Registered Dietician, BS, Culinary Nutrition, Johnson & Wales University
Test Kitchen Professional, Southern Living magazine, since 2007
Develops, tests and analyzes nutrition in recipes
Spokesperson for Southern Living on national TV
Host of Southern Living's webcast, Deep Fried Fridays
Sweet and Spicy Christmas Gift Ideas
THE CULTURE OF DEEP FRIED FOODS
Southern Living magazine has been providing entertaining ideas and recipes for tried and true Southern culture for more than 45 years. “Hospitality is what we do at the magazine,” says Norman. He says that cooking Southern cuisine is mostly technique but that these recipes are rich in tradition. Take deep fried foods for example. Fried foods are prominent in Southern recipes. Norman says deep fat foods provided farmers more calories. “It was all farming back then,” says Norman. “Working on farms, you couldn’t consume enough calories a day just from lean meats, vegetables and fruit.” To get more calories,
Southerners fried food because fat is a concentrated energy source. “Farmers burned 4,000 calories a day working on the farms. They would have to spend all day eating to replenish the calories unless they fried their food,” says Norman.
Norman grew up in Southern California. He learned to cook from his grandparents because of the abundance of fruit and vegetables they grew in the back yard. When he was 11, he originally wanted to be a dentist, but then Norman discovered you could go to school for cooking. “That’s when I decided to go to culinary school,” says Norman. He hosts the magazine’s webcast, Deep Fried Fridays. “It started out as a joke,” says Norman. Someone asked him if you could fry a moon pie. He said, Yeah, why not? “I’m a dietician and I’m frying something that is already unhealthy,” he says. But it wasn’t about picking the most ludicrious then and frying it. “It was the science behind it,” says Norman. He wanted to see if it could be done and if so, could it be palatable. “I don’t have a problem with deep frying food,” says Norman. “I like to teach people about how to balance.”
While frying is a popular form of cooking in the South, there are numerous other ways of preparing Southern cuisine. Braising is a cooking method that combines the use of moist and dry heat. This is ideal for tough or inexpensive meats. It also imparts flavor in vegetables like greens. When baking, honey can be substituted for sugar in a recipe. Reduce any liquid by ¼ cup and add 1 teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of honey used. Also reduce oven temperatures by 25 degrees. Try substituting Greek yogurt for sour cream in recipes. Roasting is a great method for making large inexpensive cuts of meat tender and juicy. Try oven-roasting French fries instead of frying. Sauteing involves heating foods in a small amount of oil. Foods are cooked quickly and sautéing is ideal for quick meals when schedules are tight. Steaming is one of the healthiest cooking methods and uses steam from a boiling liquid to cook the food. Try steaming vegetables, fish or mussels instead of frying.
Norman worked as a food stylist for NBC 10 WJAR in Providence, RI during college. He completed a dietetic internship at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and taught cooking classes with professionals at Williams-Sonoma.
Norman will show us Sweet & Spicy Gift Ideas: Lemon Curd, page 380; Hot Fudge Sauce, page 381; Pecan-Honey Butter, page 381; Hot Pepper Sauce, page 375; Paul’s Chicken Rub, page 374; Lemon Mint Vinaigrette, page 374.
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