BHG Delish Dish

Stirring Up Ideas In The Kitchen

Posts by Katie Parker

You won’t have a quiet meal in Tennessee…and that’s not a bad thing. It’s just that the incredible concentration of music talent fills the air—from live bands on every inch of Memphis’ Beale Street to the radio pumping Elvis’ very best at the local BBQ joint—and song is at the heart of the Tennessee spirit. Read on and you’re sure to have a tune stuck in your head (“I’m goin’ to Jackson, I’m gonna mess around. Yeah, I’m goin’ to Jackson, Look out Jackson town.”) and a real craving for barbecued pork ribs with a side of Jack Daniels’ Tennessee-made whiskey.


You shake my nerves and your rattle my brain.

Too much love drives a man insane.

You broke my will, oh what a thrill.

Goodness, gracious, great balls of fire!

–“Great Balls of Fire” sung by Jerry Lee Lewis (who recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis, TN)


I was more than thrilled devouring a plated-to-share meal at Central BBQ. The super-crunchy homemade chips had a salty, lingering heat. The saucy ribs are spicy, though they never took away from the meal, and they finished slightly sweet. The dry-rubbed ribs tingled with pepper and had the clear memory of their recent day in the smoker. The sautéed turnip greens offered a bitter bite as a complement to the sugar of the welcomed icy glass of sweet tea.


Oh what’s love got to do, go to do with it?

What’s love but a second-hand emotion?

What’s love got to do, got to do with it?

Who needs a heart

When a heart can be broken.

–“What’s Love Got to Do with It” sung by Tina Turner (who was born in Nutbush, TN)


As Tina’s song spins through my head, I’m taken to the Peabody Hotel, home of the famous Peabody ducks and their delightful Duckmaster, where I fell in love (sorry, Ms. Turner) with their Peach Bourbon Sour, complete with a stir stick featuring a tiny duck on one end. Even non-bourbon lovers (guilty!) will appreciate this incredible, gently sweet sipper.


I’m sorry, so sorry

That I was such a fool.

I didn’t know

Love could be so cruel.

–“I’m Sorry” sung by Brenda Lee (member of Tennessee’s International Rockabilly Hall of Fame)


Well, I’m not sorry about the desserts I enjoyed at Historic Lafayette’s Music Room. While foot-tapping to the stage-set music of a great local band, I dipped a spoon into the Bananas Foster (normally served in mason jars), which was lush and creamy with a crunchy candied pecan topper that made it feel decadent and, somehow, light at the same time. The old-fashioned take on banana pudding also featured a smooth caramel sauce for a well-rounded bite.


Well it’s one for the money,

Two for the show,

Three to get ready,

Now go, cat, go.

–“Blue Suede Shoes” sung by Elvis Presley (visit his historic Graceland in Memphis, TN)


The most famous Tennessee musician and the best meal of my time there deserve to be together. Helen’s Bar-B-Q doesn’t have a Web site or a social media presence, so let me just print the address so you can swing into Brownsville after your time in nearby Memphis or Jackson.

1016 North Washington Avenue

Brownsville, TN 38012

Now go, cat, go! Helen (a constant presence at the side-of-the-road joint), personally served me the best baked beans I’ve ever had. She cooks the beans with delicately smoked shredded pork and mixes in ripe tomatoes and a sweetness (brown sugar, maybe?) so balanced and memorable that I went for seconds. I could have made a meal out of them. But then, I suppose, I would have missed the salty-sweet pickle relish in the delightfully chunky potato salad; the refreshing and actually juicy coleslaw; and the main course of glides-off-your-fork-so-put-the-knife-down pulled pork you can sandwich between white-bread buns and top with Helen’s perfectly balanced mild sauce.

The rock, blues, and country music and the barbeque- and cocktail-menus of West Tennessee were full of history and paired like fried catfish with a side of crispy potato fries. And yes, I enjoyed that combo in Tennessee, too.

Check in with White House Curator William Allman, who shares the changes in the China set between Presidents.

The 7 Things You Need to Know About the New China

(Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

I still can’t get over this work trip. That’s me, First Lady Michelle Obama, and the display of brand-new, just-unveiled, wow-this-is-historic china. Along with a few other journalists, I had the opportunity to visit the White House, meet Mrs. Obama, and gaze longingly at the gold-banded and blue-hued set of dishes unveiled just ahead of a state dinner.





















Peek into the China Room and meet the White House curator.

Here are seven ways you can impress friends with tidbits on the new set:

1. There are 11 pieces and enough place settings to serve 320.

2. For the first time, the set was manufactured in Illinois.

3. Past presidential china skewed toward primary colors; Mrs. Obama was inspired by the waters off President Obama’s home state of Hawai’i and named this new blue “Kailua Blue.”

4. The Presidential coat of arms appears just three times across the set: On the service plate (the first dish presented at dinner), the dessert plate (the last dish at dinner), and the tea/coffee cup (a dish used the entire dinner).

5. No past presidential set has ever included an individual soup tureen. Mrs. Obama added it after consulting with the White House Executive Chef and others, who were interested in adding soup, small entrees, and ice-cream desserts to the dinner menus.

(Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

6. The matte-gold detail was picked to match the China sets from presidents Eisenhower, Truman, and Clinton. Now all their dishes can be used together.

7. The gilt-edged white dinner plate mirrors the pinwheels and leaf fronds from the dinner service purchased by James Madison in 1806.


Bonus Point: One of the first items that will be presented on the new dishes is this hand-blown sugar tea pot. This is a dinner invite you’d love to receive.



Fill a pint, clink some glasses, or pop a cork…just ask for a local creation. I had the chance to strut my cowboy boots around San Antonio (in time for the annual Tamale Festival), and enjoy their hometown beverage renaissance. Napa, they’ve got your number.

(photo credit: Alamo Beer Company)

First stop: Alamo Beer Company. A simple 12-minute saunter from the front door of the actual Alamo, this refreshing craft beer brewery (say that three times fast after a few savored sips), does everything—brewing to bottling, plus rocking a beer garden—all on their inviting campus. I drank the easy-to-love Golden Ale while peering into the expansive glass-walled warehouse, which hosts the functioning brew area and is completed by on-hand, love-beer-so-much-they-live-it Brewmasters.


4.0 Cellars combines three Texas wineries at a well-located fourth spot (so if you, like me, thought the name referred to a straight-A student, you can impress your friends with your new-found knowledge). We enjoyed the Texas Cheese & Wine Experience ($20), which married five scrumptious Texas cheeses from the Veldhuizen Cheese Shoppe with five varied wines from 4.0. I’m a blue cheese girl myself, and the Bosque Blue provided a nice bite against the sweetness of the Brennan Vineyards’ Portejas. The table’s favorite, however, was the Lost Oak Dawson Red, a smooth and delicious sip served with a strong cheddar cheese. Consider it an instant contender for pairing with weeknight dinner.


The wine of Grape Creek Vineyards is so well-distributed that my Iowa-raised husband knew the logo immediately. Owner Brian Heath has combined a stunning setting and a full sensory experience. During the tour of the barrel room, the sweet scent instantly brought images of a juice-stained bite into peek-of-the-season grapes. My favorite here was the Merlot, which we sampled straight from the French-oak barrel.


Need to put your spurs up while touring nearby Fredericksburg, Texas? Stop at Fredericksburg Brewing Company. Beyond my tasty tilapia fish tacos (and the bite of dreamy German Potato Salad literally toppled onto my plate by an encouraging fellow traveler, “You are going to try this!”), I reached for their Not So Dumb Blonde, which fit perfectly into the sweet spot of a refreshing drink that doesn’t over-fill.


There’s also the small matter of knowledgeable bartenders. Here’s a good stop for you: Cibolo Moon inside the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa. Specializing in tequila, their tequila bar is one of 23 U.S. restaurants that has been certified with the “Award T” distinction. That means that staff members have tasted a wide variety of tequilas, know the history and production of tequila, serve certified tequila, and, basically wake up thinking about tequila. The restaurant isn’t kidding when they talk about their “resident tequila masters.”


I officially raise a glass and tip a 10-gallon hat to San Antonio’s diverse drink culture and the artisans behind the barrels.

This year I’m hosting both sets of moms for Mother’s Day brunch. My mom loves a variety—sweet and savory should both make an appearance…while my husband’s mom is a master baker and loves a tasty baked bite. To prep for the discerning tastes I’ve been experimenting with cinnamon rolls. And man, have I found a winner:

I want a fresh-from-the-oven batch that doesn’t take all morning so I was impressed that this recipe starts with frozen bread dough. It takes a little fussing, but you simply spread out your thawed dough to be the base of your rolls. I used white bread dough instead of the called-for sweet dough so it’s not over-the-top sugary:

Next up is the gooey topping. Your kitchen will smell divine with butter, cream, and brown sugar melting on the stove. I’ve decided I like this topping so much that it’s now my filling, too: I double the amount it calls for. Happiness is:

I pour half the melted mixture into the bottom of a prepared pan, then I add a few tablespoons of creamy peanut butter and melt it in the remaining caramel. This is now my filling. Drizzle onto your rolled-out bread, and, per the recipe, sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon. I skip the peanuts but this would be their moment. Then get rolling and slicing! No photos here because my hands were a mess. I’m far from a perfectionist and these babies turn out a-OK anyway.

Time for baking! Pop them in the oven and watch them expand into fluffy rolls (Tip: I set a timer for 30 minutes, then put a piece of foil over the top for the last 10 to avoid over-browning):


They’re almost good enough to eat as-is, but you’ll want to flip them to get the ooey-gooey topping on, well, the top. I end up with a spatula-aided flip every time, but maybe you’re smoother than me:

I think my moms are going to love these!

Get the recipe here:


© Copyright , Meredith Corporation. All Rights Reserved Privacy Policy Data Policy Terms of Service AdChoices