The Italians named it “pomodoro,” or “apple of gold,” and appropriately so, as Italy is famous for its tomato-based dishes. Amelia, Big Beef, and Celebrity are popular tomato varieties grown here in the South, along with smaller heirlooms Amish Paste, Black Cherry and Sun Gold. The Ugly heirloom, often misshapen with deep scab-like cracks and unevenly colored, shines as one of the most flavorful, coining the new adage “Don’t judge a tomato by its cover.”

It only takes a few common-sense steps to make sure that summer picnicking and other outdoor festivities don’t result in food-borne illnesses that can be very hazardous, especially to both younger and older people with more susceptible immune systems. Food-based bacteria multiply at a much more accelerated rate in hotter and more humid temperatures, so picnics and cookouts are potentially high-risk environments. Keeping the peace in the family and trying to get rid of guests who never want to leave are also challenging, but that is a different checklist!  

Title: Executive chef, Charbar Co.

Question: Who taught you how to cook?

Answer: I spent a lot of time watching my family cook growing up. Mom cooked dinner every night with my dad on the grill. When the whole family got together, everyone was doing something for the meal. The kitchen was always the place to be.

Signe GardoOn August 11, Signe Gardo, owner of Signe's Heaven Bound Bakery Cafe will celebrate her 44th anniversary since opening her establishment in 1972 in the tiny (650 sq. ft) lighthouse keeper's cottage in HarbourTown.

bagelThere are two kinds of people in the world: those who favor chewy, boiled bagels and those who like the soft, steamed versions. For many, a chewy, dense interior and a thick, golden crust are the trademarks of a “true” bagel — the kind of bagel commonly associated with the Northeast. The only real New York-style boiled bagels made from scratch daily in the Lowcountry are at Island Bagel & Deli.

rootsThe Morris Center for the Lowcountry is hosting a special four-course dinner event on Friday, Sept. 9 at Callawassie Island Club. The event is called “Roots: A Taste of the Lowcountry.” Savor traditional Lowcountry fare served with a dash of the unexpected. The evening will include a silent auction, live music, drinks, dancing, book signings and time to dish with the chefs. Tickets are $125. For more information, call 843-284-9227 or go to www.morrisheritagecenter.org

battlebonesMonthly food writer Carrie Hirsch was a finalist in Wild Wing Café’s annual “Battle of the Bones” chicken wing competition. Her “Whoooa-sabi” wings made it all the way to the finals of the franchise-wide competition, losing by just 27 votes. The winning wing was “7 Pepper Sticky,” submitted by Raleigh, North Carolina, resident Felice Bogus, who received $5,000 and a spot on all Wild Wing Café menus. 

The Palmetto PlantThe Palmetto Plant Eaters club, a PlantPure Nation pod group that meets monthly to educate and support plant-based eating, will be hosting Leslie Haas as its guest speaker at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Lowcountry at 110 Malphrus Road in Bluffton. Haas will not only showcase her tips and tricks for making the most out of the Instant Pot pressure cooker's multiple functions, but also cover everything from the basics for beginners to time-saving ideas for creating healthy meals. 

So many of our favorite shows have come to an end — we're still recovering from the final episodes of “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men” and “Downton Abbey,” and some baby boomers are even still reeling from the end of “Seinfeld,” “Friends” and “The Sopranos.” Yes, these shows were addictive and had characters galore, but movies and documentaries about food are where real character development takes root. Need a few suggestions? Try: “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” about an 85-year old sushi master who runs a world-class restaurant in a subway station;

Port Royal’s famous sandwich shop is coming soon to Bluffton. Alvin Ord’s specializes in being fresh and delicious. Its not afraid to take the extra time necessary to make quality sandwiches. Some key differences in the new Alvin Ord’s will be the noticeable upgrade in size as well as a delivery process. However, the store will have the same artisan breads, sandwiches and cinnamon rolls that the flagship location has. Also, don’t forget to bring your dog for lunch, as the Bluffton Alvin Ord’s will have pet-friendly outdoor seating available.