Around here, we know that barbecue is religion, and that we live among many of its sacred temples.
But is barbecue a strong enough faith to lure even two of God's chosen people? The guys at BBQ Jew (bbqjew.com) say yes. The writers of this new local blog are true believers: "In his heart of hearts, a BBQ Jew believes that Moses led his people through the desert precisely to enjoy chopped pork," they write. "And that the Promised Land is not flowing with milk and honey, but barbecue and hush puppies."
Calling themselves "Porky LeSwine" and "The Rib Rabbi," the two Jews began documenting their pork pilgrimage at the site of Porky's conversion: Allen & Son (6203 Millhouse Road, Chapel Hill, 942-7576). They post reviews, rants and essays declaring their faith.
"I love barbecue because it is a huge a part of North Carolina's heritage and culture, and because it seems to cross all lines of age, race, socioeconomic status and geography in the state," writes Porky, who is a native. "I love barbecue because most people in North Carolina love it, yet it hasn't really broken past our state's borders in a big way ... most of us North Carolinians are pretty modest about our native food. We don't spend a lot of time touting it, and the result is that it has remained a fairly obscure dish compared with Memphis ribs or Texas brisket. I think that has helped contain barbecue within our fair state's borders."
Meanwhile, in Durham, personal chef Shirlé Hale-Koslowski, who operates Four Corners Cuisine (www.fourcornerscuisine.com), is Rockin' the Stove at her blog (rockinthestove.com). She's been called "a punk-rock Martha Stewart," and you can see why. In the pictures for her entry on homemade tortilla chips, note the cool leather bracelet on one hand, big knife in the other. In addition to recipes, she shares video demonstrations (red pepper hummus) and even kitchen-y crafts (homemade reusable tote bags, coffee can wine racks), all with a rock 'n' roll vibe.
Another local writer is spreading the faith about food in North Carolina. Debbie Moose, a former food editor at The News & Observer, will publish her fourth book, Potato Salad: 65 Recipes from Classic to Cool, next month. This may be her latest effort, but Moose is no side dish. She knows food, she knows our local food scene, and she writes wonderfully. Check out her blog, Moose Munchies, at debbiemoose.com/blog.
Finally, even though it might be sacrilege to begin a column with barbecue and end it with veggie news ... in the interest of other online content available to you, dear reader, I point out that the Triangle Vegetarian Society now has podcasts available on its Web site, www.trianglevegsociety.org. You can download and listen to recent speakers addressing topics such as "Kinesiology and Animals," "Introduction to Ayurveda: Healing with Food" and even "Judaism and Vegetarianism."
Know about a fun food happening in the Triangle? Send it to Now Serving at firstname.lastname@example.org.