Taste of the South

Ashleigh Shanti’s Stewed Oxtails

, was an award-winning gardener and blue ribbon-winning canner and food preserver. When this lower-class homemaker, wife of a peanut farmer, and mother of nine children was in the kitchen—which was almost always—she was desperate. Desperation is defined as a loss of hope or a great need that can make you act irrationally. It’s OK to approach cooking with a little desperation, maybe even necessary. I’ve mirrored the women in my family and their own forms of “desperation cuisine,” and I’ve learned that to make good food, all cooks should approach the

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