Baristas in the Kitchen: Janie Cooks from Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey

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Pickles, Pigs and Whiskey is flying off the shelves here at Church Street. (Well, one time we literally dropped it off a shelf … but it’s selling really well, too.) And no wonder — the cookbook is packed with gorgeous food photography plus amazing-sounding recipes from Chef John Currence. We can thank our barista/bookseller/baker Janie for putting the book on our radar and preaching the gospel of Currence to the whole staff. “He’s a chef from Oxford — he’s like the Frank Stitt of Oxford,” Janie said. “His restaurants are the fancy places that you go on dates.”

 

Like Currence himself, this cookbook is rooted in the South — you don’t get much more Southern than pickles, pigs and whiskey (described in the subtitle as Currence’s “three favorite food groups”). The book is full of great recipes, but it’s also packed with personality. A sample quote: “[Currence] would rather punch you in the mouth with his fantastic flavors than poke you in the eye with fussy presentation.”

 

That kind of passion has Janie fired up to start cooking: “We sent the book to my uncle and he and I are going to cook out of it at Christmas,” she says. Here’s a roundup of recipes Janie can’t wait to try:

 

Nola-Style Barbequed Shrimp with Creole Cream Cheese Grits (page 170)

Pan-Fried Catfish with Roasted Jalapeno Tartar Sauce (page 144)

Spicy Hill County Meat Pies with Sriracha Mayonnaise (page 128)

 

“I’ve never made a meat pie before!” she says, flipping to page 128. “And now that I made a pie crust for Thanksgiving I’m pretty much an expert.” Janie reads the ingredient list with a passion she usually reserves for Dr. Who or Neil Gaiman. “Sweet potatoes, ham stock, bourbon and field peas — doesn’t that sound fantastic!” Yes, Janie. We think it does — and we can’t wait to try it.

 

Come on over to Church Street Coffee & Books to compare recipes with Janie, grab a copy of Pickles, Pigs and Whiskey for your own culinary inspiration, or pick up a cookbook for someone on your holiday gift list — don’t forget to take advantage of our free gift wrap!

 

Janie Logan is a barista and bookseller at Church Street Coffee & Books, a local bookstore and coffee shop in Birmingham, Alabama. Janie’s also a baker at Church Street, helping to make our homemade, from-scratch pastries, including our famous Breakup Cookie.

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