charlie's restaurants will stay through 5 p.m. to demonstrate. 248-723-9400.

 

Emily's, in Northville, one of metro Detroit's best eateries — owned by top-rank metro chef Rick Halberg — hosts a regular series of wine dinners, and the next will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 1, featuring California's Renwood sippers, from smack in the middle of great Zinfandel country. You'll never be disappointed by Halberg's French-inspired Mediterranean food, and he knows how to match it all with just the right wines. $130. 248-349-0505.

 

Those who find the blue air soothing and the music tolerable at Goodnight Gracie cigar bar, the D'Amato's adjunct in Royal Oak, will be pleased to know that a new version has gone subterranean in Ferndale. Gracie's Underground features a short menu and a long list of fruity "martinis," and hosts heats in the latest event for the winter Olympics — "speed dating." 22757 Woodward Ave.; 248-298-0330.

 

Eat The Page

The Gift of Southern Cooking (Knopf, $29.95), by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock, is filled with recipes from the canon of Deep South eats — buttermilk-marinated chicken fried in pork fat, biscuits (use White Lily flour and homemade baking powder, recipe included), she-crab soup, country ham and redeye gravy, and the rest, from drinks through dessert, with the tips only an accomplished veteran home-cook knows. There are plenty of books on Southern cooking, but if you want only one, stick with Miss Edna.

A Tasty Beverage

Author and Virginia country cook Edna Lewis, who died last month, used the following simple formula for sweet iced tea (in the South, always sweet), which her family put away to the tune of 2 gallons a day in summer: Bring 2-1/2 cups water to a rolling boil. Put 4 teabags (Lewis prefered Lipton) in a large teapot and pour in the boiling water. Cover; steep for 10 minutes. Strain into a big pitcher; stir in 1 cup of cold water and 6 tablespoons sugar. Fill pitcher with ice and serve.

It Works

Skip a lot of aggravation with good kitchen shears, and you don't need to spend more than 10 bucks. The Farberware shears shown here have enough moxie to cut through the backbone of a big ol' chicken and even lobster claws with no sweat, and come apart easily for thorough cleaning (a must). Once you get used to having them, you'll use the shears for more things than you can imagine, without riskily whanging away at a tough cut with a knife.

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