By Marlene Osteen
As James Beard said, “The first rule of dining is to eat and drink what you enjoy the most.” Who am I to argue? James Beard died in 1985 at age 81, and Ms. Child followed in 2004 at the age of 92. So, it is fitting that when James Beard died that Julia Child should suggest to the culinary world that his home in Greenwich Village, New York be maintained as a national resource for American food. The house provides a library on American food and wines, and offers classes taught by leading chefs and teachers and is currently developing scholarships and apprenticeship programs. These activities are supported by special food events held by restaurants around the country. In 1988, twelve restaurants were invited to hold dinners in celebration of James Beard’s 85th birthday. The Pawley’s Island Inn was invited to participate and eagerly responded.
On May 15, 66 guests gathered at the Pawley’s Island Inn to share in a dinner celebrating the cooking style that James Beard has championed. Chef Louis Osteen designed a menu that paid tribute to Mr. Beard’s directives that cooking must be honest, direct, imaginative and generous. And since Mr. Beard was from Oregon, we thought it might be fun if some of the foods and all of the wines were from Oregon. It was a marvelously lavish and indulgent evening - certainly paying homage to Mr. Beard’s dictate that “I like to express emphasis by copiousness, not elaboration.” Foods and wines were offered that were certainly new to South Carolina. Never before had we tasted these new and enchanting wines from Oregon in our state. Because winemaking in Oregon has proceeded on a small scale - only 4000 acres are planted, or an equivalent to 10% of Napa Valley - production is limited. The wineries have simply not been able to produce enough wine to supply the entire country. Yet, in my travels, my encounters with Oregon wines have provided me with some exciting experiences and I was anxious for this dinner. We began with hors d’oeuvres of tiny onion brioche sandwiches and a light fruity white Riesling from Amity Vineyards. Then there was a marvelous minestrone of Pacific seafoods: Geoduck, Razor and Manila Clams, Pacific Salmon, Mussels - cooked in an exquisite broth, and paired with the lovely and delicate 1986 Chardonnay from Bethel Heights Vineyard in the Willamette Valley. All blended together soft and gently in my mouth. We drank another Chardonnay - the 1986 Adelsheim Vineyard in Yamhill County - with a spicy and savory stew of lump crabmeat and green chilies.
The wine, full and intense and bursting with fruit, subdued the chilies and the whole was infinitely better than its parts. Next there was barbecued duck with vidalia onion jam, served with the 1986 Pinot Noir from Bethel Heights - all together lusty and luscious and tasting of the earth. For our last course before dessert, there was a spectacular array of meats - short ribs, veal breast and lamb shanks with fiddlehead ferns and sing vegetables, a plate that Mr. Beard would have eagerly consumed. To accompany the dish, we drank the 1986 Knudsen Earth Vintage Select Pinot Noir. And as befitted its place in line as the best of our dinner wines, this was the real dazzler of the evening: the flavor and aroma reminiscent both of wild cherries and truffles. To end, Louis prepared a dessert from Mr. Beard’s favorite of all beverages, Glenlivet Scotch - Glenlivet Scotch truffles.
And so the evening ended, all left happy and sated, some even glowing, perhaps. One diner suggested that she was certain that Mr. Beard’s spirit was present at the Pawley’s Island Inn that night. For myself I saw him grab that Razor Clam off my plate at the dinner we had later with the restaurant staff who had generously donated their time on behalf of the Foundation.
Happy Birthday, Jim!
This article above originally appeared in Charleston in View magazine in 1988. Marlene & Louis Osteen reside in Highlands, North Carolina and the wonderful cookbook is available, though the book is out of print, it is available through various booksellers. Louis Osteen is one of the original locally sustained Charleston chef superstars and his crab cakes are like no others! We have included the recipe and they are the best crab cakes that exist globally.
n May 5, 1903, James Beard was born in Portland, Oregon at the beginning of what was destined to become the American Century. He became an American legend, the voice and champion of American food. His mother, an Englishwoman of unbelievable independence for the time, came to America on her own, and like her son James, was larger than life. She operated the elegant Gladstone Hotel and ran a house where hams hung curing from storeroom rafters, a gifted Chinese cooked congee for breakfast, and farmers brought fiddleheads in the spring along with wild mushrooms, line-caught salmon and baby vegetables. Weekly trips were made to the central market where knowing purveyors saved cockscombs for the young but determined gourmet. A large impressive man even at age nineteen, Jim left college and a career traveling in a stock company to go to London to become an opera singer. He soon decided that he was a better eater than singer, but the love of opera and an innate theatricality never left him. He soon returned to America, and after a brief stint as a teacher, opened with his life-long friends a business that catered to that particularly American, pre-war phenomenon, the cocktail party. It was called Hors d’Oeuvre, Inc. He wrote his first book using the recipes and ideas developed at that business. He had found his success and his life’s work: to communicate to the American public with verve, enthusiasm and simplicity what they wanted and needed to know about the food that was a natural part of American life. The war sent him around the world. All over, he used his skills to create Merchant Marine clubs where the hands could relax and eat and drink well. He returned from the experience with hilarious stories of brothels that exchanged cooks for food and devious plans to keep his men supplied with some pleasure amidst peril and horror. He also learned a smattering of many languages and more about many nationalities of food. After he returned to New York, he wrote as many as twenty books, weekly syndicated newspaper columns, and an infinity of magazine articles (principally for Gourmet and House & Garden)- had the first television cooking show, spoke on radio, and gave classes all over America. He became synonymous with American food, the first nationally recognizable food name, a friend to cooks in their homes. Always, he preached a doctrine of rational simplicity, good natural ingredients, and above all, direct pleasure without too much fuss. He had a fabulous memory, loved the culinary literature, and talking to growers and chefs. From the rich resource in his mind, he unstintingly gave encouragement and information. He was a friend and a legend.
Next to that activity that is defined by a three letter word and is seldom described in such refined publications as this one, eating and drinking are the only regular instances of immediate gratification that life provides. (Unless you count polishing the silver.) And next to the joy brought forth by the actual mastication and quaffing, there are all the ecstasies that may be derived merely from the contemplation of the eventual meal. Or, to put it simply, I have always envied those lucky souls who get to spend their whole working existence either in the pondering or in the preparing of food and wine. James Beard, better known as the “Father of American Cuisine,” and Julia Child, the “Mother of French cooking in America,” were two such folks. And, it is not surprising that they were great friends and brethren in the pursuit of gastronomy. I never met James Beard, but I can recall a meeting concerning cholesterol consumption at which Julia Child was present. Ms. Child angrily responded to the doctor advocating the restriction of cholesterol in our diets “...that he should tell us how much cholesterol I can have, and I may elect to have it all in one piece of chocolate cake.” Food deprivation was simply not something either Ms. Child or Mr. Beard were likely to suffer.
From the book - Chef Louis Osteen has been cooking sumptuous upscale adaptations of classic Lowcountry fare in some of the finest restaurants in South Carolina for more than twenty years. In this book he shares for the first time his unique interpretations of those regional flavors. Osteen relies on Charleston's bounty of vegetables and fruits, long-grain rice, sweet onions, fish, crabs and shellfish to produce his signature versions of traditional dishes and to create imaginative menus. Marrying his love of the regional cuisine with his own creative interpretations Louis Osteen glorifies the flavors that have made the South famous.
To order Louis's book
The Mockingbird Bookstore
The James Beard House
Throughout the year the James Beard Foundation holds events. Some are organized charity dinners and some are evenings where a James Beard nominee travels to Manhattan and cooks dinner for the lucky few that have planned ahead and made reservations. Mike Lata, in Charleston of FIG and The Ordinary described the occasion. You bring all of the ingredients from your kitchen you will need to prepare dinner at the James Beard kitchen in Greenwich Village and you must supply the Foundation with a dinner menu months in advance. The kitchen is pretty much the same as James Beard left it in 1981. A few things of course. The spices and the cooking utensils are supplied. You also bring your kitchen staff and you cook for eighty people. The meal is then prepared and the dining room is usually always full with no telling who might be at a table. As a global destination for people who love food it really is quite something.
In 2009 Mike Lata won the James Beard Best Chef Southeast award and both FIG and The Ordinary continue to make a mark at the Foundation. Lata said that his cooking after the award became something different. He found his excellence of quality was new and he set the standard at a higher mark. Both the front of the house and the kitchen changed.
Many of James Beard's books have been reprinted and we made a selection of a few of our favorites. They are available at The Mockingbird Bookstore.
To order the books - click on the link below:
The Mockingbird Bookstore
Schedule of Events and Chef 's Cooking at the James Beard House
To Make a Reservation at The James Beard House
WED JULY 11
Beard Between the Breads: A Cocktail Party
The Sosta, NYC
THURS JULY 12
Bastille Day Fete
TUES JULY 17
Charm of the Catskills
Brushland Eating House
WED JULY 18
Thurs JULY 19
The Art of Great Barbecue
Sun JULY 22
Sunday Seafood Supper
BILLY D's FRIED CHICKEN
Mon JULY 23
Battle of the Mediterranean
Sicily vs. Greece
Tues JULY 24
Rose the Night Away
NICE MATIN RESTAURANT
Wed JULY 25
Thurs JULY 26
Haiti in My Heart
Portland, OR / Denver, CO
To Make a Reservation at The James Beard House
The Beard House
Member Price: $135
Public Price: $175
James Beard Kitchen Live Cam
In 2014 the James Beard Kitchen Live Cam was installed and you can watch the dinner event being prepared or you can watch a chef that you have wanted to see work from their extensive archives like Katie Button from Asheville, North Carolina, who prepared the dinner on June 26, in the summer of 2018.
Cúrate and Nightbell, Asheville, NC
2018 JBF Award nominee and JBF Chefs Boot Camp alum Katie Button honed her craft under luminaries José Andrés and Ferran Adriá before going on to open her own spots in Asheville, North Carolina. At Cúrate, the Food & Wine Best New Chef serves traditional Spanish tapas, whereas at Nightbell she focuses on local Appalachian ingredients and craft cocktails, both yielding delicious results.
Katie's Dinner Menu
Before the presentation dinner at 7 PM there are cocktails in the courtyard with Hors d’Oeuvre served.
Buñuelos de Bacalao > Fried Salt Cod Fritters with Honey–Apple Aïoli
Grilled Oysters with Lardo, Tomato Jam, and Celery
Beets with Bresaola, Béarnaise Yogurt, Tarragon, and Puffed Farro
Beet-Cured Trout with Leeks, Rye, Bronze Fennel, and Dill
Chilled Ajo Blanco with Butter-Poached Carabinero Prawns, Green Grapes, and Pedro Ximénez Sherry Reduction
Sumac-Roasted Carrots with Sunflower–Burnt Honey Tahini and Za’atar
Roasted Suckling Pig with Celery Root Purée and Wild Mushrooms
Toasted Pine Nut–Arbequina Olive Oil Cake with Lemon–Moscatel Marmalade and Goat’s Milk Ice Cream
A selection of fine wines will be served with this dinner
CHARLESTON PORTAL PROJECT
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