Canning Is Back In Style

Paul Virant signing copies of his new book.

Paul Virant signing copies of his new book.

Grandma may have been in the kitchen canning and preserving all summer long, but times have changed. Canning is back in style but it is not little old ladies putting up green beans, pickles, apple sauce and packing a crock of shredded cabbage with salt and vinegar with a brick on the top of it in the root cellar for sauerkraut.

The English Grill at the Brown Hotel hosted Chicago’s (Western Springs) famous chef Paul Virant of Vie last week.

The charming Paul has just written “The Preservation Kitchen, The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-dous” with Kate Leahy. It is the first canning manual and cookbook authored by a Michelin-starred chef and restaurant owner.

That evening the grill passed a selection of charcuterie on grilled bread with preserves. Is there anything better than charcuterie? Or is it my German heritage?  They were served with Beer Jam Manhattans which were a deep rose color and delicious on the tongue.

Our first course was that southern comfort food, fried green tomatoes. They were lightly breaded and served with basil mayo and local lettuces. A Chateau St. Jean “Robert Young Vineyard,” Chardonnay, Alexander Valley 2009 complimented the tomatoes.

Then there was a grilled New York steak with pickled fennel panzanella, pickled grilled summer squash salad accompanied by a Knights Valley 2000, Beringer, Meritage.

Dessert was a raspberry brown butter cake topped with yogurt ice cream and elderflower tuile. And, oh mercy, was it good. With that came a Beringer Nightingale Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, 2006, from the Napa Valley.

Chef Virant was charming (and handsome). He graciously signed his new book and probably made converts to preserving. I’m not sure if our grandmothers would applaud us or think we were crazy!

Among those enjoying the dinner were Hope and Morton Boyd and his parents, Anne and Morton Boyd, Sr.

Hope and Morton own the charming Gingerwoods in Prospect. It is an historic church which was bought by the Boyd family and preserved to retain the bucolic feeling of the riverside community. It is used for meetings, weddings, receptions and birthday parties – you name it and is probably has happened there. It is just before you get to Henry’s Ark.


Beloved Louisville fashion icon, the late Sug Schusterman, bequeathed her glamorous wardrobe to benefit her favorite charity, the hearing-impaired children of Heuser Hearing & Language Academy. As a result a very special Sug Schusterman Trunk Sale will be held at Fabulous Finds, the resale shop that benefits Heuser. Located at 2101 Frankfort Ave., the sale is scheduled for Monday, August 27 from 10 to 4.

Featuring Chloe, Armani, Ron Leal, Bill Blass and other well-known designer names, it includes ball gowns, daytime and evening wear, sportswear, and casual items, size 9 ½ narrow shoes, gloves, scarves and costume jewelry.

Admission to the sale is $25 and will be credited against purchases of that much or more.