Barbecue outtake: Staq’s “Mess”

Our big ol’ Barbecue Issue will be out in a couple weeks, but here’s a preview of the quirkiest dish I found on my hunt (mentioned in the issue but not pictured). It’s served at Staqs BBQ in Smyrna, a woman-run joint in humble digs on a rather lonely stretch of South Cobb Drive, not too far from Windy Hill Road. The staffers are sweet and doting, and as I scanned their menu, I saw a dish simply called “A Mess: Waffle, Pulled Pork, Slaw.”

New rules boost home-based food businesses

If you notice a number of home bakers coming out the woodwork in your community, you can thank Sara Rylander. The Acworth baker (right) got the ball rolling on Georgia’s new Cottage Food Program, which allow entrepreneurs to prepare certain types of foods in their home kitchens to sell directly to the public.

By the ounce, the cost of cupcakes

Abstract: Cupcakes: Can’t stop, won’t stop. But just when you think Atlanta might be sick of frosting, another Crayola-colored cupcake bakery opens it doors. A chain out of Beverly Hills, Sprinkles at Lenox Mall is the latest of the batch. On a recent visit I had hoped to grab a dozen for the office, but I burned those plans when the clerk said that a dozen costs $42. Between the ten or more employees shuffling behind the counter, the swirly mountain of icing on each cake, and the cupcake ATM machine that operates 24/7, running this place isn’t cheap. Somebody has to pay.

MSG, umami, and the foods you love that contain them

You’ve seen the signs — “NO MSG” or “We don’t cook with MSG.” — and you’ve probably only seen them in Chinese restaurants. The irony, however, is that despite what's posted above the fish tank, the kitchen is probably still using the flavor-enhancing additive. Is this a bad thing?

List of year-round markets keeps growing

Used to be, if you had a hankering for locally grown carrots in the middle of winter, your options were limited. For years, the Morningside Farmers Market was pretty much the only year-round game in town.

A guide to Chinese dumplings across Atlanta’s Buford Highway

According to most of my Chinese friends, finding good dumplings in Atlanta is harder than scaling the Great Wall. They would rather make them on their own. One friend, though, was more optimistic than the rest. Chef Ken Lim, the owner at Penang Atlanta, has been eating dumplings for thirty years, and he offered to be my guide for the afternoon. Lim first came to Atlanta in 1996 to help his uncle open Penang, and just last year Lim returned to the city to takeover the family business.

Last-minute gifts that reflect Georgia’s good tastes

If you’re like me, you’re not done with your holiday shopping yet. Lucky for us procrastinators, Georgia’s food producers have got our backs. Here’s a look at some of the high-quality gifts that reflect our home state’s rich culture and wonderful flavors.

Urban beekeeping on the rise

If it seems that the buzz around bees has picked up volume, that’s because it has. According to the USDA, bees help pollinate one-third of all our food, but recently, a mysterious and destructive honeybee disease called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has been wiping out record numbers of hives across the U.S. Although CCD is a common phenomonom, scientists can't explain why it's increasing at such a devastating rate.

Hunger Games: Girl Scout Edition

From cool Thin Mints to buttery Trefoils, Girl Scout cookies are a seasonal obsession, and every year, thousands of girls arrange rows of brightly-colored cookie boxes outside of grocery stores and local businesses. But underneath the sweet façade of smiling girls and delicious treats lies a fierce spirit of competition as girls command their own companies. Each sets her own goal, and those who sell the most are recognized or, in some cases, adorned. At one thousand boxes, she is officially a “top seller.”

10 peach dishes you need to try now

Given that our ubiquitous state fruit has made its way onto our license plates and street signs on practically every corner, it should come as no surprise that local chefs are also tinkering with the Georgia peach in a number of creative ways.

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