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Talladega Superspeedway by Kent Whitaker

Talladega, NASCAR and SPEED! The racetrack in central Alabama known as Talladega Super Speedway, originally named Alabama International Motor Speedway, was built on the site of a World War II–era Air Force base in the heart of Alabama. NASCAR founder Bill France and his family envisioned a race track that would be faster, larger, and more exciting than any track built to date. Construction began on May 23, 1968, and was completed on September 13, 1969. The end result is the most modern speedway ever built. Often simply referred to as “Dega,” the track is 2.66 miles long, its high-banked turns are nearly three stories tall, and race cars have reached speeds over 200 miles per hour. It is so popular that it is said to become one of the largest “temporary” cities in the state every race weekend. 

Author Kent Whitaker tells the visual story of Talladega Superspeedway, from its origins as farmland and then a military base to it becoming the most thrilling race track in motorsports. The images are from the collection of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Talladega Superspeedway. That's not the only place pictures and information came from.

"Many of the pictures came from race teams and former drivers, crew chiefs, fans, other museums and more," Kent Whitaker said in an interview. "It was amazing being able to work with a driver from the first few years of Talladega in the morning, then be working with one of the largest teams in NASCAR today only a few minutes later."

Racing meets History

  • The track was built on the location of a World War Two Airbase.
  • The WWII Era runways, and one hanger, are still on-site. Many of the roads around the track are from the airstrip.

Salute to my Grilling Dad


Diary Of A Comfort Foodie:
Father’s Day Easy Flavor

as appeared in the Chattanoogan.com 
 by Kent Whitaker

Happy Father’s Day weekend! Can you believe it’s Father’s Day? It seems like only a year ago that I was still convinced that I could become half the grilling guru that my dad is. Everything my dad ever slapped on a grill tasted like a million bucks. He does it with ease and swagger, like a dad should. I think if I try hard enough I’ll master the secrets of Eli Whitaker and his magic grill. Wait, maybe it wasn’t magic. Maybe my dad just believes in simple things when it comes to grilling.

A picture revealed a grilling lesson to me. My mom and I were digging through family photographs in search of pictures of family dinners, mountains and southern life. It was for a project that I was working on. The seach provided us the opportunity to relive some fun family times as we flipped through the pictures.


Looking for West Virginia Foodies

You can help preserve West Virginia’s food heritage! Are you a foodie, chef, cook, local grower or producer? Perhaps you have a culinary or food related business or maybe your Bed and Breakfast in West Virginia serves up the best meal for miles around.

Or, you could just be very proud of a family favorite recipe from your own kitchen, or your grand mother's recipe book, and you want to share it while helping to preserve West Virginia's culinary history. Kent Whitaker and Shelia Simmons would be honored if you submitted a few of your recipes to the West Virginia Hometown Cookbook!


How to Grill Memorial Day Ribs!

Yep, it's time for some quick and easy ribs on the grill using hickory wood chips for added flavor. Hope you enjoy the video!

Pabst Blue Ribbon Cookbook

Free Download - The Kent Whitaker Pabst Blue Ribbon cookbooklet
I had the wonderful opportunity to work with one of my favorite brewers. Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Ice Cold PBR & Barbecue! Ya Can't go wrong!

I've enjoyed PBR since I was seventeen... um, eighteen. Remember, the drinking age when I was growing up was eighteen.

Pabst has a wonderful heritage in the United States as not only a classic ale that is seeing a resurgence, but also as a proud backer of American service men and women. During World War Two Pabst Blue Ribbon was one of the brews sent across the globe to thirsty Allied Troops.


Brawts for the Daytona 500

Are you looking for a few foodie ideas for the Daytona 500 weekend? The race is an American classic and considered the "Super Bowl" of racing! So, why would you not have your tailgate and race day foods ready to go? Here are a few race day recipes inspired from my book Checkered Flag Cooking starting off with some easy BRAWTS!. These can help with your race day chow!

Also check out these tasty race day dishes.


Is Your Dinner Choice Sexy?

grantkitchenSo what is Sexy Food?

Are you looking to be a cool as Cary Grant in the kitchen during Valentines Day? Here are a few foodie tips for your average race and sports fan. I've received several emails asking about Valentine's Day Cooking. Specifically people were looking for suggestions on meals to prepare for a loved on the day made for romance. Every year someone will point out to me that the whole holiday is geared towards nothing more than the sales of chocolate, roses and greeting cards. I agree, it probably is... so what? Are you willing to risk blowing off Valentine's Day?

If you are a NASCAR fan, be advised that the ARCA Race at Daytona and the Daytona 500 is coming up! You DO NOT want to mess things up right before you plan on sitting around for hours on end watching Speedweeks! I suggest you start believing in Cupid!


The Mexican Restaurant Diet

Is there such a thing? There can be!

So, you're looking for some recipes from South of the border that are a bit healthier than the dishes served up at your local Mexican restaurant? To be honest, the problem is not really in many of the recipes as many are loaded with vegetables, chicken, seafood and even lean beef. More that not the real culprit for me is portion size and the inability to wave off the hostess walkng towards my table with another basket of free tortilla chips!

I have to admit, I am a sucker for chips and a side of white cheese sauce! Heck, that's half the fun of going to your favorite Mexican restaurant. Why go if you can only eat shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes?

I have some good news for those of us that want to incorporate some South of the border flavor into dine out menu without giving up on all of the spicy foods that we enjoy. Here are some tips and links!


Tip One: - Be sure to check out healthylunches.co for great ideas for some of your favorite dishes. They offer some fantastic tips for healthy menus and even daily tips on how to trim some fat and calories from your daily intake without giving up on your favorite meals. (graphic to the left.)

Tip Two - Portion size mean a "TON" when it comes to eating at your favorite Mexican restaurant. Sure, have a few chips! Enjoy them, but don't eat the entire basket. Think of it this way would you eat two or three bags of tortilla chips before the family meal at the house? Probably not... unless it's a Super Bowl Party.

Here's why. An average basket of chips and salsa at a typical Mexican Restaurant can contain upwards of 1500 calories. According to the USDA a serving of 15-18 chips and salsa can average around 200 calories with over 22 carbs. (plus or minus depending on size) Have a few chips and move on!


Safe Tailgate Grilling Tips

Tailgate Grilling Food Safety Tips

Use these simple guidelines for grilling food safely to prevent harmful bacteria and foodborne illness.

#1 Keep it Cold from the Store to Home to the Tailgate!

  • At the store, pick-up your cold food like meat and poultry last and right before checkout.
  • Separate raw meat and poultry from other food in your shopping cart.
  • To guard against cross-contamination (which can happen when raw meat or poultry juices drip on other food) put packages of raw meat and poultry into plastic bags.
  • Try to drive directly home from the grocery store. Consider taking a cooler with ice for perishables.

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