Editor's note: Occasionally what looks at first glance to be a conventional guidebook transcends the genre in surprising ways. John T. Edge's Southern Belly is just such a read, which is why I'm pleased that he has allowed us to excerpt selected items from it on Serious Eats, where they appear every other week. —Ed Levine
By John T. Edge | In fine-dining circles, tales of temperamental French chefs are rife. Neophytes who fiddle with the foie gras or diddle with the duck confit are sure to stir the ire of the guy in the white coat and pleated tocque outfit. But who would expect such an outburst of temper from a guy in a flour-streaked apron, the proprietor of an unassuming little brick rectangle of a restaurant, set amid a row of old redbrick warehouses?
Meet Jack Arnold, a native of the North Carolina hills, with a dedication to fresh, honest foods that, in just a world, would make him as well known a cook as Julia Child or James Beard.
On my first visit to Arnold's Country Kitchen, I caught Jack in a foul mood. Indeed, he was cussing a blue streak.