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May, 2017 |

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Haywood Community College and the Southern Highland Craft Guild celebrate historic relationship with latest show

Opening this past Saturday, May 27, the Folk Art Center celebrated Haywood Community College’s Professional Crafts Program graduate class of 2017. With a 36-piece exhibit, featuring 19 students, the show continues the historical relationship between the Southern Highland Craft Guild and Haywood, an educational center member of the Guild.

This year’s class is representing works from clay, fiber, jewelry and wood mediums. The main gallery of the Folk Art Center is adorned with hanging tapestries, lost-wax cast bees, decorative dinnerware, and wooden hutches, soon to be heirlooms for one’s home. Students of the Haywood program come from all over, with or without prior experience of craft, and sometimes pursuing it as a second or third career. The course of study is challenging, combining craft concentrations with supplemental classes in design, drawing, craft history, business, marketing and photography.

Haywood Community College and the Southern Highland Craft Guild share a history that documents the role of craft education in preserving traditional culture, creating economic opportunity and fostering professional practice. All of the artists represent the vitality and creativity of craft practice today, which is the ultimate purpose of both institutions.

Many Haywood graduates have become individual members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild and have served the Guild in various capacities. Instructor Brian Wurst of the Professional Crafts Wood program says, “Our students benefit so much from the opportunities that the Guild offers its education partners, and we in turn are thrilled when they grow into active participants themselves and continue that tradition of giving back. The Graduate Show spotlights the program’s best work, and it’s a delight to see it so well displayed and in such a beautiful venue as the Folk Art Center.”

Haywood Community College is located in Clyde, North Carolina, just west of Asheville. The college’s Professional Crafts Program began in recognition of the region’s strong craft heritage. It was envisioned that students would learn the basics of craft media and how to transform that craft into a business. The clay studio was the first to open in 1974. With the addition of jewelry, wood and fiber studios, a comprehensive curriculum was in place by 1977.

The Haywood Community College Professional Crafts Program, Graduate Show, Class of 2017 is a free exhibit at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway in East Asheville. For more information, visit or call 828-298-7928. For more information about the Professional Crafts Program, call 828-627-4674 or visit

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Brick’s Smoked Meats opens in downtown Sarasota

For Mark Gabrick, the golden rule extends beyond just the way we should treat each other. It also applies to food.

The pitmaster and owner of Brick’s Smoked Meats, which recently opened on State Street in downtown Sarasota, explains.

“Everybody knows the golden rule,” he says. “I tell my employees we should do that at the restaurant — serve people the food you would want to eat.”

Gabrick is originally from Kansas City, Mo., and moved to Sarasota from Dallas six years ago. To say he knows good barbecue is an understatement. He grew up eating at some of the best Midwest barbecue joints, and then moved to Texas, where he was immersed in the culture and honed his skills.

Now he hopes to share an authentic Texas experience with customers in Sarasota.

He and his family moved to the Gulf Coast with the idea of opening his own barbecue restaurant. The concept started as a weekly pop-up stand at the Sarasota Farmers Market. But he knew he wanted to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

“I’ve had this vision for a long time,” he says. “Every week, I would do something toward making this a reality, whether that was buying a single spatula or a set of chairs.”

Opened May 16, Brick’s Smoked Meats is Gabrick’s vision come to life. Specializing in central Texas-style barbecue, the menu includes traditional must-haves, such as smoked brisket, St. Louis-style ribs and pulled pork, as well as a variety of tacos, sandwiches and side dishes served in miniature cast-iron skillets, like corn, jalapeño beans soaked in barbecue drippings, corn bread muffins and more.

The fattier cuts of brisket are a particular highlight, showing off Gabrick’s peppery flavor profile and smoky taste achieved with “Big Red,” his 1,800-pound capacity JR Oyler Pit smoker.

With tall ceilings and an open dining area, the ambience is relaxed in a fast-casual format with hints of Texas décor and a full bar with signature cocktails, to boot.

“Barbecue is such a sensory experience, tied to memory,” he says. “I have so many memories eating barbecue with my family. I want this to be a place families can create their own moments.”

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Brooksville’s Florida Cracker Kitchen to open in Jacksonville – Florida Times

Brooksville-based Florida Cracker Kitchen is coming to Jacksonville.

The breakfast and lunch spot will feature a store with apparel, home goods and accessories as well as a tap room and Bloody Mary bar, which will be housed in a 1956 milk truck.

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Florida Cracker Kitchen is expected to open within the next three months at 14329 Beach Blvd. next to the Pablo Station shopping center.

The 3,600-square-foot location will have 150 seats including an outdoor patio.

The menu will include favorites such as shrimp n’ grits, chicken and waffles and corned beef hash.

The company was launched in 2012 by Blair Henley and his brother Ethan, a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute.

Henley designed the Florida Cracker Kitchen’s logo, an upside down boot that mimics the shape of the state of Florida.

The brothers were approached by ServStar Management Group, which manages several Jacksonville-area establishments such as Dos Gatos, The Shim Sham Room, Scarlett O’Hara’s, Hoptinger and Surfer (The Bar).

“We didn’t have knowledge of running multiple locations and ServStar has a proven track record,” Henley said. “They’ve been extremely helpful to us to get this going.”

Florida Cracker Kitchen’s tap room will feature 10 craft breweries from across Florida such as Cigar City and Swamp Head as well as local selections from Intuition Ale Works, Engine 15 and more.

The restaurant will be open Tuesday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“Eventually, the tap room might be open later, but for now, we want to open and get things going,” Henley said.

For more information about the Florida Cracker Kitchen, visit

Ann Friedman: (904) 359-4619

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Historic Lynchburg hotels, Art on Main subject of First Friday receptions this week

The Academy Center of the Arts, 600 Main St.

The exhibit “Blue and White and Virginia Life,” featuring the oil paintings of Lauren Bruce, will open in the Academy Gallery, while the mixed media work of Meredith Peveril will be on display in the Up Front Gallery and art created by fifth graders from Sheffield Elementary School in the Arts Education Lobby.

The First Friday reception runs from 5 to 8 p.m. (434) 528-3256,

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Satellite galleries:

Magnolia Foods (2476 Rivermont Ave.) and Flint Property Group (2484 Rivermont Ave.): The watercolors of Solly Blank through July 1.

Westminster Canterbury (501 VES Road): Tyler Hutchison’s mixed media work through June 23.

James River Council for the Arts Humanities, 901 Jefferson St., Suite 109

The work of artists who participated in the Art on Main public art project will be on display in the council’s offices in June. The project, which started in 2015, originally brought local art to vacant storefronts in downtown Lynchburg; this year, the project expanded to include open businesses, and the work was up throughout May.

The Lodge of the Fisherman, 4415 Boonsboro Road

The paintings of Michelle Snyder will be on display. The abstract artist, originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina, creates her work by pouring pools of pigment-laden water onto large, stretched canvases; the pigment settles while the water evaporates, leaving shapes on the canvas. There won’t be a First Friday reception, but the Lodge is open from 8 to 11 a.m. every Friday and by appointment. (434) 470-6378. 

The Lynchburg Art Club, 1011 Rivermont Ave.

“Three Women: Rosalie Short, Gay Tucker and Cindy Vener” opens with a First Friday reception from 5 to 8 p.m. and runs through June 25.

Short, who was born and raised in Lynchburg, owned a small custom art store before going into interior design and furniture sales; since retiring, she’s rekindled her love for creating art and has served as co-chairwoman of the Lynchburg Art Festival for the past three years.

Tucker, also a native Virginian, has been interested in art since her childhood and spent many years living and working in Lynchburg in both teaching and real estate. Her paintings typically feature people going about their daily lives: eating in restaurants, walking in public venues or attending art openings and concerts.

Vener, whose artwork is inspired by local Virginia landscapes and from her travels, started painting more after her retirement in 2009; her style is influenced by impressionists, her love of gardening and the joy of experimenting with a bold color palette. (434) 528-9434,

The Lynchburg Museum, 901 Court St.

The museum will exhibit memorabilia related to six historic Lynchburg hotels: Franklin Hotel/Norvell House (1817-1885), Hotel Carroll (1894-1959), Western Hotel/Joseph Nicolas Tavern (1814-still standing), Kentucky Hotel (1826-still standing), Virginian Hotel (1913-still standing), and Westover Hotel (1891-1970).

Items on display will include photographs, postcards, dinnerware and advertisements. The First Friday reception runs from 5 to 8 p.m. and the museum also will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. (434) 455-6226,

Renaissance Theatre, 1022 Commerce St.

Baltimore artist Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon will continue showing his most recent project, “Esoterotic,” which explores “the elusive nature of identity, the mysteries of sexuality and the chaos of existence.” The First Friday reception runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m. (434) 845-4427,

Riverviews Artspace, 901 Jefferson St.

“The Exceptional Larry Bassett Collection,” an exhibition of original art and objects by more than 30 artists, will continue in the Craddock-Terry Gallery with a reception from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Bassett has been a resident and supporter of Riverviews since it opened 14 years ago and during exhibits, he has always tried to obtain a piece of original art when possible — supporting many artists over the years. (434) 847-7277,

Riverviews Co-op Gallery, 901 Jefferson St.

The show “Reflections and Shadows” continues with a reception from 5:30 to 8 p.m., with featured artist Dave Keebler, and runs through July 2. (434) 847-7277,

WNRN, 901 Jefferson St., Suite 114

WNRN’s Emerging Artist Series will feature the work of Angie Reiko.

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Southern Foodways Alliance Director John T. Edge’s Favorite Triangle Restaurants Are Redefining the South

Southern cooking has long been defined by fried chicken joints, barbecue pits, cast-iron skillets, and tin pie pans. But in The Potlikker Papers, James Beard Award winner and Southern Foodways Alliance director John T. Edge recounts a different history and evolution, one that encompasses cornbread and tamales.

After growing up in rural Georgia, Edge began searching for something tangible and recognizable about his culture. He watched the boundaries of Southern food grow far beyond black and white. In his new book, Edge looks at Southern food through the lens of its resilience and flexibility. What makes a food Southern, he argues, is that it is born under conditions of hardship and out of the spirit of change and ingenuity. In The Potlikker Papers, Edge characterizes the South as “a place that will be as Mexican as West African, as Korean as Irish, and lose none of its essential identity in the process.”

Edge visits the Triangle this week to promote his new book. When he’s in town, he sits down to eat with an appetite that’s both hearty and critical, seeking out a chef’s unique interpretation of place. If the chef succeeds, a warmth pervades the space that harkens to a family table. When Edge takes a seat at the restaurant of a first-generation Southerner, as he often finds himself doing, he feels especially grateful for receiving this welcome.


    We asked him where he likes to explore the essence of new Southern cuisine in our backyard.

    Fiesta Grill, Chapel hill

    As he watched his son Jess sip a big glass of horchata at Fiesta Grill in Chapel Hill, Edge thought of the sweet tea he drank as a boy in rural Georgia. To his son, horchata is as Southern as sweet tea. Edge believes that all Southerners deserve a place to eat that reminds them of the first place they called home.

    Crook’s Corner, Chapel Hill

    When Edge visits famed Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, he knows the food is coming from head chef Bill Smith and his Mexican cooks. Influenced by Smith’s eastern North Carolina upbringing and the back-of-the-house’s Mexican roots, the restaurant menu serves classics alongside country ham baked in Mexican Coca-Cola, and spicy shrimp salsa served on soda crackers.

    Jose and Sons, Raleigh

    Too often, white Southern chefs get the credit for interpreting and expanding the boundaries of Southern cuisine. But, as Edge points out, many first-generation and immigrant chefs in the U.S. South meld food traditions on their own terms. He loves Raleigh’s Jose and Sons for its Mexican-American chefs who are defining Mexican fusion. Serving brisket barbacoa braised in local Crank Arm beer, Jose and Sons gives us a taste of the future of Southern cooking.

    Garland, Raleigh

    Edge raves about the cooking of Cheetie Kumar, who leverages the food traditions of her native India with her creative spirit as a rock musician and a slew of global influences. If Garland is a harbinger of what’s on the horizon for Southern culture, then the future will be both subversive and playful. Guests can enjoy a roti quesadilla and a pork loin bahn-mi at this nook beneath a music club, Kings, where no borders and boundaries seem to exist.

    Brewery Bhavana, Raleigh

    A new addition to the downtown scene by the brother-sister team behind Bida Manda, Brewery Bhavana represents multiple types of creative thinking. Serving plates like pai gu spareribs with boiled peanuts and Chinese black bean sauce, Bhavana is influenced by both the Mekong River Delta and the Carolina coast. More than just a culinary fusion, the space is also smart and forward-thinking about retail. With their flower shop and bookstore integrated into a dim sum counter and brewery, the Nolintha siblings and their team remind Raleigh that immigrants represent our nation’s greatest innovative thinking and genius.

    This article appeared in print with the headline “Horchata and Sweet Tea.”

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    NRDC Victory: Court Revokes Nanosilver Registration | NRDC

    NRDC won a very important legal victory today! We successfully challenged the EPA Pesticide Office’s approval of an antimicrobial nanosilver pesticide that can be incorporated into plastics and fabrics. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that the EPA had failed to show that its conditional approval of the product “Nanosilva” was in the public’s interest, and therefore revoked the approval of the toxic nanomaterial (read the court decision).

    The pesticide doesn’t serve any public health purpose. It was approved because it purportedly reduces staining and odors in consumer products by killing bacteria and mold.  It can be incorporated into basically any consumer product, except those approved for food-contact uses. It can be in: clothing, children’s toys, kitchen appliances and housewares (e.g., dish drainers, place mats, scrub brushes, blenders, upholstery), building materials (e.g., flooring, siding, artificial turf), bathroom fixtures and accessories (e.g., toilets, showers, tubs, shower curtains), personal care products (e.g., combs, razors, brushes), sporting goods, office supplies, and electronics. 

    The fundamental problem is that EPA approved this pesticide using the conditional registration loophole, without having first completed all of the health and safety studies required by law. That puts dangerous chemicals into our environment and homes before they have been fully tested, for no good reason. As the court decision warns, “Nanosilver, due to its much smaller particle size, can have significantly different properties than conventional silver. These different properties provide new benefits and opportunities to industry. But with these new benefits come new risks.”

    The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) governs the sale, use, and distribution of pesticides, and requires that pesticides must be registered with the EPA before being sold or distributed. It allows the EPA to grant a temporary, conditional registration only if EPA first determines that use of a pesticide is in the public interest. In this case NRDC, the Center for Food Safety, and the International Center for Technology Assessment (the Petitioners) opposed EPA’s conditional registration of the nanosilver pesticide (NSPW-L30SS, manufactured by Nanosilva LLC).

    This court decision should be seen by the EPA Pesticide Office as a loud warning to stop its abuse of this registration loophole, and end its current practice of ushering in over half the pesticides onto market as conditional registrations. 

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    Down to earth cooking

    Zealous with Gordon Ramsay’s recommendation on his YouTube channel to keep it simple, I headed to one of the most crowded, disorganised shopping areas Hyderabad — Ameerpet. It’s not my first choice to shop because of the lack of parking space and hectic traffic. I braved the horrible heat and decided to do what an average city driver does — park on the road in front of a shop and disappear.

    I chose that one shop to drop in on a weekday, because I was told they stock clay water bottles. With the world fighting plastic, debating over BPA and plastic grade and environmentalists spreading the word about plastic bottle bleach, drinking water from steel or glass felt safer. That, until I came across a post about drinking water out of bottles made of clay.

    Those who drink water stored in earthen pots will know how immensely satisfying it is, so imagine drinking such water from a portable clay bottle. The portable earthen bottle is the latest ‘cool quotient’.

    Once at the shop I was surprised at the range of clay products they stocked. Water bottles happened to be just one part of it. The store has kitchen utensils beyond cups, saucers, bowls and jars, all made of clay and designed to cook and serve. Having cooked in earthen pots, my personal interest in the product went up a notch higher. As I went through the collection, I wondered at the superior styling, fine finish and packaging. The smooth body will definitely make stirring less cumbersome. Some of them even come with see-through lids and a small outlet for steam. They have every utensil needed in the kitchen made of clay.

    On enquiring further, I was told the distributors are from Hyderabad and they have a manufacturing unit in Gujarat; a part of the earthen pots and utensils come from Rajasthan and they sell all over south India. One of the partners, Jitender Raj who stocks the collection named Desi Mitti, in Marrdepally, has a reason for attempting to popularise clay utensils.

    Considering that earthen pots and pans are available by the roadside in Kerala, Hyderabad and Chennai and are inexpensive, why should one want to pay a premium price for Desi Mitti cookware? For one, the finish and smoothness that are close to that of metal utensils are one reason; , they are made to look attractive and is made from clay which is filtered six-times.

    “Filtering clay till we get the finest output is the reason why our utensils have the fine finish. This also ensures, purity of the soil and residue less body,” says Devesh. With Desi Mitti Devesh’s brother Jitender Raj is initiating him into business.

    Jitender’s moto being “
    Paise bana na hai. Kyun na ek achi cheej se banaye
    (we have to do business, so why not start with something good).”

    After an extensive market survey on the type of utensil and cookware every household uses, Jitender and Devesh have worked with their artisans in Gujarat and Rajasthan to design an exhaustive collection of cookware, serveware, including an idli cooker and rice cooker. “To be honest the rice cooker is inspired from Mitti Cool’s collection,” says Jitender.

    Their drinking water storage container is in white. Is it coloured? “No, it is made from
    safed mitti
    . It is a type of mud typical of Rajasthan. In Marwari language it is called moond,” explained Jitender. Discussing about tips on handling and tricks on how not to burn food in earthen pots, Jitender says that as a businessman he knew he would have to handle such queries so he and his brothers experimented with it. “We turn to our grandmother for the solution to such questions. In olden times, cooking was done in earthen pots, so, she comes up with the best solutions,” says Devesh.

    Mud talk

  • Strength:Soaking clay utensil in butter milk makes them stronger

  • Preparation:After buying clay water storage pots prep them by storing water for three days allow it to sweat. The more it sweats the better it cools.

  • Non stick:Smear clay cooking utensils with ghee or oil and heat them for about 10 mins in low flame to avoid food from sticking to the bottom.

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