How far would you travel for a good sandwich?
Down the block? Over to the other side of town? How about a few states away? Here at the Local Palate, we can’t count the number of times a sandwich has been our purpose for visiting a place—and inevitably, we learn a thing or two along the way. After all, what else is the tangy olive salad encased in the soft bread and sliced meats of a muffuletta if not a crash course on the history of immigration at the turn of the century in a Southern port city? What cultural artifacts can we glean from the evolution of the pepperoni roll if not those of industrialization and its effects on the dining habits of Appalachia? Sandwiches have a lot to teach us about a place: its history, the people who have populated it, and how culture is passed down. We take a look at six Southern sandwiches, by way of their place of origin, for one meandering and mouthwatering road trip.
With the arrival of spring, we’re also doing some housecleaning by switching up a few of our columns. You’ll find two new ones, including Kitchen Upgrade, which focuses on the cooking gear and gadgets that are catching our eye, as well as New Southern Essentials, a column that introduces a fresh take on classic recipes. Chef Travis Milton of Nicewonder Farm & Vineyards kicks things off with a new way to work with chow chow—it might be my new favorite lunchtime routine. In this space, we hope to reflect on the evolving South and how its foodways are melding and adapting along the way.
Anyone else feeling a little wanderlust with the changing seasons? North Carolina chef Bill Smith takes us down to Celaya, Mexico, for a look inside his favorite chicharroneria, while digital editor Hannah Lee Leidy followed her curious palate to uncover the South’s previously unsung cheese regions—so take some notes and get on the road, or order directly from the cheesemakers for an epic, terroir-driven Southern cheese board.
I’m always grateful for that first bright burst of spring—especially those early, sun-drenched days when I can eat lunch outside again, a well-constructed sandwich in hand.