Tag Archives: The Factory Cafe

THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN 8/52 | 2019

“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.” ― Rosa Parks

At the heart of the crusades for equality and justice that African-Americans have fought decades for are the activists and organizers, and often those vital roles were undertaken by women. The third post in our series honoring Black History Month celebrates those fearless, dedicated, and inspirational ladies.

“Coretta Scott King and the Civil-Rights Movement’s Hidden Women”

Ethel Payne on the Journal

Ella Baker

“Female Activists Behind the Black Power Movement”

Amelia Boynton on the Journal

Donna Brazile

“The Many Lives of Pauli Murray”

Wagatwe Wanjuki on the Journal

“1977: Poem for Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer” by June Jordan (read more about Fannie Lou Hamer here)

In Alabama: The Freedom Quilting Bee

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@ Alabama Chanin
Tickets to our inaugural Project Threadways Symposium are now open to the public. Learn more about the project here.

@ The School of Making
Join us for a morning of making and fellowship on February 19th for Third Tuesdays. Find more details here.

@ The Factory Store + Café
Get ready for Mardi Gras and place your order with The Factory Café for made-from-scratch king cakes, beignets, and jambalaya. Please place your order by next Tuesday, February 26th for in-store pickup on March 1st and 2nd.

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MARDI GRAS PICKUP FROM THE FACTORY CAFÉ

In north Alabama, we are less than a day’s drive to the coast for Carnival and Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans and Mobile. To celebrate this year’s Mardi Gras season, food traditions in the form of whole king cakes, quarts of jambalaya, and beignets by the dozen are offered from The Factory Café. Place your orders in advance by February 26th for pickup on Friday, March 1st and Saturday, March 2nd.

House-made king cake by the slice and classic seafood jambalaya will be served during brunch service on Saturday, March 2nd. The Factory Café doors open for Saturday Brunch at 10:00am. First come, first served.

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Place your Mardi Gras pickup pre-orders here.

Find our Take-home meals here (also available for pre-order) or grab-and-go from our stocked cooler.

Follow The Factory Café on Instagram for the latest news and updates.

P.S.: Here’s a link pack to get you ready for Mardi Gras:

Homemade Mini Moon Pies

Pableaux Johnson’s Mardi Gras Indians

A Red Beans + Rice Recipe from Pableaux

Eugene Walter: Mobile’s Renaissance Man

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN 7/52 | 2019

“The artist creates the material that we look back upon as part of history. ” ― Roy DeCarava

As Black History Month continues, we explore some of the supremely talented women who have, across the decades, created beautiful, thought-provoking, and enduring works of art through the mediums of painting, quilting, sculpture, performance art, and photography.

Painting

Loïs Mailou Jones

Laura Wheeler Waring

Alma Woodsey Thomas

Quilting

Bisa Butler

Sculpting

Alison Saar on the Journal

Barbara Chase-Riboud

Maren Hassinger

Performance Art

Senga Nengudi

Photography

Carrie Mae Weem

Florestine Perrault Collins

In Alabama: Folk artist Bernice Sims, “painter of life as she lives it.”

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@ Alabama Chanin
Find the perfect gift for your valentine in our gift guide, complete with chocolates, jewelry, and luxurious fabrications.

@ The School of Making
Check back on the Journal later this week for an update to our Custom DIY programming.

@ The Factory Store + Café
Make sure to keep an eye on The Factory Café’s take-home meals here. Sweet and savory items will be available each week.

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TAKE-HOME MEALS FROM THE FACTORY CAFÉ

For our Shoals community—whether you’re managing meetings and after-school schedules all at once, or you need help summoning the energy to cook, everybody needs a quick and convenient meal from time to time. The Factory Café is now offering specialty to-go items made fresh from scratch and available for purchase online to take home and enjoy. And best of all, new items are added every Monday. Conveniently order in advance. Pick up your order at The Factory Café whenever you’d like.

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The café is offering everything from scratch-made soups and stews, to house-made pasta dishes and salads. Most items will rotate weekly, but you can count on freshly baked loaves of ciabatta bread and grass-fed beef and organic chicken bone broth every week.

Here’s how it works:

  • Place your order online here and pick it up at The Factory (Check back every Monday for an updated listing.)
  • Orders are available for pickup Wednesday through Wednesday anytime during store hours. Find the store hours here.
  • You’re welcome to shop what’s available in the cooler during your visit as well, which is always stocked with items like pimento cheese, wine by the bottle, and specialty beverages.

We hope to see you soon at The Factory Café. Walk-ins and reservations are welcome for our weekly Saturday Brunch.

We also take weekday group reservations for 8 or more who can order in advance from a pre-arranged menu. Contact us at thefactory@alabamachanin.com or call 256-701-8667 to order favorites like The Factory Burger, Grilled Pimento Cheese, and Quiche for your group in advance.

THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN 6/52 | 2019

“History has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.” ― Michelle Obama

February 1st ushered in Black History Month in the United States. In celebration, each week this month we will be focusing on inspiring African-American women in the realms of art, education, and activism. This week though, we explore and celebrate a few of the men and women who, from the civil rights era to modern day, have left a lasting impact on our society through the mediums of poetry, art, photography, and song.

“I, Too” by Langston Hughes

“Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou

Artist Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series

Lawdy Mama, by Barkley L. Hendricks

The Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights March, 1965, photographs by James Karales

Black in America: a photography series by Michael A. McCoy

Songs of the Civil Rights Movement

In 2018 rapper Kendrick Lamar won the Pulitzer Prize for Music

In Alabama: Poet Sonia Sanchez was born in Birmingham in 1934. Read her poem “Haiku and Tanka for Harriet Tubman” here.

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@ Alabama Chanin
Check back on the Journal tomorrow for Alabama Chanin’s Valentine’s Day gift guide and find everything you need to give the perfect gifts to the people you love.

@ The School of Making
Join us at the T-Shirt Workshop and pop-up shop at Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment on February 16th. Find all the details here.

@ The Factory Store + Café
New take-home meals from The Factory Café are available each week. Find an updated list of offerings here, and preorder them here.

THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN 5/52 | 2019

“Society as a whole benefits immeasurably from a climate in which all persons, regardless of race or gender, may have the opportunity to earn respect, responsibility, advancement, and remuneration based on ability.” ― Sandra Day O’Connor

On January 29th, 1926 Violette Anderson became the first African-American woman to practice law before the Supreme Court. To mark the anniversary of Violette’s groundbreaking position, we take a closer look this week at inspiring and pioneering women in the field of law.

In 1870 Ada Kepley became the first woman to graduate from law school

“No Shrinking Violet: the Accomplishments of Violette Neatley Anderson”

Their own stories: interviews with the female Supreme Court Justices

Diane Humetewa, the first Native American woman to serve as a federal judge

“Black Girl Magic” in Texas courtrooms

The first female justice of the peace, Esther Hobart Morris

The first openly gay chief justice in United States history, Maite Oronoz Rodríguez

Marilyn Mosby, State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, is the youngest chief prosecutor of any major American city

The pioneering women in legal fields across the globe

In Alabama: Mahala Ashley Dickerson, the first female African-American lawyer in Alabama

Maud McLure Kelly, the first female lawyer in Alabama

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@ Alabama Chanin
We’ve been exploring the color blue (here and here) for our newest Collection designs.

@ The School of Making
In preparation for a new collection of DIY Kits in the coming weeks, we’re offering Last Chance Kits at 25% off through this Wednesday.

@ The Factory Store + Café
The Factory Café is stocking its cooler with take-home meals able to be purchased online here and picked up in-store at your convenience. Look for new items every Monday.

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SAVE THE DATE: THE GATHERING 2019

We’re gearing up for our annual community picnic—a time for employees, artisans, and the community to gather and celebrate another year’s worth of good work. The picnic takes place at The Factory from April 11th – 13th.

This year we’re kicking off our weekend-long gathering with a Supper Club dinner on Thursday evening featuring The Factory Café’s team. Join us for a night of good food and drink, and even better company. Limited seating is available.

We will also debut Threadways and The River Heritage exhibition. A part of Project Threadways, this exhibition showcases the stories of the Tennessee River, Tee Jays Manufacturing, and those who worked in the textile mills of the Shoals. Come out to learn about the history of textile manufacturing in our community. The exhibition will be up through the month of May.

Events continue on Friday with a custom DIY workshop and a chair workshop hosted by The School of Making team. Lunches will be available for pre-order, and our team will be giving guided tours of The Factory.

On Saturday join us for a series of mini-workshops including topics like embroidery stitches, t-shirt workshops, and for the history of Alabama Chanin and Project Threadways with Natalie. In lieu of Saturday brunch, a local lunch will be available for purchase. We’re hosting a stenciling booth, and tours will be given in the morning and afternoon.

The Gathering 2019 will take place Thursday, April 11th through Saturday, April 13th. Mark your calendars and make plans to join us.

WEEKEND ITINERARY:

Thursday, April 11th
6:00pm The Factory Café Supper Club

Friday, April 12th
10:00am Custom DIY Workshop
2:00pm The Factory Tour
2:45pm – 3:45pm Chair Workshop

Saturday, April 13th
9:00am – 10:00am One-Hour Embroidery Stitches Workshop
10:00am – 2:00pm Stenciling Booth
10:30am The Factory Tour
11:00am – 12:00pm One-Hour T-Shirt Workshop
11:00am – 1:00pm Lunch from The Factory Café
1:00pm – 2:00pm History of Alabama Chanin + Project Threadways with Natalie Chanin
2:30pm The Factory Tour

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN 4/52 | 2019

“How long? Not long, because no lie can live forever. How long? Not long, you shall reap what you sow… How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” ― Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We have written extensively about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. over the years and his unwavering convictions towards justice, peace, and equality.  (You can find a few of our posts here, here, here, and here) In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. day, we’re sharing a few of Dr. King’s most poignant speeches and books.

April 28, 1963: “I Have a Dream” – Washington, D.C.

Why We Can’t Wait

March 25, 1965: “Our God is Marching On!” – Selma, Alabama

Strength to Love

April 14, 1967: “The Other America” – Stanford, California

Where Do We Go from Here, Chaos or Community?

April 3, 1968: “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” – Memphis, Tennessee

In Alabama: The Dexter Parsonage Museum, home of Dr. King and his family from 1954 to 1960, in Montgomery.

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@ Alabama Chanin
We introduced a new collection last week filled with refreshing blues and inspiring new motifs.

@ The School of Making
Look for brand new DIY kits launching in The School of Making later in the month. In the meantime, find Last Chance DIY Kits here.

@ The Factory Store + Café
Our Valentine’s Day Dim Sum Cooking Workshop at The Factory is on Thursday, February 14th. We are currently fully booked, but if you would like to be added to the waitlist, reach out to our team at 256-760-1090 or orders@alabamachanin.com.

RED BEANS + RICE + A RECIPE

In the grey lull between the end of the holiday season and the first signs of spring, we retreat indoors to soak up as much warmth as we can—spending more time in our favorite reading chairs, piled on the couches, and gathered in the kitchens. Alabama Chanin friend and photographer Pableaux Johnson visited during this time last year, and we’re reminiscing about his famous Red Beans + Rice recipe (and eager to get him back to The Factory). Pableaux and his Red Beans Roadshow cure those winter blues.

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During his 2018 Red Beans Roadshow Dinner at The Factory Café, Pableaux also exhibited his vibrant photographs of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Indians. Pableaux was kind enough to share his recipe below:

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PABLEAUX JOHNSON’S RED BEANS + RICE

1 lb Kidney Beans, soaked (Pableaux uses nothing but Camellia Brand Red)
1 lb good smoked sausage, preferably andouille, sliced into coins
3 tablespoons oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced
Tony Cachere’s Creole Seasoning
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon dried basil
Pinch rubbed sage
3 bay leaves
Crystal Hot Sauce
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, minced
Cooked rice for serving

Heat oil in a large heavy pot. Brown the sausage, stirring frequently, to render as much fat as possible. When well browned, remove sausage from the pot and drain on paper towels. Add onions to pot and season with lots of Tony’s, salt and pepper.

Cook onions over medium heat, stirring frequently, until well browned. Add garlic and cook 5 to 10 minutes; add celery and bell pepper and cook until translucent.

Drain water off the soaked red beans and add the beans to the pot. Cover with fresh water. Rub the basil between the palms of your hands as you add it to the pot. Add sage and bay leaves. Add sausage back to the pot and stir well.

Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours. When beans are tender, mash some with a potato masher until the mixture looks creamy.

Stir in the chopped green onions and most of the parsley, reserving some parsley for diners to add at the table. Season well with Crystal Hot Sauce.

Serve hot with cooked white rice, extra parsley, and more hot sauce.

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN 3/52 | 2019

To set the tone of our new Collection release, we explore our color theme: blue. And not just any blue—it’s a vibrant possibility of the color.

The color blue: A history from Egypt to now

On the Journal: Anna Atkins + Cyanotypes

Two hundred years of blue from Brainpickings

Blue highways

10 artists and their blue periods

How Animals Hacked the Rainbow and Got Stumped on Blue” from NPR

On Instagram: Arctic blues

10 surprising facts about the color blue

In Alabama: Andrew Moore’s Blue Alabama on The Bitter Southerner

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@ The School of Making

New: Mending Matters (with a lot of blue denim, too)

Last Chance Kits are available until next week as we make way for new designs.

Next month: T-Shirt Workshop @ Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment on February 16th

@ The Factory Store + Café

We announced our 2019 dinner lineup last week. These special events always sell out, so reserve your seat today.

Friendly reminder about our new hours:

In the store

Monday
By Appointment

Tuesday – Friday from 10am – 5pm

Saturday 10am – 2pm

In the café

Monday
Closed

Tuesday – Friday from 10am – 5pm

Saturday 10am – 2pm

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ANNOUNCING FRIENDS OF THE CAFÉ 2019

It has been five years since we began our Friends of the Café dinner series here at Alabama Chanin. Take a look back on our Journal for a look at the experiences created by the generous chefs who donated their time for these fundraising events. This year’s events will certainly be as special and we look forward to sharing them with our community family.

We sold out this month’s Supper Club with chef Ramon Jacobsen. The next Supper Club will take place Thursday, April 11th and will be part of The Gathering, our annual community picnic. The event will be hosted by and featuring our café team. Look for more information soon on the Gathering—a weekend of workshops and special events.

This April, we have also planned a special Friends of the Café dinner with renowned former Crook’s Corner chef Bill Smith as part of the Project Threadways Symposium. The dinner is scheduled for Thursday, April 25th and will benefit Project Threadways.

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On Thursday, August 22nd, we will welcome chef Cheetie Kumar of the Raleigh, North Carolina restaurant, Garland. She was James Beard-nominated in 2018 for Best Chef Southeast.

We will be announcing details of our October 10th dinner soon, as we are making plans with a surprise guest chef. But the date is saved and tickets are available here. All of these events tend to sell out so we suggest getting a seat soon.

Look for profiles on each featured chef on the Journal, in preparation for each event. Tickets are on sale on The Factory’s events page or in-store at The Factory. Choose to join us for one or many of our dinners.

Here’s to a bountiful year around the table!

P.S.: We’re hosting a Dim Sum Cooking Workshop on Valentine’s Day. Participants will learn to cook traditional Dim Sum meals such as sticky rice balls, dumplings, and pork buns. This workshop has limited space, so be sure to get your tickets soon.

THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN 2/52 | 2019

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.” ― Neil Gaiman

To start the new year off with the most positive and enlightened mindset possible, we set out to find inspiring and thought-provoking essays and podcasts. This week we share a few of those with you.

Joan Didion’s “On Self Respect” can be found in Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Invisibilia from NPR

“Once More by the Lake” by E.B. White, originally published in Harper’s Magazine in 1941, has been reprinted in One Man’s Meat

On Being with Krista Tippett speaks to Maria Kalman – “Daily Things To Fall In Love With”

James Baldwin’s autobiographical collection of essays, Notes of a Native Son, can be found here

The Greater Good Podcast from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley

Annie Dillard’s essay “Total Eclipse” first in appeared in the magazine Antaeus and was later added to Teaching a Stone to Talk

Code Switch from NPR

In Alabama: “The Moth” on the Journal. Listen to Natalie’s “200 One-of-a-Kind Shirts” story on The Moth here.

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@ Alabama Chanin
Look forward to a collection refresh next week filled with modern silhouettes and bright new colors. In the meantime, find last chance styles here.

@ The School of Making
A new year means new workshops to look forward to from The School of Making. Browse through our workshops and events page and start planning your trip.

@ The Factory Store + Café
The Factory Store reopens Tuesday, January 8th with a fresh look and new layout. Join us for Saturday Brunch from 10am – 2pm. We missed you last weekend.

NEW HOURS
Tuesday – Friday
10am – 5pm

Saturday
10am – 2pm

Monday
By Appointment

Please note our hot kitchen is closed, and we will no longer offer our daily lunch service. However, our café cooler is fully stocked with picnic-style and to-go lunch options and baked goods for easy self-service. The cooler will remain stocked all week, giving you the option to stop by at any time to eat in the café or take it to go and enjoy at home.

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FIVE YEARS OF FRIENDS OF THE CAFE

The Slow Food movement and its principles have inspired Alabama Chanin’s commitment to slow fashion. We take their mission of Good, Clean, Fair to heart, as we attempt to make responsibly, grow connections in our community, and espouse sustainable practices. In order to further these beliefs, we look to build relationships with others who want the same basic things. One of the most gratifying and successful ways we have built these communities is through our Friends of the Café dinner series. It is nearly impossible to believe, but this series is now five years old. Over the years, we have been lucky to host the following chefs and their teams:

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2014: Chris Hastings, Vivian Howard, Ashley Christensen, Jim N’ Nick’s BBQ’s Nick Pihakis and Drew Robinson

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2015: Lisa Donovan and Angie Mosier, Anne Quatrano, Rob McDaniel

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2016: Frank and Pardis Stitt, Rodney Scott, Adam Evans, Sean Brock

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2017: Scott Peacock, Ashley Christensen, Asha Gomez

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2018: Steven Satterfield, Rebecca Wilcomb, John Currence with Eric Solomon, Kelly English and Cameron Razavi

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We have also hosted Pableaux Johnson for his Red Beans and Rice Roadshow and began a Supper Club series, featuring our own café chefs and other community food experts.

To honor the element of community that is central to our mission, the proceeds from each of our dinners have been donated to the Southern Foodways Alliance. Our company feels a kinship with the SFA and Natalie has a personal connection to the organization, so partnering with them is a natural fit. We hope to continue our relationship with the organization for years to come.

We will be announcing the lineup for our 2019 Friends of the Café dinners and other café events next week. Stay tuned as Alabama Chanin makes a place at the table for each of you.

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN 1/52 | 2019

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier.’” ― Alfred Lord Tennyson

The eve of 2019 has inspired us to explore food traditions from around the world that are said to bring prosperity and luck to all those who partake on New Year’s Day.

Soba noodles bid goodbye to a year gone by and welcome the new year that is just beginning: Japan

Hoppin’ John, with African and West Indian roots, brings good luck and prosperity: American South

Cotechino con Lenticchie is eaten for wealth and good fortune: Italy

Las doce uvas de la suerte (the 12 lucky grapes), eaten during the twelve strokes of midnight, promise good luck in the new year: Spain

Kuku Sabzi is said to bring abundance and fertility: Iran

Pancakes, foie gras, and champagne are eaten during le Réveillon de Saint-Sylvestre feast for good luck: France

Olie Bollen’s round shape represents coming full circle at the new year: Holland

In Alabama: “The New Year Trinity” on the Journal

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@ Alabama Chanin
Please note, Alabama Chanin, The Factory Store + Café, and The School of Making (including customer service and shipping) will be closed Tuesday, January 1st, in observance of New Year’s Day.

@ The School of Making
The First Tuesday sewing group will not meet on Tuesday, January 1 as The Factory will be closed in celebration of New Year’s Day. Join us instead on Tuesday, January 8th for a morning or making and fellowship.

@ The Factory Store + Café
The Factory Store + Café will also be closed for inventory from January 1 – 7, 2019. It will reopen on January 8th with new hours and offerings. Learn all about our updates here on the Journal.

Please note:
– The Factory Store + Cafe will be closed on Mondays in 2019.

– Once we reopen, our team will be able to serve you Tuesday – Saturday in the store and café. While we won’t have the hot menu, we will have a stocked cooler with small bites, baked goods, and beverages.

– The cafe will continue to offer catering services for our community and host various events and dinners throughout the year.

So join us for brunch on Saturdays in 2019 from 10:00am – 2:00pm. Or call our events coordinator at 256.760.1090 to schedule a pre-arranged group lunch.

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A SUPPER CLUB + FOTC RECAP

2019 is ushering in exciting new changes for The Factory Café. Our beloved Friends of the Café Dinner Series will continue, as well as an array of new programming.

2018 wrapped up with some great events. Chef Kyle Ogden of the Shoals’ Turtle Point Country Club was featured at our September Supper Club and executed a menu perfect for bidding summer farewell.

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Dishes like Royal Red Shrimp with Frank’s Hot Sauce Vinaigrette and stuffed peppers with sausage and queso fresco accompanied the evening’s cocktail starring pineapple, hibiscus, and prosecco.

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For our last Friends of the Café Dinner of 2018, we hosted chefs Kelly English and Camron Razavi who served up Gulf shrimp and charred eggplant while Cedric Burnside played a few tunes off his newest record, Benton County Relic. (Congrats to Cedric for his recent Grammy nomination. Well deserved.)

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November brought our final Supper Club dinner of the year, featuring Odette chef Fatima Russel. Fatima gave diners a taste of her heritage, featuring dishes and flavors from Malaysia like Popiah Malaysian spring rolls and Curry Potato puff pastries. It was a dream evening of inspiring food and stories.

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We’d like to thank everyone who supported The Factory Café this year and dined with us. There are only a few tickets available for January’s Supper Club with Odette chef Ramon Jacobsen and a Peruvian inspired dinner. Reserve your seat here. And look for the announcement of our Friends of the Café chefs in early 2019. Stay connected with the café on Facebook and Instagram.

Happy holidays!

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN 51/52 | 2018

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others.” ― Bob Hope

The signs of a Christmas season in full swing are all around us: homes and Christmas trees are decorated with colorful lights, dinner menus are underway, presents are wrapped, suitcases are packed, and guest rooms are ready for family on their way. This week, as we relish this special time of year, we are sharing some of our favorite holiday posts, projects, and recipes from the Journal as well as gift ideas from our Holiday Shop and The School of Making.

DIY Holiday Projects:

Tree Skirt

Find wreath instructions here, here, here, and here

Stenciled Table Runner

Holiday Stocking

Etched Candles

Favorite Recipes:

Winter Vegetable Farro Risotto

Chicken Stew

Buttery Turkey and Pecan Cranberry Relish

Burnt Honey Sweet Potato Salad Dressing

Homemade curacao and a few cold-weather cocktails

Sweet Treats:

Potato Candy

Snow Cream

Pecan Trees

Ginger-Molasses Cookies

Natalie’s Apple Crisp

Holiday Memories:

Reflect, Rejoice, Renew

Christmas carols and a holiday playlist

Beautiful Things

Gift Ideas:

Queen Waffle Blanket

Reclaimed Down Scarf

Double Bar Camellia Necklace in Black Plum

Miniature Rhino Constellation Embroidery Kit

Build a Wardrobe 2019

Alabama Chanin Gift Certificate

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@ Alabama Chanin
Find our shipping deadlines for gifts from Alabama Chanin and The School of Making. Visit our Holiday Shop to browse through our selection of in-stock gifts perfect for the loved ones on your gift list.

@ The School of Making
Third Tuesdays @ The Factory is tomorrow, December 18th. Take a break from holiday planning and shopping and spend the morning surrounded by making and fellowship. Find the details here.

@ The Factory Store + Café
Today is the last day to place your Holiday Pick-Up order. Contact our events coordinator at 256-701-8667 or email events@alabamachanin.com to place your order.

Lunch + Saturday brunch menu here

THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN 50/52 | 2018

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” – Mother Theresa

We’re two weeks away from Christmas and everything is a buzz at Alabama Chanin. Our Bldg. 14 team is humming along on the sewing machines. Our artisans are steadily working out in the field. Our fulfillment department is organizing orders for holiday delivery. And our Factory sales team has decorated the store and café with evergreen and white poinsettias.

This season—this year—has flown by, and we are overwhelmed by the amount of support we’ve received from all of you. We wish we could see the reaction of everyone who is given an Alabama Chanin or The School of Making gift this holiday season. Thank you for making our mission possible. Thank you for spreading the good word.

If you are still finishing up your list, here is where you can find gifts for the holidays:

2018 Holiday Shop

Handmade Holiday for The School of Making

Gifts for baby with Burt’s Bees Baby

Holiday Shipping Deadlines

P.S.: Since much of what we create is made-to-order, we’re announcing an in-stock gift guide tomorrow for both Alabama Chanin and The School of Making—if you want to be sure to get it in time for Christmas.

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@ Alabama Chanin
Last Chance Styles

@ The School of Making
Look for Build a Wardrobe 2019 subscription pre-orders this Thursday.

@ The Factory Store + Café
New and exciting changes are coming to The Factory Café. Learn all about our updated hours beginning in 2019.

Place your orders for holiday dessert pickup by December 17th at 4:00pm. View the selection and learn more here.

Lunch + Saturday brunch menu here

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WHITE CHRISTMAS COCKTAIL

Toast the season with a Christmas cocktail (or two).

WHITE CHRISTMAS COCKTAIL

1 ounce Jack Rudy Elderflower Tonic
4 ounces Prosecco
Fresh rosemary

Fill a cocktail glass with Jack Rudy Elderflower Tonic and top with Prosecco – garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

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“The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing others’ loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of the holidays.” ― W. C. Jones

The holiday season is officially upon us. Cultures and religions across the United States and the world celebrate their own holidays with vastly different but equally important religious and cultural significances. This week we explore a few of those celebrations.

November 19 to November 20 – Mawlid el-Nabi

December 2 to December 10 – Hanukkah

December 8 – Feast of the Immaculate Conception

December 8 – Bodhi Day

Dec. 21 – Yule (Winter Solstice)

Dec. 25 – Christmas  

December 26 – January 1 – Kwanzaa

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@ Alabama Chanin

Gifts for the Holidays

We’re looking ahead to our 2019 Collection. Find last chance styles here.

@ The School of Making
Join The School of Making for First Tuesdays at The Factory on December 4th for a morning of making and fellowship. Remember to bring your supplies and current sewing project.

Handmade Holiday—gifts for making

@ The Factory Store + Café
Our Holiday Sample Sale continues in-store all week. 

Place your orders for Holiday Pickup by December 17th at 4:00pm, view the menu and learn more here.

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HOLIDAY GIFTS FROM THE CAFÉ

The Factory Café wants to make your holiday shopping as easy as can be—which is why we’ve stocked up on sweet and savory gifts for everybody on your list.

If you’re looking for sweet stocking stuffers this holiday season try Shotwell Candy Co.’s Original Salted Caramels (our favorite), Tennessee Toffee, and Lemon & Rosemary Caramels – all handmade in Memphis, Tennessee, or Bourbon Balls and Bourbon Maple Syrup from our friends at Pappy & Company.

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For the mixologist on your gift list, we’ve got everything they’ll need to stock the bar. Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. offers Small Batch Tonic, Elderflower Tonic, and Grenadine (or cover all the bases with the Tonic Trio) as well as cocktail toppers like Bourbon Cocktail Cherries and Vermouth Brined Olives. We also have a robust wine selection of reds, whites, and rosés.

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And there’s always The Factory Café’s signature classics for the hosts and hostesses like House Made Chocolate Covered Marshmallows, House Made Granola, or The Factory Blend (whole bean or ground) Coffee.

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And discover more gifts and stocking stuffers below with scenes from The Factory.

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Short Stack Editions

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Ridley’s Games

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Local music from Single Lock artists and more

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Wildsam Field Guides

Our holiday hours are:

Monday – Friday from 10am ­­– 5pm
Saturday from 10am ­– 3pm

Christmas Eve
Open 9am – 12pm

Christmas Day
Closed

Shop our organic women’s collections, Leisure, accessories, and more along with these gifts from The Factory Store and Café this holiday season.

The Factory
462 Lane Drive
Florence, AL 36530

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“Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways, it can change someone else’s life forever.” ― Margaret Cho

Giving Tuesday, a response to the consumerism that surrounds the holiday season, has been celebrated since 2012. Founded as a way to give back to one’s community, both local and global, the Tuesday following “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” is a time of charitable giving that embodies the true spirit of the holidays. This week we explore the history behind Giving Tuesday and the many ways that giving positively affects others as well as ourselves.

Giving Tuesday

Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact, founders of Giving Tuesday

Read about Giving Tuesday on the Journal here and here

Nest: supporting the handwork economy (including our own Bldg. 14 when our work together began in 2015)

“How to Get the Most Bang for Your Charitable Giving Buck”

Global Giving connects you to nonprofits across the world

“5 Ways Giving Is Good for You”

Give back to your community through the Citizen Corps

GreatNonprofits: a “leading platform for community-sourced stories about nonprofits”

In Alabama: The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.

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@ Alabama Chanin
Our Holiday Sample Sale begins today with 30% savings. Don’t miss these one-of-a-kind, hand-embroidered Collection pieces.

Explore our 2018 Holiday Shop for giftable accessories, home goods, and sweet treats.

@ The School of Making
Browse through The School of Making’s Handmade Holiday guide to find the perfect gifts for the maker in your life.

@ The Factory Store + Café
The café is serving French Toast for lunch starting tomorrow, in celebration of National French Toast Day.

FLORI POP-UP

Susan Rowe is the designer behind Flori, a boutique floral design studio in Florence, Alabama. (She is also the other half of Abraham Rowe Photography, who we work with on much of the beautiful photography you see around our website and Journal.)

Using a natural design approach in her work, Susan has created stunning floral arrangements and installments for events at The Factory Café that make each event unique and memorable.

On Wednesday, November 21st, Susan is hosting a Flori pop-up at The Factory and will be creating floral arrangements from fall foliage for your Thanksgiving table. Choose from a small hand-tied bouquet for $25, a medium-sized arrangement for $75, and a large-sized arrangement for $125, with an upcharge for a custom color. If you’d like to order a completely customized floral arrangement just let our staff know when you place your order. Susan will be making the small hand-tied arrangements the day of the event and all other sizes must be pre-ordered by 5:00pm on Friday, November 16th. Email shop@alabamachanin.com or call us at 256-760-1090 and ask for The Factory Store team.

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Pre-ordered arrangements will be available for pickup from The Factory from 10:00am – 5:00pm on Wednesday, November 21st —the same day as Thanksgiving Pickup. We also offer delivery to the Shoals for $10. Make your Thanksgiving dinner and décor plans with us.

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“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” ― Lucius Annaeus Seneca

In a world where the news is filled daily with tragedies, injustices, and strife of one kind or another, we tend to forget the enormous impact that even the smallest act of kindness can have. In celebrating World Kindness Day November 13th, we hope to remind ourselves (and our readers) of the power in warm gestures, volunteering, and simply being kind to one another.

Kindness, by Naomi Shihab Nye

#WorldKindnessDay

The World Kindness Movement

“Forget Survival of the Fittest: It Is Kindness That Counts”

“Asante Sana” on the Journal

Find volunteer opportunities in your local community and with the Red Cross

Kindness and stewardship to the land; volunteer with the U.S. Forest Service

The power of kindness

In Alabama: Alabama Association of Habitat for Humanity

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@ Alabama Chanin
Keep an eye out for an exciting new collaboration with Heath Ceramics, launching tomorrow.

@ The School of Making
The School of Making’s Individual Studio Day workshop makes the perfect gift for the maker on your gift list. Learn more here.

@ The Factory Store + Café
Next week’s Supper Club is almost full. Join us as we host chef Fatin Russel on November 15th. Reserve your seats here.

Thanksgiving Pickup order deadline is this Friday, November 16th for pickup or delivery on Wednesday, November 21st.

To help set the table for Thanksgiving, we’re partnering with local floral designer, Susan Rowe of Flori, to offer hand-tied bouquets for your holiday gathering on November 21st—the same day as Thanksgiving Pickup.

As always, the Daily Lunch + Saturday Brunch menu here

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SANDWICHES FROM THE FACTORY CAFÉ

Whether you’re craving a burger, a hot pastrami, or a grilled pimento cheese with bacon, The Factory Café has a tasty selection of warm sandwiches available on the menu each week.

Our menu is ever-revolving and always changing and on a given day you’ll find one of the above or Gram Perkins’ Egg Salad or White BBQ Chicken Salad sandwiches. All of our sandwiches are available on house-made ciabatta bread (or as a low-carb option with a substituted salad).

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Rumor has it that the modern sandwich was named for a man named John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who used to ask his servants for slices of meat between two slices of bread during long hours of gambling with friends. His friends would order “the same as Sandwich”, and thus the sandwich was born.

Stop by for a sandwich Tuesday – Friday (and on Saturday when we occasionally serve our Breakfast Sandwich for brunch). You can find the daily café menu here on our website to see what we are serving on a given day.

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P.S.: For our Shoals community, don’t forget to place your order for Thanksgiving Pickup by November 16th. And our next Supper Club takes place on November 15th with chef Fatin Russel and the Odette team.

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“The attractions of ceramics lie partly in its contradictions. It is both difficult and easy, with an element beyond our control. It is both extremely fragile and durable.” ― Isamu Noguchi

Founded in 1948 by Edith Heath and her husband Brian, San Francisco-based Heath Ceramics have long been creators of functional and beautiful tableware and home goods. Current owners and creative directors Cathy Bailey and Robin Petravic have helmed Heath since 2003. Under their guidance, Heath has stayed true to Edith’s original vision while ensuring sustainability and impeccable craftsmanship in their striking and modern designs. Alabama Chanin is proud to launch a new partnership with Heath Ceramics on Sunday. This week we honor Heath by exploring the company’s history, their values, and looking back at past collaborations.

“Sustainable Collaboration: Heath Ceramics” on the Journal

Heath Ceramics in Kinfolk magazine

“Heath Ceramics Celebrates 70 Years of Modern Design”

Heath tiles on Instagram

See our past collaborations with Heath here , here, and here.

Explore Heath Ceramics through their blog

Cooper Hewitt National Design Award recipient in 2015

“Heath Ceramics + Alabama Chanin” on Design Sponge

Be on the lookout for an interview with Cathy Bailey next Friday on the Journal.

In Alabama: Join us at The Factory Café and enjoy your meal served on The Alabama Chanin Collection from Heath Ceramics.

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@ Alabama Chanin
Join Erin Reitz, founder and designer of The Shelter Collection at The Factory on Friday, November 9th as she discusses the creation and design of The Shelter Collection (our collaboration pieces are pictured above). Stop in and grab a cocktail and shop The Shelter Collection’s hand-formed pottery and hand-blown glass cups and vessels.

@ The School of Making
The School of Making’s recently launched 2019 workshops make perfect holiday gifts. Visit the online store to purchase a ticket.

@ The Factory Store + Café
Lunch + Saturday brunch menu here

Don’t forget to place your order for Thanksgiving Pickup by November 16th and take the stress out of your holiday season.

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THANKSGIVING PICKUP

We all dream of a homemade Thanksgiving dinner, but sometimes (and these days more often than not) we get swept up in the busyness of life and find ourselves scrambling to put together a last minute meal. For our Shoals community, The Factory Café is offering Thanksgiving Pickup again this year.

Our menu includes Thanksgiving favorites like Cornbread Dressing, Sweet Potato Casserole, Baked Mac + Cheese, and Cranberry Sauce – all made from scratch in our kitchen. If you’ve been tasked with providing dessert, we’ve got those too. Choose from a list of sweets that includes autumn treats like Carrot Cake + Cream Cheese Icing, Natalie’s Apple Crisp, and Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Download the complete menu with prices here.

Call 256.701.8667 or email events@alabamachanin.com before 5:00pm on Wednesday, November 16th to place your order for pickup on Wednesday, November 21st. If you live in The Shoals, we’ll even deliver your dishes to you.

Give us a call, sit back, make merry, and enjoy.

Photo courtesy of Abraham Rowe.

COZY CORNER @ THE FACTORY STORE

“Certainly work is not always required of a man. There is such a thing as sacred idleness, the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected.” – George Mac Donald

As the weather gets cool and crisp and the days get shorter and darker, we are instinctively encouraged to cultivate idleness. We head indoors to sit by the fire with loved ones, warm mugs, books, and games—or venture out for a vividly-colored walk in the woods. Our sales team has been inspired by those feelings and has created a new “cozy corner” at The Factory Store that houses everything you’ll need for an indulgent autumn and winter season.

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You’ll find waffle-knit blankets, sweatshirts, and socks for lounging in comfort from our newly launched Leisure Collection.

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Fill the rest of your downtime with new tunes from Single Lock Records. (We’re loving Erin Rae, Lera Lynn, and Cedric Burnside right now.) The store has a fully stocked bookshelf with everything from cocktail guides, field guides, and tomes filled with inspiration. And craft a cocktail from Jack Rudy while you’re at it.

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Pair a Heath Ceramics mug with Askinosie Sipping Chocolate or a bag of The Factory Blend Coffee and settle in.

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NOVEMBER + A SUPPER CLUB

Our inaugural year of The Factory Supper Club is drawing to a close (with two more left), and it has allowed us to showcase talented, local chefs and provide a unique experience for our guests. Tickets for November’s dinner are now on sale. These are more intimate events so reserve your spots right away.

In November, The Factory Café is bringing in chef Fatin Russel of Odette, a beautiful dining establishment in downtown Florence that focuses on creating unique dishes with new flavors and traditional techniques.

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Fatin is from the southern tip of Malaysia and her diverse heritage has roots steeped in Malay, China, Java, and India. Food has always played an integral part in Fatin’s life. She graduated from culinary school in 2013 and came to the United States for a cultural student program. While working at the kitchens at the locally esteemed Marriott Shoals Hotel in Florence, she met her future husband.

After completing the cultural student program, Fatin moved home to Malay to work and help her mother with a baking business. Two years later she returned to Florence to marry Christopher and now works at Odette. Fatin is passionate and proud of her culture, and we can’t wait to taste her menu. She’ll be joined in the kitchen by chefs Josh Quick and Ramon Jacobsen of Odette and our café team.

Join us for The Factory Café’s November Supper Club, and keep an eye out for December’s Supper Club too.

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“One of the greatest pleasures of my life has been that I have never stopped learning about Good Cooking and Good Food.” ― Edna Lewis

For the past 20 years the Southern Foodways Alliance, or SFA, has “explor[ed] the diverse food cultures of the changing American South.” Their Fall Symposium, held this weekend in Oxford, Mississippi, is in its 21st year. A few members of the Alabama Chanin team are excitedly attending and in honor of their trip, this week we take a deeper look at the SFA and their mission of preservation and expansion of the culinary heritage of the South.

What is the Southern Foodways Alliance?

2018 Southern Foodways Fall Symposium

Alabama Chanin’s Friends of the Café Dinner Series, benefiting the Southern Foodways Alliance

Gravy Audio

The SFA Guide to Cocktails

Southern Foodways Alliance Studies in Culture, People, and Place with the University of Georgia Press

The Potlikker Papers by John T. Edge

Community Cookbooks on the Journal

“Shoals Chicken Stew”

Become an SFA member or make a donation

“What Americans can learn from other food cultures”

In Alabama: “Pork Ribs and Politics: The Origins of Alabama Barbecue”

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A LOOK BACK: JOHN CURRENCE + FRIENDS OF THE CAFÉ

In August, The Factory Café hosted James Beard Award-winning chef and fellow Southern Foodways Alliance lover, John Currence, for a special evening that combined savory with sweet and included personal touches to each dish. We were also joined by renowned wine importer Eric Solomon, who created original and clever wine pairings.

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The meal featured a wide range of dishes—everything from a vegetable course to a hearty steak dish. Passed starters included chicken liver pate on grilled bread with pickled egg mimosa and kheema pao, a spiced lamb dish served on a sweet roll; the portions of the roll were so generous that some guests found themselves sharing the bread dish. The starters were served with a young Spanish rosé, certified organic from an organic vineyard.

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The first course, a sweet corn soup with marinated blue crab was a nod to Currence’s mother and her proficiency in the kitchen—particularly with seafood. It was paired with a rioja blanca made from organic and biodynamically farmed fruit, and it had both a warmth and vibrant acidity.

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Next came a celebration of grilled summer vegetables, served with a side of Middle Eastern spiced homemade yogurt. This dish was particularly special to Chef Currence, as it was made using a vinegar made from his late mother’s champagne. The diners were emotional, as this is not something he uses for just any dish or any crowd. Solomon explained that the rioja blanco served with the vegetables was a limited-production wine, so this dish was especially meaningful for our guests.

Bone-in beef ribeye accompanied by a flavorful chimichurri it was accompanied by a velles priorat, a wine with powerful flavor—perfectly paired with steak.

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The fourth and final course was a Mississippi mud pie, a hearty finish to the third course accompanied by prosecco with Jack Rudy Elderflower tonic.

Thank you to John, Eric, our team at The Factory, helpers from the community, John T. Edge, the SFA, and all our guests who came together to create a beautiful evening.

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For those who were not able to attend the dinner (or for the lucky guests who were), we are offering a giveaway of John’s book, Pickles, Pigs, and Whiskey, signed by the chef. To enter, follow @alabamachaninfactorycafe, like the post on @alabamachaninfactorycafe, and tag three friends on the comment.

The giveaway ends at 11:59pmCST on October 5th and is open to US residents 18+ older. One lucky winner will be announced the following day and will receive a signed copy of Pickles, Pigs, and Whiskey to add to their culinary library.

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“Above all, don’t fear difficult moments. The best comes from them.”Rita Levi-Montalcini, Nobel Prize-winning neurobiologist

As October ushers in Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are inspired to look back over the decades to the female doctors, chemists, biologists, and researchers who devoted their educations and careers to research and discoveries that have advanced medical understanding and treatments. This week, learn about 10 of these phenomenal women.

Anita Roberts: molecular biologist

Dr. Helen Brooke Taussig: Lasker Award and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient

Eva Vertes: microbiologist

Alice Ball: chemist

Gerty Cori: biochemist and first American woman to win a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Dr. Esther Zimmer Lederberg: pioneer of bacterial genetics

Dr. Elizabeth Wayne: biomedical engineer

Mina Bissell: biologist

In Alabama: Dr. Hadiyah Green, cancer survivor and Alabama A&M University graduate, “is determined to beat cancer — with lasers.”

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BRIDAL + EVENING REDUX

Over the years our Bridal Collection has evolved from designs intended for wedding attire to a broader collection of formal, special occasion, and evening wear. And now you’ll find a new way to get acquainted with our Bridal + Evening offerings through an updated section of our website. Everything that we create has a custom element to it—in true made-to-order style. And our Bridal styles are no exception. Create your perfect gown by choosing the most complementary fit with your favorite textile design and work with our team to customize the entire garment.

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We also offer more than just dresses. If you live in proximity to The Factory Café, our accompanying services include on-site bridal luncheons and showers, off-site catering, and Bridal registry and gifts.

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Visit our new Bridal + Evening page to learn about custom gowns, featured designs, and our additional services offered through The Factory Store + Café.

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Contact our Bridal associate at ac@alabamachanin.com to inquire about custom services or call 256-760-1090 M ­– F from 8:30am – 4:30pm CST and ask for Bonnie.

And contact our Events Coordinator, Anne Ryan, if you are interested in planning a special event with us. Call 256-701-8667 or email events@alabamachanin.com.

CROP STORIES: THE SWEET POTATO

Crop Stories is a food-based magazine, with each issue focusing on a particular ingredient. Its fourth edition highlights sweet potatoes—histories and how-tos, stories of real people who work the land, and a whole mess of delicious recipes. According to editor Andre Gallant, the magazine wanted to seek out diverse narratives and writers. “What we hope most is how the stories presented in the following pages begin to complicate or discard any idyllic notions of farming in the American South. We share the same love for what draws others to the field—independence, soil that nurtures, a rustic gastronomy—but we refuse to blot out difficult topics like race, class, gender, and age, that permeate every aspect of modern life.”

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Within this 144-page fourth edition, you will find a history of the sweet potato, different types of sweet potato, tips on growing the crop, including tips on handling pests, and stunning photographs—some by friend and collaborator Rinne Allen. Perhaps most moving are the stories of the people trying to make a living off the land: local independent farmers, slaughterhouses, why Black land matters, and farmers getting by in The Sweet Potato Capital of the World—Vardaman, Mississippi. Of farmer Loyd Lewis, who owns and operates a roadside vegetable stand, Keia Mastrianni writes, “In an instant, it is clear what inspires Loyd Lewis to work each day. The farm is an extension of himself; an identity so tethered to the land, it’s as deeply rooted as the trees that shade the property.”

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Editor Gallant said, “So far we have not followed a formula. We are making this up as we go along, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s something I like to tell the team, who often turn to me to understand the rules of the journalism/publishing world. I say, ‘There are no rules to what we are doing.’ We aren’t Bon Appetit or Modern Farmer. We’re inventing the identity of this thing with each issue.” Crop Stories encourages readers to get to know their farmers and know there is a story behind everything they consume, but it also aims to get the average person more comfortable with ingredients and with cooking new things. Above all, it pulls no punches about farming life, all while celebrating the crops produced.

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Beginning September 25th, The Factory Café will begin serving sweet potato wedges in homage to Crop Stories fourth ingredient. For more sweet potato recipes and stories, pick up a copy of Crop Stories here.

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“Wild is the music of the autumnal winds amongst the faded woods.”William Wordsworth

This past Saturday, September 22nd, brought the Autumn Equinox to all of us in the northern hemisphere. Though it doesn’t quite feel like Fall here in Alabama yet (almost), the changing of the seasons has us looking forward to savory meals, cozy outerwear, crisp air, and a mosaic of colorful leaves. In honor of the first day of Fall, this week we share a few of our go-to cool-weather wardrobe pieces, favorite recipes, and a bit of history on Autumn holidays from around the world.

The East Asian Mid-Autumn Festival (also known as the Moon Cake Festival)

The Lennox Duster

Roasted Pumpkin + A Recipe for Soup

Union Wrap

“Michaelmas: The Day the Devil Spit on Your Blackberries

Fresh Ginger Layer Cake

The Stole

The Autumnal Hindu festival of Navratri

Victoria Blazer

Pecan Trees

Dayton Scarf

“’Leaf Wonder’ In A World Of Changing Forests”

In Alabama: Alabama’s Fall Color Trail

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#LEFTONTHECAFETABLE @ THE FACTORY CAFÉ

“First we eat, then we do everything else.” – M.F.K. Fisher

It’s no secret that we celebrate good food at The Factory Café, from Supper Clubs to brunch to benefit dinners, we offer a unique dining experience for every meal.

Next time you stop in at The Factory Café for lunch, brunch, or simply a cup of tea, leave us a note. Food and inspiration go hand-in-hand and we love finding our #leftonthecafetable cards, and the sentiments displayed on them after our guests have gone. We use scrap paper from our studio as an artboard for you to write or draw what’s inspiring you.

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Share your card with us on Instagram using #leftonthecafetable. See you soon.

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“This ‘ethical fashion,’ this ‘sustainable fashion,’ that complies to what fashion really is, that is borne out of passion, skills, heritage, artistry, and bravery, is fashion. “Orsola De Castro

Alabama Chanin returned to New York Fashion Week this year with a private showing at the Bowery Hotel. This return inspired us to looks back on our history, from Natalie cutting up and sewing back together her first T-shirt in New York to Alabama Chanin’s present-day Family of Businesses. With entries dating back 12-plus years, our Journal posts act as stepping stones of that history. Explore those with us this week.

Alabama Chanin at Fashion Week, featured in WWD

One Woman’s Testament to Needle and Thread

A Commitment to Cotton

The School of Bauhaus + Creative Process

Collection: An Evolution

An Alabama Chanin Family of Businesses

The Factory

The History of Workshops

Bldg. 14

Nest + Alabama Chanin: Partnership for Learning

In Alabama: “Billy Reid and Alabama Chanin’s Homegrown Cotton” in T Magazine

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN | 37/52 | 2018

“At the deepest level, the creative process and the healing process arise from a single source. When you are an artist, you are a healer.”Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen

Art can be as haunting as it is beautiful. It can be a reprieve from fears and traumas or the catalyst that forces you to face them. Art is cathartic, for both the artist and viewer. This week, on the 17th anniversary, we explore the works of art created in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks.

9/11 Peace Story Quilt: Faith Ringgold and New York City students

Dear Jeff…: Virginia Fitzgerald

9/11 Series: Donna Levinstone

Untitled artwork appearing in Tribeca: Banksy

IX XI: Ultra Violet

Tumbling Woman: Eric Fischl

Never Forget 2: Busser Howell

Gesture: Manju Shandler

Fallen: Doug and Mike Starn

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DIY STENCILED TABLE RUNNER

Sharing good food and good company with friends and family have brought some of our best memories over the years, at both The Factory Café and at home.

Favorites like Roasted Pork Loin and New PotatoesZucchini Caesar Salad, Pimento Cheese, Pepper Biscuits, Apple BBQ Sauce, Lane Cake, and Gram Perkins Chocolate Pie have graced the café and our tables during countless holiday dinners, birthday celebrations, summer cookouts, and impromptu dinner parties.

Holidays, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve (which will all be here before you know it) allow you to open your own home to family and friends to share fellowship and some of your favorite recipes.

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At the heart of those holiday meals is a welcoming table. Anne Ryan, our events and catering coordinator for The Factory Café, worked with The School of Making to create a simple and eco-friendly decorating option for our café tables: a DIY stenciled table runner.

This table runner works up quickly; simply cut a piece of 18” wide kraft paper the length of your table (or use the width and lengths of your choice). Using our Textile Paint, an airbrush gun, and your favorite School of Making stencil, paint the design all over the paper, at each end, or however your creativity guides you. Let the paint dry completely and the runner is ready to use.

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You could also utilize your own stencil or paint a design free-hand. To reduce waste, for your next gathering flip the paper over and stencil a new design on the blank side.

We chose the Variegated Stripe and Aurora stencils for the designs shown above.

Share how you plan to stencil your table runner and some of your family’s favorite recipes in the comments below.

For an heirloom-quality keepsake, make the Striped and Magdalena Table Runners from the DIY Sewing Kits page or custom design your own.

THE END OF SUMMER + A COCKTAIL

As summer comes to an official close, it seems to be getting hotter and hotter in Alabama. (Some things must get worse before they get better.) Luckily for us, The Factory Café has concocted the perfect late summer cocktail to keep us cool through the last of these sweltering days. This cocktail was served at our most recent Supper Club, and tickets are available here for our September supper—expect a special cocktail then too.

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ENDLESS SUMMER
Serves 8

1 bottle rosé
1 bottle Prosecco
2 whole peaches
6 dried juniper berries

Remove the skin and pits of both peaches. Cut one peach into 16 equal slices and purée the second peach in a blender with one tablespoon of water until smooth.

Combine the rosé, peach slices, peach purée, and whole juniper berries. Chill in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

In a wine glass, add 2 slices of peach to 3 ounces of the rosé mixture. Top off the glass with chilled Prosecco.

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN | 36/52 | 2018

“Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.”Dolores Huerta

From the right to vote to equal pay, women have never shied away from fighting for the rights inherently owed to them. Whether it’s worker safety, job protection during and after a pregnancy, or the myriad of other issues faced by working women, activists, organizers, and union members have, for decades, fought for fairness and equality. Explore some of the most influential women in the labor movement.

The History of Women in Labor: a timeline

Sarah Bagley and the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association

“Raises, not roses:” the 1981 San Jose strike

“Black Women Built That: Labor and Workers’ Rights”

Ai-jen Poo is the Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA)

Working women around the world, in pictures

Dolores Huerta, activist, and co-founder of the United Farm Workers Association

“The Complicated History Behind the Fight for Pregnant Women’s Equality”

Status of Women in the States: Women in Unions

In Alabama: As an organizer of the Southern textile factory worker movement in the 1930s, Eula McGill was a member of the Women’s Trade Union League and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America Union.

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A LOOK BACK: JULY’S SUPPER CLUB @ THE FACTORY CAFÉ

For our July Supper Club, The Factory Café invited chef Josh Quick of Florence’s Odette to helm the kitchen with chef Ramon Jacobsen and their team. John Cartwright of Rivertown Coffee Company—who partnered with us for our May Supper Club—joined them in the kitchen. The evening was filled with summer harvest bounty.

Odette is located in downtown Florence, where owner Celeste Pillow has created a beautiful dining establishment in service to our community. Like The Factory Café, chef Josh Quick works with Alabama producers and growers to create unique dishes that emphasize new flavors with traditional preparations. Their General Manager, Kristy Bevis, who helps run the show, once catered our workshops (before the café was open) and contributed cocktail posts for our Journal some years ago.

For over 10 years, John Cartwright has created Florence’s favorite breakfast and lunch spot by combining good coffee, food, and the community at Rivertown Coffee Company, which locals simply call “Rivertown”. Like us, John works with Muletown Roasted Coffee to source his roasted beans. Rivertown knows no strangers, and they welcome anyone and everyone. Their motto: Coffee for all.

Odette and Rivertown are two staple establishments in downtown Florence that are more than just restaurants; they create unique dining experiences and spaces for our community to gather, collaborate, support one another, and enjoy good food and conversation. We were proud and honored to host them in our very own kitchen. Enjoy a recap of the evening’s dishes below.

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We like to start out each dinner with craft beers (Monday Night Brewing’s I’m on a Boat and Trim Tab Brewing Co. IPA) and a seasonal cocktail, the Endless Summer – a fizzy and fruity libation with peach, juniper berries, and prosecco. Pickles, chicken skin sandwiches, and blackberry-glazed bacon were passed with cocktails.

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Blackberry BBQ Glazed Molasses Bacon with Crispy Shallots and Chives

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Left: Chicken Skin Sandwiches on Potato Bread with Arugula, Tomato, and Hot Sauce Mayo. Right: Summer Pickles

The rest of the evening carried on with everything from braised beef, Peruvian chicken smoked on the Traeger Grill, and summer vegetable salad with ham and ranch, and cabbage rolls.

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Summer Vegetable Salad with 16 Month Ham, Ranch, and Herbs

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Grandma’s Cabbage Rolls

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Left: Bluewater Creek Farm Braised Beef with Sweet and Sour Tomatoes, Two Brothers Farm Rice, and Smoked Eggplant Puree. Right: Peruvian Smoked Chicken.

The night ended on a sweet note with Crème Fraiche ice cream topped with grilled Chilton County Peaches, spiced pecans, and honey from Eastaboga, Alabama.

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Grilled Chilton County Peaches with Crème Fraiche Ice Cream, Spiced Pecans, and Eastaboga Honey

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All floral arrangements at The Factory are created by Susan Rowe— friend, stylist, floral designer, and colleague in the café. She helps make The Factory beautiful. Follow along with Susan and her arrangements here.

A big thank you goes out to Celeste, Josh, Ramon, the team at Odette, and John for all their hard work. And as always, these events wouldn’t be what they are without the help of our local and regional farms – especially, Bluewater Creek Farm, Sonlit Meadows Farm, and Cottonwood Farm. Tickets for September’s Supper Club are on sale now.

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN | 35/52 | 2018

“Being creative is not so much the desire to do something as the listening to that which wants to be done: the dictation of the materials.”Anni Albers

To mark the 10th anniversary of the release of Natalie’s Alabama Stitch Book, this week we focus on exceptional women in the world of handcrafts. Thursday on the Journal, be on the lookout for Swing Skirt DIY Kit inspiration (it’s our most popular pattern ever).

“Feminist, socialist, embroiderer:” May Morris

Pioneering fiber artist, Lenore Tawney

Lithuanian artist Severija Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė utilizes cross-stitch on non-traditional objects to make statements on society

Anni Albers on the Journal (and more #womenartists)

Lisa Smirnova’s Studio of Modern Embroidery

Crochet artist, Olek

Professor, artist, and quilter Faith Ringgold

Dee Clements and Studio Herron

Artisan Embroidery at Alabama Chanin

The traditional Japanese kimonos of dyer and weaver Fukumi Shimura

In Alabama: “The Quilts of Gee’s Bend”

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SATURDAY BRUNCH @ THE FACTORY CAFÉ

Brunch is one of The Factory Café’s specialties, and brunch this Saturday will be no exception. Lindsay Whiteaker and Pete Halupka from Harvest Roots Ferments will be in house at the café selling fermented goodies and serving up a special brunch menu item and beverage. Be sure to stop in and say hello.

We’ll have our all-star brunch menu line up too. The farm breakfast offers a little bit of all your breakfast favorites on one plate – biscuits, bacon, cheesy scrambled eggs, grits or pan-fried potatoes (with a mimosa, or two). For something sweeter, try the Buttermilk French Toast served with house-made whipped cream, maple syrup, and seasonal fruit.

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Burger Hour starts at 1:00pm if you’re looking for a heartier option. Served with seasoned potato wedges and an optional craft beer, it’s a community favorite.

The brunch menu is updated here every Friday afternoon that you can plan your weekend in advance. Follow along with The Factory Café on Facebook and Instagram.

P.S.: Alabama Sawyer designers Cliff and Leigh Spencer will set up in The Factory Store on Saturday from 10:00am – 3:00pm. Visit with and learn more from the founders of this environmentally sustainable company that produces housewares from fallen trees in the Birmingham area.

P.P.S.: Don’t forget that the newest updates in the Alabama Chanin Collection can be seen in person in The Factory Store.

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN | 34/52 | 2018

“I know nothing of man’s rights, or woman’s rights; human rights are all that I recognize.”Sarah Moore Grimké

On August 18, 1920, women were granted the right to vote in the United States. This past Saturday marked the 98th anniversary of that momentous shift in American culture, politics, and society. This week we honor the fearless, forward-thinking suffragettes who fought not only for their own rights but for the liberties of the countless women who would come after them.

A timeline of the United State’s women’s suffrage movement, from 1869 to 1992

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex:” 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

The Library of Congress’ National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection

The Declaration of Sentiments, signed at the First Women’s Rights Convention, held in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York

The National Association of Colored Women and women’s suffrage

“The Mother Who Saved Suffrage”

National League of Women Voters’ handbill

“Long-Lost Letters from Suffrage Pioneers Discovered”

The Silent Sentinels

Modern-day women’s movements: #MeToo and Time’s Up

In Alabama: Alabama Equal Suffrage Association

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FESTIVITIES @ THE FACTORY

Look for special events next week at The Factory, as we host pop-ups with Harvest Roots Ferments and Alabama Sawyer. Stop in to shop, eat, and visit with us and their teams.

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Alabama Sawyer will set up shop Thursday, August 23rd through Friday, August 31st. They create unique housewares from their studio in Birmingham using fallen and salvaged trees. Founders and designers Leigh and Cliff Spencer will be at The Factory on Saturday, August 25th from 10:00am – 3:00pm sharing their design process and talking about their products.

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Lindsay Whiteaker and Pete Halupka of Harvest Roots Ferments will host a pop-up shop at The Factory Café during brunch on Saturday, August 25th from 10:00am – 2:00pm. Lindsay and Pete will be working with the café team to create a specialty menu feature and drink for brunch. The Factory Café currently offers Harvest Roots kombucha, curtido, and other fermented items in their cooler.

If you’re in town for Billy Reid’s annual Shindig or planning a day trip, make sure to stop in and say hello. We’ll have special offers in-store for the weekend, too.

P.S.: Our Thursday night Friends of the Café Dinner with John Currence is currently sold out, but you can call 256-701-8667 to be added to the waitlist.

P.P.S.: Visit our Community Guide for other noteworthy sites to see.

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SUMMER VEGETABLES + BUTTERMILK-HERB DRESSING

Summer is the season of vegetables, whether from your local farmers market or your backyard garden. And there are countless summer veggie recipes on the Journal, like this one for a Southern Antipasti, the beloved Tomato Sandwich (the secret’s in the homemade mayo), or a Grilled Vegetable Quiche.

At The Factory Café, we eagerly anticipate each summer when fresh vegetables are in abundance. And while they are delicious on their own, we love any excuse to accompany them with our Buttermilk-Herb Dressing. Perfect on salads, sandwiches, or as a dipping sauce. Find the recipe below.

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BUTTERMILK-HERB DRESSING
Makes one quart

1.5 cup sour cream
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup Duke’s Mayonnaise (or the mayo of your choice)
Juice and zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon chives, chopped
1 tablespoon dill, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Mix all wet ingredients together. Mix in fresh herbs until combined well. Serve in a Weck Juice Jar (available at The Factory).

Find more recipes from The Factory Café here, and be sure to follow along with The Factory Café on Instagram and Facebook.

Lead image: Fresh vegetable delivery from Sonlit Meadows Farm

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN | 33/52 | 2018

“Alabama Chanin has evolved into a community… a company of farmers, fabric makers, artisans and our customers who support what we do.”Natalie Chanin from the archives: W Magazine, 2011

With the excitement of a new Collection at the forefront of our minds, this week we take a few moments to reflect on all Alabama Chanin’s collections and how, though different, each serves a unique aspect of our customers’ lives and embodies the heart of Alabama Chanin: sustainability, quality, and beauty.

Collection: The classic Alabama Chanin collection creates styles for everyday wear. Through thoughtful design, Natalie and our team have created a grouping of styles that are modern essentials that are meant to last a lifetime. The collection celebrates both hand and machine-sewn artisan methods of manufacturing, even creating “hybrid” garments that marry the two craft forms into one garment. You’ll find our Core Essential styles alongside embroidered and decorated garments.

Bridal + Evening: Bringing sustainability and beauty to some of life’s most treasured moments, Alabama Chanin has been creating bridal gowns and special occasion attire since 2010. From classic silhouettes like the Guinevere Dress to elaborately hand-embroidered pieces like the Lauderdale Dress, our special occasion pieces transcend trends. The collection can be worn to a variety of events throughout the seasons and the heirloom-quality gowns will be passed down through generations. In 2016 we introduced customer-favorite bridal styles to Custom DIY, allowing you to create your own one-of-kind garment for your most special day. (P.S.: We also host bridal luncheons and wedding receptions at our event space at The Factory. Give our Events Coordinator a call at 256-760-1090 for details.)

Leisure: The Leisure Collection, created in 2017, ushered in a new facet of Alabama Chanin: clothing for the home that fosters a sense of comfort and wellbeing. Robes, nightgowns, tanks, leggings, and underpinnings crafted from luxurious, organic cotton and waffle-knit fabrics are paired are with a few of our favorite albums and sweet treats to form a curated collection of relaxation. (Look for updates to Leisure later this fall.)

Cook + Dine: Striving for sustainability in all aspects of life, the Cook + Dine Collection allows us to bring American-made goods to the table and kitchen. Tableware, like placemats, coasters, and napkins are assembled, from start to finish, by one of our skilled machine sewers with 100% organic cotton and canvas. Artisan-made aprons and potholders are paired with beloved cookbooks. Cook + Dine is also a space that has allowed us to collaborate with businesses like The Commons and Hawks and Doves, and to work with like-minded artists, near and far.

Personal Stylist: “Impeccable service” is one of the eight Guiding Principles of Alabama Chanin. Whether you are purchasing an heirloom skirt or a machine-sewn cardigan, impeccable fit and modern styling are what we guarantee to each of our guests. To ensure this, we recently added a Personal Stylist service for our Collection. If you have questions about fit, design details, care instructions, or need recommendations for adding to your current wardrobe or what styles fit best with your lifestyle, our Personal Stylist is only a call or email away.

Shop the Alabama Chanin Collections below:

Collection
Leisure
Cook + Dine
Bridal + Evening

Call our Personal Stylist at 256-760-1090 to schedule an in-store appointment and fitting.

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REBECCA WILCOMB + FRIENDS OF THE CAFÉ + A SUMMER SOLSTICE COCKTAIL

In June, The Factory Café hosted James Beard Award-winning chef Rebecca Wilcomb for an evening of savory and sweet dishes with an Italian-Cajun spin, complete with a specialty cocktail and wine pairings.

The dinner began with a Summer Solstice cocktail (find the recipe at the end of this post) made with peach and prosecco, and the passed starters included everything from shrimp, to crab melts.

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Beef with Anchovy and Olive

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Shrimp Spiedini

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Toasted Crab Melts

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Chickpea Fritters with Caponata

The first course, a chicken tortellini in a rich broth, was served for the first time outside of a family setting and dedicated to Rebecca’s grandmother, Giannina. The pasta was paired with a young Pinot Noir Rosé, light and summery.

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Giannina’s Tortellini

The second course highlighted pork belly from our friends at Bluewater Creek Farm, and Open Blue Cobia and was served with an Italian rice salad, Lunchbox peppers, and charred okra.  A Petit Selve with cherry notes complemented this course

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Bluewater Creek Farm Pork Belly

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Hand pies filled with summer fruit like blueberries, figs, and peaches were served warm with whipped cream, and accompanied by a crisp, sparkling Rosé from Argentina and cold brew coffee.

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Below, our events coordinator shares the recipe for the featured cocktail of the night:

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SUMMER SOLSTICE

2 ripe peaches (Chilton Co. Peaches are our favorite)
1 bottle Prosecco
1 teaspoon sugar
6 fresh mint leaves

Place the peaches and sugar in a food processor and blend until smooth. Press the mixture through a sieve and discard the peach solids. Give the mint leaves a smack on your hand and rub the edge of a flute with them. Add about 2 tablespoons of the peach puree into each flute and fill with chilled prosecco.

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN | 32/52 | 2018

“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”Malala Yousafzai

With the first day of school just a few days away here in Alabama, our minds have turned toward inspiring teachers, optimistic students, and to the opportunities provided by a quality education. This week we decided to explore some of the most forward thinking teachers and professors across the country (and across the decades) and to share a few women from our #womenwhoinspire series whose educations were at the core of their influential and life-changing work.

Homage to a Teacher on the Journal

Maria Montessori

#womenwhoinspire: Jane Goodall – Ph.D. in Ethology

Jesmyn Ward: Novelist, award winner, and professor at Tulane University

#womenwhoinspire: Rachel Carson – Master’s degree in Zoology

Maja Mataric: Professor of Computer Science, Neuroscience, and Pediatrics at the University of Southern California

#womenwhoinspire: Calina Lawrence – Bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts & Social Justice

Kathy Reiche: author, television producer, forensic anthropologist, and professor at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte

#womenwhoinspire: Vivian Malone Jones – Bachelor’s degree in Business Education

Sangeeta Bhatia: physician, bioengineer, and professor at MIT. Watch her TED Talk here.

#womenwhoinspire: Ava DuVernay – Bachelor’s degrees in English Literature and African-American Studies

In Alabama: Carrie Tuggle, educator and children’s welfare advocate

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ERIC SOLOMON + FRIENDS OF THE CAFÉ

North Carolina-based wine importer Eric Solomon started his career in spirits as a bartender in Great Britain. The rock and roll drummer was a quick study and was sponsored by the Institute of Masters of Wine, excelling in their rigorous coursework until his UK student visa expired. Once back in the states, he found work as the director of fine wines for a Fortune 500 wine and spirits company and eventually became involved in wine importing, where he currently focuses on Spain and the south of France.

Eric was recognized as Robert Parker’s Wine Personality of the year in 2002 and in 2006, Solomon was awarded Best Importer of the Year by Food and Wine Magazine. He has been a James Beard Award semifinalist for Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Eric has chosen wine pairings for our upcoming Friends of the Café Dinner featuring John Currence. (Currently sold out, but click here to be added to the waitlist.) Here, we had the opportunity to ask Eric some questions about himself and get some information on the wines we will be enjoying at the dinner.

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AC: For our readers that may be unfamiliar with the subject, can you explain a little bit about what you do? 

ES: Many people have romantic notions about being a wine importer. Don’t get me wrong, I get to see, taste and experience unforgettable things but there is also a lot of travel, sleepless nights, overindulgent meals and challenging conversation. My passion for discovering the next great wine, and the scouting promising talent, makes it all worth it at the end of the day. Also, who would hire a rusty but enthusiastic rock drummer at this point? 

AC: When did you first develop an interest in wine? 

ES: It began in London in the late 1970s when I walked into a wine bar looking for a job since being a drummer for several rock bands wasn’t as lucrative as you would think. 

AC: Is there a specific quality in a wine producer that lets you know they might be a good match for European Cellars? 

ES: The classic wines of France and Burgundy, in particular, have always informed my taste in wine. This surprises a lot of people since my focus is on Spain and the south of France but balanced, thrilling and vibrant wines can be made in even the warmest sites. I seek wines that engage both your palate and mind, wines that evoke the place from where they come and wines made as transparent as possible. 

AC: Currently, how many producers do you work with?

ES: I currently work with about 100 producers in France, Spain, Switzerland, Macedonia, and Chile. 

AC: Are there regions that you are currently focusing on, whose vineyards are producing new or more inventive varietals?

ES: Quite the opposite, I look for ancient varieties and old vines and those who have rediscovered and nurtured them back to life! What is old is new again. There are more and more wines being created from indigenous varieties and the cutting edge of winemaking is guided by how wines were made centuries ago – concrete and clay amphorae are some of the “newest” addition to cellars these days. 

AC: Your company slogan is “Place Over Process.” Can you explain a little bit about what that means? 

ES: If a wine doesn’t taste like the vineyard it comes from, then I’m not interested in putting my name on the back label. Place Over Process is just a simple way of explaining terroir – the unique stamp of soil, vine, and climate which makes it unique.

AC: Many people just browsing for wines purchase based on interesting labels more than anything else. Are you involved in advising producers on branding and how important is branding in your marketing process?

ES: I import a small group of wines that represent some of the best values in the United States. For these custom cuvées, I’m involved in the entire process from selection of vineyards, winemaking, blending, labeling, and marketing. I want to make sure that as many Americans get a chance to try these wines as possible. But the majority of the wines I import are the same as you would find in Europe. This doesn’t stop me from sharing my opinions about an ugly label or an awkward name.

AC: What resources do you recommend for those who are wine novices, but want to learn more about the subject?

ES: The easiest way to learn about wine is to trust your palate. Drink what you like, but keep trying new things. After that, find a retailer that you can trust. It may cost a little more but these people are like librarians for wine.

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AC: Anything else you’d like us to know about you?

ES: Maybe if this wine importer gig doesn’t work out my fall back plan is to return to drumming. Know of any bands looking for an enthusiastic but somewhat rusty drummer? Musical references are The Who & Led Zeppelin…

AC: What can we look forward to at the Friends of the Café Dinner?

ES: Wines from growers you’ve never had before, from grapes you’re not familiar with, or places you couldn’t place on a map – and along the way some stories from my travels. It’s rumored that the stories get better as the evening goes along, so get a sitter! 

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN | 31/52 | 2018

“Things are never quite as scary when you’ve got a best friend.”Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson

Unlike relationships we are born with, like parents, siblings, and cousins, our friends are completely of our own choosing. Without any pretense or obligation, they are the people we choose to share our life with. They unselfishly offer comfort, encouragement, understanding, and laughter. In honor of these most-special people (and in recognition of International Day of Friendship on July 30th), this week is all about friendship to give you all the good feelings.

July 30th: International Day of Friendship

Friendship from Krista Tippett’s On Being Project

Make your own friendship necklaces with Alabama Studio Sewing + Design

An Unlikely Friendship;  a documentary on the comradery between a female civil rights activist and a (former) leader of the KKK

Friendship Chairs on the Journal

“11 Unforgettable Female Friendships in Literature”

Bring your friends and join us for the First and Third Tuesdays sewing groups, hosted every month at The Factory.

In Alabama: Helen Keller and Alexander Graham Bell

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ANNOUNCING JOHN CURRENCE, ERIC SOLOMON FOR AUGUST FRIENDS OF THE CAFÉ DINNER

Renowned chef John Currence was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, but has become a veritable institution in his adopted hometown of Oxford, Mississippi. John currently runs City Grocery—which he opened when he was 26—and three other restaurants: the “upscale downhome” Boure, French bistro-meets-Mississippi café Snackbar, and his homage to the most important meal of the day, Big Bad Breakfast. Big Bad Breakfast has expanded to five locations (including one in Florence), with a sixth on the way.

Over the last decade, the James Beard Award-Winning Currence has earned national recognition not only for his inventive and grounded restaurant group but also for his activism. He uses his platform as a chef to ask hard questions and demand action against injustice. Currence sees food as a vehicle for discussion and the communal table as a place where substantive conversations can be held. During these politically divisive times, John is willing to speak his mind when he sees a wrong that should be righted; he takes stands where others in the heart of the South may not. (Follow John on Twitter for lively debate.)

John has published two cookbooks, Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey: Recipes From My Three Favorite Food Groups (and then some) and Big Bad Breakfast: The Most Important Book of the Day. Today we announce John as the chef for our upcoming Friends of the Café Dinner (which is currently sold out); we are taking names for a waitlist here or call 256-701-8667. John will be collaborating with wine connoisseur extraordinaire Eric Solomon on the August dinner. (Look for more about Eric in the coming weeks on the Journal.)

This week, John took the time to answer some questions and, as always, he does not hold back. For this and dozens of other reasons, we are proud to call John a friend.

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AC: You got a bit of a non-traditional start in the culinary world, not attending culinary school and working just about every job you could – from cooking on a Gulf Coast tugboat to bakeries and butcher shops. You earned your spot working under the legendary Bill Neal and Brennan family. Has that journey influenced your style of cooking?

JC: I believe that every point in my life influences my food, as I know they do every chef I know. The journey to “becoming a chef” is entirely misunderstood. It is about gathering all of those moments and distilling from them exactly what the story is you are trying to tell through your food.

AC: Alabama Chanin is active in the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization that is also near to your heart. Why do you think it is so important to study foodways? What can looking at our communal past tell us about ourselves today?

JC: Our food, to a larger degree than most people recognize, illustrates our history and tells our story. No part of our country is richer in story or more misunderstood than the South and with the flattening of the world through the internet, overnight deliveries from anywhere on the planet, immediate communication, preserving those foodways and documenting their history and celebrating their significance has never been more critical. These are all things that could/would be easily washed away with the proliferation of corporate chain options and the evaporation of mom and pop venues rooted in those stories and history

AC: You were instrumental in helping to rebuild the New Orleans institution Willie Mae’s Scotch House after it was virtually destroyed by Katrina. This seems like a great example of how embracing shared foodways can create cultural change. What did you take away from that experience about people and about our shared histories?

JC: Working to drive the Willie Mae’s project to an end was simultaneously the proudest and most challenging/heartbreaking moment in my life. Had we not gotten involved, that little gem would have both failed to exist and would have fallen over into a heap of timber. We managed to save a restaurant that prior to the storm, NOBODY was aware existed, for the most part and people NEVER ventured into Treme to try, but by the end of our efforts, through the media attention given to the project, it immediately became one of the cult food destinations of NOLA. The friendships that were cemented in those hours inside that building, the understanding of the absolute need to save that little space and the opportunity to make a difference after an event like the flood of the city touched us all in the same way and, I like to think, gave everyone who came to help the pride of adding their names to that place.

AC: You are known for being outspoken politically and a bit of an activist. How do you reconcile that with your calling to bring people to the communal table? Does it make that mission easier or harder?

JC: We have NEVER been more polarized in our opinions/feelings/beliefs as we currently are and getting people to the table has never been more of a challenge. The greater issue now is that we are being led down a path where civility, decorum, truth, decency, dignity, and compassion/empathy are not just being pushed aside/buried, but they are being ridiculed as weaknesses or declared unpatriotic or entirely unimportant, at the very least. The volume of conversation has been turned up as loud as it will go, nobody is listening to what anyone else has to say and avarice rules the day. The current culture of fear-mongering by a certain segment of the population at the expense of the voiceless who carry the load of the nation’s daily workload obligation or those who exist on the fringe, is disturbingly misguided.

The flashes of the darkest moments of American history we are seeing today in the way that immigrants, members of the LGBT community, and intellectuals are alienated and demonized is astounding and terrifying. There has never been a time when we more desperately needed to breathe deeply and consider who we are and what we want to be. America, today, is quite simply, the worst version of itself it has ever been. By listening to each other we can begin to fix that. Sadly, we seem just has happy convening moments like Charlottesville in order to “preserve our heritage” or excusing tragedy like [the shooting that occurred at] Marjory Stoneman Douglas in an effort to “protect our second amendment rights” than we are to sit down and try to understand the roots of the issues that create those flashpoints. And what is worse is that we continue down this sinister rabbit hole, convinced that the struggle through all of this is what is defining us as “Great Again.” We are the worst joke on the current world stage and it will take all of us working together to right the current wrongs.

AC: When the immigration debate began in earnest, you posted a sign at your restaurant saying that everyone was welcome there. You also hosted a “Mexissippi Supper” to support the Mexican-American community—who are known to be essential to restaurant culture and operations. Can you explain why it is important to be openly active, in addition to working behind the scenes to effect change?

JC: Inaction is tantamount to complicity. I was raised to do the right thing, no matter the consequences so, given a platform and a microphone, I will always do just that. The people who work in our restaurants (and I speak for all of the chefs in my immediate circle of friends) are our family. THEY are the ones who give our clocks the ability to tick. To fail to speak up on their behalf, in my mind, is as significant a betrayal as one could deliver. On my own I am nothing. It takes a team of people to make any one of our restaurants work and I feel an obligation to defend my people, as I would my own daughter. When our people are well-taken care of, they are happy. When they are happy, we all prosper. When we prosper, we have the ability to nourish our communities and when we do so, we enrich the lives of the people living in them. This is the significance that is given the least amount of attention in what we do. All of that starts with taking care of our people which starts with simple gestures of respect, like taking the opportunity to speak on their behalf even though it may potentially have an adverse effect on business.

AC: Do you think that the concept of Southern food has been appropriated by people chasing trends? What is the most important thing about Southern food that most people eating at a new-school Southern restaurant would not know? And do you feel responsible to “keep it real”, so to speak, in your kitchens?

JC: As a society, we shamelessly jump trends and try to ride them through to prosperity. Southern food has certainly been a victim of that cultural appropriation, but because of the unending cultural and regional diversity of what Southern Food actually “is,” the purloined versions stand out as nothing less than cartoonish. I don’t think that we have ever thought of what we do as “keeping it real” as much as trying to maintain a dedication to the quality of ingredients and honesty of the narrative of our foods. Cooking in season and with the ingredients made available to us locally create a roadmap to that end. Examining the influences different populations have had on the landscape of our food with those ingredients is the journey we try to lead, but celebrating the beauty of our individual ingredients and showcasing the elemental beauty is the ultimate endgame.

AC: You’ve tackled subjects like poverty and hunger. There are reasons those problems are pervasive in the South, which you have spoken about. Is this a problem that can be tackled at a grassroots level? Is this a political conversation or a “communal table” conversation?

JC: The South has always been fraught with social and financial challenges. Dedication to addressing the issues on all levels here and elsewhere in the LONG TERM is the only way we will change things. We have allowed the well-being of our children, particularly those in greatest need, to become part of the political tug-of-war. Our children’s education, health, and well-being is not partisan fodder, but it has been hijacked and pitted in that light. We have to stand up and make this a non-negotiable if there is ever to be any hope of a brighter future.

AC: We’ve spoken with Hugh Acheson about helping children learn to make healthy choices in life and in the kitchen—which he does by creating curriculum that can be adopted in schools. Do you think starting these lessons early can really make a difference, or is the culture of immediacy too pervasive?

JC: Giving children hope, showing them that there are choices that fall into their hands and planting seeds early is the only way to counteract the extraction of hope.

AC: What is your earliest food-related memory?

JC: My great grandmother’s chocolate chip cookies.

AC: Do you remember the first dish you ever cooked by yourself?

JC: Potato Chip-Crusted Fried Chicken and Pigs In A Blanket for my family when I was 8.

AC: What is your most reliable go-to ingredient that you always keep on-hand in the kitchen?

JC: Bourbon

AC: What was your last truly great dining experience?

JC: A pot of the best seafood gumbo I ever made, on Sunday after last year’s SFA [Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium]. My mom and I worked over the pot all day long and agonized over EVERY detail. It was perfect and it was the last meal we ever ate together.

AC: In a culture where fast and easy solutions often prevail, what do you think is most important for home cooks to focus on? And what should they avoid buying when pre-packaged, if at all possible?

JC: Find the joy in cooking. Try to take in the fact that you are sharing an immensely personal moment when you prepare something and share that thing with someone you love. Consider “why” it is that you cooked that thing and what the story is behind why you cooked what you cooked. Just buy good ingredients. Make the time and share your love.

AC: At Alabama Chanin, you can often find music influencing the mood and the workflow in the studio. Do you play music in the kitchen and, if so, what is your favorite music to cook by?

JC: Music is arguably the biggest influence on my entire life. I am rarely without it. (I am listening to Exile On Mainstreet as I write). The list of what I love is too long, bizarre and complicated to say one thing or another is “favorite.” Different moods have different needs. I can go from The Stones to Soloman Burke, to the Clash, to Simon and Garfunkel, to John Paul White without the blink of an eye. These days I am back to spending a lot of time with early Springsteen (first three records plus Nebraska) but without provocation, I might switch to Minor Threat or Husker Du. Toots and the Maytals are a safe place, as is pre-pop Fleetwood Mac and any Elvis Costello…or Presley.

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN | 30/52 | 2018

“Cooking well doesn’t mean cooking fancy.”Julia Child

The bountiful harvests of summer make simple, fresh dishes, made from in-season vegetables and fruits, possible. Pair these with staple meats and seafood and summertime is sure to be delicious. In honor of this warm weather fare, this week is all about summer-eats.

Blackberry Farm’s Green Tomato Pie

Hot and Hot Creamy Shrimp and Grits

Summer recipes from The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Fried Peach, Blueberry, and Strawberry Pies

A recipe for Southern Antipasti

“The Evolution of American Barbeque”

White BBQ Sauce

Edna Lewis’ Fried Chicken

Short Stack Editions (also available in-store at The Factory)

Hot and Cold Tea Cocktails

Root to Leaf: Steven Satterfield cooks through the seasons

Secrets of the Southern Table: Virginia Willis shares the foods of the south

In Alabama: John Currence’s Big Bad Breakfast in Florence

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COCKTAILS @ THE FACTORY CAFÉ

We’re sharing a few of our favorite recipes for the featured libations from our spring Supper Club dinners at The Factory Café – just in time for your next summer celebration. Drink up.

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MICHELADA

1 12 oz. can or bottle of Modelo
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 oz. fresh juice from 2 limes
Tajín or another chili-salt blend
Kosher salt
Lime Wedges for garnish

Pour Tajín (or other chili-salt mixture) into a small, shallow dish in an even layer. Rub a pint or pilsner glass’s rim with a lime, then dip the glass into the dish to create a salt rim.

Set glass right side up and fill with lime juice, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Add a pinch or two of salt, fill the glass with ice, and top with beer. Stir gently if you want to mix it up a bit. Serve with remaining beer, topping up as you drink.

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STRAWBERRY BLISS

1 oz. Strawberry Puree
3 oz. Rosé Prosecco
2 Basil leaves

Muddle basil in an 8-ounce glass. Add the strawberry puree and top with Rosé Prosecco.

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SPRING BERRY

1 oz. Strawberry Puree
1 oz. Cannonborough Grapefruit and Elderflower Soda
1 oz. Rosé Wine
2 oz. Prosecco
3 Juniper Berries

Mix the strawberry puree, juniper berries, and Rosé together and chill. In a wine glass, combine 2 ounces of the wine mixture, Cannonborough soda, and top with Prosecco. Garnish with an edible flower.

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN | 29/52 | 2018

“Travelling is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, ‘I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station’.”Lisa St. Aubin de Teran

Road trips are a very sensory and immersive method of traveling. Unlike a plane, which only offers a patchwork view of the land below, road trips allow you to take any turn of your choosing, to pull off onto the side of the road and admire the view, to explore nature in each new place, and to visit the landmarks and restaurants that make up the community you just entered. This week find inspirations for your own road trips with some of our favorite travel-themed Journal posts and a bit of history on the guides that help you find your way.

12 Maps That Changed the World

Travel: Natchez Trace

Postcards from America

Travel: Nashville

Trains: Alabama to San Francisco

Travel: Birmingham

Back Road Vernacular

Charleston, South Carolina

Mabel Dodge Luhan House, New Mexico

For all your stops along the way: Field Guides

In Alabama: Alabama Road Trips

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IN THE COOLER @ THE FACTORY CAFÉ

In May, The Factory Café updated their Monday offerings to a self-service, picnic-style lunch on Antipasti Mondays when the full-service kitchen is closed. The stocked cooler has savory food and beverages that are available for grab and go any day of the week.

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For our Shoals community, much of this fare is only available at The Factory Café. The cooler is stocked with pints of our house made Gram Perkins’ egg salad, pimento cheese, and white barbecue chicken salad, as well as bacon jam and Belle Chevre artisan goat cheese. We also offer a selection of Harvest Roots’ fermented veggies and kombucha, Sweet Leaf organic teas, Mountain Valley Spring Water, and Fentimans botanically brewed sodas.

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The cooler also houses a selection of our favorite wines and craft beers (from Good People, Wild Heaven, and Monday Night Brewing to name a few) often featured at our dinners and events.

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If you are visiting from out of town, take note of the change to our Monday menu. The café serves Daily Lunch Tuesday – Friday from 11am – 2pm and Saturday brunch from 10am – 2pm. Shop the cooler during our store hours: Monday – Friday from 10am – 5pm and Saturday from 10am – 3pm.

And if you don’t already, following @alabamachaninfactorycafe on Instagram to stay up-to-date with our latest menu, events, and offerings.

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN | 28/52 | 2018

“I found I could say things with colors and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.”Georgia O’Keeffe

Our lives are full of and, in many ways, dictated by color. We express ourselves with the color of our hair and clothing. The vibe of our home can be decided by the color of the walls and decor. Colors instruct us when to drive through an intersection and where we can park our cars. Though this practicality is vital to daily life, color also welcomes us to explore our imaginations and is an indispensable medium for artistic expression. This week we take a deeper look at what exactly “color” is and the effects it has on our lives.

“The Magic and Logic of Color: How Josef Albers Revolutionized Visual Culture and the Art of Seeing”

Color Theory

How do colors affect our mood?

Color on the Journal

Pantone Color of the Year

Read about one our favorite colors, Indigo, on the Journal here, here, and here. And your own Indigo Dye Kit here.

How sight and color affect taste

“Frida Kahlo on the Meanings of the Colors”

Alabama Chanin’s fabric and textile paint colors

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BLTS (+ HAPPY 4TH OF JULY)

Nothing says summer like a perfectly ripe tomato, and every year our guests and Alabama Chanin employees alike eagerly await the first crop of Alabama tomatoes and, on its heels, the Heirloom BLT from The Factory Café.

The Factory Café’s Heirloom BLT elevates the classic sandwich with locally grown heirloom tomatoes, house-made aioli, thickly sliced bacon from the Fatback Pig Project, and Bluewater Creek Farm greens, sandwiched between two slices of toasted ciabatta. Served with your choice of chips, add a sweet tea or craft beer to complete the experience.

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Stop by tomorrow and try one for yourself, as The Factory Store and Café and all other Alabama Chanin offices are closed today in celebration of the 4th of July. (Or make your own at home.)

Happy Independence Day from all of us at Alabama Chanin.

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN | 27/52 | 2018

“I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand.”Susan B. Anthony

On the heels of Saudi Arabian women’s newly attained right to drive and just a few days away from the United States’ Fourth of July celebration, “independence” is on the forefront of our minds–more specifically female independence. This week we take a deeper look at the amendments, acts, and organizations championed by countless brave women across the decades that have made it possible for the modern woman to live with a sense of independence and grant the power to wield control over her livelihood, body, relationships, and political voice.

“The Butterfly Effect: Female Independence”

The Equal Pay Act of 1963

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” – The 19th Amendmend

“How Planned Parenthood Changed Everything”

“It is an important mission of Alabama Chanin to bring as much work as possible…to our local artisans who are able to work from their own homes, run their own businesses, and be in charge of their own lives and families.”

UN Women

Nest: Women’s empowerment in the handworker economy

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

Violence Against Women Act

Where does your state stand?

In Alabama: July 4th is a much-anticipated holiday here at Alabama Chanin. Explore a few of our favorite memories from the Journal here, here, and here, and Natalie’s recipe for Savory Star Biscuits here.

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RUSSET POTATO + DILLY BEAN SALAD WITH ASHLEY ENGLISH

We’ve long been fans of Ashley English—southern cook, homesteader, and holistic nutritionist. We have listened to her advice on how to be a gracious host as we create memorable experiences for our guests at The Factory—and even made a few of her pies. Ashley is back with a newly released cookbook, Southern from Scratch: Pantry Essentials and Down-Home Recipes. The goal of the cookbook is to help the reader build their very own southern-style pantry, completely from scratch. And it puts your new pantry to use with over 100 recipes.

We’ve picked out several must-try recipes, but our favorite is the Russet Potato + Dilly Bean Salad. Enjoy making the recipe below.

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RUSSET POTATO + DILLY BEAN SALAD
Serves 8 to 10

¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sea salt, for the cooking water
4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size cubes
1 cup Dilly Beans, chopped to ¾-inch lengths
½ cup Dilly Bean brine
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons coarse prepared mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Stir the vinegar and salt into 3 quarts of water in a large pot. Add the potatoes and turn the heat to high. As soon as the water comes to a boil, turn the temperature down to simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the potatoes are done, drain them well in a colander and let them sit for 5 minutes to let off some steam.

Spread out the potatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.

Transfer the potatoes to a medium mixing bowl. Gently fold in the dilly beans, pickling brine, mayonnaise, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.

Cover the mixing bowl and place in the refrigerator. Cool at least 1 hour before serving.

DILLY BEANS
Makes about 5 pints.

2 pounds green beans
3 cups white vinegar
3 cups water
¼ cup pickling salt
10 garlic cloves, peeled
5 teaspoons dill seeds
5 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
2 ½ teaspoons black peppercorns
10 sprigs fresh dill

Fill a canner or large stockpot with water, place five-pint jars inside, and set over medium-high heat. Bring just to the boiling point.

Bring the vinegar, water, salt to a full, rolling boil in a medium pot. Remove the pot from the heat. Transfer the brine to a pourable, spouted container, such as a heatproof measuring cup, if desired.

Using a jar lifter, remove the hot jars from the canner and place on top of a kitchen cloth on the counter. Place 2 garlic cloves, I teaspoon dill seeds, 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, ½ teaspoon peppercorns, and 2 sprigs fresh dill in each jar. With the help of a canning funnel, pack the green beans into the jars, topped off by the brine, reserving ½ inch headspace.

Use a spatula or wooden chopstick to remove any trapped air bubbles around the interior circumference of the jars. Wipe the rims clean with a damp cloth. Place the lids and screw bands, tightening only until fingertip-tight.

Again using a jar lifter, slowly place the filled jars in the canner. Be sure that the jars are covered by at least 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil, and then process for 10 minutes, starting the timer once the water is at a full, rolling boil.

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P.S.: We’re hosting an Instagram giveaway with Ashley for your chance to win a copy of Southern from Scratch. To enter for a chance to win, follow @smallmeasure, @roostbooks and @alabamachaninfactorycafe on Instagram, leave a comment on @alabamachaninfactorycafe’s post and tag a friend.

The giveaway ends on June 30th at 11:59pm CST and is open to U.S. residents 18+ older. We will pick a winner next week and message you for your contact information. Good luck!

Recipe courtesy of Southern from Scratch by Ashley English, © 2018 by Ashley English.  Photographs by Johnny Autry, © 2018 by Johnny Autry. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO.

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN | 26/52 | 2018

“She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.” – Annie Dillard, The Living

With summer underway and warm evenings, relaxing weekends, and long-awaited vacations offering the perfect opportunities to slow down and catch up on reading, this week we share a summer reading list—filled with classic works by native Alabamians.

Their Eyes Were Watching God: Zora Neale Hurston

All Over but the Shoutin’: Rick Bragg

Women, Race, & Class: Angela Davis

Crazy in Alabama: Mark Childress

Rosa Parks: My Story: Rosa Parks, with Jim Haskins

Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions: Daniel Wallace

If the Legends Fade: Tom Hendrix

South to a Very Old Place: Albert Murray

Tongues of Flame: Mary Ward Brown

The World I Live In: Helen Keller

To Kill a Mockingbird: Harper Lee

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FRIENDS OF THE CAFE: REBECCA WILCOMB MENU PREVIEW

We are counting down the days until James Beard award-winning chef Rebecca Wilcomb is in house for the second dinner of our 2018 Friends of the Café Dinner series. To add to our excitement, Rebecca recently sent the menu for the night. It’s infused with Italian accents, a nod to her family history. You won’t want to miss this.

Rebecca will kick off the evening with crab melt, chickpea fritters and Caponata, beef with anchovies and olives, and shrimp spiedini.

The first course will be Giannina’s tortellini. The second course, served family style, will feature porchetta from Bear Creek Farms and grilled cobia with Calabrian chilies, served with an Italian rice salad, marinated peppers, and a charred okra salad.

The night will come to a close over summer fruit hand pies. If that sounds as good to you as it does to us, please join us. There are a handful of tickets left – grab yours now.

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“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees…I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

The summer solstice (or equinox) in the northern hemisphere brings the longest day and shortest night of the entire year. It has been celebrated for millennia as a time of new beginnings, fertility, and fruitful harvests. With the solstice happening Thursday, this week we explore fascinating landmarks and celebrations that honor the summer equinox, across the United States and the world.

History behind summer solstice celebrations

The summer solstice at Stonehenge: England

The Festival of Saint Joan: Spain

Solstice marker at Puerco Pueblo: Arizona

Intihuatana, “hitching post of the sun”: Peru

Sun Tunnels by Nancy Holt: Utah

Summer solstice fires: Austria

“Woodhenge:” Ohio

The Sun Dance: The Great Plains, United States

In Alabama: Midsummer Night’s Eve on the Journal

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2018 SUPPER CLUBS (+ A PLAYLIST)

In 2017, The Factory Café introduced The Factory Café Supper Club, a new type of dinner series prepared in full by Chef Ray, our café team, and members of our local culinary community. The dinners feature multiple courses with wine and beer pairings, specialty cocktails, and a low-key, unique atmosphere. This year the café team has hosted several Supper Club dinners, each featuring a different type of cuisine.

For Valentine’s Day, guests enjoyed a romantic, Italian-style dinner complete with house-made pastas, meatballs, and tiramisu.

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Grass Fed Meatballs with Red Sauce

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Fettucine Alfredo

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Tiramisu

For March’s Ala-Mex Supper Club dinner, Chef Ray partnered with John Cartwright of Rivertown Coffee. The evening included favorite Mexican dishes with a southern spin (hello, tamales with collard greens).

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Sweet Potato Tamale with collard greens, Hominy, Salsa Macha

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Tri Tip Colorado with cucumber, radish, bibb, and herbs

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Michelada – Modelo, lime, spices

April kicked off the 2018 Friends of the Café Dinner Series with Steven Satterfield and was followed by a French-inspired May Supper Club. Think escargot in herbed butter, steak with pepper sauce on a bed of Swiss chard, cheese platters, and toasted pound cake with strawberries and lemon cream—accompanied by this great playlist (below).

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Burgundy snails, butter, and herbs

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Bonnie Blue Farm Cheese selection from Waynesboro, Tennessee

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Toasted Pound Cake with strawberries, tarragon, and lemon cream

If you missed out on the past Supper Club dinners, The Factory Café has four more scheduled for 2018. Next up is July’s dinner with special wine pairing from Broc Cellars, an urban winery in California that creates natural wines through spontaneous fermentation. Tickets go on sale next week and seating is limited. For more details and to see where you can purchase tickets, visit our Events page or call 256-701-8667 or email events@alabamachanin.com.

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN | 24/52 | 2018

“One of the greatest gifts my father gave me—unintentionally—was witnessing the courage with which he bore adversity…He was always unshaken, completely tranquil, the same ebullient, laughing, jovial man.” – Ben Okri

By the time Father’s Day was proclaimed an official holiday in 1972, it had already been unofficially celebrated for 63 years—since Sonora Smart Dodd, who was raised by a single father after her mother’s untimely death, was inspired by a Methodist sermon to commemorate a day that would be dedicated specifically to fathers. With the holiday a few days away, this week we honor the admirable fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, and all the men in our own lives who have raised us, inspired us, and positively affected our lives in a myriad of invaluable ways.

Jackson Pollock’s letter from his dad

“I want them to remember that they were loved.” Two fathers’ experiences with foster care.

The data behind stay-at-home-dads

Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden

“Doing the Best I Can. Fatherhood in the Inner City.”

The history of Father’s Day on the Journal

Martin Luther King, Sr. on his son’s death

Portrait of my Father Wilhelm Kahlo by Frida Kahlo

Find ready-to-ship gifts for dad in our Cook + Dine section, like the Hawks and Doves Knife Roll and Sean Brock’s Heritage cookbook. Give us a call at 256-760-1090 to check on shipping deadlines. The Factory Store is preparing Father’s Day gift bundles this week. Stop in to create a gift set for dad.

In Alabama: “Beef for Father’s Day”

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SMOKED RIBS + THE FACTORY CAFE

Summertime and barbecue go hand-in-hand and, with that in mind, The Factory Café can help you make the most of your July 4th holiday weekend. The Factory Café team will be preparing racks of smoked ribs and other BBQ-worthy sides for events and get-togethers, available for pickup (or Shoals delivery) the weekend before Independence Day.

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Smoked ribs are being offered for $20 per rack. Add a quart of potato salad and a pint of mustard slaw for the perfect trifecta. We’re also making cheese biscuits by the dozen.

Order by 4:00pm on Tuesday, June 26th for pick up or delivery on Saturday, June 30th.

Place your orders for pickup here on our website or contact Anne Ryan at events@alabamachanin.com to place your order for Shoals delivery.

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN | 23/52 | 2018

“The white T-shirt is like a blank canvas – eternally versatile.” ­ Edward Enninful

Whether stark white and paired with jeans for the epitome of cool or emblazoned with a bold political statement, the t-shirt has held a special place in the hearts of most since Marlon Brando donned one in1951’s A Streetcar Named Desire. Styled from old-fashioned union suits and originally produced for the U.S. Navy as a protective layer under their uniforms, the t-shirt has risen from an undergarment to a tool for personal expression.  From its history as a canvas for culture and individuality to kits and techniques to craft your own personal garment, this summer is all about the t-shirt for us.

The Clean Tee—which launches next Tuesday—is our consciously crafted series of classic t-shirts made in our Bldg.14 manufacturing facility. In anticipation, we share inspirations and stories about this classic wardrobe staple.

“The T-Shirt: A Rebel with a Cause”

“How Statement T-Shirts Unite Black History, Culture, and Fashion”

The T-Shirt Book by Charlotte Brunel

“Travels of a T-Shirt” on the Journal

With three sleeve options and six colors to choose from, our Rib Crew is perfect for any season or occasion.

“That one can live with air and love:” the Air Love Tee

Create your own tee with our Anna’s Garden, Striped, and Lata T-Shirt DIY Kits

DIY T-Shirt Modifications on the Journal

Give an old tee new life with Shibori, Ombré, Ice Dye, and Tie Dye instructions

In Alabama: Tee Jays and the Sweetwater Mill

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Q&A WITH CHEF REBECCA WILCOMB

Rebecca Wilcomb has worked for and under the tutelage of several renowned chefs, including Keith Pooler at Harvest and Ana Sortun at Oleana, both in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Even so, it is safe to say that she has found a place to truly shine at Herbsaint in New Orleans, Chef Donald Link’s flagship restaurant.

After moving to New Orleans in 2008, Wilcomb worked the line at Herbsaint under Link and Chef Ryan Prewitt, eventually taking over as chef de cuisine in 2011. There she is able to combine the rich Louisiana food culture with her family’s Italian culinary heritage. Her dishes feel both personal and rooted in a sense of place. A member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, Rebecca works closely with local fishermen, farmers, and purveyors to maintain the highest possible level of freshness and quality. In May of 2017, she won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: South, and soon she will be overseeing our upcoming Friends of the Café Dinner. We took the chance to speak with Rebecca in anticipation of the event.

AC: What drew you to New Orleans? And how has its unique and varied food culture impacted your way of looking at food?

RW: Honestly, I moved to New Orleans to escape winter. I was living in Boston at the time and just couldn’t stomach another long, cold stretch. New Orleans just kind of called to me. It’s so rich with culture, food, music, art…at the time it seemed so exciting. Ten years later, it still fills me with that same feeling. Life is really celebrated here. I can’t imagine being anyplace else.

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AC: You stepped into renowned chef Donald Link’s flagship restaurant, Herbsaint. Did you feel any pressure to put your own stamp on the place? What did you want to shine through on your menu?

RW: Herbsaint is a special place. For me, being a good steward and maintaining the standards set by Donald was very important. Part of that is pushing hard every day—grinding it out. When you do that, your stamp naturally gets put on a place. It becomes a part of you, and you of it. I’m not a planner; I let things happen organically. The only goal I had for the food was to stay true to the ingredients and to myself. What ended up shining through on the menu was an expression of who I am and where I come from. From my first dish on the menu of blistered chilies with whipped feta and fried lemon, to lamb lasagna, to beef with anchovies, to ceviche—every dish has come from love. The chilies were an ode to Oleana, a restaurant I worked in as a young cook and was deeply influenced by. The lamb lasagna is a labor of love—the love of a granddaughter for her Nonna. The beef with anchovies is a reflection of my deep pride in my Italian heritage.

AC: With the growing challenge to a male-based culinary culture, do you see yourself as a role model for women in professional kitchens? What are the biggest challenges for women in the industry? How does an organization begin to tackle those challenges? (We know this is a big question!)

RW: Geez. Well, this is a big question, and I hope is something that continues to be a part of the dialogue for a long time. We should never stop talking about how to make the world a better place. It’s important for women and men to make good choices. Choose to work for people who have a strong moral compass and treat their employees well. Choose to speak out against injustices and unfair practices in the workplace. Choose to work hard every day and treat those around you with respect. I’ve always worked for people and companies who treat their employees well. Tackling big challenges isn’t an issue if you start out doing the right thing. We as women have found our voice, and people are listening. Poor behavior can no longer be tolerated.

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AC: What is your earliest food-related memory?

RW: I remember being very young and in Italy for Christmas, and seeing my Nonna cut the head off of a goose and a corn kernel falling out of its neck.

AC: Do you remember the first dish you ever cooked by yourself?

RW: Pasta with tomato sauce. I loved making that when I was a kid. It was easy, and I couldn’t mess it up.

AC: What is your most reliable go-to ingredient? What do you always keep on-hand in your home kitchen?

RW: I always have good olive oil. I start and finish everything with a good olive oil.

AC: Do you have seasonal favorites? How do you incorporate seasonal foods into your menus?

RW: I have so many seasonal favorites. I especially love greens—turnip greens, mustards, arugula, lacinato kale, cabbage, spinach—I could eat greens with every meal. Braised, grilled, fermented, pickled—they’re the best. We have a company forager and have built a vast network of farmers who grow awesome things for us. Most of our meat, fish, produce, dairy, and rice come from people in our community. I try to use as much as possible from our neighbors.

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AC: When was your last truly great meal/dining experience?

RW: I went to Mosca’s a few weeks ago. It’s this old-school Italian place outside of New Orleans. The food is straightforward and delicious, the staff is welcoming, and you get to play your own music on the jukebox. It’s a really special place with a lot of history.

AC: In a culture where fast and easy solutions often prevail, what do you think is most important for home cooks to focus on? And what should they avoid buying when pre-packaged, if at all possible?

RW: Basic technique. If home cooks learn the basics, cooking becomes that much more fun. Don’t ever buy pre-packaged gnocchi. They are terrible.

AC: Like Alabama Chanin, you are an active member of the Southern Foodways Alliance. What drew you to the organization and what does it mean to you?

RW: I was introduced to the SFA by Donald Link. The organization is filled with people passionate about the South and its history. I’ve always been interested in the history of things and where stuff comes from. The SFA examines and preserves our history, and considers our future while saving a seat for everyone at the table. Knowing where we, all of us, come from is vital to understanding who we are. And who we are is not only what we eat and drink, but also why we eat and drink what we do. The SFA is a very important piece of who I am as a chef in the South.

AC: At Alabama Chanin, you can often find music influencing the mood and the workflow in the studio. If you have music in your kitchen, what is your favorite music to cook by?

RW: I really like listening to Buena Vista Social Club and Gypsy Kings while cooking. I need something upbeat. Opera, rock, hip-hop all make the list. My new favorite is Kendrick Lamar—his music is really great. Rarely do I put on anything mellow.

AC: Congratulations on your James Beard Award! What was it like hearing your name called?

RW: Thanks! It was surreal. I just didn’t think I stood a chance of winning. It was quite a shock and a very special moment.

Rebecca will lead our June 21st Friends of the Café Dinner, benefitting the Southern Foodways Alliance. Each ticket includes cocktails, passed appetizers, a four-course dinner, and wine pairings. As always, you can expect lots of great conversation and fellowship. The menu will include local and regional vegetables, meats, and other ingredients. Tickets are currently still available and may be purchased here.

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN | 22/52 | 2018

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” – Henry James

The (unofficial) start of summer is here, especially in Alabama where we have already seen days that top 90 degrees. To help you get a head start on your summer plans, this week we share dinners and workshops happening at The Factory (and beyond), a few of our favorite summer cocktails—perfect for afternoon barbeques or late nights on the patio with friends—and the histories behind summer-time holidays.

June

Flag Day: June 14th

American Flag Quilt on the Journal

Classic Studio Week: June 11th – 16th

One-Day Workshop at Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences: June 16th

Patternmaking Weeklong Workshop: June 18th – 22nd

Friends of the Café Dinner: Rebecca Wilcomb: June 21st

Cocktail: Strawberry Rosemary Prosecco

July

Independence Day: July 4th

Before the Parade Passes By on the Journal

The Factory Cafe Supper Club: July 19th

Cocktail: The Margarita: A Plea for Tequila

August

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day: August 4th (The Factory Café has the best.)

How to Bake the Perfect Cookie on the Journal

Intro to Hand-Sewing Workshop: August 17th

Friends of the Café Dinner: Surprise Chef: August 23rd

Cocktail: Tiki Drinks

In Alabama: Chilton County peaches

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STEVEN SATTERFIELD RECAP

We couldn’t have asked for a livelier kick-off to our 2018 Friends of the Café Dinner Series. James Beard award-winning chef Steven Satterfield joined us in house and created a flawless meal.

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Steven started the night out with rye biscuits topped with sweet butter and country ham, radishes with whipped feta and a pesto drizzle, and crispy gougères fired in a cast iron skillet to create a crisp crust around a soft, cheesy filling topped with tatsoi aioli. The hors d’oeuvres were paired with the Strawberry Bliss, made form a combination of Rosé Prosecco, Jack Rudy Elderflower Tonic, Strawberry, and Basil. Our friends at Blackberry Farm provided their Classic Saison and Boundary Tree beers for the evening.

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The first course featured a vibrant spring pea soup, served with lightly seared dumplings and a bright Gruner Valtinen Kamptal. Next came a chilled spring vegetable salad topped with fromage blanc and green garlic breadcrumbs, and paired with a refreshing Cotes du Rhone Blanc with notes of apple and vanilla.

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The main course was served family style and spotlighted Guinea hens from White Oak Pastures, served with a dijon jus and bitter greens. Steven paired the chicken with mushroom and foraged-nettle polenta and his favorite Langhe Nebbiolo Perbacco from Vietti.

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The fourth and final course was a strawberry + buttermilk cake trifle served with a Brut Champagne and topped with pansies from Natalie’s garden. The strawberries were grown at Berry Farm in Tuscumbia, just across the river from Florence.

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Special thanks go to Steven Satterfield, Forest Kellogg, and team, Bluewater Creek Farm, Blackberry Farm, Bonnie Blue Farm, and St. Florian Fiber Farm. Tickets are still available for the rest of our Friends of the Café Dinner Series. Stay up to date on all events happening at The Factory by liking us on Facebook or following along on Instagram.

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN | 21/52 | 2018

“The table is a meeting place, a gathering ground, the source of sustenance and nourishment, festivity, safety, and satisfaction. A person cooking is a person giving: Even the simplest food is a gift.” – Laurie Colwin

Last week, The James Beard Foundation held their annual awards ceremony (it’s like the Oscar’s for the food world). Chefs and friends of Natalie were both nominees and winners. Our congratulations to Frank and Pardis Stitt who won Outstanding Restaurant for Highlands Bar and Grill; to their pastry chef Dolester Miles who won Outstanding Pastry Chef, and to Lisa Donovan who won Best Personal Essay in Journalism. We have been fortunate to have had both Frank and Lisa cook with us at The Factory Cafe, so in their honor, this week we feature friends, collaborators, and inspirations from the culinary world.

Alice Waters, Chez Panisse, and 40 years of sustainable food

“The Evolution of Ashley Christensen” (read more about Ashley and her capsule collection with Alabama Chanin on the Journal)

“Julia Child, Like You’ve Never Seen Her Before”

Asha Gomez “connects the dots of cultural cuisines”

Cherry Bombe Magazine’s “Tribute to Judith Jones”

Lisa Donovan’s poignant contribution to the #metoo movement

Edna Lewis, the chef “who placed Southern cooking in the pantheon of great cuisines”

Vivian Howard’s Emmy-winning series, A Chef’s Life

Angie Mosier’s Butterscotch Pie

James Beard Award winner and visiting chef, Rebecca Wilcomb

In Alabama: The Alabama Food Frontier, Development of Cuisine, 800 to the Present

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BOXED LUNCHES @ THE FACTORY CAFÉ

The Factory Café has you covered on all fronts—and that also includes catering. The café team can create boxed lunches that accommodate large groups of employees and students.

Our boxed lunches are easily customizable and deliverable. Each to-go lunch box comes with a sandwich, one side, and one sweet. Choose from our classic Grilled Pimento Cheese, White BBQ Chicken, Roast Beef Sandwich, or popular The Factory Burger. Pair your sandwich with a selection of sides like Route 11 potato chips, roasted potato wedges, or The Factory Salad with a tangy lemon citronette dressing.

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Our options for sweets are Chocolate Chip Cookies or one of Ms. Shirley’s No Bake Chocolate + Oatmeal Cookies.

For our Shoals community, next time you’re hosting a crowd give us a call 24 hours in advance, and we’ll prepare your lunch. Find more of The Factory Café’s catering options—for breakfast, hors d’oeuvres, weddings, and special events—on our Catering page on AlabamaChanin.com. Like our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram to stay up to date on all menu offerings.

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BRUNCH (+ CIABATTA TOAST)

Avocado toast took over the internet in 2016. And while we aren’t big on trends, we love our ciabatta toast—which is the perfect canvas for a multitude of brunch toppings. Chef Ray has developed his own unique versions with sweet and savory options.

The Factory Café’s “classic” take on avocado toast: a piece of toasted, house-made ciabatta topped with avocado, lemon, a fried egg, greens from Bluewater Creek Farm, chives, and plenty of hot sauce.

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For a sweeter option, try the toast with strawberries, mascarpone, farm cheese, basil, and sprinkled with black pepper. Another (sweet and savory) version features Tennessee Sourwood honey, melted butter, and thyme.

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We intend the toasts to be either a brunch starter to share with the table or a meal of your own, paired with a side of Fatback Pig Project bacon or a Big Bad Breakfast sausage patty. Pair your meal with a  mimosa made from freshly squeezed orange juice or a cup of The Factory Blend coffee. See you Saturday.

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN | 16/52 | 2018

“We have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do.” – Barbara Shelley

Earth Day, which has been celebrated in the United States on April 22nd for the past 48 years, serves as a reminder to us to treat all aspects of the Earth—water, land, sea, air, flora, and fauna—with kindness and with consideration for future generations. With this sense of stewardship in mind, this week we explore the female conservationists, activists, explorers, and healers who made it their lives’ work to safeguard our planet.

Nobel laureate and founder of the Green Belt Movement, Wangari Muta Maathai

Mardy Murie, “grandmother of the conservation movement”

Lakota tribe member and environmental activist JoAnn Tall advocated against uranium mining and nuclear weapons testing on tribal lands.

Rachel Carson on the Journal

TED Talk with legendary ocean researcher, Sylvia Earle

Dr. Jane Goodall on being a woman in a male-dominated field

The first African American awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize, Margie Richard

Dr. Sangdeaun Chailert’s Elephant Nature Park in Thailand provides protection and rehabilitation for abused Asian elephants.

In Alabama: “Our goal is to save the places that matter most to Alabamians so that we can pass along our rich and unique natural heritage to those who come after us.” – The Freshwater Land Trust

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And we want to say thank you again to everyone who participated in The Gathering—guests, friends, family, the Alabama Chanin team, and artisans. And to Steven Satterfield and team, Leigh and Cliff Spencer of Alabama Sawyer, Karl and Sarah Worley and the Biscuit Love team, Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. and Brooks and Ben Reitz, Cathead Vodka and Pat Floyd, 116 E. Mobile, Mountain Valley Water, Blackberry Farm, and White Oak Pastures for contributing to the unforgettable weekend.

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LAST CALL: THE GATHERING

We’re getting ready for a big weekend at The Factory as we prepare for The Gathering 2018. Join as we celebrate an integral part of our company: community. Natalie has built Alabama Chanin around our community in the Shoals—but it extends beyond that. Because of technology, we are able to connect to a global community of makers, sewers, and advocates for sustainable and ethical manufacturing. We hear your stories in the comments of our Journal, the emails to our team, and during your visits to The Factory. Thank you for sharing your voice.

If you read our company’s mission, community is listed as a guiding principle: “for Alabama Chanin to be an active part of our community”; and in our hierarchy of systems: “that our work benefits the larger community”. This weekend will be a celebration filled with good food, drinks, stories, and, most importantly, people.

Please join us.

View a full schedule of events here.

Please note: In lieu of Saturday Brunch service, The Factory Café is serving a Community lunch on Saturday at noon. BBQ plates with sides will be $7 and a lecture from Natalie will follow the lunch.

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A special thanks to friends like Mountain Valley Spring Water, Cathead Distillery, Jack Rudy Cocktail Co., Party Pros, Steven Satterfield and team, and The Worley’s at Biscuit Love—the weekend wouldn’t be possible without you all.

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN | 15/52 | 2018

“A community is made up of intimate relationships among diversified types of individuals—a kinship group, a local group, a neighborhood, a village, a large family.” – Carroll Quigley

As we prepare to host friends, family, Shoals locals, guests from afar, and our making community for The Gathering this week, we were inspired to explore our own community’s rich history of music, architecture, and beloved landmarks.

“The Alabama recording studio where music was never segregated:” Muscle Shoals Sound Studio

Add to your playlist: The 20 Best Songs Ever Recorded in Muscle Shoals

The Rosenbaum House on the Journal

Explore the history of the University of North Alabama, whose Florence campus was designed by the Olmsted brothers, sons of Central Park designer, Frederick Law Olmsted.

Tom Hendrix’s Wall; a “tribute to a Native American’s journey home”

The trees of Ivy Green, birthplace of Helen Keller

Florence native and Father of the Blues, W.C. Handy

Utilizing ancient Roman and Greek architecture, Wilson Dam is the “only neoclassical – style dam in the TVA system”

In Alabama: Alabama Cotton on the Journal

Find these (and more) in our Travel Series on the Journal.

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UPCOMING EVENTS: THE GATHERING

Our annual community picnic is quickly approaching, and we’ve added even more programming to the event this year. We’re offering everything from cocktail workshops, to sewing workshops, to community tours.

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New and noteworthy events added to the schedule include a chair workshop taught by Natalie and The School of Making team. Use cotton jersey scraps to repurpose and redesign a ladder-back chair. This workshop is modeled after Alabama Chanin’s Makeshift series and will cover a wide range of topics such as craft, design, and DIY.

The chair workshop takes place in The School of Making’s newly expanded workshop and studio space. Come out for a first preview of the space during our picnic. As our programming grows, we’re adding more interactive experiences to The School of Making like a mending table where you can repair your own garments for free. Scraps and tools will be available to work with—or bring our own.

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The Factory Store will also be hosting Leigh and Cliff Spencer of Alabama Sawyer for a pop-up shop Friday, April 13th and Saturday, April 14th. Alabama Sawyer is a Birmingham-based company that creates housewares like wine racks, compost bins, and cutting boards from fallen and salvaged local trees in their city.

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Don’t forget to sign up for the Cocktail Workshop hosted by Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. and Cathead Distillery on Friday, April 13th. Learn to craft your own cocktails and punches while enjoying small bites and snacks. Stay after the workshop is over and enjoy a pop-up bar and music.

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There are also a small number of tickets left for the Friends of the Café Dinner featuring James Beard award-winning chef, Steven Satterfield. Tickets for all events included in The Gathering are available on our Events page. And stay up to date by liking Alabama Chanin and The Factory Café on Facebook and following along on Instagram.

WEEKEND ITINERARY

Thursday, April 12th
6:00pm  Friends of the Café | Steven Satterfield

Friday, April 13th
10:00am  Custom DIY Workshop
11:00 – 2:00pm  Lunch @ The Factory
2:00pm  The Factory Tour
2:30pm – 3:30pm Chair Workshop
6:00pm  Jack Rudy + Cathead Cocktail Workshop @ 116 E. Mobile

Saturday, April 14th
9:00am – 10:00am  One-Hour Embroidery Stitches Workshop
10:00am Doors Open
10:30am  The Factory Tour
10:00 – 2:00pm  Stenciling Booth
11:00am – 12:00pm   One-Hour T-Shirt Workshop
12:00pm  Lunch + Artisan Recognition
1:00pm  History of the Company with Natalie
2:30pm  Swampette Tour (Pre-registration required.)

Sunday, April 15th
10:30am  Biscuit Love Brunch: First seating
12:30am  Biscuit Love Brunch: Second seating

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THE FACTORY + ALABAMA CHANIN | 14/52 | 2018

“I think the degree of a nation’s civilization may be measured by the degree of enlightenment of its women.” – Helen Keller, “My Future as I See It,” Metropolitan Magazine, 1904

Throughout history women have been leaders, organizers, and advocates against injustices of many forms; from voting rights to racial and gender equality. As the final post in our series honoring Women’s History Month, we explore some of the most influential female activists in American history.

One of the “most important, yet least-known activists in American history,” Dolores Huerta

Feminist, Gloria Steinem

Dr. Dorothy Height, civil rights leader and former president of the NCNW

“Activist and American Revolutionary,” Grace Lee Boggs

Sarah Deer, advocate for Native American survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence

Black Lives Matter co-founder, Patrisse Cullors

Alice Paul, suffragette

In Alabama: “She’s a special lady, a working-class lady, and a fighter.” – Michelle Obama on equal pay advocate and Jacksonville native, Lilly Ledbetter.

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THE GATHERING: BISCUIT LOVE BRUNCH

Karl and Sarah Worley’s restaurant concept Biscuit Love had its beginnings in an Airstream trailer food truck named Lilly. From those humble first steps, the Worleys have now opened three brick-and-mortar establishments in the Nashville, Tennessee, area that can attract lines of customers, hungry for biscuits and other Southern fare. Sarah and Karl are a husband and wife team, both of whom hold culinary degrees from Johnson & Wales. Together, they have tapped into something genuine, by focusing on ingredients, technique, and community. Biscuit Love locally sources as much as possible, serving dishes that make both Nashville natives and tourists feel at home. The Biscuit Love team will be a part of our upcoming annual picnic and gathering—hosting brunch at The Factory on April 15th— so we spoke with Karl as a way to introduce the company to the uninitiated.

AC: Who taught you how to make biscuits?

KW: I watched my grandmother as a child. I never took the time to learn from her, unfortunately. I taught myself as an adult.

AC: Almost every biscuit maker has a special family-based story around their biscuit recipes. I think that is the same case with you. Would you like to talk about that?

KW: I think biscuits are one of those personal things. My grandmother’s drop biscuit recipe is the same for me. It takes me back home every time I make them.

AC: Both Karl and Sarah have culinary degrees from Johnson & Wales. That being said, how did the simple biscuit become the centerpiece of your business?

KW: Sarah was the brilliant one behind that, but I believe it speaks to so many southerners personally. We are honored to carry on the tradition.

AC: You started as a food truck? What gave you the idea and the gumption to serve biscuits from a food truck?

KW: Yes…a borrowed one. (Thanks, Jason.) Sarah told me my hot chicken (before the craze) idea would never work! She suggested biscuits, and I liked the idea of serving sandwiches from a food truck!

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AC: You now have 3 locations and your restaurants often have a line of customers willing to wait quite a while to get inside. How did you make the decision to expand?

KW: #Blessed! We had always wanted to see where the business would go. We love what we do, and think we have built a platform to have Biscuit Love locations in a few areas!

AC: Why do you think you have been able to cultivate such community support?

KW: We serve honest food! We try to serve amazing Southern food that touches something in a person’s soul.

AC: A biscuit may seem like a simple offering, but making a truly great biscuit is an art. Do you have any secrets to share or tips to improve biscuit making technique?

KW: Use GREAT ingredients, cast iron is your friend, and pick a recipe and keep perfecting it. It is like riding a bike. It takes a while to get the hang of it, but after you do, you don’t forget how!

AC: You also serve other classic Southern dishes that are simple but elevated. How do you decide which dishes make the cut?

KW: I usually begin with an idea, and work to get a dish out for Sarah and our family to try. I am not afraid of honest feedback as to if the dish should hit the menu. Sarah is a great visionary of if the dish will work and how to better execute it!

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AC: Basing your entire business around a biscuit seems like a risky undertaking, and yet you have been undeniably successful. How do you balance trend and tradition, and how do you think you are able to appeal to both tourists and locals so successfully?

KW: I think breakfast is one of those meals that naturally makes people happy. We didn’t go into it with that in mind, but I am glad we chose the breakfast space for that reason.

AC: I imagine it can be tricky to navigate running a business with your spouse. How do you negotiate those hurdles? Or, has it been a natural fit for you?

KW: We are still learning every day. If anyone has pointers, I am all ears. We are learning to work in our strength areas and know when to hold tight to what is important to each of us. We try to be a little better every day with it!

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AC: At Alabama Chanin, it is essential to our product that we create relationships with our makers and choose the right sources and suppliers. What part does this play in your philosophy?

KW: It is one of the things we are most proud of. We still source around 50% of what we use locally. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Forming partnerships with people who have amazing products and being able to actually call and talk to my vendors is a big reason I love the business. We have seen some of our vendors grow as we grow, which is an amazing feeling!

AC: How many biscuits would you estimate that you serve on an average Saturday?

KW: 3500… Whew, that is a lot of biscuits from 5-6 dedicated people!

AC: And is it true that you don’t use an electric mixer for your biscuit dough?

KW: Never… you have to feel the dough to know what it’s telling you!

Experience Biscuit Love firsthand in Florence on April 15th during The Gathering. Brunch will be served in two seatings and advance registration is required. Reserve your seat here.

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COCKTAILS @ THE FACTORY

Visiting chefs contribute cocktail recipes for our Friends of the Café Dinner series—now in its fourth year—with chef Steven Satterfield in the kitchen on April 12th.

For The Factory Café’s new Supper Club series (learn more here), our in-house team creates their own unique cocktails. We’re sharing the recipes from our 2017 Harvest Dinner below. Impress friends at your next gathering, or make and shake and bring in another weekend. Either way, cheers.

MUSCADINE VINE

1 oz Muscadine Simple Syrup
2 oz prosecco
3 oz white wine
.5 oz lime juice
Mint for garnish

Yield: 1 cocktail

Mix all ingredients together and garnish with mint.

MUSCADINE SIMPLE SYRUP

Mix equal parts fresh, whole muscadines, granulated sugar, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until muscadines become soft and break open. Remove from heat, strain syrup, and allow to cool completely.

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CIDER SPARKLER

1 part Singin’ River Cider (or your hard cider of choice)
1 part sangria (1 bottle red blend wine, 1 cup orange juice, juice of 1 lime)
1 part prosecco
Cinnamon sugar rim

Yield: 1 cocktail

Moisten and dip the rim of a glass in cinnamon sugar. Add cider and sangria to glass and stir, top off with prosecco.

Learn to mix and make your own cocktails at our Cocktail Workshop featuring Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. and Cathead Distillery during The Gathering 2018, our annual community picnic. Tickets are available here. Stay up to date on all events happening at The Factory on our Events page, or follow The Factory Café on Facebook and Instagram.

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FRIENDS OF THE CAFÉ: STEVEN SATTERFIELD

Steven Satterfield is co-owner and chef of Miller Union, a restaurant located in Atlanta’s west side that focuses on seasonal ingredients. His relationships with local farmers and producers are the driving forces behind his menus. Chef Satterfield is an active member of Chef’s Collaborative, Southern Foodways Alliance, and Georgia Organics. In 2015, Satterfield released his first cookbook, Root to Leaf: A Southern Chef Cooks Through the Seasons, and in 2017 was named Best Chef: Southeast by the James Beard Foundation. In anticipation of our upcoming Friends of the Café dinner featuring chef Satterfield—an event held in conjunction with our annual community picnic and gathering—we asked Steven a few questions.

AC: You pursued a couple of other vocations before becoming a chef. For instance, you studied architecture and fronted the band Seely. How did you move from the drafting table to the stage to the kitchen?

SS: Well, when I decided to study architecture I was applying for college at Georgia Tech and I was probably 16 at the time, so you know it’s just one of those decisions you make as a teen that you hope works out. I had a very challenging but successful experience in school, including studying abroad in Paris my final year of design, but when it came down to working in the field, my heart was just not in it. I guess I rose to the occasion when it came to deadlines with my professors, but I didn’t love the practice as much as the theory. Additionally, the year I graduated was when everything was transitioning to computer-aided design, or CAD, and I knew I wanted to work with my hands. That summer after I graduated (1992) I picked up a guitar for the first time and started learning how to play. I already had musical experience playing clarinet, bass clarinet, and singing in choral group through high school, but this time I wanted to play modern music. I formed a band and we ended up getting signed to a label in the UK called Too Pure in 1994. We released 4 records between 1995-2000 and then disbanded. At that time I was 30 years old and had been working in restaurants to make ends meet. I loved the restaurant culture and the instant family that forms with a good team. I weaseled my way into Floataway Café under Anne Quatrano and learned so much in one year. Our last tour was in 2000 and I had to leave Floataway to go on tour. When I returned I started working at Watershed that summer.

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Photo credit: Heidi Geldhauser

AC: You have worked in several kitchens, including working with Scott Peacock at Watershed. Can you tell us a little about your journey and how it led to opening Miller Union?

SS: I ended up working at Watershed for nine years. I started as a grill cook, then transitioned to sauté, sous chef, and finally executive sous. That is a long time to work in one place but I just kept learning and growing and Scott really taught me a lot. I finally decided to take the risk and go out on my own when I realized that I could do it.

AC: Your “root to leaf” approach focuses on what vegetables are in season and using as many parts of the vegetable as possible. Is reducing food waste a priority, a fortuitous side effect of exploring ingredients, or both? 

SS: Food waste is a serious cultural problem in our country. Food is viewed as disposable because we have so much of it, yet there are still many people that are food insecure and go hungry. It is a very unbalanced system. We all need to be more mindful of food and participate in fighting food waste as consumers.

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Photo credit: Heidi Geldhauser

AC: And what is your biggest takeaway from viewing vegetables and ingredients as whole entities and not just pieces and parts?

SS: If you’re going to spend your hard earned money on beautiful food, vegetable, or animal, you owe it to the grower or rancher to honor the ingredient and you owe it to yourself to utilize as much as you can to make the most of your purchase.

AC: What is the most challenging part of your job?

SS: Managing people is always difficult and getting your team to care and subscribe to your philosophy is something that we are always working on.

AC: Do you have any early memories of cooking? Did it play a role in your upbringing or was it something you came to as an adult?

SS: My earliest memory of cooking is helping my grandmother make biscuits in her Asheville home. I also used to cook dinner or weekend lunch for my family when I was a teen, and my mom let me help her in the kitchen. I definitely was able to cook for myself all through college and it was a natural progression for me to end up in a restaurant kitchen, as I felt comfortable with the general tasks required for cooking.

AC: What is your most reliable go-to ingredient? What do you always keep on hand in your home kitchen?

SS: I love to use extra virgin olive oil and citrus on lots of things. They have a natural balance that just tastes great. In my home kitchen, I rarely cook but I always have healthy snacks: nuts, nut butters, eggs, granola, frozen fruit, greens. I make breakfast mostly. I’m rarely home at lunchtime or dinner.

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AC: What is your advice to home cooks on how to find the best produce – and how to not get overwhelmed and intimidated by trying new things?

SS: I would have to say buy a copy of Root to Leaf and read it and then you’re all set!

AC: In a culture where fast and easy solutions often prevail, what do you think is most important for home cooks to focus on? And what should they avoid buying when pre-packaged, if at all possible?

SS: Unlimited options clutter our minds and stifle our imagination. Start with whole fresh ingredients and treat them with respect and you will not only eat better but will appreciate the source more.

AC: What steps can you offer the average family on reducing food waste in the home?

SS: Tips for the home consumer

  • “best by” or expiration dates are manufacturer’s guidelines for quality and freshness, not food safety. They are often not cues for throwing perfectly good food away. Just be wise about them – cultured dairy and dry goods last longer than advertised, and dry packaged goods may have an arbitrary manufacturer date on the package – use your best judgment and assess as needed.
  • Make soup or stock with odds and ends from the fridge, leftovers, or items that could potentially go to waste and use them to create flavor and add nutrition to your cooking.
  • Shop in smaller amounts and shop more frequently.  Purchasing food in smaller increments means less chance of waste and more awareness of what you have on hand
  • Preserve or put up for later use.  If you have too much of one product and you want to avoid wasting it, pickle it, preserve it, freeze it, or repurpose it.

To experience chef Satterfield’s cooking firsthand at The Factory, get tickets to our April 12th Friends of the Café Dinner.

Lead image credit: Heidi Geldhauser

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BRIDESMAIDS’ LUNCHEONS @ THE FACTORY

As spring approaches, wedding season swings into full gear. In addition to off-site catering for weddings, The Factory Café hosts on-site luncheons and showers for special celebrations. Plan a pre-celebration and thank your bridal party for a job well done with a bridesmaids’ luncheon.

Work with our team to create a personalized menu for a luncheon that suits your tastes. Create a buffet of various small bites and snacks or a full meal. We can customize your meal—and have dessert and champagne covered too.

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Our Events Coordinator can perfect the rest of your party. The Factory Café has floral and other design services available to complement your event. With ability to create name cards and table runners with your very own wedding colors, our event services cover all the details.­

Give us a call at 256.701.8667 or send an email to events@alabamachanin.com to speak with our Events Coordinator. We look forward to hosting your bridal party.

Stay up to date on all community events at The Factory on Instagram, Facebook, and on our Events page.

P.S.: The Factory is the perfect place for showers, rehearsal dinners, meetings, and parties. Visit our Catering page for a sampling of our special menus both on and off-site.

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THE FACTORY SUPPER CLUB

The Factory Café’s 2017 Fall Harvest Supper was one for the books. For last October’s dinner, chef Ray showed off his skills in the kitchen (and on the grill). Our café team also presented another beautiful Valentine’s supper last week and, after a great response from our community, is excited to announce a new dinner series: The Factory Supper Club. The first of its kind in The Shoals, Chef Ray and team are hosting dinners in March, July, September, November, and December. Each dinner will feature a four-course meal with beer and wine and a casual and unique dining experience. Don’t miss out on the chance to be a part of our inaugural Supper Club. (Tickets are available closer to the events.) This series is a perfect pairing to our ongoing Friends of the Café Dinners, More below about our last Fall Harvest Supper—looking forward to seeing you at The Factory Café.

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Our fall menu featured favorite staples, enhanced by the smoky flavor of The Factory Café’s new Traeger grill. The evening started off with passed appetizers and a specialty cocktail. Conway Cup oysters were served with cocktail sauce made from Harvest Roots Kimchi, and deviled eggs (sourced from St. Florian Fiber Farm) were paired with Harvest Roots Curtido. Autumn Me Crazy was the drink of the night and featured red sangria mixed with cider from local brewery, Singin’ River Brewing Company, in a glass rimmed with pumpkin spice sugar.

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The first course included chicken wings from Joyce Farms, smoked in the Traeger, and served with a north Alabama classic—white BBQ sauce and pickled celery. Toasted ciabatta bread was topped with Bonnie Blue goat cheese, roasted carrots supplied from Bluewater Creek Farm, and a lime-carrot glaze. We were introduced to Bonnie Blue—who makes award-winning cheeses from their farm in Waynesboro, Tennessee—at our local farmers market this year. An Oktoberfest brew from Madison, Alabama, Blue Pants Brewery paired perfectly.

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Next came a salad of local lettuces, turnips, and beets, harvested from our friends at Bluewater Creek Farm, and a Burnt Honey-Sweet Potato Dressing made with honey from Sourwood Honey in Savannah, Tennessee. Sourwood honey is extremely aromatic with a distinctive rich honey flavor. The Sourwood tree is common in the Appalachia region and blooms in late June through the month of July, during a period when few other flowers are blooming. The salad was served alongside Vila Nova’s Vinho Verde.

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Pork from Bear Creek Farm was smoked in the Traeger Grill and served up with Ferro Verde from Anson Mills and a turnip puree, with turnips from Bluewater Creek Farm. The dish was topped with muscadine BBQ sauce and paired with White Hart’s Pinot Noir.

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The fourth and final course was the sweetest. Mississippi Sweet Potato Cake was served with a Semolina Pudding and citrus and Gruet’s Demi Sec.

It was a night to remember, and we couldn’t have done it without all our partner farms and purveyors. Thanks especially to Harvest Roots Ferments, St. Florian Fiber Farm, Joyce Farms, Bluewater Creek Farm, Hines Family Farm, Sonlit Meadows Farm, Bear Creek Farm, and Bonnie Blue Farm. Another thank you to Melissa Bain with Alabama Crown—who assisted with all the beautiful wine pairings; Susan Rowe for the lovely flowers; and thanks to Traeger Grills whose wood pellet grill gave our courses a beautiful flavor.

Follow The Factory Café on all our social media channels, check out all of our upcoming events (like The Gathering—our annual community picnic with added programming), workshops from The School of Making, and, of course, our daily lunch menu, and tours.

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APPLE BBQ SAUCE

Last week we shared a group of recipes inspired by cooking over open flame. We’ve written extensively on the subject of BBQ and its respective sauces in the past, and even barbequed wedding dresses for the Southern Foodways Alliance. And though winter isn’t the ideal time to BBQ, we bring you a seasonal take on BBQ sauce created by our chef, Ray Nichols. We love to serve this Apple BBQ sauce over meat and roasted vegetables at The Factory Café.

Though this recipe calls for apples, it can be altered to include any similar fruit like pears, persimmons, plums, and pineapples. This versatile recipe can also be adapted to suit your mood or the season—add more or less sweetness, heat, or acidity to personalize it.

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APPLE BBQ SAUCE

1 28-ounce can of whole, peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced thin
6 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, and cut into 1″ pieces
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
Juice from 1 orange
1/4 cup sorghum
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon of your favorite hot sauce (we like Franks Red Hot)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Salt to taste

Heat the canola oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion and season with salt, cooking until translucent. Next, add the apples and cook for about one minute before adding the spices. Cook until fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients and stir, bringing to a boil, and then turn down the heat and simmer for about an hour or until mixture has reduced by half. Take off the heat and let cool to room temperature. Blend in a blender in batches until you have a smooth sauce the consistency of ketchup. Pass the sauce through a fine sieve if desired. Adjust salt and chill in the refrigerator. The sauce will last up to a month in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

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CAMPFIRE RECIPES

Groundhog Day brought us six more weeks of winter, but here in Alabama the weather is trending a little warmer—and that has us dreaming of outdoor adventure. There’s nothing quite like cooking over an open fire, whether at a campsite or in your backyard. Chef Ray has cooked up some recipes that are perfect for preparing over a campfire and taking advantage of winter’s lingering harvest.

BURIED SWEET POTATOES

This recipe is called “buried” sweet potatoes because you wrap them in aluminum foil and bury them in the coals of a fire. It works great with smaller sweet potatoes because they have a delicate, sweet flavor and a much shorter cooking time.

8 small sweet potatoes
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 whole head garlic, cut in half laterally across the equator
10 sprigs fresh thyme
4 fresh bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Start by washing the sweet potatoes thoroughly. Next, roll out two sheets of aluminum foil 24″ by 12″. Stack them on top of each other to create a double layer. Place the potatoes in the middle of the foil, drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes, season generously with salt and pepper, and add the garlic and herbs. Fold over the ends of the foil packet to make a tightly sealed pouch. Using tongs or a shovel, make a coal bed by the side of your fire and place the foil packet directly onto the coals. Place more coals and ash over top the packet to insulate it and speed up the cooking process.

The total cooking time should take 40 – 50 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. However, every fire is different and you should begin to check them after 30 minutes of cooking. Use the tongs to poke at the sweet potatoes, when they begin to soften they are done.

Carefully, remove the packet from the coals and let rest for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, open the packet, and the sweet potatoes are ready to serve. (If you don’t have a campfire, you can also make this recipe on a charcoal grill or in a 400-degree oven.) Serves 4 people.

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BRAISED CABBAGE

The recipe is very simple, calling for just three ingredients. It can be made at home on the stove or outside over an open fire. Use the type of cabbage that looks best at your local farmer’s market. (Red cabbage turns a beautiful purple color once cooked.) Aside from salt and pepper, use the vinegar as your other seasoning. Taste throughout the cooking process to dial in the level of acidity. Add crushed red pepper flakes to the pan after you add your butter to make it spicy.

1 large head cabbage, red or green
1/2 stick of butter
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (or any other vinegar you like)
Salt and pepper to taste

Begin by removing the loose outer layer of leaves. Next, cut the cabbage into quarters and remove the core. After removing the core cut the cabbage into 1-inch pieces. This doesn’t have to be exact, you’ll want bite-size pieces. Next, use a shovel or rake to move the hot coals from the fire to the side and make a coal bed big enough for your skillet or dutch oven. Melt the butter in the skillet until it begins to bubble, then add half of the cabbage. It will wilt down once it starts cooking. Add the other half of the cabbage and season generously with salt and pepper. Once the cabbage starts wilting, add the vinegar. Simmer on high for about 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the cabbage is cooked to your liking. (I like to have a little bit of crunch left in mine.) Check the seasoning and acidity before serving. If you think it needs more vinegar, add a splash and give it a stir.

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EMBER-GRILLED COWBOY RIBEYE

This dish is an homage to the time I spent working under Chef Sean Brock at Husk Restaurant in Nashville, Tennesse. Working there gave me a love for cooking over embers and open fire. Husk sources beautiful ribeye steaks from Bill and LeeAnn Cherry at Bear Creek Farm outside of Nashville near Leipers Fork, Tennessee. They would be seasoned, grilled directly over the embers, and served with what we called “love love” sauce. Here is my version of that dish geared towards a campfire.

2 1.5″-thick cut, bone-in ribeye steaks (set out for 30 minutes to come to room temperature)
1 tablespoon neutral cooking oil (canola, vegetable, peanut, etc.)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground coarse black pepper

For the baste/sauce:

1 stick of unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 bay leaf
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 lemon juiced (keep the lemon after juicing)
1/2 cup of Worcestershire sauce

Once your campfire has been burning long enough to have a substantial amount of coals, it will be the perfect temperature to cook the steaks. You will need a long pair of tongs, a small pot, two rocks roughly the size of a softball, and a grill grate or wire resting rack.

First, rub the ribeyes with oil and season heavily with salt and pepper. These are very big steaks and you are only seasoning the outside, so don’t be shy.

Let the steaks sit for about 15 minutes and begin working on the basting sauce. Melt the butter in a small pot. Once it is melted, add the garlic, peppercorns, and herbs. Cook until they become fragrant and then add the Worcestershire and lemon juice. Toss the lemons in the pot and place it at the edge of the fire to stay warm while you cook your steaks.

Rake hot coals to the edge of the fire to make a coal bed big enough to fit under the grate. Set the grate directly on the coals and let it heat up for a few minutes. Once hot, place each steak directly on the grate. Cook for about two minutes without disturbing them then check for a nice sear. Flip the steaks and repeat on the other side. After the first flip, use a pastry brush to baste the sauce on the steaks. Repeat this until you have reached the desired doneness (125 degrees Fahrenheit for a nice medium rare). Because you are cooking directly on the coals, the steak will color quickly. Place the two rocks to under the grate to lift it off the coals and slow down the cooking time. Don’t be afraid to flip and baste often. Every fire is different and your patience and persistence will be rewarded. If the coals smother out before the steaks are done, rake fresh ones underneath the grate and keep grilling. Once the steaks are cooked, pull them from the fire, baste one last time, and let rest for ten minutes. Cut off the bone and slice against the grain or serve the steak whole. Once you’ve eaten a steak cooked directly over embers, it’s hard to go back to a gas grill.

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NATALIE’S APPLE CRISP

Desserts can be tough for camping. S’mores are the gold standard, but when I camp I want something that warms you up. When I found out Natalie had a recipe for apple crisp, I couldn’t think of a better camping dish. Natalie’s Whole Wheat Apple Crisp recipe has been modified from a home oven to a cast iron dutch oven that can be used on a campfire. This recipe was originally featured in Bon Appetit’s October 2015 issue.

6 medium tart apples (such as Pink Lady or Gala), peeled, sliced
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar, divided
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Vanilla ice cream (for serving)

Peel and slice the apples then place in a 2-quart cast iron dutch oven and toss with brown sugar and butter. Toss oats, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, salt, remaining ¼ cup brown sugar, and remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a small bowl until evenly mixed and no dry spots remain (it should be very wet and form into clumps when pressed together). Sprinkle oat mixture over apples.

Place the dutch oven on a small coal bed, covered for the first 20 minutes. Check after the first five minutes to see if it is simmering. Add or remove coals to get desired temperature. Rotate, uncover, and bake for another 30 minutes. Press down on the crust halfway through baking to smash the apples. This step should be done on a coal bed and near enough to the fire so that some color appears on the top of the crumble. Bake until topping is golden brown (it will crisp as it cools) and filling is juicy and bubbling, 50-60 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes to let juices set. Serve topped with scoops of ice cream. Serves 8.

Images courtesy of Abraham Rowe and styling by Susan Rowe.

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BURNT HONEY SWEET POTATO DRESSING + A RECIPE

One of the best parts of a good salad is the dressing. Good dressings introduce flavors that complement the ingredients without overpowering a salad. A staple on our menu, The Factory Salad has always been served with a Lemon Citronette dressing—until last year, when we introduced two new dressings: Buttermilk-Herb and Burnt Honey Sweet Potato.

The seasonal Burnt Honey Sweet Potato dressing combines an earthy root vegetable flavor, brightened with vinegar, and subtly sweet with caramelized honey. It’s also a great way to use up extra or over-cooked sweet potatoes. We share the recipe below for you to make at home.

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BURNT HONEY SWEET POTATO DRESSING

2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, roasted until soft, cooled and peeled
3/4 cup sherry vinegar
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cup neutral oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Juice and zest of 1 small orange
1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons burnt honey

Begin by washing your sweet potatoes then coating them with oil and salt and pepper. Roast in a 375° oven until soft, the time will depend on the size of the potatoes. Allow them to cool and then peel off the skin. Place the potatoes and all other ingredients except for the oil and honey in the blender and blend until smooth. You might need to stop and scrape down the sides to get it to blend properly until smooth.

In a small pot on the stove cook honey until it comes to a boil for approximately 3 minutes or until it begins to caramelize and darken slightly in color. The color change will all depend on what honey you use and the color it is to begin with. Once darkened, drizzle into the blender until honey is incorporated. On low to medium speed, slowly drizzle in the oil until completely combined and emulsified.

Once combined, taste for salt and acidity level. This will vary based on the size of your potatoes and your taste for acidity in your typical salad dressing. If the dressing appears to be too thick add a splash of water and blend to combine.

This recipe works great with any roasted root vegetables like winter squash, pumpkin, or carrots. Serve over salad greens or even in a grain bowl.

P.S.: Find The Factory Salad on the Daily Menu at The Factory Café.

SATURDAY BRUNCH (+ CRAFT BEER)

We’re always looking for ways to up our brunch game at The Factory Café, so we’ve come up with new offerings for this anticipated meal that only rolls around once a week.

The brunch menu includes hearty staples like our Grit Bowl, made with Anson Mills cheese grits, seasonal vegetables, and a fried egg fresh from nearby St. Florian Fiber Farms, or choose our Pastrami Hash—smoked pastrami made in-house with our Traeger grill, pan-fried potatoes mixed with cabbage and onions, and topped with two fried eggs, served alongside toasted ciabatta bread. As a lighter option, choose The Factory Quiche (always vegetarian) with a side salad.

If you’re struck with a sweet tooth, try a plate of Buttermilk French Toast served with seasonal fruit or our Buttermilk Biscuits with a helping of chocolate gravy.

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If sandwiches are more your style, we’ve got those too. The café now offers a Breakfast Sandwich—ciabatta bread piled high with pimento cheese, Fatback Pig Project bacon, and a fried egg. Or join us for Burger Hour from 1:00pm – 2:00pm and enjoy The Factory Burger and a craft brew (new beers to the lineup: Good People’s Coffee Oatmeal Stout and Denim Downhiller Ale, Oskar Blues’ Dales Pale Ale, and Bells’ Two Hearted Ale).

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We have something for everyone. Join us for Saturday Brunch at The Factory Café—every Saturday from 10:00am – 2:00pm.

Find the Daily Menu here, join our mailing list (be sure to add The Factory) to receive the brunch menu directly to your inbox, and follow the café on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

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ANNOUNCING THE GATHERING 2018

Each year Alabama Chanin hosts a community picnic—a time for employees, artisans, collaborators, supporters, and members of the community to gather and celebrate. It gives us the opportunity to say hello to each of you, spend time together, and give thanks for the beautiful work and support we receive throughout the year. What started at Lovelace Crossroads (Natalie’s home and original production office) transitioned into an annual spring open house at The Factory.

This year we’re switching it up a bit with an expanded series of events at multiple locations across the community. The four-day event kicks off with our first Friends of the Café Dinner of 2018 featuring chef Steven Satterfield, benefiting the Southern Foodways Alliance on Thursday, April 12th. We’re eager to welcome the James Beard-award winning chef from Atlanta to set up shop in our kitchen.

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Events continue Friday with a Custom Design Workshop at The Factory and an evening cocktail workshop hosted at 116 E. Mobile, a local venue and event space run by our friends at Single Lock Records. The cocktail workshop is in collaboration with friends Brooks Reitz of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. and Cathead Distillery. Participants (must be 21 or older) will learn to expertly craft their own cocktails while enjoying libations and small bites.

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Saturday will include a series mini workshops on embroidery, stenciling and design customization, a BBQ lunch celebrating our talented artisans, a booth with our friends from Bluewater Creek Farm, the history of the company with Natalie, a stenciling booth, tours of The Factory, and a special Swampette tour of Shoals music venues. The weekend will wrap up on Sunday with a family-style brunch (two seatings) featuring Nashville’s famous Biscuit Love.

The Gathering 2018 will take place Thursday, April 12th through Sunday, April 15th. Mark your calendars and plan a long weekend with us in the Shoals. Tickets and VIP tickets are available now.

We’ll highlight our collaborators Jack Rudy, Cathead, and Biscuit Love on the Journal in the coming months…stay tuned.

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WEEKEND ITINERARY

Thursday, April 12th
6:00pm  Friends of the Café | Steven Satterfield

Friday, April 13th
10:00am  Custom DIY Workshop
11:00 – 2:00pm  Lunch @ The Factory
2:00pm  The Factory Tour
6:00pm  Jack Rudy + Cathead Cocktail Workshop @ 116 E. Mobile

Saturday, April 14th
9:00am – 10:00am  One-Hour Embroidery Stitches Workshop
10:00am Doors Open
10:30am  The Factory Tour
10:00 – 2:00pm  Stenciling Booth
11:00am – 12:00pm   One-Hour T-Shirt Workshop
11:00am  Lunch + Artisan Recognition
1:00pm  History of the Company with Natalie
2:30pm  Swampette Tour (Pre-registration required.)

Sunday, April 15th
10:30am  Biscuit Love Brunch: First seating
12:30am  Biscuit Love Brunch: Second seating

ANNOUNCING 2018 FRIENDS OF THE CAFE DINNERS

In 2018, we will mark our fourth year of our Friends of the Café charity dinner series. A look back at our Journal reveals the incredible chefs that have generously donated their time and resources to raise money and awareness for important causes.

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Our first dinner of 2018 is scheduled for April 12th and is hosted by Steven Satterfield of Atlanta’s Miller Union, author of Root To Leaf: A Southern Chef Cooks Through the Seasons, and 2017 James Beard Award winner for Best Chef: Southeast. The Thursday night dinner will kick off our community picnic weekend—three days of special events and workshops celebrating our community (more details to come)…

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Our May 10th Spring Harvest Supper highlights our very own café chef— Ray Nichols—and will feature the freshest ingredients from local and regional farmers and purveyors.

On June 21st, we will welcome Rebecca Wilcomb, chef de cuisine at Donald Link’s flagship restaurant, Herbsaint, since 2011. In 2017, she was also honored with a James Beard Award for Best Chef: South.

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Be on the lookout for details to for our August 23rd dinner, but know that we’re preparing an inspiring meal with an extraordinary surprise guest chef.

Tandy Wilson will oversee our final dinner of the year, on October 21st. Tandy opened City House restaurant in Nashville in 2007 and was named Best Chef: Southeast by the James Beard Foundation in 2016.

Find more about each of our featured chefs on the Journal in the coming months. Visit our Events page to purchase tickets to one (or all) of our upcoming dinners. Tickets are limited and are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.

We’re looking forward to meeting you at the table!

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SALAD SUPPLY CHAIN

We’re extremely proud of our café team and want to take a moment to brag on The Factory Salad, in particular. We use all locally sourced ingredients—the greens and vegetables come from Bluewater Creek Farm (beets, turnips, and radishes are in the rotation right now) and the eggs are from St. Florian Fiber Farm, right up the road. Chef Ray has developed new seasonal dressings: Burnt Honey Sweet Potato; Buttermilk Herb; and there’s also our classic Lemon Citronette. And we make our own farm cheese in-house.

BLUEWATER CREEK FARM

While many start making resolutions for healthy eating at the first of the year, we believe it’s never too early to start—you can take a break from heavy holiday food at The Factory Café.

We welcome our Shoals community and guests from afar to visit for The Factory Salad and more local, good lunch (and brunch) options every week. The menu is updated daily here on our website. Stay connected by following the café on Instagram and Facebook.

ALABAMA CHANIN – REDBEANS ROADSHOW

PABLEAUX JOHNSON + RED BEANS ROAD SHOW

We’re bringing a piece of New Orleans to Florence this January, as we collaborate with photographer/food and travel writer Pableaux Johnson for a special supper hosted at The Factory Café. The Louisiana-style dinner is also in collaboration with Chef Ray and The Factory Café team.

Appropriately called Red Beans Road Show, Pableaux’s pop-up dinner series shows guests Louisiana hospitality and is held in a casual family-style format, creating a unique and interactive dining experience. The dinner encourages conversation between guests and for phones to be left in bags and pockets—the perfect post-holiday pick-me-up.

The Red Beans Road Show series was inspired by Johnson’s grandmother’s dining kitchen table. He found himself in possession of it—remembering the days of his childhood. The table was resurrected and became a gathering place for Johnson and his friends. Why red beans and rice? It’s historically a meal of convenience and traditionally made on Mondays (laundry day). It’s a simple dish that’s satisfying, warm, and inviting.

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Pableaux spends his time traveling the country cooking up these suppers, entertaining, and photographing his native New Orleans (look for more on that later on the Journal). Pableaux’s photographs will also be on display at The Factory for a limited time.

Join us on Thursday, January 11th, 2018 for the Red Beans Road Show dinner. Appetizers will be served at 6:30, prepared by Chef Ray, with an entrée of Pableaux’s famous red beans and rice (and skillet cornbread), followed by dessert.

To purchase tickets and learn more, call our Events Coordinator at 256.760.1090—and stay up to date with all events at The Factory Café on Facebook and Instagram.

ALABAMA CHANIN – HOLIDAY PICKUP, CATERING + HOURS

HOLIDAY PICKUP, CATERING, + HOURS

It’s the most wonderful (and busiest) time of year and The Factory Café is here to make the holidays easier for members of our community by providing a range catering options. Schedules are packed with parties, potlucks, and other gatherings (all involving food)—and whether you signed up to bring a dessert, a side, or are hosting the whole party, The Factory is here to assist.

Contact our Events Coordinator, Anne Ryan, to place a Holiday Pickup order or inquire about catering for your holiday gathering. The menu is full of warm and hearty dishes like cornbread dressing, braised collard greens, and rosemary chicken + gravy alongside sweets like German Chocolate cake, salted chocolate chip cookies, and house-made marshmallows.

Download the catering menu here.

Email Anne Ryan at events@alabamachanin.com or call 256-701-8667 to place your orders by Tuesday, December 19th for pickup or delivery by December 23rd.

P.S.: Be mindful of The Factory Store and Café’s holiday hours; we will be closed, along with all other Alabama Chanin offices and production studios, December 24th – 25th in celebration of Christmas, and December 31st – January 1st to ring in the New Year.

ALABAMA CHANIN – HOLIDAY COCKTAIL: LATE AUTUMN

HOLIDAY COCKTAIL: LATE AUTUMN

“There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

You can’t beat the taste of a perfectly ripe pear. When I’m at the market, I hear Emerson in my head reminding me of the short window I have to enjoy them. However, you can get creative with overripe pears to extend their season.

Peel, de-pit, and puree your overripe pears. Blend with a splash of Prosecco. If you have more than one bruised pear, make a big batch of this puree, then put what you don’t use in the refrigerator. (Keeps up to 48 hours.)

Our love for Jack Rudy products is no secret, and the aromatic bitters are key to making this late autumn cocktail taste like it was made by a seasoned mixologist.

We’ll be serving this at The Factory Café all week. Stop in for a glass (or two). Or pick up the bitters from The Factory and make your own at home.

P.S.: Follow The Factory at @alabamachaninfactorycafe on Instagram for the latest news and updates from our store and café.

ALABAMA CHANIN – HOLIDAY COCKTAIL: LATE AUTUMN

THE LATE AUTUMN

1 tablespoon pear purée
1 tablespoon pomegranate juice
7 pomegranate seeds for garnish
4 oz. Prosecco
1 dash Jack Rudy Aromatic Bitters

Put a dash of Jack Rudy bitters in a 6-oz. glass and swirl to coat the bottom of the glass.

Add the pear purée and pomegranate juice. Swirl around until combined. Pour the Prosecco into the mixture and finish with fresh pomegranate seeds.

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TRAEGER + WHITE BBQ CHICKEN @ THE FACTORY

November 3rd honors one of the most convenient and common meals—the sandwich—with its “national day”. John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich (yes, Sandwich), was an 18th century English noble. While taking part in a 24-hour poker game, Montagu instructed a servant to prepare his lunchmeat between two slices of bread so that he could eat it with just one hand, or so the story goes. National Sandwich Day commemorates the birth of the sandwich (and its creator).

We celebrate sandwiches at The Factory Café every day. You can’t go wrong with a classic like a grilled pimento cheese (bacon, optional); and we’ve also served specials like a loaded Italian sandwich, a spicy Steak Melt, a Breakfast Sandwich, and most recently The Factory Burger.

Our new-and-improved White BBQ Chicken Sandwich is filled with chicken that is smoked in The Factory Café’s new Traeger Grill, which uses hardwood chips for incredible flavor. The chicken is served with our updated White BBQ sauce (a North Alabama staple), topped with fresh greens, and sandwiched between two slices of toasted ciabatta bread—baked in-house daily.

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Stop by any weekday from 11:00am – 2:00pm for sandwiches and specials, and stay up to date on our ever-changing Daily Menu here.

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INTRODUCING CHEF RAY NICHOLS + FALL HARVEST SUPPER

The Factory Café continues to grow, change, and evolve—just like the menu that it serves each day. The café has seen three incredible chefs come through the kitchen since its opening in 2013, and today we want to introduce you to our head chef, Ray Nichols, and welcome him to the team.

Ray—who was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but raised here in Florence—shares our care and dedication for this community. After graduating from Auburn University, Ray changed his path of going to law school to pursue dreams of cooking for a living. Ray started with chef David Bancroft at Amsterdam Café, then moved to Nashville to work with chef Sean Brock at Husk. He trained under Philip Krajeck at Rolf & Daughters in Nashville before returning home to work as line cook and then sous chef at local favorite, Odette. Ray’s love of cooking stems from the simple love of eating, and he focuses on creating simple, flavorful dishes by utilizing local and seasonal ingredients while maintaining a positive and memorable work environment for those who surround him.

Many of you have already signed up to experience Ray’s talents at the annual Fall Harvest Supper on October 19th— so many that the event is sold out. Call us at 256-760-1090 if you would like to be added to the waitlist.

The supper will feature heritage-breed pork from Bear Creek Farm served alongside organic fall vegetables from Bluewater Creek Farm, Hines Family Farm, and Sonlit Meadows Farm.

Highlights from the menu will include specialty cocktails like a Cider Sparkler and the Autumn Me Crazy – made with smoked sweet potatoes. Chef Ray will also be firing up our new Traeger Pro Series 34 Grill with a wood fire to create grilled and slow-smoked dishes for the evening.

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Stay up to date on all events at The Factory on Facebook, Instagram, and our Events page.

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JAMIE DEMENT, THE FARMHOUSE CHEF, + A PECAN PIE RECIPE

The Factory Café will be hosting Jamie DeMent and her team on Wednesday, November 1st to celebrate the release of her cookbook The Farmhouse Chef: Recipes and Stories from My Carolina Farm. Jamie will be signing books, telling stories, and sharing sweet and savory samples of recipes featured in the book. You can pre-purchase your book here to gain early access and get first dibs on food, drinks, and books.

Jamie and her partner, Richard Holcomb, own and operate Coon Rock Farm, a 55-acre farm in Hillsborough, North Carolina, that grows sustainable, heirloom varieties of produce and livestock. Jamie also owns the award-winning restaurant Piedmont, located in downtown Durham, North Carolina. She is also a guest lecturer at UNC Chapel Hill, NC State University, Duke University, and teaches cooking classes around the country. Jamie uses her work to find ways to revive the simplicity of eating healthy, locally grown food. The Farmhouse Chef offers over 150 recipes for all occasions, inspired by seasonal harvests.

With pecan season approaching next month, we share a recipe from the book for Cane Syrup Pecan Pie—the only pecan pie recipe you’ll ever make again…

CANE SYRUP PECAN PIE

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Makes 6–8 servings

1 unbaked piecrust
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 cups pure cane syrup
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecan halves
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon bourbon

Preheat the oven to 450°. Line a 9-inch pie pan with the piecrust. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour and cornstarch until smooth. Add the cane syrup and sugar, and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool. In a separate small bowl, beat 2 eggs. Add the eggs and the rest of the ingredients to the pot, and stir them to mix well. Pour everything into your piecrust and lightly tap it on the counter to even out the nuts and release any air bubbles. Place the pie in the oven and bake at 450° for 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to 350° and bake for an additional 30–35 minutes—until the pie is done and not jiggly in the center. Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool a little before serving.

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Images by Felicia A. Trujillo. Recipe and images courtesy of UNC Press.

ALABAMA CHANIN – ASHA GOMEZ + FRIENDS OF THE CAFE

RECAP: ASHA GOMEZ + FRIENDS OF THE CAFE

In our grand finale for the 2017 Friends of the Café Dinner Series, Asha Gomez and her team hosted a lively and lovely evening, sourcing from our local farmers in combination with her own collection of spices.

In My Two Souths, Asha states, “I call my style of cuisine ‘two Souths cooking.’ Its flavors and dishes are characterized and rooted in my deep affection for the resourcefulness and soulfulness of cooking in both my mother country India, in the far southern state of Kerala, and my chosen home in American’s southern, culinary-savvy city of Atlanta, Georgia.” The dinner was the perfect culmination.

ALABAMA CHANIN – ASHA GOMEZ + FRIENDS OF THE CAFE

Cocktail hour kicked off the evening with the “Muscadine Vine” created by our Events Coordinator, Anne Ryan, and made with muscadine syrup, prosecco, lime, and mint. Wines selected by Anne Ryan and Melissa Bain were accompanied by Blackberry Farm’s newest addition, canned craft beers.

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ALABAMA CHANIN – ASHA GOMEZ + FRIENDS OF THE CAFE

The passed hors d’oeuvres included Black Pepper and Black Salt spiced roasted cashews, Fry Bread with mint chutney and quick pickled carrots, and curry chicken samosa pockets. The mint that was used in meals throughout the dinner was picked fresh from Natalie’s garden.

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The first seated course was a brightly colored Sunday vegetable stew ­with a creamy, coconut base and chunky vegetables.

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The second course of Asha’s dinner was Kerala fish curry, served on a bed of kichadi grits and tempered mustard oil. Kidachi is a rice, lentil, and butter comfort food seasoned with ginger and leek and found throughout India. Asha’s version substitutes stone-ground grits from Anson Mills. A fillet of catfish from Simmons Farm Raised Catfish in Mississippi was served atop the bed of grits.

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The third course was Asha’s take on Beef Biryani. Asha described this rice dish as a “celebration dish” comparing its creation to American pit masters.

ALABAMA CHANIN – ASHA GOMEZ + FRIENDS OF THE CAFE

The fourth and final course—Asha’s Three Spice Carrot Cake, one of her most widely loved desserts and a tribute to her mother, was the perfect end to the evening.

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A big thank you to Asha and her team (including her son, Ethan), The Factory Café team, the Southern Foodways Alliance, and to all the local farms and purveyors who helped to make this dinner so special. Be on the lookout for more events coming in 2018.

P.S.: Find some of these dishes and much more in Asha’s cookbook, My Two Souths.

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CHEESEBURGERS @ THE FACTORY

Like other popular American foods, claims to the creation of the cheeseburger are scattered across the country. Sixteen-year-old Lionel Sternberger is said to have thrown a slice of American cheese on a cooking burger in 1924 at his father’s diner, The Rite Spot, calling it a “cheese hamburger”. The first establishment to serve a cheeseburger from its menu was Kaelin’s restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky in 1934, and the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver, Colorado trademarked the cheeseburger name in 1935.

The classic cheeseburger is beloved by many and is celebrated every year on September 18th with National Cheeseburger Day—yes, it appears there’s a day for everything. The Factory Café will be celebrating this year by serving up our own version of this classic sandwich, now a regular item on our menu.

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The Factory Burger is cooked to order with Georgia-based Joyce Farms grass-fed beef, topped with American cheese, lettuce, house-made dill pickles, shaved Vidalia onion, and The Factory Sauce (a mustard aioli), served on a warm Brioche bun with seasoned potato wedges (or your choice of chips) and a pickle spear. Enjoy with your craft beer of choice—we’re serving from four Alabama breweries: Singin’ River, Blue Pants Brewery, Good People Brewing, and Straight to Ale.

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THE FACTORY ON ALABAMACHANIN.COM

The Factory opened to the public in November of 2013 with our flagship store and accompanying café. The Slow Food movement has informed much of our work, and so we envisioned a space where the two merge—slow food served fresh and slow design made locally. We hope you’ll be able to visit us in our community of The Shoals and explore our world.

Find directions, café hours, and the Daily Menu which literally changes each day—depending on what’s in season—on the Café Menu page.

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The Factory Store has its own presence on our website for guests who wish to plan time to take advantage of our in-store Shopping services—including private appointments, custom orders, Bridal dresses, and registries. We’ve had visitors from across the world walk through our doors, and we’ve love to host you next.

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We have a strong belief in transparency—of methods, materials, supply chain, and practices—and we’ll show you how we design and manufacture on a guided tour of The Factory. We offer group tour packages including lunch and a workshop. If you can’t visit just yet, take a virtual tour of our operation.

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Our Events calendar aims to offer unique experiences for and in our community. Look for sewing and cooking workshops, farm-to-table dinners, design lectures, and other enrichment and creative learning opportunities.

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Did you know our café also offers on and off-site Catering services for any event? We can work with you on a customized menu. Fill out our catering form and hear back from our Events Coordinator.

Check back on the Journal tomorrow as we highlight The School of Making on AlabamaChanin.com, and on Friday, Bldg. 14.

Give us a call if you have any questions along the way: 256.760.1090

ALABAMA CHANIN – ASHA GOMEZ + GOLDEN POTATO CROQUETTES

ASHA GOMEZ + GOLDEN POTATO CROQUETTES (@ THE FACTORY)

The Factory Café team is anxiously awaiting the arrival of Asha Gomez for her sold-out Friends of the Café dinner tomorrow night. It’s our last in the 2017 Friends of the Café Southern Foodways Alliance benefit series—but café chef Ray Nichols will be cooking a Fall Supper on October 19th—get those tickets here.

The Factory Café served Golden Potato Croquettes from her James Beard-nominated cookbook, My Two Souths, from August 29th to September 1st. We loved the taste of Asha’s Indian-inspired Southern dish.

ALABAMA CHANIN – ASHA GOMEZ + GOLDEN POTATO CROQUETTES

Asha’s dinner will feature a four-course meal, including dishes like Sunday Vegetable Stew, Kerala fish curry, Beef Biriyani, and Three Spice Carrot Cake, with cocktails, wine pairings and brand new beers from our friends at Blackberry Farm.

Thanks to everyone who joined us this year (and the past 3 years) to support Alabama Chanin, The Factory Café, the SFA, our team, and our community. Look for the 2018 dinner schedule in January.

Stay up to date on dinners, and all other events hosted at The Factory by visiting our Events page and joining our mailing list.

ALABAMA CHANIN – OYSTER SHED ROSE + BROOKS REITZ + HARRY ROOT

OYSTER SHED ROSE, BROOKS REITZ, + HARRY ROOT

The Factory Café routinely attempts to maintain a fresh and unique selection of food and beverages, utilizing as many local and regional purveyors as possible. One of our most recent additions is Oyster Shed Rosé, developed by friend and collaborator Brooks Reitz, founder of Jack Rudy Cocktail Company, and Harry Root, president of Grassroots Wine.

The two men met nearly a decade ago in Charleston, South Carolina, when they built a working relationship—but became friends and have collaborated on several other projects over the years. When Brooks took on the project of developing a wine for Oyster Shed, he reached out to Harry to partner on developing the wine. Coincidentally, Harry was already planning a trip to Provence, France, to meet with a local co-op of farmers and Brooks joined Harry for the trip. “We were both interested in a beautiful Provence rosé that would work with the seafood so prominent in Charleston,” Brooks told us. “We agreed instantly to do it together, and I think we were on a plane to France about a month later. It all came together super quickly as we were both keen to take action.”

ALABAMA CHANIN – OYSTER SHED ROSE + HARRY ROOT + BROOKS REITZ

The two wanted to develop a wine that would pair well with seafood and both Brooks and Harry have a personal taste for bright, energetic, acidic wines, which pair well with seafood—particularly fried seafood. According to Harry, oysters, in particular, are usually accompanied by acidic flavors such as lemon juice, vinegar, etc., so it is a well-known complementary flavor combination. “The food in Charleston is informed by our proximity to the water,” Brooks said. “We have incredible seafood and gorgeous produce. We wanted a fresh, light-bodied wine with lively acidity to match that food. Rosé is ‘hot’ right now and it’s a great stepping stone for lots of new wine drinkers, so we knew it could be a success fairly quickly.”

Harry has a relationship with a cooperative in Carcès, France, and made arrangements for the two to visit the winery. The cooperative, established in 1910, comprises 130 farmers, each working 7 acres of grapes—40% of which is completely organic, herbicide, and pesticide free. According to Brooks, “They had samples of single grapes that had been produced, and we gathered around a table and created a variety of blends from those grapes. We tasted through the blends until we found a consensus. The blending process was a new experience for both of us, and it was incredible to tailor the blend to achieve the profile we were looking for.” Because they worked directly with the growers, the two have been able to eliminate third-party vendors, keeping the wine affordable.

Brooks and Harry are working toward developing an entire Oyster Shed line of wines that will include a white, a light red, and a sparkling wine. All of the wines will be sourced and developed using the same process and philosophy as the first and should pair well with seafood and other Southern dishes.

Oyster Shed Rosé is distributed by Grassroots Wine and is currently available at a limited number of locations, primarily in Alabama, California, New York, and South Carolina. Only 400 cases were produced, but Harry projects that it will continue to grow and expand. Additionally, Brooks serves the wine at his restaurants Leon’s and Little Jack’s. We are honored to be one of the exclusive locations selected to sell Oyster Shed Rosé. Stop by The Factory Café soon and be one of the first to enjoy a glass.

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ASHLEY CHRISTENSEN DINNER RECAP

Our most recent Friends of the Café Dinner, helmed by Ashley Christensen and her team, was another memorable milestone in our ongoing friendship and professional relationship. We have always proclaimed Ashley to be a badass, and she proved herself worthy of the description, once again. She has dedicated such an enormous amount of time, energy, and resources to charity and her team has clearly perfected their approach to these kinds of events. They arrived ready to go, unpacked, set up shop, and executed their plan to perfection—seemingly without breaking a sweat.

Ashley also worked with a combination of her own suppliers and our local purveyors to obtain both protein and produce. Ashley finalized her menu once the availability from local farms was confirmed, to ensure she was using the freshest local ingredients available.

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Cocktail hour included wines selected by Grassroots wine purveyors and our Events Coordinator, Anne Ryan Cavin, who also created the “Summer Cindy”—named for the tropical storm. The cocktail included Prosecco, Jack Rudy Grenadine, and fresh rosemary, provided by Bluewater Creek Farm. Both Grassroots and Anne Ryan worked closely to pair each course with a complementary wine.

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The passed hors d’oeuvres included blistered Shishito pepper from Bluewater Creek Farm, with toasted benne seeds and lemon; fried green tomatoes (again, from Bluewater Creek Farm) with Alabama jumbo lump crab salad; Hook’s three-year cheddar pimento atop Bluewater Creek cucumbers; and a sweet corn mousse shooter, made with North Carolina corn and piquillo pepper.

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Ashley’s first seated course was a salad of local lettuces and vegetables with roasted garlic and buttermilk. The lettuce and ground cherries were sourced from Bluewater Creek Farm and the radish and squash came from Hines Family Farms in Killen, Alabama. The buttermilk dressing was not in any way overpowering and the fresh vegetables were able to shine through. The first course was paired with a Hirsch 2015 Gruner Veltliner, a dry white wine with hints of pepper and pear—Natalie’s favorite.

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Based upon Ashley’s recipe and guidance, chef Ray Nichols and The Factory Café staff prepared heirloom tomato pies with spicy microgreens and a sherry vinaigrette for the second course. We have enjoyed our fair share of tomato pies, but this one briefly quieted the room—which then erupted with discussion on texture and flavor. The tomatoes and spicy microgreens came from Bluewater Creek Farm and the Buttermilk Cheddar Cheese from East Tennessee’s Sweetwater Valley Farms, Ashley’s choice of cheese to complement the pie.

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The third, main course was also served family style. A charcoal-grilled ribeye from Bear Creek Farm was topped with chimichurri, charred Bluewater Creek walking onions, and green horseradish crème fraiche. (Pattypan squash that was cooked over coals was substituted for our non-beef-eating diners.) Ashley brought ingredients to prepare her turn on a classic marinated summer succotash. The second side dish was by far the biggest hit of the night: Poole’s macaroni au gratin, a near-legendary dish in Ashley’s repertoire. We are guessing that diners will seek out the recipe in Ashley’s cookbook, Poole’s: Recipes and Stories From a Modern Diner. This course was paired with a 2014 L’Orangerie de Carigan Cadillac, an earthy Bordeaux with hints of blackberry and cherry.

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The fourth and final course of the evening was a coffee panna cotta made with Counter Culture Coffee, Irish whiskey caramel, and North Carolina pecan granola crunch topping—served in a wide-mouth mason jar. The dessert was perfectly paired with a 2012 Dirk Niepoort Late Bottled Vintage Port.

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Ashley’s commitment to fresh, local ingredients, community-based dining, and sharing stories around the family table was evident in each well-considered dish. After dinner, she also shared stories and signed copies of her cookbook, well into the evening. We are honored that Ashley Christensen has become a treasured member of the Alabama Chanin extended family and we were proud to see her so readily embraced by our community.

The upcoming Friends of the Café Dinner featuring Asha Gomez, also benefitting the Southern Foodways Alliance, is sold out—but you may contact us if you would like to be placed on our waiting list, should additional tickets become available.

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Thanks again to Ashley Christensen, her amazing assistant, Charlotte Coman, our Factory Café staff, and our supportive community.

ALABAMA CHANIN – NATIONAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DAY

NATIONAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DAY

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day is recognized as August 4th, though we celebrate every day around here. (They’re offered on the menu in The Factory Café Monday – Saturday.) Today we pay homage to the American dessert that has acted as temporary relief from financial woes during The Great Depression and became a symbol of support for American soldiers fighting in the Second World War.

The chocolate chip cookie was invented by a woman named Ruth Graves Wakefield of Whitman, Massachusetts. Ruth and her husband owned an inn and restaurant called the Toll House Inn, where she was known for her tasty desserts.

There are many stories about how exactly Ruth came up with the idea for a chocolate chip cookie. Some say that she ran out of baker’s chocolate and replaced it with chips from a Nestle chocolate bar. However, the most likely story is that she was simply utilizing her culinary curiosity and experimenting with a new cookie recipe to be served with ice cream.

All the same, the success of Ruth’s chocolate chip cookies skyrocketed. Nestle received word of her using their chocolate and offered to buy the recipe from her for $1 in 1939. Ruth agreed, and although it has been said that she never received payment, Nestle reportedly gave her a lifetime supply of chocolate and named their Toll House cookie dough in honor of Ruth. Her original recipe is still found on Nestle packaging today. Ruth died in 1977 and the Toll House Inn burned to the ground in a fire on New Year’s Eve in 1984. A Wendy’s fast food restaurant currently stands in the place of the Toll House Inn; it houses a small museum commemorating the invention of the chocolate chip cookie.

ALALBAMA CHANIN – NATIONAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE

Here at The Factory, we enjoy classic Chocolate Chip Cookies with a pinch of sea salt sprinkled on top of the cookie while it is still warm. There are three to an order (or get a dozen to go). Glass of milk optional.

ALABAMA CHANIN – Q&A WITH CHEF ASHA GOMEZ

Q&A WITH CHEF ASHA GOMEZ

Several months ago, we introduced you to Asha Gomez—chef, innovator, author, and charity ambassador. After beginning her career as a professional chef in Atlanta, she realized the inherent similarities between Southern cuisine and the dishes she prepared in her birthplace of Kerala, India. This presented her with the unique opportunity to explore both food histories and the communities that can be built when we recognize our cross-cultural similarities. Her cookbook, My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India into a Southern Kitchen, does not take a food fusion approach; instead, it offers a new style of cooking that embraces food traditions from both cultures and finds common ground in sometimes surprising ways.

ALABAMA CHANIN – ASHA GOMEZ Q+A

We recently spoke to Asha about her history, her thoughts about modern cuisine, and what she has in the works for the future.

AC: What is your first food memory? Do you remember the first dish you cooked by yourself?

AG: The very earliest memories I have of food revolve around mangoes and mango season. My great aunt Rita Netto stored straw-lined baskets full of mangoes in a darkened room off her kitchen behind cobalt blue doors. Even as a small child, I adored the mangoes’ spectrum of colors: bright red, radiant yellow, pinkish orange, deep purple, and delicate soft green. Eating fresh mango, I imagined the succulent flesh must taste just like sweet sunshine. It is that same sense of delight and discovery of simple yet potent ingredients that inspire me today.

Typically, in Kerala households a daughter’s role in the kitchen is largely supportive, guided by her mother. As a teenager, when my skills had advanced enough for my mother to trust me with preparing a whole meal, I was both nervous and excited. For my first solo meal, I chose to prepare a rabbit dish, and even after all these years, I still select rabbit for family meals. For my inaugural dish, I decided to venture away from my mother’s standard and frequent rabbit curry and chose a fried rabbit rendition. Her heartfelt after-dinner praise of my efforts remains my earliest and perhaps, my greatest culinary triumph.

AC: What inspired you to become a chef?

AG: I guess you might say that childhood memory may have lit a spark in me, though I didn’t heed the call until many years and a whole other career later.

AC: What motivated your move from Kerala to the United States?

AG: My parents migrated when I was really young.

AC: What are the most important things about cultural identity, food, and simple childhood memories of your life in Southern India that shape you today? In a sense, you have two homes—one in India and one in the United States. What most connects you to Southern India?

AG: I found a kinship between this concept of hospitality in the South and the way I was raised to treat guests that is just part of my cultural DNA.

AC: You have spent a great deal of time and energy working toward ending hunger worldwide. What inspired you to become involved in this cause?

AG: I feed people for a living, and people come to me to satisfy their hunger. I felt that it’s a travesty that only those who have the means and access can do so, and when there is so much abundance in our world there are too many who go to bed unable to satisfy such a basic human need.

AC: We have noticed that chefs often donate time and energy to charitable causes and organizations. Do you think there is something specific about those who work with food or local farmers and suppliers that inspires community involvement?

AG: More and more today, chefs have a voice that people listen to and respect. We have an opportunity to change the way people interact with and make choices about the food they buy. As chefs, we can use our time in the limelight to be the voice for those whose needs aren’t always heard, and we can find ways to help locally in our own communities and reach out to others doing good work. My fellow chefs are truly a passionate community of human beings.

ALABAMA CHANIN – ASHA GOMEZ Q+A

AC: Your James Beard nominated cookbook, My Two Souths, illustrates that classic Southern food and dishes from Southern India share many of the same qualities. When did you first come to this realization? What key elements are most prominent in their similarities?

AG: It was after many years of an abiding appreciation for the culture and cuisine of both of these places that I have called home that the thoughts and ideas to marry the two evolved. Although they seem like separate universes, surprisingly, I found their shared aspects—a warm, humid climate, abundant produce varieties, expanses of rice acreage, and busy coastal communities, along with a spirit of sharing, a gift for entertaining and storytelling, a talent for creating bounty out of an often-modest pantry, and a sincere embrace of simplicity—blend easily in my South-by-South cuisine.

AC: How can we best encourage home cooks to explore ingredients that might initially be unfamiliar to them?

AG: [That is] essentially what I explored in my book: this idea of taking familiar, classic staples and infusing them with unexpected spices to unlock flavors and enliven the palate. By using accessible dishes like biscuits, pies, and beignets to show home cooks new and fresh takes on classics will hopefully motivate them to reach across to the under-explored side of the grocery aisle.

AC: It seems that Indian food is occasionally simplified in American restaurants. Are there things that frustrate you about how Indian food is viewed and prepared in the United States? What would you most like for people to know about authentic Indian cooking?

AG: Every cuisine in the world has what I call high-low cooking. Indian cuisine is 5,000 years old and is the culmination of many diverse influences and layers of sophistication in what presents. And yet in America, we are only accustomed for the most part to view Indian food in terms of a buffet line or in the cheap eats section.

The way Indians cook at home is vastly different from what is represented in mainstream restaurants. I take exception and considerable umbrage to the notion in some circles that culinary innovation happens primarily in a Euro-centric milieu.

AC: What ingredients most inspire you?

AG: Local produce that is best in each season and the introduction of spice to make the ordinary extraordinary.

AC: What was your last true great dining experience?

AG: I recently experienced a meal at Zahav restaurant in Philadelphia. It was a mind-blowing experience. So much heart and so much soul in the culinary story that revealed itself before my eyes and taste buds.

AC: What do you do when you are not in the kitchen?

AG: l love traveling. I’m often planning food experiences around the places that I travel to.

AC: At Alabama Chanin, you can often find music influencing the mood and the workflow in the studio. What is your favorite music to cook by?

AG: Music, like food, adds so much sweetness and texture to our everyday lives. My musical tastes are pretty eclectic and vary depending on my mood. The soundtrack of my life includes Leonard Cohen, k.d. Lang, Bollywood/Sufi, Prince, Ceasaria Evoria, to Willie Nelson and so many more.

AC: You seem to juggle so many diverse projects. What is on the horizon for you?

AG: I have a new web-based series of cooking classes called “Curry and Cornbread”. It is a subscription-based service that offers one new recipe per week. Curious home cooks can also purchase videos individually. It is an easy way to learn more about new cuisine and cooking techniques that is not intimidating.

ALABAMA CHANIN - ANTIPASTI MONDAYS UPDATE 1

ANTIPASTI MONDAYS

For two months, we’ve been celebrating Antipasti Mondays, our café’s own version of the traditional light Italian meal. The kitchen has recently made a few updates to our offerings and continues to keep it fresh (literally).

Build your own meal with our à la carte items or choose from a sampler to get a little of everything.

The Antipasti Sampler (pictured above on a wooden cutting board by Robin Wade and an Organic Cotton Jersey Dinner Napkin) includes a scoop of our classic Pimento Cheese, White Barbeque Chicken Salad, and Bacon Jam, served with Harvest Roots kimchi, pickled carrots, and gluten free crackers, saltines, or Route 11 chips.

Small bites and snacks include organic red pepper stuffed and leccino olives, artisanal cheeses, and Bacon’s Heir Pork Clouds, Epic Pork Rinds (Natalie’s favorite). Beverage offerings include The Factory Blend coffeeFentiman’s Botanically Brewed Sodas, Harvest Roots Kombucha (pictured below), wine by the glass, and regional craft beer. We offer unique products you won’t find anywhere else in The Shoals.

ALABAMA CHANIN - ANTIPASTI MONDAYS UPDATE 2

The regular Daily Menu is posted here Tuesday – Saturday and updated daily.

The Factory Café is still available for catering on Mondays—and every other day of the week. Large parties can be accommodated with the regular menu on Mondays, but we must have a week’s prior notice. Contact Anne Ryan, our Events Coordinator, at 256.701.8667 for catering requests or to make a group reservation.

Follow The Factory Café on Instagram and Facebook for the latest news, menu, and event updates.

Alabama Chanin @ The Factory
462 Lane Drive
Florence, Alabama 35630

Store Hours
Monday – Friday: 10am – 5pm
Saturday: 10am – 3pm

Café Hours
Monday – Friday: 11am – 2pm
Saturday: 10am – 2pm

FOURTH OF JULY LOVE

We love you all. We love the Fourth of July. We love our staff. We love for our staff to spend time with their families. In celebration of Independence Day this year, The Factory, the Alabama Chanin offices, and our production studios will be closed today, July 4, 2017. Some of our staff will celebrate by spending time on the Tennessee River and barbecuing with family and friends. Maggie and I will be eagerly awaiting fireworks and participating in our yearly neighborhood parade.

Here are some ideas on how to get ready for the weekend festivities:
Decorate 4th of July napkins
Sip a Strawberry Rosemary Prosecco Cocktail
Make (and share) a cobbler
Dress your best in one of our Made in the USA 
garments (we’re sporting our favorite shades of blue…) 

Happy Birthday America (coming soon).
xoNatalie and all of us @ Alabama Chanin

 

ALABAMA CHANIN – ASHLEY CHRISTENSEN'S HOMEGROWN TOMATO PIE @ THE FACTORY

ASHLEY CHRISTENSEN’S HOMEGROWN TOMATO PIE @ THE FACTORY

In honor of our recent Friends of the Café Dinner with chef Ashley Christensen, The Factory Café is featuring a tomato pie recipe from her cookbook, Poole’s: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner. Ashley’s Homegrown Tomato Pie will be available from June 27th – July 1st (or until we run out of tomatoes), with lunch served from 11:00am – 2:00pm each day and Saturday Brunch from 10:00am – 2:00pm.

In her cookbook, Ashley notes, “You’ll need to bravely stack the ingredients just a bit higher than the edge of the piecrust. Have faith: it won’t overflow.” We were daring and added an extra layer of sliced tomatoes to the top.

P.S.: Don’t miss our other events happening at The Factory this summer by visiting the Events page. Lucy Buffett will be at The Factory on July 27th for a book-signing of her brand new cookbook, Gumbo Love. And Asha Gomez, our featured café chef for the next (sold out) Friends of the Café Dinner on August 24th, will be signing copies of her latest cookbook, My Two Souths, following her dinner.

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ALABAMA CHANIN – ASHLEY CHRISTENSEN FRIENDS OF THE CAFE DINNER SERIES

2017 FRIENDS OF THE CAFE + ASHLEY CHRISTENSEN

This year’s Friends of the Café dinner series has been a gratifying success, as we once again have worked with some of the most talented and knowledgeable chefs in the South to raise funds for the Southern Foodways Alliance. Our upcoming dinner will be hosted by James Beard Award-winning chef Ashley Christensen, a longtime friend who has volunteered her time for our dinners in the past.

ALABAMA CHANIN – FRIENDS OF THE CAFE 2017 ASHLEY CHRISTENSEN

Alabama Chanin’s relationship with chef Ashley goes back a number of years, as she partnered with us during one of our Makeshift conferences, in a conversation connecting “Love and Raw Materials in Food, Fashion, and Design”. Ashley spends an impressive amount of time and energy on charity work and educational initiatives, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for her community. (Southern Foodways director John T. Edge has estimated that Ashley’s impact on the organization’s bottom line is so substantial that it covers at least one employee’s annual salary.) She also works in outreach programs—everything from child hunger, to arts in education, to participating in the Fatback Collective with her fellow food ambassadors.

All of this reflects Ashley’s embrace of collaborative making. At Alabama Chanin, we share many of the same goals that Ashley holds dear—sourcing responsibly, uplifting our community, elevating makers and creators, developing close relationships with those in our supply chain, and creating spaces where we can celebrate and advance those ideas.

ALABAMA CHANIN – FRIENDS OF THE CAFE 2017 ASHLEY CHRISTENSEN

We are excited to announce that we will continue our collaboration with Ashley, creating a capsule collection inspired by her chef’s jacket and sense of style. (Launching next week.)

Ashley will also be signing copies of her book Pooles: Recipes and Stories From a Modern Diner. We look forward to seeing you soon and to sharing more of our collaboration with Ashley.

ALABAMA CHANIN – FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS

FIRST + THIRD TUESDAYS

Join us on the first and third Tuesday of every month for our sewing group meetup. The spirit of making that this group brings to The Factory each month is contagious—as is the joy of visiting with friends and sharing projects.

First and Third Tuesday of each month
8:30am – 11:30am

Alabama Chanin @ The Factory
462 Lane Drive
Florence, AL 35630

Contact office@alabamachanin.com or call 256-760-1090 for more information.

ALABAMA CHANIN – FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS

FRIENDS OF THE CAFE + SCOTT PEACOCK

We are constantly surprised and honored by the talented and generous chefs that agree to be a part of our Friends of the Café dinner series. A look back through our Journal shows just how many brilliant individuals have traveled to our corner of Alabama and offered their time, energy, and creativity for a good cause. As part of this year’s series, we were able to accomplish something we were not sure was possible: coaxing legendary Southern chef Scott Peacock out of semi-retirement to prepare a truly special dinner that we won’t soon forget.

When planning his menu, Scott insisted on a couple of things that sound simple at first glance: the ingredients must be fresh and they must be good. Luckily, we already partner with a number of farmers and vendors that provide us with the freshest local and organic products. But we also sought out some new and trusted sources that could provide us with the freshest ingredients—because when Scott says fresh, he means FRESH. That means that the menu was not 100% finalized until he knew exactly what he’d be working with—and each dish he presented proved his philosophy to be right, again and again.

Cocktail hour featured a specialty “Plum Blossom” cocktail concocted by our Events Coordinator, Anne Ryan, and combined Prosecco with plums that Chef Zach preserved last year, and garnished with violets that Natalie foraged. We asked Scott to select beer from his favorite brewery, and he selected Orpheus Brewery in Atlanta, as it is owned by the son of a close friend. Each course was also accompanied by wine pairings that we chose by working closely with our distributor to get the right complement for each course.

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The passed hors d’oeuvre course included iced oysters that Zach sourced, served with Miss Edna Lewis’ spicy dipping sauce; Blackbelt Pineywood sausage brought in by Scott; fresh buttered radishes from Bluewater Creek Farm; tomato toast with canned tomatoes and fresh goat cheese from Humble Hearts Farm; and soft boiled eggs from Cog Hill Farm, atop garlic parsley sauce.

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Scott’s first seated course was a salad of morning-gathered watercress, wood sorel, and violets. And when we say “morning gathered”, that is no exaggeration. The greens were delivered that day by Heirloom Harvest and the watercress and wood sorrel was foraged early that morning by Natalie at a local aquifer and a friend’s farm. If diners did not understand the importance of truly fresh ingredients before, this dish left no doubt. The greens were flavorful and delicate and almost melted in your mouth; we have never witnessed such a reaction to a simple salad before—and we may never again.

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For the second course, Scott prepared what he called “Straddle Stew”, because we were straddling two growing seasons—using fresh produce from the last harvest alongside ingredients from the first harvest of this season. The dish included chickens from Cog Hill Farm, organic kale, chard, and shallot buds from Alchemy Farms, turnips from Bluewater Creek Farm, and fresh bay from Scott’s garden. (If you’ve never eaten a just-picked carrot, I guarantee it is a game changer.) The stew was served with Dorothy Peacock’s hot water cornbread made with Pollard’s extra-fine cornmeal from Hartford, Alabama.

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We were delighted to have Angie Mosier and Lisa Donovan working alongside Scott and our staff in the kitchen and they provided helping hands and fresh ingredients. The dessert course was sweet cream biscuits made with buttermilk that Lisa sourced from Cruze Farm, topped with fresh strawberries that Angie brought from Red Earth Organic Farms and Woodland Gardens.

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One of the most remarkable connections we made through Scott was our introduction to Will Dodd and his non-profit organization Heirloom Harvest. With their motto, “Food from down the Road,” the organization’s goal is to improve the food economy in Alabama as a way of addressing and improving socio-economic conditions. They partner with small, independent farmers to help with planning, warehousing, sales, marketing, distribution, and communication with customers—with the goal of getting those fresh and local ingredients into restaurants and stores throughout the region.

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We could not have been more grateful to have Scott Peacock co-host this dinner with us. Our guests recognized how special the evening was; it really was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share an intimate dinner with an influential but humble artist.

ALABAMA CHANIN – SFA FRIED GREEN TOMATOES + SHRIMP REMOULADE

SFA FRIED GREEN TOMATOES + SHRIMP REMOULADE

In celebration of National Shrimp Day on May 10th, The Factory Café will serve Fried Green Tomatoes + Shrimp Remoulade made with Royal Red Gulf shrimp for lunch next week. With a recipe from the SFA Community Cookbook, this dish will be available from May 9th – 12th.

Natalie and the Alabama Chanin team constantly draw inspiration from the Southern Foodways Alliance—which has been pioneering important work in the ways of Southern food culture and the role it plays in our Southern history for almost two decades. We look to the SFA Community Cookbook for classic recipes shared by their members (including Natalie).

ALABAMA CHANIN – SFA FRIED GREEN TOMATOES + SHRIMP REMOULADE

Combining all these favorite flavors into one dish, the recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes + Shrimp Remoulade is found on page 41 in the SFA Community Cookbook. Get a copy of the cookbook and make it yourself at home or stop by The Factory and try chef Zach’s version.

(It is also no secret that Alabama Chanin fully embraces the tomato as a warm weather essential—see countless recipes here.)

ALABAMA CHANIN – TACOS + CINCO DE MAYO @ THE FACTORY

TACOS + CINCO DE MAYO @ THE FACTORY

Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) is the anniversary of Mexican President Benito Juarez’s victory against the French at the attack on Puebla da Los Angeles in 1862. After the Mexican-American War, the country was nearly bankrupt—so President Juarez was forced to default on debts with France, ruled by Napoleon III. Juarez rounded up a force of 2000 men who defended Puebla from 6000 French troops. After an all-day battle, the French finally retreated. Juarez lost less than 100 of his men; France lost 500. This symbolic victory bolstered support for the Mexican government and resistance against French imperialism. Six years later, France finally withdrew from Mexico.

Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Mexico occur mainly in the state of Puebla and include parades, battle recreations, and street festivals. However, the day isn’t a federal holiday—so for many Mexicans, Cinco de Mayo is just like any other day of the year.

As Mexico’s neighbor, the United States celebrates Cinco de Mayo as a way to recognize Mexican heritage and culture. In the 1960s, Mexican-American activists began promoting the day as a way to increase community pride. The United States adopted the holiday and now celebrates it more vigorously than most Mexican natives. In fact, Americans consume more alcohol on Cinco de Mayo than on almost any other day of the year. Los Angeles hosts what is believed to be the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the world, with parades and events more elaborate than those in Puebla, Mexico. Taco stands, parties, margaritas are all included.

ALABAMA CHANIN – TACOS + CINCO DE MAYO @ THE FACTORY

While we were host to Patagonia’s Worn Wear Truck in 2015, chef Zach made tacos for a brunch taco stand at The Factory. He’s recreating those dishes at The Factory Café by serving up tacos next Friday for Cinco de Mayo. Look for three versions: shrimp, carnitas, and pollo rojo, with house-made tortillas and all the trimmings. The shrimp are Royal Red, sourced from the Gulf, the pork comes from our friends at Bluewater Creek Farms, and the chicken is from Joyce Farms.

Drop in for lunch and enjoy them with one of our regional craft beers (Straight To Ale’s Monkeynaut IPA pictured here) from 11am – 2pm from Tuesday, May 2nd – Friday, May 5th.

P.S.: Select embroideries in the Alabama Chanin Collection are inspired by Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, who has been written about extensively on the Journal.

P.P.S.: Follow The Factory Café on Instagram and Facebook for the latest news, menu, and event updates.

ALABAMA CHANIN - ANTIPASTI MONDAYS THE FACTORY CAFE

ANTIPASTI MONDAYS @ THE FACTORY

“People who love to eat are always the best people.” – Julia Child

Antipasti Mondays is special lunch programming from The Factory Café every Monday. We’re easing into the week with a limited, curated menu and pre-packaged, easy to-go offerings. While the hot kitchen will be closed on Mondays, the café will create a unique dining experience with sustainably sourced, quality ingredients.

Antipasti Mondays are the café’s own version of the traditional light Italian meal. The selection of offerings allows you to build your own meal and enjoy a relaxing afternoon at The Factory with a picnic-style feel.

We’ve also sourced quality products from other purveyors: fermented vegetables, kimchi, curtido, and sauerkraut from Harvest Roots; small bites and snacks like Bacon’s Heir Pork Rinds (Natalie’s favorite); and an assortment of olives and cheese. Desserts include cake balls and oatmeal chocolate cookies. Beverage offerings include The Factory Blend coffee, bottled Milo’s Sweet Tea, Fentiman’s Botanically Brewed Sodas, wine by the glass, and regional craft beer. As the programming grows, expect new products.

Lunch service hours stay the same on Monday from 11am – 2pm, and the Daily Menu will also remain the same from Tuesday – Saturday. You can find the current Daily Menu posted here and updated daily.

The Factory Café will be available for catering on Mondays—and every other day of the week. Large parties can be accommodated with the regular menu on Mondays, but we must have a week’s prior notice. Contact Anne Ryan, our Events Coordinator, at 256-701-8667 for catering requests or to make a group reservation.

Follow The Factory Café on Instagram and Facebook for the latest news, menu, and event updates.

Alabama Chanin @ The Factory
462 Lane Drive
Florence, Alabama 35630

Store Hours
Monday – Friday: 10am – 5pm
Saturday: 10am – 3pm

Café Hours
Monday – Friday: 11am – 2pm
Saturday: 10am – 2pm

ALABAMA CHANI – A SALAD OF CUCUMBER AND RADISH

A SALAD OF CUCUMBER + RADISH @ THE FACTORY

The day is nearing. Saturday, Scott Peacock will be in house, hosting his Friends of the Café Dinner. We’ve shared Scott‘s varied talents with you on the Journal over the years. Scott is (currently) an experimenting indigo farmer and dyer, an avid influencer of Southern food culture, and inspiring writer and oral historian. Who wouldn’t want to attend a dinner hosted by someone with that range of skill, knowledge, and personality?

ALABAMA CHANIN – A SALAD OF CUCUMBER AND RADISH

To extend the celebration of Scott, The Factory Café will be serving Scott’s Cucumber and Radish Salad from The Gift of Southern Cooking next week from April 17th – 21st. Drop by and try it for yourself.

P.S.: Shown here on Heath Ceramics with a Top-Stitch Placemat and Organic Cotton Jersey Napkin.

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SCOTT PEACOCK + FRIENDS OF THE CAFE DINNER

Scott Peacock, native of Hartford, Alabama, was in his late twenties when he met the legendary, late Edna Lewis, considered to be the “Grand Dame” of Southern cuisine. At the time, Scott was chef for the governor of Georgia, and he and Miss Lewis were assigned to cook together for a fundraiser—though neither of them realized that they were also beginning an extraordinary relationship that would last until the last days of her life. After years of working together—with Miss Lewis acting as both muse and endless source of knowledge, and Peacock serving as faithful collaborator and eventual caretaker—the two partnered to write what is now considered a modern classic Southern cookbook, The Gift of Southern Cooking: Recipes and Revelations from Two Great Southern Cooks.

But in the years leading up to that partnership, Scott was finding his place in the culinary world. He began his career as a pastry chef at Tallahassee, Florida’s The Golden Pheasant before transitioning into his position in the governor’s mansion for two terms—cooking primarily French-inspired dishes. After some time, with the encouragement of his father and Miss Lewis, Scott embarked upon a new path and earned acclaim at Atlanta’s Horseradish Grill before moving to Watershed restaurant in the Atlanta suburb of Decatur. She encouraged him to embrace his Southern roots and to cook food that was true to their Southern experiences, rather than focus solely on what might be considered caricatures of traditional dishes. While Scott eventually became quite well-known for his fried chicken recipe, he also knows how to coax the best flavors from collard greens, okra, seasonal vegetables, and fish. Scott makes no secret of the impact that Miss Lewis had upon his life and his approach to cooking—and to living. The two became family and their bond lasted until the end of her life; she spent her final years at his Decatur, Georgia, home. As he told the St. Petersburg Times, “She’s my best friend. The least of what I’ve learned from her has to do with cooking.”

Alongside Miss Lewis, Scott co-founded The Society for the Revival and Preservation of Southern Food, a precursor to the Southern Foodways Alliance. Scott has been nominated for six James Beard awards, and in 2007 was awarded the prize for Best Chef: Southeast for his work at Watershed. His recipes have appeared in a number of publications, including Southern Living, The New York Times, Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, and Gourmet, among many others. He has also made frequent appearances on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Martha Stewart’s talk show, “Martha” and is a contributor to Better Homes and Gardens. Additionally, Scott has dedicated years to documenting the stories and food memories of Alabama’s oldest residents.

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His longstanding mission has been to celebrate the true nature of Southern food and the community-related approach that surrounds the Southern table. He once told us, “Pure, wholesome food—should be democratic and available to everyone. At my mother’s and grandmothers’ tables, there was a strong awareness of where our food came from that made it distinct. Comparisons were made between vegetables we grew, those grown by friends and neighbors, and those that came from Mr. Spear’s Market or the Piggly Wiggly. Within the community, individuals were distinguished by who grew the best corn or made the best pound cake… People in Hartford had certain ways of cooking peas that were different from the way peas were cooked in Slocomb, 6 miles away, or where my father’s mother lived, way in the country. There was a uniqueness that set us apart and also bound us together.”

“But even then, I realized that it’s a very different experience to cook or eat food grown by someone or from somewhere you know.” He explained, “To me, food is all about relationships. To have a relationship with your farmer, with your community, with the people who prepare your food, with yourself, and even with the ingredients themselves is so important. When I’m in the kitchen, I’m there because I’ve been inspired—by people, by stories, by my surroundings. The dinner is being served family-style, so that people will interact with one another, serve food to one another, and hopefully, build relationships—with each other and the food.”

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These days the renowned chef, oral historian, and storyteller has taken a sabbatical from the kitchen and is dedicating his time to living in and growing in The Black Belt of Alabama—specifically focusing on natural dyestuffs, indigo, and rare antique wheats. His commitment to thorough research and practical experimentation is as comprehensive as his work exploring Southern food histories and traditions. Even so, we have somehow managed to coax Scott out of his temporary retirement to host our upcoming Friends of the Café Dinner, benefiting the Southern Foodways Alliance. This is an extraordinary opportunity to share food, fellowship, and stories with one of our most celebrated and knowledgeable food historians in America.

ALABAMA CHANIN – WAFFLES FOR SATURDAY BRUNCH + A HISTORY

WAFFLES FOR SATURDAY BRUNCH (+ A HISTORY)

It’s hard to imagine that something as commonplace as the waffle didn’t make it big in the United States until the 1960s—especially when its origin dates back to ancient Greece. The earliest waffles were called “obelios” and were cooked between two hot metal plates. Sometime during the 13th century, Europeans started stamping the cakes with motifs ranging from family crests, landscapes, and the characteristic grid pattern.

It was the Belgians, though, that perfected its recipe into something so delicious that their waffles were eaten by themselves – much unlike the loaded breakfast waffles Americans eat today. The Belgian waffle, originally known as the Brussels waffle, made its debut in America at the 1962 World Fair in Seattle. Not long after, Maurice Vermersch (a native Belgian) catapulted the waffle’s popularity at the 1964/1965 New York World’s Fair. The crispy and airy waffles were sold one of two ways: plain, or with strawberries and freshly whipped cream. The Vermersch family held their waffles to the highest Belgian standards. They refused to provide silverware to their customers, as that was not how waffles were eaten on the streets of Belgium.

Here in America, Belgian waffles have become a staple in diners and on breakfast menus. When compared to authentic Belgian waffles: where they lack in flavor in texture, they make up for with toppings and garnishes.

ALABAMA CHANIN – WAFFLES FOR SATURDAY BRUNCH + A HISTORY

We’re serving up our own version of Belgian waffles at The Factory at brunch on Saturday, March 25th for International Waffle Day. We prefer our waffles with put up blueberry sauce, maple syrup, and freshly whipped cream. Pictured here on Heath Ceramics with our Top-Stitch Placemat in Dove, an Organic Cotton Jersey Napkin, vintage silver, and a Weck Jar.

P.S.: Find breakfast and brunch recipes, including a variation on the Belgian Waffle with hot dogs, chili, and slaw in John Currence’s Big Bad Breakfast.

ALABAMA CHANIN - LIFE SKILLS WITH HUGH ACHESON - PHOTO CREDIT - RINNE ALLEN 1

LIFE SKILLS WITH HUGH ACHESON

Hugh Acheson is a practical man. He’s witty and inventive, too, but he has the ability to cut through nonsense like a hot knife through butter. Hugh opened his Athens, Georgia-based flagship restaurant 5 & 10 in 2000 and followed in 2007 with a second space, The National. He has since opened the Atlanta-based Empire State South and Spiller Park Coffee, and The Florence in Savannah, Georgia. He is a six-time James Beard nominee for Best Chef Southeast and the 2012 winner of that award. His wry humor, paired with a natural storytelling ability, makes him unintimidating to the at-home cook—resulting in a growing library of cookbooks, including A New Turn in the South and The Broad Fork, two of our favorites from recent years.

A New Turn in the South won the James Beard Foundation’s award for Best Cookbook in the field of “American Cooking” in 2012—and we often reference the book’s “Message About Community”. Hugh wrote:

“The small steps that you take as a consumer are multifold: Shop at your farmer’s market, buy local crafts and art, frequent local independent restaurants, buy locally roasted coffee, buy native plants, learn how to garden, don’t eat overly processed foods, know the person who raises your eggs. This has nothing to do with a political stance and everything to do with a community stance. I am not a fanatic, just a believer. I believe in the place we live and in finding ways to make it great every day. I am endlessly enamored of my local sphere, my community.”

When we spoke with Hugh recently, we asked him to expand a bit on the roles of sustainability and community in his life. “I think the idea of sustainability should be compared to a life of hiking and camping: ‘Pack it in, pack it out. Leave it as nice as when you went in.’ I think we need to think about generations way beyond our own and think what legacy we can leave them. As for my food journey as it relates to my community, I am constantly intrigued by being involved. If I was a dentist I would feel the same way but as a chef, I have a connection to the community through food and can highlight the importance of sustenance and availability in many different ways. I like that ongoing journey.”

Though he is a native of Ottawa, Canada, Hugh has lived in Athens for over two decades and is more knowledgeable of Southern food history and traditions than most born-and-bred Southerners. His thoughts on Southern food culture speak to its potential and its true history, and he is quick to point out the differences between “real” and “fake” Southern foods. “We honor Southern food by cataloging the stories and recipes of the past and the present. We pay homage by realizing that the vast majority of Southern food came here as a product of slavery. It is a painful history of food and nourishment but it is a story that should be told. I think the Jim Crow era of Southern food with the Aunties and the Pitty Pat Porches is luckily coming to an end and has been replaced by a truly intellectual look at tradition and legacy. Southern food is not a bucket of fried chicken and biscuits, but rather a celebration of the agrarian richness that has provided for us in a seasonal way for so long. I would rather hear about Southern food from Edna Lewis than Paula Deen.”

ALABAMA CHANIN - LIFE SKILLS WITH HUGH ACHESON - PHOTO CREDIT - EMILY HALL 2

Our dear friend, collaborator, and sometime-muse Rinne Allen has worked with Hugh on several projects and she clearly has a deep admiration for him. She remembers, “We all really bonded over this project [A New Turn in the South], as corny as that sounds—we worked on it for a very long time which normally does not happen in the world of cookbooks. (Normally, they are condensed into a very short time frame.) Our group met every other week for almost a year at Hugh’s home kitchen to cook and take photographs. And then most days we would sit down and enjoy the food afterward and that, really, was the best part of the project…that kind of camaraderie that comes from sharing food, as well as sharing in such a good project.” She speaks of her experiences working with Hugh as incredibly collaborative. His thoughts on collaborating with her are equally as fond. “Rinne is the most delightful collaborator. She is an endlessly fascinating person with so many skills and mediums to express her art. Collaboration should be about a meeting of minds and ideas that work together. Always collaborate with people you think are smarter and better than you! Leave your ego at the door and listen and appreciate what they bring to the table.”

ALABAMA CHANIN - LIFE SKILLS WITH HUGH ACHESON 3

A couple of years ago Hugh unexpectedly took on yet another project when one of his daughters shared with him what she’d been learning in her Family and Consumer Sciences class: how to take prenatal vitamins, baking Red Velvet cupcakes from a boxed mix, cooking canned pastry dough wrapped in bacon. Hugh saw what he considered to be a missed opportunity, mostly resulting from a lack of resources. As a strong advocate for his adopted hometown and a supporter of public schools, he saw a chance to partner with his local school district and help revamp curriculum to address real-life issues and provide students with practical skills for living and succeeding that they could carry into adulthood. That collaboration resulted in the creation of Seed Life Skills, a non-profit designed to teach concepts that students can retain and employ throughout their lives. “Seed Life Skills is a rewriting of curriculum to make it contemporary and retainable. It is like life skill merit badges of urban homesteading: poaching an egg, making a vinaigrette, reading a lease, sewing on a button, fixing a toaster, debating a simple premise, understanding debt. It is meant to empower kids to be better suited to tackle the endless hurdles in life. A Happy Meal doesn’t really require skills.”

ALABAMA CHANIN - LIFE SKILLS WITH HUGH ACHESON - PHOTO CREDIT - RINNE ALLEN 4

After years of advocating for more education in the “living arts”, we understand Hugh’s frustration that most people don’t know how to do things or make things anymore. Part of our mission at Alabama Chanin has been to support the reintroduction of those practical skills that were once essential to life but have become casualties of convenience. We want to renew and instill respect for these skills (sewing, farming, cooking, etc.) and demonstrate their true value. We asked Hugh to share some thoughts and advice on how to continue that journey—and whether programs like Seed Life Skills could be applicable to other disciplines, like ours. “Just realize that everything is STEAM and STEM applicable. List out the ten most important skills that you use daily that have fallen by the wayside in current culture and then whittle those down to basic lessons that engage with a kid who really, despite everything we hear and are told, just wants to LEARN. Teach them what you know.”

Because of his growing expertise in this area, Hugh has partnered with the National Head Start Association to serve as their Healthy Living Ambassador—visiting Head Start programs nationwide to speak with children and families about the importance of preparing nutritious meals and raise funds to enable Head Start centers to build their own gardens. All of this AND he is finishing up work on his fourth cookbook, The Chef and the Slow Cooker which, in a way, is extending his Seed Life Skills curriculum into the adult kitchen sphere. “People want to get back in the kitchen, but they’re terrified of getting back in the kitchen; they’re terrified of cooking from scratch” he recently said. “So we need them to find the tools that make that easier for them and it’s kind of a segue. It’s getting them back in there, slowly but surely.”

We tossed a few more questions Hugh’s way, so enjoy…

AC: You are the chef/partner at five different restaurants. How do you balance your roles at each of them? And what parts of your personality or POV does each reflect?

HA: My POV and personality matters little hopefully. Restaurants are run by a team of people, assembling together to produce great food and beverage with great service and style. I merely curate the ideas, and then triage the daily routine. As you grow in business you have to hire people better and smarter than yourself and trust them with responsibility and leadership. And naps. Naps are important.

AC: Your second cookbook, The Broad Fork, celebrates vegetables and offers home cooks ways to use ingredients from their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box that they might not be familiar with. What are your favorite vegetables to highlight each season?

HA:

winter: cabbage

spring: peas

summer: tomatoes

fall: apples

AC: What sort of advice do you have for CSA subscribers working with unfamiliar or challenging ingredients (other than purchasing The Broad Fork)?

HA: Google it! The web is a resource for ideas and information.

AC: What are the best ways to engage kids in the home kitchen?

HA: Cook with them from scratch. Kids are sponges. Talk about where and why and how.

AC: What is your earliest food-related memory? Do you remember the first dish you cooked by yourself?

HA: I made paprika-cheese toast when I was 4. Wasn’t very good. But I was proud.

AC: What was your last true great dining experience?

HA: At home. Roasted chicken with local rice, turnips and chow chow. It made the family smile.

AC: At Alabama Chanin, you can often find music influencing the mood and the workflow in the studio. What is your favorite music to cook by?

HA: Depends on the day, but I have been listening to a lot of Archie Shepp these days. Jazz is great to cook to.

ALABAMA CHANIN - LIFE SKILLS WITH HUGH ACHESON 5

Images courtesy of Hugh Acheson. First and fourth images by Rinne Allen. Portrait of Hugh Acheson by Emily B. Hall.

ALABAMA CHANIN – HOUSE MADE OREOS @ THE FACTORY

HOUSE MADE OREOS @ THE FACTORY

Some people dip them in a tall glass of milk; some separate the creme from the chocolate cookies and eat them separately; some smother them with peanut butter—and others just enjoy them plain. You can even find deep fried versions at carnivals and fairs. The Oreo cookie is an undeniable American classic.

In April of 1912, the National Biscuit Company (soon to be known as Nabisco) created a trio of what they termed the “highest class biscuits”. Included in this set of cookies was the Mother Goose Biscuit, the Veronese Biscuit, and the Oreo Biscuit. The first two cookies were quickly discontinued but the third, the Oreo Biscuit, was exactly what people were craving and is just as popular today.

Described as “two beautifully embossed chocolate-flavored wafers with a rich creme filling at 30 cents per pound,” the original Oreo closely resembled the modern cookie we love. The design embossed on today’s chocolate wafers first debuted in 1952, altered slightly from the original motif. Throughout history, cookie fanatics have theorized (without much evidence) that the various designs embossed on the Oreo represented everything from the Knights Templar to the Freemasons. Mystery also surrounds the cookie’s name. Some guess that “Oreo” comes from the French word for gold, and others claim that the name is a nod to the Greek word for mountain.

ALABAMA CHANIN – HOUSE MADE OREOS @ THE FACTORY

No matter the name, since the debut of the cookie over 100 years ago, Nabisco has sold over 450 billion Oreos, making it the best-selling cookie of the 20th century. March 6th is National Oreo Cookie Day, and we’re celebrating by serving up our own version of homemade Oreos and Oreo sandwiches made with house-made Oreo ice cream at The Factory Café from March 6th until March 11th. Stop by for one (or three).

ALABAMA CHANIN – NATIONAL CHILI DAY

NATIONAL CHILI DAY (NEXT WEEK @ THE FACTORY)

Chili con carne, usually just called “chili” around these parts, may have a Spanish name but it’s an undeniably American dish—with more than one group of people claiming some form of ownership. The earliest written description of chili came from J.C. Clopper of Houston, Texas. In his writings about a visit to San Antonio in 1828, he described a dish, made by the poorest of San Antonio’s residents, that closely matches our definition of chili. “When they have to pay for their meat in the market, a very little is made to suffice for a family; this is generally into a kind of hash with nearly as many peppers as there are pieces of meat—this is all stewed together.” Listen to more about chili in San Antonio at Fugitive Waves: Chili Queens of San Antonio.

There is evidence indicating that the first chili mix was created around 1850 by cowboys and explorers looking for an easily packaged trail meal. Cooks would pound dried beef, fat, pepper, salt, and chili peppers into rectangles that they could rehydrate in boiling water. These “chili bricks” were easy to pack and could be made at just about any trail stop. Around 1860, prisoners of Texas state penitentiaries also claimed to be the creators of their own version of chili—made from the tough beef they were given as meal staples, chopped into tiny pieces and mixed with chili peppers and spices, then boiled until it was suitable for eating. Supposedly, inmates used to rate jails across the state by the quality of their chili.

The San Antonio Chili Stand set up operations at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago and officially presented the dish to those outside of Texas for the first time. Eventually, San Antonio itself became a tourist destination and an increasing number of Americans were introduced to chili, firsthand. In the late 1800s, chili stands serving “bowls of red” began to appear on plazas around the city, run by women known as “chili queens”. These women served chili con carne and other Mexican-American foods from dusk until dawn, setting up their own tables, benches, and pots of food over open fires. Author O. Henry wrote a description of the setting in his short story, “The Enchanted Kiss”: “the nightly encampments upon the historic Alamo Plaza, in the heart of the city, had been a carnival, a saturnalia that was renowned throughout the land… Drawn by the coquettish senoritas, the music of the weird Spanish minstrels, and the strange piquant Mexican dishes served at a hundred competing tables, crowds thronged the Alamo Plaza all night.” The city unsuccessfully tried to get the stands shut down for decades, eventually succeeding in the 1940s with help from the city Health Department.

ALABAMA CHANIN – NATIONAL CHILI DAY

As families moved from Texas to other areas across America, they took their chili recipes and traditions with them. In the early 1900s, family-run chili parlors began to pop up in cities across the country, offering other regions an introduction to traditional Texas fare. These spots became trendy and soon most notable cities had their own famed chili joint and preferred recipe. Cincinnati Chili is a well-known regional dish created in 1922 by a Macedonian immigrant, Tom Kiradjieff, who created a chili using Middle Eastern spices. His famous “five way” is a dish of spaghetti topped with chili, chopped onion, red kidney beans, shredded cheese, and served with cheese-covered hot dogs. Springfield, Illinois, has its own unique chili culture and spelling; in 1993, the Illinois state legislature passed a resolution proclaiming Illinois to be the “Chilli Capital of the Civilized World” and recognized the official spelling to include two letter Ls. (You can imagine how well this was received in Texas.)

Chili consumption spiked in the U.S. during Lyndon Johnson’s presidency. His favorite version became known as Pedernales River Chili, named after his Texas ranch. Lady Bird Johnson published the recipe in the Washington Post in 1961 and the White House printed up recipe cards to mail out, as they received many requests for the recipe each day. Johnson, like any Texan, would tell you that real, original chili has no beans. This bean-free chili is the official state food of Texas, “in recognition of the fact that the only real ‘bowl of red’ is that prepared by Texans.”

Of course, there are now dozens of varieties of chili—both with beans and without. Vegetarian chili, chili verde, white bean chili—all have their own devoted followings. This week, in honor of National Chili Day (traditionally on the 4th Thursday in February), the café will be serving our version of vegetarian chili, from February 27 – March 4. I’m certain there will be chili cook-offs across the country this week where you can enter or support your preferred version—and you can share your favorite version with us as well. Please stop by and say hello and enjoy a bowl (or two).

P.S. We serve our chili on Heath dinnerware with 100% organic cotton jersey Dinner Napkins.

 

ALABAMA CHANIN – SPARKLING GRAPEFRUIT MOJITO

SPARKLING GRAPEFRUIT MOJITO

Traditional mojitos consist of five ingredients: white rum, sugar, lime juice, soda water, and mint. While this cocktail is a popular summer drink, we’ve adapted it to suit our mid-February temperatures (though the weather in Alabama has been all over the place—68 degrees one day, 30 the next).

The Factory Café will be serving our version from February 15th – 28th. Enjoy a cocktail with lunch or brunch—or stop in for an early afternoon libation.

ALABAMA CHANIN – SPARKLING GRAPEFRUIT MOJITO

SPARKLING GRAPEFRUIT MOJITO

4 mint leaves
1 teaspoon raw sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 oz Grapefruit Shrub
3 oz Prosecco
Beautiful Briny Sea Orange Chili Sugar

Moisten and dip the rim of a 6 oz. glass in the orange chili sugar.

Muddle the mint, sugar, and lime juice until the sugar is dissolved. Add the grapefruit shrub and stir. Top off with Prosecco.

Garnish with mint and enjoy.

A reminder from our cocktail contributor, Jesse Goldstein: It’s important to add a note here about muddling. All too often I see people pulverizing the mint for mojitos when they simply need to bruise it. Give it a few good presses and that will help release the aromatics without getting bits and pieces floating around.

Find more cocktail recipes on the Journal.

Follow The Factory Café on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on their happenings, including menu updates, upcoming events, and recipes.

ALABAMA CHANIN – SPARKLING GRAPEFRUIT MOJITO

ALABAMA CHANIN – BILL NEAL, SOUTHERN COOKING, AND CHICKEN PURLOO

BILL NEAL, SOUTHERN COOKING, AND CHICKEN PURLOO

“I remember Bill once telling us that the kitchen, within certain bounds, was a laboratory. Occasionally a tart would be lopsided or the mirepoix was never all exactly the same dice, and I remember him saying one time: We do everything homemade here. Everything is made by hand, so there’s nothing wrong with it looking like it.” – Bill Smith, chef, Crook’s Corner

There is a mystery and a mythology surrounding Bill Neal that never really dissipates. His was one of the first voices in the modern celebration of regional cuisine and, as the most academic, it is perhaps one of the most respected. Bill came of age and came to relative prominence in the days just before the celebrity chef and so he escaped much of the recognition and the scrutiny that comes with that fame. However, his contemporaries and those who still love and use his cookbooks know him to be both historian and innovator.

Bill Neal and his then-wife Moreton Neal opened their first restaurant, La Residence, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in 1975 after Bill’s love of cooking overtook his graduate studies in English. He was never formally trained as a chef, but was intensely dedicated to studying cooking techniques, flavors, and ingredients. The kitchen became his classroom and workshop. Neal’s next venture, the now-legendary Crook’s Corner, put to bed the notion that fish camps and barbecue joints were the only restaurants focusing on true Southern food. And as Bill researched and cooked, he began to do something that no one else was really doing at the time: take Southern food seriously.

food-chicken-purloo-bill-neal-the-factory-cafe-abraham-rowe-1

John T. Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance describes Bill as “early and important.” Bill Neal, he says, “was the first Southerner who applied an academic rigor to cooking. We were not very proud, back then, of ourselves and our cuisine. He rekindled our respect for the cooking of our own forebears. And he gave Southern cooking a strong national platform.”

It was around this same time that other chefs began to make names for themselves by focusing on fresh ingredients and regional cuisine. Alice Waters, who remains the most recognizable figure in Slow Food, was defining modern California cuisine at Chez Panisse; Paul Prudhomme became one of the most recognized faces in America and a literal advertisement for new and traditional New Orleans food; Jasper White was on his way to becoming the leading authority on New England seafood.

At this same time Bill Neal was being christened by New York Times food critic Craig Claiborne as the spokesperson for Southern foods, which Neal described as a ”confluence of three cultures — Western European, African and Native American — meeting, clashing and ultimately melding into one unique identity, one hybrid society, which was changed forever by civil war in the 1860’s.” In the magnificent Southern Foodways Alliance short film about Bill called, “They Came for Shrimp & Grits: The Life & Work of Bill Neal,” New York Times writer Kim Severson says, “Bill Neal was one of the real early adapters of southern regional awesomeness and the way that he was able to, in a very intelligent way, articulate it both on the plate and the pages of his cookbook, built a foundation for what all the southern chefs are doing right now.”

ALABAMA CHANIN – BILL NEAL, SOUTHERN COOKING, AND CHICKEN PURLOO

Southern Cooking was Bill Neal’s first cookbook and it offered evidence that Southern fare is not quaint, unsophisticated, or unimportant. His research and recipes acknowledged the complicated, sometimes difficult history of a food shaped by region, by agriculture, and by an ethnic mix of willing immigrants and enslaved peoples. To quote John T. Edge again, “Bill Neal was one of the first chefs who, by way of what he cooked in his restaurants and what he wrote in his books, said to eaters and readers, ‘These foods are of merit.’” His subsequent books, Good Old Grits Cookbook, Biscuits, Spoonbread, and Sweet Potato Pie, and Gardener’s Latin: A Lexicon allowed him to explore his subjects further and stretch his legs as a writer. He was becoming a recognizable voice in the Southern food vernacular, just as he had become an influence and role model for his peers.

When Bill Neal passed away at the young age of 41, he left behind a rich legacy—and, quite by accident, created a new Southern classic dish from a traditional Low Country staple. “I made a dish that was taken from the traditional Charleston dish, shrimp and grits,” Neal said. “The first time I put shrimp and grits on the menu everybody thought that was the strangest thing they’d ever heard of. Now if I don’t have it on the menu, everybody complains.” Crooks Corner chef Bill Smith agrees. “Bill introduced shrimp and grits to the world here. It was a huge hit at once and now it’s inescapable; it’s everywhere.” Like many chefs, Natalie’s son Zach counts Bill Neal and his shrimp and grits as important influences.

ALABAMA CHANIN – BILL NEAL, SOUTHERN COOKING, AND CHICKEN PURLOO

In honor of Chef Bill Neal, Zach will be serving Neal’s version of Chicken Purloo (a dish that is akin to pilaf—made with chicken and rice—and found in Bill Neal’s Southern Cooking) in the café starting today and until Friday. We hope you will stop by to celebrate Chef Neal or, if you are unfamiliar with Bill Neal, use this as an introduction to his work and his lasting legacy.

ALABAMA CHANIN – WEDDING + SPECIAL EVENT CATERING

WEDDING + SPECIAL EVENTS CATERING MENU

With wedding season right around the corner, The Factory Café has updated its catering menu to include new selections for your event.

At The Factory Café, quality and service are at the core of what we do. Food (and where it comes from) matters to us, along with providing the best experience for you. We take care to source all of our ingredients organically, regionally, and seasonally, as often possible. And while we offer curated options, our head chef and events coordinator can also work with you to provide a customized menu.

We’ve expanded our Hors d’oeuvres Menu to include bites like Melon Shooters, Caprese Kabobs, and Mini Biscuits served with Belle Chevre spread, preserves, and bacon. Our Traditional Buffett features favorite Southern dishes like Shrimp + Grits, Baked Mac + Cheese, Red Beans and Rice, or Pan-Seared Rosemary + Garlic Pork Loin; and sweets like Carrot Cake, Orange Sweet Rolls, and Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies.

In addition to off-site catering for events, The Factory Café provides on-site services and can host bridal luncheons and rehearsal dinners.

ALABAMA CHANIN – WEDDING + SPECIAL EVENT CATERING

Visit our Catering page for more information, and click below to view menu selections.

HORS D’OEUVRES MENU
BUFFET MENU
SWEETS MENU

Please note that we are a small operation, and we need ample time to serve you properly. These menus are only suggestions, and our staff will work with you to create a personalized menu to suit your tastes and needs. Contact our events coordinator, Anne Ryan, at 256.701.8667 or email events (at) alabamachanin.com to inquire about dates and offerings or to make a reservation and plan your menu.

We look forward to helping you plan your perfect day.

P.S. Don’t forget to take a look at our new Signature | Bridal Collection. If you see something you like, call our store director at 256.760.1090 or email shop (at) alabamachanin.com to schedule a fitting.

ALABAMA CHANIN - THE FACTORY CAFE FACEBOOK

THE FACTORY CAFE ON FACEBOOK

The Factory opened to our community in November 2013, and over the past three years it has grown into an important part of the Alabama Chanin Family of Businesses. The space that started as our design and production studios now encompasses a full service café and our flagship store. You might have heard it referred to as Alabama Chanin @ The Factory, Alabama Chanin’s The Factory, or The Factory Store + Café (since The Factory houses both). We simply call it The Factory.

And while any version of the name is synonymous with Alabama Chanin, The Factory Café is Alabama Chanin’s food and service-oriented division of the business. You can find the following programs and services from The Factory Café:

As our programing expands, we have updated our social media channels to more directly get news to our followers. Last year, we introduced separate Instagram accounts for The School of Making (@theschoolofmaking), The Factory Café (@alabamachaninfactorycafe), and Natalie’s own personal account (@alabamachaninlife).

Today, we announce a new Facebook page for The Factory Café. Like and follow our page for daily menu updates, catering services, events, recipes, and a behind-the-scenes look into our kitchen. If you come out for a visit, leave us a review and let us know how we did.

Find The Factory Café here:
On Instagram
On Facebook
On alabamachanin.com
On Yelp
On TripAdvisor

And tag #alabamachaninfactorycafe

ALABAMA CHANIN – MULETOWN + THE FACTORY BLEND COFFEE

MULETOWN + THE FACTORY BLEND COFFEE

We previously introduced you to Muletown Roasted Coffee, creators of our house coffee, The Factory Blend. Co-owners Chris Weninegar and Matt Johnson, who originally met here in the Shoals, established their roasting and retail facility on the main square in downtown Columbia, Tennessee. Two years have passed since we last spoke with them, and for Gourmet Coffee Day we revisit the company to see how it has grown.

The town of Columbia warmly embraces Muletown, so much so that last January they opened a second location called Muletown West. The building originally housed their San Franciscan SF-25 roaster, which didn’t fit in their downtown shop. But with a high school, middle school, and university close by, they recognized that Muletown could repurpose the space and create another cafe to service that side of town.

ALABAMA CHANIN – MULETOWN + THE FACTORY BLEND COFFEE

Over the following year, the company remodeled the Muletown Heritage downtown location, while building out the 3,000 square foot Muletown West roasting facility. Drawing from their music backgrounds, Weninegar and Johnson formed an idea—they could use their space to feature some of their favorite regional musicians. Muletown partnered with Listerhill Credit Union to present Muletown Live, a Fall concert series. The series’ inaugural year brought musicians like Firekid and Elenowen into the community. They plan to continue the series in 2017, so keep an eye open for the line-up. In addition to the concert series, the duo founded a small, in-house record label and will soon release a compilation of songs written and performed by their employees.

The company has also recently launched a subscription coffee service. The program allows custom-ordered coffee to be delivered to members’ homes as often as they need. You can view their coffee selections and order an all-purpose or blend subscription on the Muletown website.

ALABAMA CHANIN – MULETOWN + THE FACTORY BLEND COFFEE

As one of Muletown’s earliest clients, we are proud to support our friends as they grow.

Visit Muletown’s two locations in Columbia, Tennessee, or stop by The Café to taste a cup of The Factory Blend. If you drink your coffee at home, we also sell whole bean or ground 12 oz bags in-store and online.

Photos courtesy of Muletown

FRIDA’S FIESTAS + MACAROONS

When she was a teenager, Guadalupe Rivera Marin moved to her father and stepmother’s home in Coyoacan, Mexico City—a home that was well known by friends and neighbors both for its famous occupants and the opulent parties they loved to throw. Guadalupe’s father was muralist Diego Rivera and his wife was painter Frida Kahlo, both of whom she and co-author Marie-Pierre Colle celebrate in Frida’s Fiestas: Recipes and Reminiscences of Life with Frida Kahlo.

ALABAMA CHANIN – FRIDA'S FIESTAS + MACAROONS

Diego Rivera was famously food obsessed and Frida (who did not cook much—or enjoy cooking) studied how to make Mexican cuisine to please him. Rivera Marin writes, “From her wedding day on, Frida realized that good cooking would be an important part of her life.” Frida, oddly enough, learned how to cook primarily from Lupe Marin—Guadalupe’s mother and Diego’s ex-wife. Lupe was an excellent cook and her mother, Isabel Preciado de Marin, published The New Mexican Cookbook in 1888. As the two women became very good friends, Lupe would teach Frida how to make Diego’s favorite dishes.

ALABAMA CHANIN – FRIDA'S FIESTAS + MACAROONS

What Frida initially lacked in technique, she made up for in presentation. Each meal was almost a still life, arranged for Diego. Guadalupe remembers her as organized and a wonderful host, who loved arranging the house and decorating everything. Frida set elaborate Mexican tables with embroidered tablecloths and vases of flowers. She embraced nearly every chance to celebrate and throw a party, which is reflected in Frida’s Fiestas. The cookbook is organized by month, beginning with August (Frida and Diego’s anniversary month) and also including the Posadas (at Christmas), the Day of the Dead, Mexican national holidays, and a gala they referred to as The Meal of the Broad Tablecloths.

ALABAMA CHANIN – FRIDA'S FIESTAS + MACAROONS

Frida’s Fiestas includes more than 100 recipes for the types of traditional Mexican foods that Frida would prepare for Diego and their guests. The book also includes many illustrations, copies of pages from Frida’s cookbooks and notebooks, vintage portraits, and reproductions of her paintings. Guadalupe has also filled its pages with loving memories of her life with Frida and Diego.

ALABAMA CHANIN – FRIDA'S FIESTAS + MACAROONS

Frida’s remarkably simple recipe for macaroons can be found on page 124.

You won’t be disappointed; get your very own copy here.

#womenartists

ALABAMA CHANIN – THE YEAR IN REVIEW

2016: THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Some years fly by and others seem to drag on forever; 2016 kept us at a steady pace at Alabama Chanin. We have been able to focus on refining our methods and more deeply developing our different avenues of work—from the design team to workshops to collections and collaborations. It is possible that 2017 could be a year of major transition across our country, so before life gets more hectic, we would like to look back and appreciate what we accomplished in the past year.

ALABAMA CHANIN – THE YEAR IN REVIEW

We added an important member to our design team, Erin Reitz, who brings a fresh point of view and is helping us expand our way of thinking about design. In addition to her work as a designer, Erin and her business partner Kerry Speake own The Commons, a Charleston-based shop selling American-made home goods. Through The Commons, the two developed their own line of tableware called The Shelter Collection. We partnered with their team to create The Shelter Collection @ Alabama Chanin and we think it works perfectly alongside our collaborative collection with Heath Ceramics.

ALABAMA CHANIN – THE YEAR IN REVIEW

ALABAMA CHANIN – THE YEAR IN REVIEW

In May, we launched Collection #30. Our ongoing partnership with Nest helped us understand how to best integrate our machine-made garments into our larger collection, and we folded our basics, essentials, machine-made, and handmade garments together into one cohesive group. The collection featured Coral, Maize, and Pink color stories, highlighted Art Nouveau-style floral embroideries, and included an expanded selection of our popular new knitwear pieces. We also introduced new garments, including updated tunics, jackets, and pants. Our collection of home goods also expanded, with new selections in canvas and more machine-sewn kitchen textiles.

ALABAMA CHANIN – THE YEAR IN REVIEW

As part of The School of Making, last year we launched the Host a Party program that offered our DIY customers the opportunity to organize their own sewing parties for friends and family. The positive feedback we received allowed us to expand our offerings for the upcoming year. In 2016, we also began our Build a Wardrobe subscription service, which released four new garment patterns to participants—one each quarter. The program’s goal is to help to makers expand their handmade, sustainable wardrobes based on each individual’s personal style. This coming year, Build a Wardrobe features the Factory Dress, Car Coat, Wrap Dress, and Drawstring Pant/Skirt; subscribers can join at any point in the year.

ALABAMA CHANIN – THE YEAR IN REVIEW

We also launched a collaboration with Spoonflower—a North Carolina-based web company that allows individuals to design, print, and sell their own fabrics—that allowed us to create custom Alabama Chanin organic cotton jersey. The first run of our limited-edition, pre-printed fabric sold out almost immediately, but you can currently purchase the fabric by the yard in our Anna’s Garden and New Leaves designs from our online store.

As part of our expanded workshop offerings, Alabama Chanin hosted its first workshop abroad, at Chateau Dumas in Auty, France. In addition to our sewing curriculum, we were able to explore ornate interiors and architecture, shop at unique markets, and experience woad dyeing for the first time. The weeklong event was picturesque, and we hope to be able to offer another similar event soon.

ALABAMA CHANIN – THE YEAR IN REVIEW

The Friends of the Café Dinner series continued to expand with dinners co-hosted by Sean Brock, Adam Evans, Rodney Scott, and Frank Stitt. The 2017 season has already been announced and you can purchase tickets here. In addition to daily service, our café team also focused on growing our catering services and offers a selection of menus for on and off-site gatherings.

ALABAMA CHANIN – THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Recognizing that our team is a top priority, we continued to invest in our staff this year through special staff development programs and updated policies that encourage everyone to have a work-life balance. We use Zingerman’s and Patagonia as examples to create a company culture that is conducive, not only to our employees but to the community and environment. From documenting our processes to ensuring that our information is open source and accessible company-wide, we work to preserve the stories, methods, and history of the company while making way for new ideas and improved ways of doing.

ALABAMA CHANIN – THE YEAR IN REVIEW

There is so much in store for Alabama Chanin in 2017. We hope that—if you have not already—you will sign up for our mailing list and newsletter and follow along on social media for updates. Wishing all of you a safe New Year, filled with love, care, hope, and empathy.

P.S. – The grids shown here are a gallery of the promotional postcards our team made for The Factory and images of various events and programs over the course of the year. What a great year—and so much to look forward to in 2017.

ALABAMA CHANIN – THE YEAR IN REVIEW

ALABAMA CHANIN – INSTAGRAM: @ALABAMACHANINFACTORYCAFE

INSTAGRAM: @ALABAMACHANINFACTORYCAFE

2016 brought a lot of change and growth at The Factory. Our team worked hard to provide our community with fresh, creative lunch specials, seasonal cocktails, special events, and an expanded catering program—making this our best year yet. Thank you to all of you, near and far, for visiting us at The Factory. We feel the love daily, and we truly appreciate your support of our mission to share local, sustainable food with you.

For the most up-to-date information from The Factory Café—including menus, daily specials, and a peek into our kitchen—follow @alabamachaninfactorycafe on Instagram. And if you’ve visited us, please share your experience using the hashtag #alabamachaninfactorycafe.

ALABAMA CHANIN – HOLIDAY COCKTAIL: SPARKLY MANHATTAN

HOLIDAY COCKTAIL: SPARKLING MANHATTAN

Our café team continues to create festive cocktails to serve at add to the menu archives for The Factory Café. This cocktail speaks to two different demographics: whiskey drinkers and wine lovers. Follow the recipe below and make your own at home. Tippleman’s Burnt Sugar Syrup and Jack Rudy Aromatic Bitters are available for purchase at The Factory.

In this Prosecco cocktail, we channeled the taste of a Manhattan to create a brunch-appropriate drink by using fresh satsuma juice, Jack Rudy Aromatic Bitters, and Tippleman’s Burnt Sugar Syrup with a hint of rosemary.

ALABAMA CHANIN – HOLIDAY COCKTAIL: SPARKLY MANHATTAN

SPARKLING MANHATTAN

2 dashes Jack Rudy Aromatic Bitters
2 tablespoons satsuma juice or orange juice
1/5 tablespoon rosemary-infused Tippleman’s Burnt Sugar Syrup
3 oz of Prosecco
Rosemary sprigs

Put 2 dashes of Jack Rudy bitters in a 6-oz. glass and swirl to coat the bottom of the glass.

In a shaker filled with ice, combine satsuma juice and rosemary-infused burnt sugar syrup. Shake until ingredients are mixed together and cold.

Strain the satsuma mixture into the glass, top with Prosecco, and enjoy.

ROSEMARY-INFUSED BURNT SUGAR SYRUP
Muddle 3 rosemary springs with 2 oz. Burnt Sugar Syrup until fragrant. This should make enough infused syrup for 8 cocktails.

P.S.: Follow @alabamachaninfactorycafe to stay up-to-date on happenings from The Factory Café.

ALABAMA CHANIN – HOLIDAY COCKTAIL: HOLIDAY SUNRISE

HOLIDAY COCKTAIL: HOLIDAY SUNRISE

We’ve been experimenting with seasonal fruits to make holiday cocktails for The Factory Café.  The Holiday Sunrise is made with shrub (drinking vinegars) from our friends at MOTHER shrub. You can also find a selection of MOTHER shrub flavors available from The Factory if you choose to make this simple cocktail at home.

HOLIDAY SUNRISE

2 tablespoons Black Cherry MOTHER Shrub
1 tablespoon orange juice
3 oz Prosecco
Orange wedge for garnish

In a 6-ounce glass, combine shrub and orange juice. Fill the glass with Prosecco and garnish with an orange wedge.

P.S.: Follow @alabamachaninfactorycafe on Instagram for our daily menu and events from The Factory.

ALABAMA CHANIN – INTRODUCING ASHA GOMEZ

INTRODUCING ASHA GOMEZ

Yesterday, we announced the lineup for our 2017 Friends of the Café dinner series. Visiting chefs Scott Peacock and Ashley Christensen are familiar to our Journal readers, and today we want to introduce Asha Gomez—our guest chef in August.

Asha Gomez is an Atlanta-based chef who combines influences from her birthplace in Kerala, India, with those of her current home in the American South. The region of India where she was born is known for its Dutch and Portuguese influences, and the cuisine is distinctly different from what we consider traditional Indian food. As a child, Asha’s mother and aunts taught her how to cook using ingredients that arrived via the city’s trading port and traditional Kerala ingredients like asafoetida, a spice derived from a ten-foot-tall plant related to fennel.

ALABAMA CHANIN – INTRODUCING ASHA GOMEZ

Gomez and her mother emigrated to the United States when she was 16. As a teenager in Queens, New York, she gained experience with professional cooking, assisting her mother with her catering business. In 2000, Asha and her husband moved to Georgia, where she felt an immediate kinship with the Southern hospitality that reminded her of her birthplace in Southern India. She became known in the community for her Keralan meals and founded the Spice Route Supper Club, where she hosted small groups of diners in her own kitchen. The supper club’s popularity eventually led Asha to open her first restaurant, Cardamom Hill—a fine dining establishment that was named one of Bon Appetit’s 50 Best New Restaurants, was one of Southern Living’s 100 Best Restaurants in the South, and was a James Beard semifinalist in 2013 for Best New Restaurant. Its signature dish, Kerala fried chicken (her mother’s recipe), is well known and loved among Atlantans. In July 2014, she voluntarily closed the restaurant to spend more time with her family.

ALABAMA CHANIN – INTRODUCING ASHA GOMEZ

In 2013, Asha opened Third Space, a warm and inviting event venue that she calls a “culinary conversation.” The project allows her to have a more ideal work-life balance. The venue offers cooking classes in a home-style kitchen with Gomez and guest chefs. The space is intimate—with a 10-seat counter and 12-seat dining room—and allows participants to build relationships with their expert collaborators. For her, the classes are a return to the more intimate cooking style Gomez prefers with patrons. Third Space also hosts corporate events and small, private dinners.

Asha’s second restaurant, Spice to Table, opened in 2014 and is a fast-casual Indian patisserie connected to Third Space. At Spice to Table, Gomez and her staff plan their daily menu based off of finds at one of Atlanta’s many farmers’ markets. It has been named one of Zagat’s 12 Hottest Brunch Places in the US and one of the 25 best new restaurants in America by GQ Magazine. Here, she combines the best of South India with the American South by taking a classic Southern dish and amplifying it using Indian spices like clove, cardamom, and fresh peppercorns in her carrot cake. While managing these two ventures, she also acts as a Chef Ambassador with CARE, a non-profit that provides emergency relief and long-term international development projects.

In October, she published her first cookbook, My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India into a Southern Kitchen. The cookbook tells the story of how she blended her Indian heritage with her American home, to create a new style of cooking. As with her other endeavors, My Two Souths presents a platform for Gomez to share her love and knowledge of the world’s cultures as it relates to food. Gomez thoroughly prepares readers to cook by including a glossary detailing the origins of and ways to use ingredients. Throughout the book, she provides a further glimpse into her life with images of food, family gatherings, and her trips to the farmers market.

ALABAMA CHANIN – INTRODUCING ASHA GOMEZ

Find her cookbook and at The Factory.

ALABAMA CHANIN - ANNOUNCING 2017 FRIENDS OF THE CAFE DINNERS

ANNOUNCING 2017 FRIENDS OF THE CAFÉ DINNERS

Alabama Chanin hosted our very first Friends of the Café Dinner in May of 2014, and since then we’ve experienced meals and enjoyed gatherings that were nothing short of magical. In retrospect, we almost cannot believe the lineup of talented chefs who have graciously donated their time for these special fundraisers: Sean Brock, Ashley Christensen, Lisa Donovan, Adam Evans, Chris Hastings, Vivian Howard, Rob McDaniel, Angie Mosier, Anne Quatrano, Drew Robinson, Rodney Scott, Frank Stitt—and more.

alabama-chanin-announcing-2107-friends-of-the-cafe-dinners-2

This year’s schedule is no less impressive, with appearances (and reappearances) from some of the South’s most respected chefs. We have long hoped to convince Scott Peacock to co-host a dinner, and this year his schedule will allow him to join us for 2017’s first event on April 15th. On June 24th, Ashley Christensen will return for her second dinner, and on August 24th, we will welcome Atlanta-based chef Asha Gomez to The Factory for the first time. (Learn more about Asha on the Journal tomorrow.) All proceeds from the Friends of the Café Dinners will once again benefit the Southern Foodways Alliance.

alabama-chanin-announcing-2107-friends-of-the-cafe-dinners-3

Look for more information on the featured chefs in the coming months, and purchase tickets now in our online store.

ALABAMA CHANIN – SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY

SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY

In 2010, American Express founded Small Business Saturday as a way to help small businesses gain local attention, and in turn, more customers. Small Business Saturday falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday—two of the biggest (and busiest) shopping days of the year, occurring at big box retail locations and e-commerce platforms, respectively. The day encourages consumers to make an impact in their neighborhood and community by shopping at small businesses instead of major retailers. Over the past several years, this shopping day has grown into something of a movement. Small Business Saturday has been officially recognized by the U.S. Senate, and politicians all over the nation (including President Obama) have expressed their support. Each year, more and more communities and businesses get involved and promote the importance of shopping “small”.

ALABAMA CHANIN – SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY

It is the hope of all those participating that this, the seventh year of Small Business Saturday, is the biggest one yet. The Factory not only offers to you our own collection, collaborations, and DIY fabrics and notions, but highlights the work some of our favorite local and regional artisans, musicians, and purveyors plus our full-service café.

ALABAMA CHANIN – SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY

We hope to see you on November 26th and appreciate your support of our small business. We’ll have extended hours and will be offering 10% off brunch, special in-store savings, giveaways, complimentary sweets and beverages, and more.

Shop small this holiday season. Supporting small businesses in your community is one of the most important things you can do as a consumer.

 

LEFT ON THE CAFE TABLE

As part of our zero waste mission, we upcycle menus from The Factory Café into notepads that we use around the office for meetings, or to write thank you notes on. We stencil and cut the paper into quarter sheets and place them on our café tables with pencils for our guests’ convenience, as well.

Since we’ve begun this practice we have received dozens of notes from our guests; some people write lovely comments, but others leave us sketches or doodles, poems, kind words—and some of our littlest guests leave us handprints traced in pencil. These are small gifts, but we find them remarkably personal and delightful.

ALABAMA CHANIN – LEFT ON THE CAFE TABLE

What these notes (and other gifts) say to us is that our community feels comfortable in our space—and even if we don’t know you personally, you still feel connected enough to share a little piece of yourself. We did not initially realize how great an opportunity the café would provide us to invite people into our creative space, but we are so grateful for what it has become.

Since opening in 2013, The Factory Café has proudly offered a menu of organic, locally grown and produced vegetables, meats, and cheeses. Whether it is through the atmosphere we encourage or the food we provide, the café has been and continues to be a place of community and kinship. We hope locals and out-of-towners alike will gather here to share food, stories, and laughter. And when you stop by, we hope you will leave us your own unique message to let us know you were there.

ALABAMA CHANIN – LEFT ON THE CAFE TABLE

Follow The Factory Café on Instagram @alabamachaninfactorycafe for lunch and brunch updates. And leave us some love with #leftonthecafetable.

ALABAMA CHANIN – LEFT ON THE CAFE TABLE

ANNOUNCING: FRIENDS OF THE CAFÉ DINNER WITH ADAM EVANS

If you’ve attended some of our past Friends of the Café Dinner events, you may have seen Adam Evans’ face in our kitchen, working beside both Frank Stitt and Rob McDaniel. A constant student of his craft, he was quoted as saying, “Any time you get a chance to work with someone who is the master of what he does, you should seize that opportunity. Maybe it’s a new technique you discover—whatever it is, you’re getting the experience in a shorthand version. You take something from each chef, learn it and then interpret it in your own way.” Luckily for us, Adam has graciously agreed to lead his very own team for the next event in our series, once again benefitting the Southern Foodways Alliance.

Though he has worked with some of the most talented chefs in America and earned numerous accolades, Adam Evans was born and raised right here in the Shoals. Family time in the kitchen—cooking fish caught in local waters or vegetables from his grandfather’s garden—fostered his love of seafood and fresh ingredients. Adam graduated cum laude from Auburn University in 2002 with a degree in psychology, but he ultimately found his calling while working summer jobs in local restaurants. After graduation, he began working as chef’s apprentice at The Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Alabama.

Shortly thereafter, Adam moved to New Orleans, working for the Brennan family at Bacco before earning a spot at La Petite Grocery in 2004, when the restaurant earned an esteemed “Four-Bean” review in the Times-Picayune. In May of the following year, Adam moved to New York City, becoming sous chef at Craft—Tom Colicchio’s flagship restaurant. He was sent back south again to open Craft Atlanta/Craftbar where, as chef de cuisine, he established a Southern-inspired menu that focused on local ingredients. During his time at Craftbar, the restaurant received a four-star review from the Atlanta Journal Constitution and was named Best New Restaurant by Atlanta Magazine.

ALABAMA CHANIN – ANNOUNCING: FRIENDS OF THE CAFE DINNER WITH ADAM EVANS

Eventually, Adam moved on to work with Chef Ford Fry at JCT. Kitchen & Bar (where he was named a StarChefs Atlanta Rising Star), and was quickly chosen to open Fry’s highly anticipated seafood restaurant, The Optimist. He brought to The Optimist years of experience with seafood—including the fish he caught as a child and the bounty of fresh fish and shellfish he worked with in New Orleans. At The Optimist, Adam built relationships with Gulf Coast fisheries and emphasized use of sustainable seafood, sourced responsibly.

In its first year, The Optimist was listed by Bon Appetit as one of America’s Top Ten Best New Restaurants and Esquire Magazine named it Restaurant of the Year. During his time as chef, The Optimist received an impressive number of accolades from publications like Food & Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, Southern Living, Atlanta Magazine, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Adam was nominated for Food & Wine’s “People’s Best New Chef” in 2015 and earned a nod as Best Seafood Restaurant in the U.S. from Travel + Leisure.

Most recently, Adam joined restaurateur Jonathan Waxman as chef-partner at Waxman’s first Atlanta eatery, Brezza Cucina—a new venture in Ponce City Market. The restaurant focuses on seasonal dishes in a rustic, Italian style.

ALABAMA CHANIN – ANNOUNCING: FRIENDS OF THE CAFE DINNER WITH ADAM EVANS

THE GRAPEFRUIT MOTHER

If you’ve perused a drink menu in any upscale bar over the last few years, you’ve come across at least one drink made with shrub. Shrub is a mixture of fruit (or ginger), vinegar, and sweetener that was a favored drink among early settlers to the Americas. Read more about Shrubs and Switchels here.

Our friend Meredyth Archer has taken what was once considered a medicinal cordial and created a new line of drinking vinegars called MOTHER shrub.

From her website:

“Meredyth Archer first encountered drinking vinegar as a child growing up in West Virginia, when she would drink a mixture of vinegar and honey with her grandmother. Years later, she came across a recipe for raspberry vinegar in The Old Virginia Cook Book, from the late 1800s, a hand-me-down from her mother-in-law. She remembered the sweet and tart taste from her youth and decided to make a batch. Many shared batches later, MOTHER shrub drinking vinegars was born.”

For our weekly drink special, we’ve chosen Meredyth’s grapefruit-flavored shrub paired with fresh thyme and Prosecco. Join us for Saturday Brunch and a glass (or two) of The Grapefruit Mother at The Factory Café. You’ll also find a selection of MOTHER shrub flavors for sale at The Factory along with a delicious selection our of local, house made fare.

ALABAMA CHANIN – THE GRAPEFRUIT MOTHER

THE GRAPEFRUIT MOTHER

2 tablespoons grapefruit shrub
4 drops maple syrup
4 ounces Prosecco
Fresh thyme

In a 6-ounce glass, combine grapefruit shrub and maple syrup. Fill glass with Prosecco and garnish with fresh thyme.

P.S.: If you can’t find a great shrub locally, The Kitchn has a simple recipe for a fruit shrub you can make at home.

BEVERAGES, BUBBLY, AND BRUNCH: THE GINGER

We’ve been playing and experimenting with cocktails for Saturday Brunch at The Factory. This week we’re highlighting one of my favorites, The Ginger, made with Tippleman’s Ginger Honey Syrup. You can get your Tippleman’s at The Factory or order online.

ALABAMA CHANIN – BEVERAGES, BUBBLY, AND BRUNCH: THE GINGER

Enjoy our recipe. Mix together:

5 ounces of your favorite Prosecco or Champagne
1 teaspoon Tippleman’s Ginger Honey Syrup
1 slice blood orange

Serve in our 6 oz Etched Glasses with an organic cotton Cocktail Napkin.
Enjoy.

See you at Saturday Brunch,
xoNatalie

Photos by Abraham Rowe

COMMUNITY PICNIC: WORKSHOPS

Our Open House + Community Picnic—this year celebrating 10 years of Alabama Chanin—is fast approaching. At each picnic we get to relax with our families, reconnect with old friends, and make new ones, all over plates of delicious food. This year, we will be hosting the event at The Factory on Saturday, April 9th, alongside tours of The Factory, a lecture by Natalie, and a small sampling of workshops. The day’s activities begin at 10:00am and run throughout the afternoon.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

10:00 Doors Open

10:30 – 11:30 One-Hour Biscuit Making Workshop

11:30 – 12:00 Guided Studio Tour – Free

12:00 – 1:00 Artisan recognition followed by Potluck-style Picnic Lunch. Barbeque and fixins’ provided by Alabama Chanin. Bring your favorite covered dish or dessert.

1:00 – 2:00 One-Hour Lecture: The History of Alabama Chanin – Free

2:00 – 2:30 Guided Studio Tour – Free

2:00 – 3:00 One-Hour Artisan Business Workshop

2:00 – 3:00 One-Hour Sewing Workshop

For those who wish to participate in one or more of our workshops, we are offering the following:

ALABAMA CHANIN - COMMUNITY PICNIC - WORKSHOPS 2

Biscuit Making with Natalie and Zachariah Chanin from 10:30am – 11:30am

Join Natalie and Zachariah Chanin, chef at The Factory Café, to learn different biscuit-making methods and recipes for making this staple of the Southern table. Participants can talk basics, branch out into new, savory recipes, and get advice on more advanced techniques. Everyone who attends will receive homemade baking powder in a Weck jar, a rolling pin, biscuit cloth, and biscuit recipes.

Artisan Business Basics from 2:00pm – 3:00pm

This workshop provides an opportunity to explore Alabama Chanin’s production process, and our practice of employing highly skilled artisans as independent contractors. Kasey Martin, The Factory’s Production Coordinator and our artisan liaison, will provide information on sustainable manufacturing and our processes—from product development to execution, including how we work with our artisans. Each participant will receive examples of select forms and paperwork and a stenciled journal for note taking.

ALABAMA CHANIN - COMMUNITY PICNIC - WORKSHOPS 3

Journal Sewing Workshop – 2:00pm – 3:00pm

This is a new offering to our workshop programming. Participants will work with Rachel Rohler, the Alabama Chanin Workshop Coordinator, to learn basics of beginning an Alabama Chanin project. You will learn how to get started sewing a project, basic construction methods, and our signature reverse appliqué technique. Attendees will receive a DIY Journal Kit (including fabric, thread, and all other necessary materials) and a Moleskine journal that will fit your completed journal cover. We will have basic supplies (needles, pins, scissors, etc.) available for participants to use.

All workshops are first come, first served. If we have availability the day of the event, we will continue to sell tickets; however, we encourage you to sign up in advance.

As always, if you have any questions about any of the workshops listed here, please contact us as workshops (at) alabamachanin.com

We at Alabama Chanin feel so embraced by our community—and our community and neighbors will always be central to the heart of our company. We look forward to welcoming you into The Factory once again.

FRIENDS OF THE CAFÉ: INTRODUCING FRANK STITT

Last week, we introduced pitmaster Rodney Scott and the care and expertise he executes in the “whole hog” process. His prowess for pork and bar-b-que balances quite nicely with Frank Stitt’s skillful translation of Southern ingredients. (I’ve witnessed it first-hand at an SFA Symposium.) Though their kitchens may look different from one another, both Rodney Scott and Frank Stitt understand the importance of local and sustainable ingredients. Both men have practiced the principle as a way of life—not as a trend.

As for Frank, we have professed our love for the man, his wife Pardis, and his work many times. Frank grew up near Florence, in Cullman, Alabama, but went away for college—eventually studying philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley and learning from Alice Waters in the kitchen of the legendary Chez Panisse. It was Waters who introduced Frank to food writer Richard Olney, who was in need of an assistant. From San Francisco, he and Olney traveled extensively, landing in the French countryside. Stitt spent time learning about regional French cuisine, harvesting grapes in the south of France, even meeting food legends like Julia Child and Simone Beck.

ALABAMA CHANIN – FRIENDS OF THE CAFE: INTRODUCING FRANK STITT

Eventually, Frank returned to the states with the idea to open his own restaurant in Alabama—bringing with him ideas and techniques he’d learned on his travels. His idea was to incorporate his love of French cooking techniques with southern ingredients. Though Birmingham was not yet a well-known food center, he felt that it had potential to become one. Frank first opened Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1982. He followed up with Bottega in 1988, Bottega Café in 1990, and Chez Fonfon in 2000.

It was at Bottega that Stitt met Pardis, who was managing the dining room. Pardis Stitt co-owns and manages front-of-the-house operations for all four restaurants and Frank credits her eye for detail as an essential component of their business and their philosophy of sourcing products thoughtfully and locally.

In 2004, Stitt released his first cookbook, Frank Stitt’s Southern Table: Recipes and Gracious Traditions from Highlands Bar and Grill. His second cookbook, Bottega Favorita: A Southern Chef’s Love Affair With Italian Food was released in 2009. Both remain frequently used staples in the Alabama Chanin library. In 2013, Highlands Bar and Grill was nominated (for the 5th consecutive year) by the James Beard Foundation for the Outstanding Restaurant Award. Stitt received the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast in 2001, and was nominated in 2008 for Outstanding Chef. Chef Stitt received the Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Foodways Alliance in 2006.

Since the beginning of his cooking career, Stitt has been a fervent believer in sustainability and the use of local produce. His grandparents were farmers, and he spent his childhood planting, harvesting, and eating homegrown vegetables. This personal experience, combined with the philosophies of teachers like Alice Waters, cemented his belief that it was possible, beneficial, and important to promote local and sustainable agriculture. He uses produce from area farmers at each of his restaurants, whenever possible. Today, Frank and Pardis are outspoken proponents of the Slow Food movement and Frank is a standing board member of the Jones Valley Teaching Farm. Their influence in the Slow Food community extends beyond the community and the region, to chefs nationwide.

ALABAMA CHANIN – FRIENDS OF THE CAFE: INTRODUCING FRANK STITT

We cannot exaggerate our excitement at seeing what these two food legends will create when they join forces. The Friends of the Café Dinner featuring Frank Stitt + Rodney Scott, and benefitting the Southern Foodways Alliance, will be held at the Factory Café on March 24, beginning at 6:30pm. This event sold out in record time, and we look forward to the special evening. If you missed out, we have a few more dinners in our 2016 line-up and suggest reserving your spot in advance: May 21st Spring Harvest Dinner and October 8th Friends of the Café Dinner with Sean Brock.

ALABAMA CHANIN – FRIENDS OF THE CAFE: INTRODUCING FRANK STITT

P.S.: Back in 2005, Robert Rausch photographed Frank (and his crew) as part of The Kitchen Project: People We Love with the Recipes They Love. The photo at top is one of our favorites of Frank—wearing one of our shirts.

All photos here from Robert Rausch and thanks to Angie Mosier.

FRIENDS OF THE CAFÉ: INTRODUCING RODNEY SCOTT

On March 24th, we will be hosting our first Friends of the Café dinner for 2016 featuring Rodney Scott and Frank Stitt (see more about that below). At first glance, Frank and Rodney may seem like they exist on opposite ends of the spectrum:

Rodney is an absolute master of barbecue—what the uninitiated might consider “working man’s food.”

Frank is known for his French, Italian, and Mediterranean-inspired dishes and his lovely cookbooks.

However, they are of the same mind when it comes to making locally-sourced Slow Food and preserving southern food traditions.

Rodney Scott and his family have been serving pit-cooked barbecue from their Hemingway, South Carolina, restaurant for over 30 years. Scott’s Bar-B-Que was founded in 1972 by Ella and Roosevelt Scott, who still run the restaurant with their son Rodney serving as Pitmaster. Rodney, who cooked his first whole hog at age 11, is a perfectionist of his craft—but, by most descriptions, a laid back perfectionist.

ALABAMA CHANIN – FRIENDS OF THE CAFE: INTRODUCING RODNEY SCOTT

Like any good artist, Rodney places great importance on materials—not just methods. Barbecuing a whole hog, pit-style, takes an incredible amount of wood, which Rodney and his family cut themselves. They use oak, hickory, and pecan and keep a large reserve on their property. But keeping the Scotts cooking is a community effort; if a neighbor’s tree falls down, they always call the Scotts to cut it and cart it away.

The community is part of the entire Scott enterprise. The idea of “locally sourced” may be relatively new to many restaurants, but the Scotts have always sourced local pigs—and they rely on local labor and materials throughout their process. A local meat market butchers and delivers the hogs; Rodney works alongside local builders who weld together his custom burn barrels, fashioned from scrap metal piping, truck axles, and other repurposed materials.

These barrels are used to burn the wood down to coals, which are shoveled and spread evenly across his barbecue pit—over and over, throughout the entire evening it takes to roast a whole pig. The whole pigs are butterflied and laid out across a grate covering the pit. Rodney insists the smoke this pit creates is the key to the product. And though he humbly says that cooking a pig isn’t hard to do, those who have tasted Rodney Scott’s pulled pork know it takes a special talent to create such unique flavors.

In 2013, the Scotts’ wooden cookhouse burned to ashes two days before Thanksgiving. Rodney did not waste a moment, putting together burn barrels as soon as the fire was extinguished. He told our friend Billy Reid, “Yeah, the same day the pits burned, the fire department told me I could set them up in the back. I had four hogs left that didn’t get affected at all (by the fire) and I just went with that and I sold those until I ran out. You can’t stop. It’s like tripping and falling down. When you’re walking and you trip and fall, the first thing you do is you get back up. I felt like we fell and I just jumped right back into it and got started.”

ALABAMA CHANIN – FRIENDS OF THE CAFE: INTRODUCING RODNEY SCOTT

Rodney’s brothers and sisters in southern cooking—The Fatback Collective—rallied, creating the Rodney Scott Bar-B-Que in Exile Tour to raise money for a rebuild. And so, he drove portable versions of his burn barrels from state to state, creating a loyal fan base along the way. With the funds raised, Rodney and the Collective built a new pit room—and the important work continues. (Joe York and the Southern Foodways Alliance made one of our all-time favorite documentaries, CUT/CHOP/COOK, about Rodney. Watch it here.)

More here on chef Frank Stitt.

Photos courtesy of Angie Mosier

FILM SCREENING @ THE FACTORY

If you follow along on the Journal, you know that Alabama Chanin is a long-time supporter of the Southern Foodways Alliance. Over the years, we have joined together for countless partnerships, events, and projects: Natalie barbequed dresses for their 2012 Symposium; we created an apron in their honor; we even supplied costumes for their collard green-themed opera. Their values supporting the preservation of Southern food culture and history align with our mission of cultural sustainability in our community. And we always love a good story.

Since the opening of The Factory in 2013, we’ve hosted eight dinners in our community space. Many of these dinners have been, in part, fundraisers for the SFA (along with Alabama Gulf Seafood, The Fatback Collective’s Fatback Fund, and Jones Valley Teaching Farm), featuring guest chefs from all over the South who, themselves, are also avid supporters and members of the SFA—Vivian Howard, Ashley Christensen, and Chris Hastings, to name a few.

On February 25th, we host a new type of event at The Factory: our first-ever film screening, showcasing some of our favorite SFA documentaries.

ALABAMA CHANIN - FILM SCREENING AT THE FACTORY 2

Along with a rich musical history, growing local food movement, and burgeoning restaurant scene, Florence is home to the University of North Alabama. UNA has an award-winning Public History Program that collaborates with the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area to help communities preserve and interpret their pasts. The heritage area was officially designated by Congress in 2009 and includes six counties of north Alabama’s Tennessee River water basin. We will host the evening in partnership with the University of North Alabama and its Public History Center. Caroline, a member of our media team (also a senior at UNA), is spearheading the project as part of her Public History program to exhibit the way that food has influenced southern culture and history.

As part of this partnership and with thanks to the Southern Foodways Alliance, Alabama Chanin will show a selection of short documentaries produced by filmmaker Joe York for the SFA. Joe is an acclaimed documentary filmmaker and a graduate of Auburn University with a B.A. in anthropology. He received an M.A. in Southern studies from the University of Mississippi and has produced over 30 short films for the SFA.

Join us, on Thursday, February 25, as we celebrate our region’s past, present, and future—and its great food—through film. Tickets are $5 and must be purchased in advance. Beverages and apéritifs will be available for purchase from The Factory Café. Doors open at 5pm. There will be a short introduction, followed by the films, lasting until 7:00pm.

P.S.: You can support the SFA at any time by becoming a member here.

TIE THE KNOT @ THE FACTORY (NOT LITERALLY)

We’re taking reservations for bridal showers and luncheons and gearing up our catering services for the upcoming wedding season. The Factory accommodates groups for on-site bridal showers and parties. Choose from a special events menu and champagne to celebrate the occasion.

We also offer off-site catering for weddings. Work directly with our head chef to customize a menu for the big day. We source the finest (and unique) ingredients and products from regional and local purveyors. Fill out our catering form or call Anne Ryan at 256-701-8667 for more information.

Schedule your private appointment and work with our experienced sales team to design a custom-made dress for your special day. Our skilled team and artisans make the highest quality, one-of-a-kind garments from our organic cotton fabric.

We also invite you to build your bridal registry with our sales team. Our store has a beautiful selection of home and gift items. All Alabama Chanin products are proudly made locally, and we offer a selection of home and kitchen goods crafted by other regional and nationally-known artisans.

Give us a call or visit, and we’ll do the rest.

The Factory @ Alabama Chanin
462 Lane Drive
Florence, AL 35630
256-760-1090
www.alabamachanin.com/the-factory

Photos from Lisa Eisner, Robert Rausch, and Rinne Allen