There's no finer example of a Southern gentleman than Dr. Ferrol Sams. If you don't know who he is, I implore you to find out (click on his name for a link to his biography) and read his books. His first novel Run with the Horseman was is one of those novels that will become a part of your life, his memories become yours. He and his beautiful and fully charming wife Dr. Helen Sams were kind enough to let us take over their kitchen and invade their sanctuary with our cameras, lights, cables and cords. It would be an act of heresy to do a show about Georgia and not include dear old Dr. Sams.
Dr. Sams is one of the few "old-timers" around that still enjoys the pleasures of the native pokeweed. Pokeweed pops up in the spring and people have been eating its tender leaves and stalks since colonial times. The weed has a reputation for being toxic, but if you prepare it correctly it's a remarkable Spring treat. Dr. Sams spent hours preparing the greens and shared his preparation techniques with us for the show. Delicious.
It's quite possible that no one on planet Earth enjoys fresh calves liver as much as Ferrol and Helen Sams and that dish was the real focus of our visit.
Fresh calves liver with Vidalia onions, dandelion greens & cider vinegar
Liver is one of those things that people either love or hate. I found out that my crew aren't big fans of it. I love it, but don't eat it too often. I added the dandelion greens for a nice hint of bitter, and a splash of apple cider vinegar adds a nice twang of sour. My dad likes to eat it raw with a bit of sea salt and coarse ground pepper. I've tried it that way, but the texture is a bit to unique for me.
It was a pleasure to cook for the Doctors Sams and I think it'll make for a nice way to end that particular show. It was one of those days I'll remember until I stop remembering.
The story of how my father met Dr. Sams is as good as any friendship tale you'll ever hear. I won't tell it here in the hopes that he takes the hint and finally begins to write his own stories before they're forgotten.
Next stop, Nahunta Georgia and the year's first blueberry harvest. More soon,