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*A recipe is a list of ingredients and directions, whereas a receipt is a record of what has been received.

Arriving at The Hambidge Center is a magical experience. Two and a half hours north of Atlanta, with just enough time to decompress, you find yourself in Rabun Gap, a sleepy mountain town near the Foxfire Museum and Georgia’s highest state park, Black Rock Mountain. The low rolling hills of the road slowly climb to meet the gravel driveway, and greeting you is the sternly beautiful Lucinda’s Rockhouse, where you will gather with strangers for meals in the weeks ahead. In June 2022, Hambidge gathered a group of innovative and curious chefs and ceramists for the organization's first-ever group collaboration. We spent our weeks together exploring earth, fire, and food in a “cooking and clay” residency.

Prior to and during our two weeks at Hambidge, through conversation and hands-on experimentation, we studied ancient techniques of cooking in and with clay while attempting to develop contemporary relationships between hearth and earth. Beyond plating, we were exploring the transformation of food by the clay it is cooked in, and vice versa. This residency was the brainchild of award-winning essayist James Beard, author and chef Lisa Donovan (Nashville), and American ceramic artist John Donovan (Nashville), who, as chefs and artists, have had many conversations about the intersection of clay and food over the years. Participants also included ceramists Stephanie A. Rozene (New York), John Oles (Alabama), and Adam Paulek (Virginia); our assistant Shawn Hansen (Connecticut); chefs Tamie Cook (Atlanta), Maricela Vega (Atlanta), Norma Listman (Mexico City), and Saqib Keval (Mexico City); and bartender Kathryn DiMenichi (Atlanta).

Q: What were your goals or assumptions ahead of arriving at Hambidge?

TAMIE COOK (TC): I had been to Hambidge twice before the Cooking and Clay Collaboration to work on a cookbook, so I felt as though I were starting at an advantage. I could answer questions about house rules and such, tell my collaborators about the best hiking trails, and, at the very least, point them in the right direction for dinner. That first evening, only a handful of attendees were able to arrive, and while that was disappointing at first, I realized that these people would turn out to be the folks I most valued collaborating with at the end of the weeks together. It just so happened that they were the ceramists. I’ve met and talked to many ceramists in my life, as I have always loved pottery and have collected it for years, but to spend time with people working this craft took this love to a whole new level. It also kind of terrified me. I remember the first time I went to Hambidge and was crippled by imposter syndrome. Those fears popped right back up despite my previous experiences. However, as often happens around the table, the people I shared dinner with that evening helped to put me at ease and welcomed my curiosity without judgment or ridicule.

Prior to becoming a chef, I worked as an occupational therapist for fifteen years. Much of what I did in my career was work with individuals who had suffered a medical or mental health episode, leaving them unable to function on their own, either for a temporary period of time or more permanently. My job as a therapist was to help my patients rehabilitate to their highest level of functioning, while also devising ways that they could adapt to their new normal. Part of that adaptation was prescribing therapeutic tools that allowed patients to feed themselves independently.

Now, as a chef who works in recipe development, I strive to create recipes that are accessible and delicious for my end users. My goal is for people to learn to feed themselves good food. When I read about the Cooking and Clay Collaboration workshop, it stirred in me a desire I’ve had for quite some time: to meld my two worlds. During my years as a therapist, I led countless group and individual therapy sessions, using clay as a therapeutic tool. For lower-functioning patients, this could involve anything from working on decision-making skills by picking out a piece of greenware or choosing paint colors, to gross motor, balance, and concentration skills or stress reduction. For higher-functioning patients, building pinch pots, throwing clay, or loading and firing the kiln were often undertaken. These tasks addressed issues including anger management, high-level cognitive problem-solving skills, fine motor skill development, and eye-hand coordination, among others.

The Cooking and Clay Collaboration was the perfect opportunity to explore the intersections of form and function and adaptation and modification as it relates to feeding oneself. This could include creating adaptive cookware, utensils, or serviceware for use as therapeutic tools. It could also include developing adaptive and therapeutic recipes that can be prepared and enjoyed by myriad populations who desire to feed themselves better while preparing, serving, and eating more mindfully.

Prior to arriving at Hambidge, I collaborated with ceramist John Oles, explaining my desire to meld my two worlds of occupational therapy and cooking with the hopes of designing therapeutic tools. We discussed various designs for older adults that could assist or enable them to function more independently in regards to feeding themselves. I shared photos of adaptive feeding equipment and left it to John to think about what we might be able to build together.

After starting my own consulting/chef business in 2013, much of the work I’d done to this point had been on my own. As the time approached for the residency, my excitement grew as I anticipated the opportunity to collaborate with other chefs. Working alone definitely has its advantages, but having the ability to bounce ideas, wins, and losses in the kitchen off of other chefs and get their feedback would be a welcome change to my usual day-to-day routine.

STEPHANIE A. ROZENE (SR): I have always been interested in the intersection between clay and food, but that investigation had been limited to thinking about what food looked like when arranged on a plate or thinking about providing a chef with a canvas. When the opportunity arose to join the Cooking and Clay residency at Hambidge, I was excited because it meant that potentially I could push past my assumptions about what it meant to make clay pots to cook in. Due to the timing of the residency and the global pandemic, our group was rescheduled multiple times. As an educator, this afforded me the opportunity to engage with some of the chefs ahead of time, virtually inviting them to join my class to talk about their relationship with ceramics, food,  their identity, and social justice in my Food, Pottery, and the Table course at Hartwick College. One of these relationships grew into a pre-residency collaboration with Mexican chef Norma Listman and Indian-Kenyan-America chef Saqib Keval, who together own and operate several restaurants and a co-op in Mexico City.[1] Together, we were able to design a series of prototype clay cooking pots based on traditional forms from Oaxaca, Mexico, with a particular focus on creating a group of pots that would be used for the nixtamalization of corn, the objects to grind the corn, steam tamales, or create and cook tortillas.[2]

I was looking forward to meeting Saqib and Norma in person – we had plans to design and build a large pot for cooking lamb barbacoa[3] in the ground – as well as getting to know the other chefs and see what we might learn from each other. Unlike the chefs, I already had close personal friendships with all of the ceramic artists present, having met them at a residency ten years earlier at the Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts in Maine. It was during that time that many of the seeds of the cooking and clay residency were planted, mainly over shared meals, and after the hardships of the last few years, I was looking forward to making work with them in the same space while building new relationships. 

Ahead of the residency, we, as ceramic artists, convened virtually several times to brainstorm potential experiments and how we might prepare for them. Out of those conversations grew the idea of thinking through taste and place. How could we use clays that are geologically regional, so that the terroir (a characteristic of flavor imparted by the environment) might impact the taste of the locally sourced ingredients cooked?[4] We settled on using the Starworks North Carolina wild clay series because it was regional and minimally processed without requiring us to go out and find a local clay vein to harvest and process. It also allowed me to order those clays ahead of time to test out in my studio to see if they would work. Shawn Hansen, a now-former student of mine and my studio assistant at the time, and I tested their Dark Star and New Catawba clays at various temperatures and atmospheres to see if we could down-fire the clay, resulting in a porous midrange clay body that would withstand cooking over heat without cracking but also have some resilience to knocks in the kitchen. We found that the sweet spot was cone six reduction, and as long as we took our time heating up the finished work, they handled the heat beautifully for cooking. 

I was also acutely aware that the processes of ceramics take time, and I was very worried that our ability to experiment would be eaten up by our short ten-day residency together, leaving no time for the chefs to actually cook in the clay pots. Together, we made about thirty cooking pots to bring with us to Georgia that could be in use while we made new work on site. A few days after concluding the spring semester and participating in commencement ceremonies, Shawn and I loaded up a rented Honda Odyssey and began the two-day, one-thousand-mile drive from Oneonta, New York through Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and finally Georgia, arriving on Memorial Day ahead of many of the other residents and chefs. Having not been to Hambidge or this region of the country before, I was struck by the beauty of the landscape as we drove through the ancestral lands of the Eastern Band of Cherokee. We arrived at Hambidge tired, a bit sore from sitting, and ready to settle in. We were greeted by a wonderful dinner with a few of the Hambidge staff and other early arrivals, who cooked an incredible meal for us. As we sat around the table over conversation, food, and wine, we began to experience my favorite thing about eating with others: the bringing together of people and building relationships with food and pottery across the table, gaining experiences that are about much more than the food we consumed but the sustenance that we gained. This was the first time I met chef Tamie Cook, and I could tell it was just the beginning of our friendship.

What surprised you about working onsite with the chefs and artists?

SR: Onsite, I flew into a flurry of activity despite the Hambidge ethos of taking time to unwind and be kind to yourself as you adjust from the real world into the quiet rural mountains of north Georgia. I felt a sense of urgency to be in the studio and make work; this was catharsis for me after many years of holding virtual classes and meetings. The in-personness of it was completely compelling. What surprised me about working onsite with the chefs was how instrumental it was to get feedback on not only the drawing of an idea but also the process of making. They were able to give me guidance on the thickness, curve, shape of the rim, and how the handle needed to function in the kitchen in real-time. Sometimes, they were small things, but other times, they blew my mind. Oftentimes, when I collaborate with someone, it begins with a back-and-forth of ideas, and then I’ll make the object, get feedback, and make a new version, but this was different. In some ways, it is transformational to be working together with a shared knowledge of how to use our hands, how the object needs to perform, and a completely different understanding of how to get it there.

The moment that totally blew me away was when Norma finally made masa (a dough made from nixtamalized and ground corn) in the pots that I had made ahead of time. We conducted two tests using the same ingredients – land-raised Mexican corn, calcium hydroxide, and water – one batch cooked in a clay pot and another in a metal restaurant pot. The difference in flavor, aroma, color, and texture of the corn while cooking could not have been greater. The corn cooked in the clay pot was nuttier and spicier in flavor, creamier in texture, and orange-purple in color, whereas the corn cooked in the metal pot was acidic, tannic, and gritty in texture with a yellow chartreuse color. I had read plenty of articles and anecdotes about how cooking with clay leads to increased flavor, but I was now a believer.

As an avid home cook, I have always been struck by the overlap of kitchen utensils and clay tools, and this was on display as the chefs would visit the studio and remark on their similarities. In fact, some of my tools are indeed kitchen tools. Chef Tamie, who was often hanging out in the studio with us as we made the cooking pots, remarked on this, often finding delight in the overlap between our two practices, and it was there working and talking together that we began to build the foundation of our continuing collaboration.

TC: First and foremost, I was surprised by their down-to-earth approach. I have always considered ceramists and potters as “artists” with a capital A. What I found, instead, were fellow creators with passion and love for their art, much like myself. Literally, starting with the earth, these potters taught me about the importance of the clay you begin with. The clay we used, I would find out, was from nearby North Carolina. Prior to this collaboration, I had no awareness that this was even something to consider. Despite the importance I place on using local ingredients in my menus and meals, I had never considered this when it came to materials to build or create cookware or tools.

Next – and this is the real meat of my “aha!” during our time together – is when I discovered all that we truly have in common when it comes to working in our mediums. On the first day in the studio, as I observed the potters working, I noticed the similarities not only in the tools they were using but also the clay itself. The clay became the "dough," and the tools I use every day in the kitchen were present and being used in very similar ways. Rolling pins for evening out dough and bench scrapers for removing clay from countertops. Kitchen shears, spatulas, graters/micro planes, and more were being used to create texture and form. Intimidated at first by walking into a space so seemingly unfamiliar, I realized we had so much more in common than I ever knew. As the residency unfolded, I was surprised that I had something to offer in terms of how I wanted my food to be prepared and served, and the potters I collaborated with were not only interested in my questions but wanted my thoughts on how we could best create the cookware and serviceware.

As a potter and a chef, you both begin your craft with a recipe. How did your definition of a recipe change or evolve during your time at the residency?

SR: Recipes are central to ceramics for clay bodies and glazes. As ceramists, we expect them to work in certain ways in order to achieve the desired results. As we began to cook with the clay pots, I found that the cooking pot became one of the ingredients affecting the flavor, texture, aroma, and color of the food made in it. The work that we began together has led to other ideas and collaborations outside of the residency and has further impacted the way I think about the recipe for making work. 

I have always believed that using handmade ceramics allows people to build relationships through use, and the pottery is not complete until it is out in the world being used. While I certainly have relationships with the pots that are in my home, I had never really considered how an object could become a part of someone’s cooking recipe. Throughout my career in clay, I have collaborated on many occasions with other artists or in the design phase with chefs and restaurant owners, but not in the profoundly personal ways that I found myself engaging while making, cooking, and eating with my new collaborators.

I am now working together with two of my students, Megan Bryla and Ella Van Engen, and a colleague in the Geosciences, Dr. Zsuzsanna Balogh Brunstad, at Hartwick College, generously funded by a Freedman Grant, to develop our own clay body recipe for making clay cooking pots, one that we will be able to make consistently.[5] We will also conduct leaching tests on nixtamalized corn in an attempt to find a scientific answer as to why masa made in a clay pot tastes better than a metal one and whether or not there are nutritional benefits to cooking in clay pots.

TC: My definition of “recipe” expanded during this residency. Prior to the collaboration, a recipe was mostly a list of ingredients and instructions on how to combine those ingredients in order to create a delectable dish for consumption. During the collaboration, I began looking at the attendees, both chefs and potters, as part of that ingredient list. Each person, regardless of their assigned roles, added something different to the recipe. At times, these additions were helpful, and at other times, they created opportunities for problem-solving. The collaboration also reminded me that a recipe is endlessly adaptable. Testing the recipes I created during the collaboration helped me become more curious. Why was something reacting this way? For example, while testing the hoecakes[6] on the ceramic griddle that Stephanie created, I found that I needed to adjust the heat by not using so much heat that the griddle cracked but using enough so that the hoecakes didn’t stick. In order to create the most delicious outcome, it is important to be flexible and curious.

What does your experience of collaboration bring to your clay and cooking practice? 

SR: Collaboration has always been central to my artistic practice. As a student, I was collaborating all of the time with my peers without really being conscious of it. It wasn’t until I left graduate school and started my teaching career that I began to seek out collaborations with other artists as a way to build my community, which now extends far and wide. The nature of working with clay is collaborative by necessity. In order to make clay, load kilns, and fire them, you need a community. As a result, a camaraderie develops that echoes the ways in which kitchens operate.  

It was with this shared belief in continued collaboration that I invited chefs Maricela Vega and Tamie Cook to come to Hartwick College over the course of the last year to collaborate with my students and me in order to continue to develop these relationships. Mari’s work with the students engaged them in thinking about using wet raw clay to wrap fish and other local ingredients to roast over an open fire, using prehistoric cooking techniques that she was exposed to in her ancestral homeland, Mexico. We also worked with students to further develop our work around nixtamalizing corn in clay pots. She has taken these practices out into the world, from pop-up dinners in Atlanta to Michelin-starred restaurants in San Francisco, continuing to tell the story of place, taste, and identity.

In the spring of 2023, chef Tamie arrived at Hartwick to work with students enrolled in ceramics. Hartwick is a small liberal arts institution in central New York state, in the foothills of the Catskills Mountains. We offer a robust bachelor of arts program where students are often engaged in multiple majors and, many times, are not art majors themselves but have enrolled in ceramics as an elective. It was this type of diverse student body that I thrust into a week of learning about cooking using ceramic ovenware designed by Tamie and me and made by Erica Cantrell Tucker, a local artist and alumna who was teaching our introduction to ceramics course that spring. I was thrilled at the thought of Tamie coming to share her love of cooking and food with the students so that they could become a part of our shared collaboration, but there was some definite fear in the groups. Many students had limited experience with cooking, while others had parents who worked as chefs in a local restaurant. Nevertheless, I thrust both reluctant students and a nervous chef into the same small kitchen, located conveniently across the hall from the ceramic studio.

What I witnessed in that kitchen was incredible. I saw Tamie’s generosity and love for food, ingredients, history, storytelling, and recipe development on display each day that we cooked together, and I witnessed my students being exposed to new ways of thinking about food, sustenance, and basic kitchen skills as they related to the objects they were making in class. Tamie told the story of regionality, identity, and culture through the recipes that she chose for each class. The first day of cooking focused on casseroles from the American Southeast and connected us to Tamie as a part of her biography of place and taste growing up in the southeastern United States. While some of the students had encountered green bean casserole on their Thanksgiving tables growing up, none had ever made it from scratch, and they (myself included) had never even heard of pineapple casserole, let alone believed that it could be both savory and sweet at the same time, filling a void that we didn’t even know existed. I watched my friend come alive in the classroom, weaving her experiences as both a person and a chef into what she was teaching the students about the power of food and sustenance, and that it didn’t have to be difficult to be delicious. 

TC: As I mentioned earlier, I’m almost always making my professional decisions in regard to food and cooking on my own. Having the opportunity to collaborate has taught me that, despite working alone, I don’t have to make all decisions in a silo. There is a community out there that can assist me with not only practical matters but also ideas and inspirations. Through this collaboration with Stephanie, I’ve renewed not only my interest in the science of cooking and clay, but also my love of teaching. When I traveled to Hartwick College to serve a week as an artist in residence,  to collaborate with Stephanie and her ceramic students, we decided to do a deep dive into casseroles, as both a dish to consume and a piece of bakeware and serviceware.[7] We explored American dishes like pineapple casserole, squash casserole, and green bean casserole, as well as tagine,[8] a Moroccan casserole with a very specific vessel design. In addition, we investigated bacheofe,[9] a casserole with origins in the Alsatian region of France, and tepsi, an Iraqi casserole consisting of ground beef, eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, and tamarind. We discussed the design and function of the casserole dishes themselves and how the design of the dish was important to the success of preparing the food for consumption. However, the best part was getting to share in the preparation of each of these dishes with the students. Most of the students admitted that they had little to no experience in the kitchen. I relished sharing the recipes with them and teaching them how to feed themselves. Teaching someone how to prepare a recipe is rewarding, but watching a young person experience cooking a meal, for perhaps the first time in their lives, sitting down to eat the food they have prepared, and watching their face as they realize how good it tastes, is nothing short of magical.  

Did those goals or assumptions change during and after the residency?

TC: In a word, yes! During the pre-residency collaboration with John, I was focused on thinking about my past and, perhaps, potential clients in regard to adaptive cooking. However, what I soon realized was that, as an aging (fifty-eight-year-old) chef, my thoughts turned selfishly to myself and my ability to carry out ordinary tasks in the kitchen. I found myself becoming more aware of form and function in regard to my own aging. The culmination of the collaboration was to be a dinner for eighty, and I needed to be able to handle ceramic cookware that would hold food for that many people. I also found myself more drawn to the potters and wanting to pick their brains about what had brought them to this collaboration. I was determined to hang out in the pottery studio as much as possible, not only to watch them ply their craft but to understand their passion for clay, this collaboration, as well as how we could create cookware and serviceware that I could use. Lastly, the idea of cooking and developing recipes with the other chefs became secondary. Because I had never worked in a restaurant like my fellow collaborating chefs, we definitely approached food from different perspectives. I spent a good deal of time thinking about those eighty people whom we would be serving in just a few days. I wanted to provide them with an unforgettable meal that reflected the design concepts we were creating with the ceramics, but I also wanted the food itself to reflect the region and my priorities of cooking sustainably and with purpose. I did not have to look far. I visited the local farmer’s market on the first weekend of the residency to discover what was in season in the mountains at the moment. I met a mushroom farmer who would provide mushrooms for use in a dish. The Hambidge property has a centuries-old grist mill, still in operation, which provided grits for an appetizer of homemade hoecakes with boiled peanut salsa and fresh lemon ricotta. I made contact with Andy’s Trout Farm, a local institution, for trout that became trout cooked in clay. A local peach orchard provided peaches for a crisp dessert. As the meal came together, I was truly excited to share our local food sources with my fellow chefs and ceramists.



SR: Yes! Working within such a short time frame forced us to make decisions that aren’t synonymous with careful planning and timing. This risk-taking allowed us to make mistakes and learn while doing so. Much of the work that we made during this compressed timeframe cracked badly. The wild, minimally processed clay body we were using contained foreign bodies in the clay, and that, combined with our need to dry things quickly in the humid north Georgia mountains, meant that we had to rush some things. The large pot that I had made to cook traditional Mexican barbacoa, where marinated meat is slow-roasted in a pit in the ground, was utterly cracked. Regardless of this catastrophe, we decided to forge ahead by inserting a metal pot inside of my clay one, layering on the masala-marinated local lamb, and cooking it overnight in a large hole in the ground surrounded by rocks and fire. When we opened the pit the next morning, we found that the fire had been smothered by the wet earth, and the lamb was still raw. This was a bit of an aha moment for me. Food traditions rise from the land that surrounds them, the ingredients raised, and the soil beneath them – there was a reason that in-ground barbacoa is not a cooking tradition in North Georgia: the climate and the ground are too wet. Barbecue in this region of the country is cooked whole hog, above ground, and we realized why. Delightfully, this did not phase Norma or Saqib, who threw the meat into a roasting pan in the oven for a slow, day-long braise. The meal that they made of lamb, blue corn tamales, herb salad, tandoor, cooked paneer, and corn is a meal that I will hold in my memory for many years. In the end, I chose to use kintsugi to repair the large barbacoa pot so that the story and memory of this time and place are connected to the object.

Questions that we are left with:

The morning of our last day at Hambidge was an exhausting one, given that feeding almost 100 the night before had been no easy feat. We gathered for breakfast not only to replenish our bodies but also to discuss our success of the past weeks together. As we sat on the front porch of Lucinda’s Rockhouse, we reveled in the memories of the delicious meal we’d created and served, a meal that was both hard-won and beautiful. We reflected on how the evening had gone, how our dishes were received, as well as how we felt about all we had accomplished in our time together. Given the time constraints of the residency, we realize we still have questions to ask and answer. How are culturally specific recipes informed by traditional cooking tools such as clay pots? Do historic, regionally specific recipes need to be cooked in clay pots in order to retain the terroir in the food? How does cooking in clay change the flavor profile of the food? How will our newly appreciated knowledge of the similarities between cooking and clay influence future recipe development? How does the form (shape, size, and weight of a ceramic dish) affect the eating and tasting experience? How can disparate groups of professionals work best together to gain knowledge that benefits all? We sincerely hope to take these questions and more back to our kitchens and studios and answer them as best we can.



Nixtimal/Corn Dough Recipe from Maricela Vega:
Nixtamalization is the process of cooking and soaking corn in an alkaline solution, which brings forth nutrients and results in masa dough. 
Dry Corn Kernels - 455gms
Calcium Hydroxide - 4gms
Water - 3800gms
Prepare the kernels by rinsing them clean. Meanwhile on high heat, add the water to a large pot. Once steamy, add the cal in and whisk to mix. After it is thoroughly mixed, add the kernels. Once the corn comes to a simmer, cook on medium heat for 30 minutes. Allow the mixture to rest for 7 hours or overnight. Rinse the corn thoroughly and grind into a dough. It is now ready for use. 
Tortilla Recipe from Maricela Vega
Makes 15
Masa/Corn Dough 453gms
Water 170gms
Salt 10gms
Mix all ingredients together in a mixer using a paddle for 5-6minutes, aerating the dough. Once thoroughly mixed, portion the dough into 30-gram-sized balls, press, and cook for 3 minutes (1.5 minutes on each side). Alternatively, use the mixed dough to pass through a tortilla laminator or tortilla head, and cook each disc for 3 minutes.

Glaze Recipe from Stephanie A. Rozene

Fired in cone six reduction, the glaze is semi-matt and roasted tomato in color.

Fired in cone six oxidation, it is shiny, opaque, and a creamy tan/gray.

Hoecakes with Lemon Herb Ricotta, Boiled Peanut Salsa, and Pumpkin Seed and Peanut Dukkah from chef Tamie Cook

This appetizer was created for a capstone event at the end of the Hambidge Cooking and Clay Collaboration in the late spring of 2022. I wanted to make a dish that paid homage to the mountains of North Georgia, while also elevating the appetizer. I think the combination of flavors and textures makes the perfect bite.


Lemon Herb Ricotta:

1-gallon whole milk, NOT ultra-pasteurized

2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons of sea salt

¼ cup fresh, soft herbs, such as cilantro, parsley, tarragon, mint or basil


Place the milk in a large pot and set over medium to medium-high heat. Bring the milk to 200°F. Remove the milk from the heat and add the lemon juice and salt. Stir gently to combine. Set the pot aside, and do not disturb it for ten minutes.


Set a strainer over a large bowl, and line the strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth. After ten minutes, use a slotted spoon to scoop the curds/solids into the cheesecloth. Set aside to drain for fifteen to thirty minutes, depending on the desired texture. Strain less for a creamier texture.


Add the herbs and toss to combine. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.


Pumpkin Seed and Georgia Peanut Dukkah:

½ cup raw pumpkin seeds

¼ cup sesame seeds

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

2 teaspoons nigella seeds

1 ½ teaspoons Aleppo pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt

¾ cup roasted Georgia peanuts, chopped


Place the pumpkin seeds into a cast iron skillet and set over medium heat. Cook, tossing frequently, until slightly golden, aromatic, and then begin to pop. Transfer to a bowl to cool completely.


Place the sesame seeds into the pan and return to medium heat. Toast the seeds until fragrant. Remove to a separate bowl and cool completely. Repeat with the coriander and cumin seeds, making sure to cool everything completely.


Place half of the pumpkin seeds and all the sesame seeds into a spice grinder or the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely ground. Pour into the bowl with the remaining pumpkin seeds. Grind the coriander and cumin seeds until they are a powder. Add to the bowl with the pumpkin seeds and stir in the nigella seeds, Aleppo pepper, sea salt, and chopped peanuts. Stir to combine. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks or freeze for up to one month.


Boiled Peanut Salsa:

2 cups shelled, boiled peanuts

1 medium Vidalia onion, minced

2 tablespoons minced jalapeno

1 small tomato, diced

1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

Juice from 1 lime

1 smoked chile pepper, finely ground

Salt and pepper to taste


Place the peanuts, onion, jalapeno, tomato, cilantro, lime juice, and smoked pepper in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.



1 ½ cups cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 egg, beaten

1 ½ cups buttermilk

2 tablespoons bacon fat, melted and slightly cooled

2 tablespoons ghee, melted and slightly cooled


Whisk the cornmeal, baking powder, pepper, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, bacon fat, and ghee. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Set aside for ten minutes.


Heat a ceramic comal, griddle, or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, scoop (measure by one tablespoon), place into the heat, and cook until golden brown, about three to four minutes. Flip and cook until lightly brown and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm (or place in a warm oven). Repeat with the remaining batter.


To serve:

Top each hoecake with a teaspoon of ricotta, a teaspoon of salsa, and a sprinkle of the dukkah, and enjoy.



[1] Norma and Saqib own and operate restaurants Masala y Maiz, and Mari Gold, and a co-op grocery.

[2] Nixtamalization is the traditional process of cooking and soaking corn in an alkaline solution, which brings forth nutrients and results in masa dough. I used Erik Mindling's book Fire and Clay - The Art of Oaxacan Pottery as a source for Oaxacan pottery forms and history.

[3] A process for cooking and a dish to eat, barbacoa is a traditional Mexican cooking process whereby meat – traditionally lamb or sheep – is slowly cooked in a pit lined with stones and hot coals and covered overnight to roast.

[4] Terroir is a French term used to describe the environmental factors that affect a crop's combination of factors, including soil, climate, and sunlight, and that give wine grapes their distinctive character. This is used here to talk not only about the components and flavors of the edible ingredients but also about how the clay can flavor the food.

[5] The Freedman Prize, established by Allen and Judy Freedman in 2002, recognizes superior student-faculty collaborative work that prepares for a senior project in applied geosciences at Hartwick College.

[6] Hoecakes take their name from being cooked on the flat part of a gardening hoe in the fire.

[7] Tamie’s residency was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Division of Arts and Humanities at Hartwick College.

[8] Tagine refers to the pottery form from Morocco that has a wide base and a tall conical lid, as well as to the dishes cooked using that form.

[9] Bacheofe, an Alsatian dish of marinated meat and vegetables in wine, sealed with a dough crust and slow-cooked in the oven.