Heritage is the work of a chef who, until recently, never thought he’d write a cookbook, even though Brock is an avid notebook keeper, he told Nashville Scene. As a result, the finished piece is decidedly “all over the place,” because, as the chef explains, “that’s how my brain works. You flip through the pages and see that I get as much enjoyment from grilling a chicken wing as from plating a slow-poached octopus with tweezers. I enjoy them both and respect them equally. Once you realize it’s all about caring and having fun and respecting ingredients and technique, it’ll all make sense.”
Of all those recipes, though, Sean deems his cornbread recipe the most important. “One, it’s a tradition and a craft that is so beautiful because the more you do it, the better you are at it. That’s the reason grandmothers make better cornbread—because they’ve been doing it for 50 years. I want people to do it several times and see how it gets better. Even though it’s a simple recipe, it’s a perfect example of great ingredients. You could do an experiment: take my recipe of Anson Mills cornmeal and the best buttermilk you can find, and you could make a skillet of that. And make one with the cheapest ingredients possible. And then the whole book would make sense.
“It’s important for people to taste the difference. The ingredients and flavors — we are all so damned lucky to have those ingredients at our fingertips. The work that went into getting those ingredients available to everyone’s fingertips — so much work went into it. It takes so much time. The only reason people do it is because you can taste the difference.”
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Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.