From the Magazine

Letter From the Editor: Our Winter 2023 Issue Is Here

By: Erin Byers Murray

Feel the cheer of the holiday season in our 2023 Winter issue

For most of my life, my mom has made the most epic holiday cookie plates. Leading up to our annual Christmas party each year, she’d bake a batch a day, starting with the most complicated—cutouts and spritzes—before moving on to snickerdoodles, chocolate crinkles, peanut butter buckeyes, candy-cane-striped twisted cookies, and more. We would wrap the plates in red cellophane tied with big bows and deliver them to the mailmen, neighbors, coworkers, and friends; plus, we’d have piles of them on platters at the party itself. “It was a thing,” as she told me with a laugh recently. 

winter issue: Erin Byers Murray headshot credit Kesha Hayes

I’ve never been able to achieve my mom’s cookie-making prowess, but every year I make an effort. My kids and I spend at least a day up to our elbows in flour, sugar, icing, and toppings, bouncing around to Christmas tunes. This year, I’ve got some new ones to add to our tradition, thanks to our “A Cookie Swap for the Pros,” feature, which includes recipes from pastry chefs all over the Southeast who have put together the ultimate recipes for the perfect holiday swap. I’ve got my eye on the alfajores de maizena from Cristina Lazzari in Jackson, Mississippi, as well as North Carolina-based Belinda Smith-Sullivan’s peach-filled kolaches. 

Another tradition I’ll be borrowing for a big holiday meal is dueling turkeys. Chef Steven Satterfield of Miller Union in Atlanta goes head-to-head with his brother-in-law to prepare two turkeys for their crowd of nearly 20 each Thanksgiving. One smoked, one deep fried—both brilliant since they’re done outdoors, leaving the oven free for everything else. Speaking of big meals, I loved learning about writer and cookbook author Yvette Jemison’s annual tamalada gathering. She breaks down the process for us in “Assembling Tradition.”

And because it’s the holidays, there’s bound to be leftovers. I talked to Joe Kindred, of his eponymous restaurant in Davidson, North Carolina, about a scrumptious way to put leftover turkey to work in a sugo that goes over gnocchi. And for just general winter coziness, there’s a fantastic shiitake mushroom spoonbread recipe from chef William Dissen’s new cookbook. 

There are endless ways to fill your plate inside this winter issue—here’s hoping it adds plenty of good cheer to your holiday table. 

Erin Byers Murray's signature
Erin Byers Murray, Editor in Chief, @erinbmurray

Three Delicious Southern Stocking Stuffers  

Ranger Station Old Fashioned Candle 
Poured in a whiskey glass, these fragrant burners come with a cocktail recipe. 

High Wire Distilling Co.’s Jimmy Red Bourbon Whiskey Bottled in Bond, Single Farm Edition 
This limited bottling was made from the elusive Jimmy Red corn harvested from one single field. Limited release, available at local retailers around the South.

Catbird Sauce Co.’s Salted Caramel Sauce 
Make someone’s holiday dessert dreams come true with this salty, creamy, butter-rich pour-over. 

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