Chef Maya Erickson's Black Sesame Dessert

Chef Maya Erickson's Black Sesame Dessert

Stylized, Sexy, Provocative and Decadent. Everything You Would Expect from a Grandmother’s Recipe.

At 13 years old, Maya Erickson was working in a professional kitchen, tasked primarily with filling cookies and wrapping tuiles. She shrugs this detail off now, as if it’s simply a throwaway line unworthy of her bio. As if most newly-turned teenagers must surely have been like her—resisting the temptation to toggle among their screens and choosing, instead, a highly disciplined path.

You Got Curtains in this Thing, Baby?

You Got Curtains in this Thing, Baby?

When Gerald first saw her, he quickly clocked her as one of the Top 5 best looking girls at the party. Not #1, but not #6 either. She was noted. 15 minutes later—or one beer, whichever came first—she was walking past him on her way to the kitchen, and he cooly, casually broke from his conversation to say hello, then cooly, casually resumed. He was noted. 

On Shuffleboard, Air Guitar & Professional Karaoke

On Shuffleboard, Air Guitar & Professional Karaoke

"Why don't we take Uber?" Nick's Lounge is about two miles from Zach's house, and I thought I was making a reasonable request. We had successfully stumbled to his place after drinking our fill at Kingfish, and the night, like Sharon, was still pregnant with possibility.

Uber Jimmy

Uber Jimmy

“Man, you’re my lucky fare.” Jimmy had just rolled up in a black Hyundai Sonata with spit-shined wheels and tinted windows, and he seemed pretty happy to see me. “If you hadn’t Uber-ed me, I’d gotten stuck in that Santa Monica pier traffic.”

I was overnighting in L.A. for work on a Thursday and using Uber to get place to place.

The Only Vampire in Natchez, Mississippi, Drove a Rolls Royce

The Only Vampire in Natchez, Mississippi, Drove a Rolls Royce

The first vampire I ever met was in Natchez, Missisppippi. Natchez is one of the oldest towns on the Mississippi River—settlers were there in the 1600s. And when you look at it on a map, it’s as if the river actually bends toward the town, as if Natchez has this mysterious magnetic pull. It’s a town full of transients—Mark Twain slept there. It’s a town full of characters. I was there to find those people: to write a story about the most interesting locals.

Bill Ferris, Folklorist & Master Storyteller

Bill Ferris, Folklorist & Master Storyteller

Preeminent Southern folklorist Bill Ferris has spent the last 40 years documenting the South in print, photography and film by interviewing some of the region's most influential people. 

Abe Lincoln's Birther Conspiracy

Abe Lincoln's Birther Conspiracy

Bostic, North Carolina, is a sleepy little town in Rutherford County nestled in the shadow of the mountains. There’s a town hall, a post office, some churches and stores. There’s also the Bostic Lincoln Center. Lincoln. As in Abraham Lincoln. The center’s whole purpose is to tell the controversial and disputed story that our 16th president was born in North Carolina. 

For Tangier Island Watermen, An Accent Remains While They Disappear

For Tangier Island Watermen, An Accent Remains While They Disappear

James “Ooker” Eskridge is a waterman who has lived on Tangier Island, Virginia, his whole life. In my interview with him, Ooker talks about being the Chesapeake Bay island’s mayor (population 450), the dwindling interest in working in the seafood industry, and the island’s distinct Cornwall, England-tinged accent.

Moonshiners And the Men Who Chased Them

Moonshiners And the Men Who Chased Them

White lighting. Hooch. The original mountain dew. It’s hard to talk about moonshine without evoking winks and smiles. It carries a mystique. If you own some, you whisper about it. If you don’t, you can bet someone you know does. It’s probably stored in the back of their freezer. Moonshine also carries a certain romance. Because the truth is, there’s a story sealed in every Mason jar of the stuff. Those stories are still celebrated in Wilkes County, NC, where old time bootleggers and retired revenuers met to swap tales.  They told about fast car chases, witty judges, and big still busts. There was a lot of laughter. And rumor has it there was even some sipping.