Lee brothers work to show fun side of Southern cooking

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Contemporary food writers Matt and Ted Lee will be in Augusta on May 7 for a lecture, cooking demonstration and tasting and book signing. The Lee brothers are featured in Southern Living and Garden & Gun , have been guests on Throwdown with Bobby Flay and are commentators for the Cooking Channel show Unique Eats .

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Food writers Matt and Ted Lee will talk in Augusta on May 7.   Special
Special
Food writers Matt and Ted Lee will talk in Augusta on May 7.

"We have fun," Ted said. "And a lot of Southerners know how to have fun in the kitchen. That's why Americans all over the country are catching onto the notion that Southerners cook really well."

The siblings grew up in Charleston, S.C. When their mother got a job that required her to frequently commute to New York, the brothers learned to fend for themselves in the grocery store and kitchen.

When they went to college in the Northeast, they so missed the foods of their Southern heritage that they founded The Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts Catalogue , a mail-order catalogue for Southern pantry staples such as grits, fig preserves and boiled peanuts. A travel magazine editor asked them to write for the magazine, which began their second career as food and travel journalists.

The Lee brothers write food stories for Travel & Leisure, Food &Wine, GQ and The New York Times . They have appeared at the Charleston Food and Wine Festival, the James Beard Foundation, the Miami Food and Wine Festival, the Smithsonian Institution, the Southern Foodways Symposium, the StarChefs International Chefs Congress and the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers.

And their new Lee Bros. line of cookware recently was introduced on Home Shopping Network.

"We introduce people to Southern foods and let them taste them as they learn about them," Ted said. "Let's face it, the barbecue and fried chicken sell themselves. It's the other Southern foods that people have to be properly introduced to."

During the Augusta demonstration, the pair will make a Cherry Tomato and Soybean Salad, and Skirt Steak and Parsley Sauce.

"They are both really fun to demonstrate, because they allow us to tell a lot of stories of growing up and cooking in Charleston," Ted said.

The recipes are from their latest cookbook, The Lee Bros.: Simple Fresh Southern Knockout Dishes with Down-Home Flavor , which has been nominated in the American category of the International Association of Culinary Professionals cookbook awards.

A book-signing at the event includes the new book, and their first one, The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook , which was named the James Beard Foundation's Cookbook of the Year in 2007.

"We're excited to come to Augusta," Ted said. "We were in Aiken a few years ago for a book signing, and it was the best book signing we've ever had anywhere. So, we are looking forward to coming back to the area and to showing our Lowcountry cooking."

There will be two events, at 10:30 a.m. and at 3 p.m., both held by the Morris Museum of Art.

"This directly relates to the museum's mission: the interpretation of Southern culture in all forms," Kevin Grogan, the director of the Morris Museum of Art, said in a statement. "The Morris constantly strives to preserve the region's cultural legacy while enhancing public understanding and appreciation of the South."

A $35 ticket includes the lecture, demonstration, tasting and book signing. A $75 ticket includes the lecture, demonstration, tasting, one signed copy of the new cookbook and an invitation to a private reception in the Morris Galleries with the Lee brothers at 5 p.m. that same day.

To purchase tickets, call Janna Crane at (706) 828-3825 or e-mail janna.crane@themorris.org.


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