Churros to Chicken Fingers

I haven’t been to Russellville, Alabama since February 2020. There are such nice shops downtown now — Mexico Bakery:

Mexico Bakery, Russellville, Alabama

Mexico Bakery, Russellville, Alabama

Mexico Bakery, Russellville, Alabama

Mexico Bakery, Russellville, Alabama

Pinatas inside a candy shop:

Candy Store, Russellville, Alabama

Candy Store, Russellville, Alabama

The 1949 Roxy Theater, which had included when first built, a soundproof “Crying Room” to the left of the inner lobby so parents could still view the movie screen if their little one needed some time away:

Roxy Theatre, Russellville, Alabama

Roxy Theatre, Russellville, Alabama

And La Cascada is a…Chinese restaurant:

La Cascada Chinese Restaurant, Russellville AL

Professions only, pls:

Russellville, Alabama

Pool:

Russellville, Alabama

1940 Post Office:

Post Office, Russellville, Alabama

Post Office, Russellville, Alabama

Post Office, Russellville, Alabama

Post Office, Russellville, Alabama

The Section of Fine Arts fresco here is “Shipment of the First Iron Produced in Russellville” by Conrad A. Albrizzio, which has a bit of its own drama.

Post Office, Russellville, Alabama

Post Office, Russellville, Alabama

El Quetzal Buena Vista Super Market:

El Quetzal, Russellville, Alabama

El Quetzal, Russellville, Alabama

not just food, but boots too. Pointy ones.

El Quetzal, Russellville, Alabama

El Quetzal, Russellville, Alabama

El Quetzal, Russellville, Alabama

El Quetzal, Russellville, Alabama

El Quetzal, Russellville, Alabama

Fireworks:

Fireworks, Russellville, Alabama

If you go to Russellville, you have to get something from Frosty Inn (here’s their parade float!)

Frosty Inn, Russellville AL

Frosty Inn, Russellville AL

a true walk-up dairy bar

Frosty Inn, Russellville AL

Frosty Inn, Russellville AL

Frosty Inn, Russellville AL

btw, if the root beer on the roof reminds you of the Frostop in New Orleans, yes:

Ted's Frostop Burgers, New Orleans LA

Tomato X Infinity, 2022 Version

O'Hanlon's in Geneva, Georgia

FGTs forever. That sign is from O’Hanlon’s in Geneva, Georgia, from 2017

Pursell Farms sent an email this week about its TomatoTaste dinner — it’s on August 7 this year, and starts at $429, which includes one night in the Inn, and a four-course supper including wine.

I’m taking this as a sign to do the second annual Tomato x Infinity post:

Pimento Cheese

I love these pimento cheese – tomato stacks. No recipe needed: just layer the PC with slices of tomato.

Tomato Aspic

If you’re also a fan of aspic, let’s talk. We need to stick together. This one, I made at home and served in little cups

Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil Shells

These tomato, basil, mozzarella shells are the bessstttt

"What's for Dinner" Sign at Williams Orchard, Trussville AL

Tomato Pie

This tomato pie recipe is so crazy good

The Tomato Place, Vicksburg MS

BLTs at The Tomato Place in Vicksburg

Loveless Cafe, Nashville TN

Fried green tomato, pimento cheese biscuit at the Loveless by the Trace outside Nashville

Amish Community of Ethridge TN

Amish-made tomato stakes, Etheridge TN

Old Town Stock House, Guntersville AL

Nosherie at Old Town Stock House in Guntersville

Pineapple/Cheese Salad, Tomato Aspic, Coleslaw at Walnut Hills, Vicksburg MS

Aspic at Walnut Hills in Vicksburg

Shugie's Shakshuka

When we’re kinda lazy, we make a chunky shakshuka at home with Rotel and tons of onion (and only egg whites because Shugie’s not a fan of yolks)

Hazelrig Orchard, Cleveland AL

Hazelrig Orchard, Cleveland AL

Cleckler's Produce Stand, Selma AL

Cleckler’s Produce Stand in Selma

Dog Days Flea Market, Ardmore TN

Hot green tomato chow-chow at Dog Days Flea Market in Ardmore

huge sidenote: this is like when my friend who has a perpetually-perfect-magazine-shoot-ready home told me she shops yard sales because “surely nobody can afford all this from an antique store” and basically told me I needed to get over myself about not going to them (and she of course was right).  Also: her mom for yearssss ran an absolutely incredible space at the top antique shop in Birmingham and while one is visualizing her European shopping trips, and the container arriving from overseas, the truth was that it was fine European antiques — sure — from the most fab yard and estate sales right here in town.

So, if one has an appreciation for cakes and confections and all kinds of canned items not found at the grocery store, it’s time to be frequenting farmer’s markets (and not necessarily the ‘fancier’ ones, though those certainly have their place) and flea markets, where the barrier to entry for the home cook and craftsperson is low. While we’re talking about it, flea markets are where those making spoons and rolling pins on a home lathe, those gathering materials and making baskets, quilters, gardeners with their enormous fruits and vegetables, beekeepers with their honey…I’m just going to have to make a flea market appreciation post. Yes, there is junk. Juuuunk. But we learned to love the flea market early in Covid when we wanted to be outside but still be around people, safely. And I’ve brought home gorgeous baskets and spoons and honey and other little treasures.

Fruit Stand Sign, Cullman County AL

Farm stand, Cullman County

Irondale Cafe, Irondale AL

FGTs at Irondale Cafe (my least favorite because the breading is so thick (but if you like that almost tempura-like batter, this is your place!)); it’s the inspiration for Fannie Flagg’s Whistlestop Cafe book and movie

Spradlin Farm Fruit Stand, Cullman County AL

Canned chopped tomatoes at Spradlin Farm Stand in Cullman

Passover Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried green tomatoes I make each year at Passover — the Jeff Nathan K-for-P panko is the best

Strawberries, Tomatoes, Veggies arrow sign, Hartselle AL

Arrow sign for fruit stand in Hartselle

Lunch at the Bright Star, Bessemer AL

FGTs at the Bright Star in Bessemer

Tomato Table by Craig Nutt, Columbus Museum, Columbus GA

Craig Nutt‘s tomato table at the Columbus Museum in Columbus GA — if you know the giant flying corn at Concourse E at the Atlanta airport, that’s his, too

Tomato Pie, Cohen's Retreat, Savannah GA

Tomato pie at Cohen’s Retreat in Savannah

Neon Pig, Tupelo MS

Tomato salad at Neon Pig in Tupelo

Crystal Springs Post Office Mural

“Harvest” by Henry La Cagnina at the Crystal Springs MS Post Office

Bully's Restaurant Soul Food, Jackson MS

FGTs at Bully’s in Jackson

Queen's Salad from Carriage House Restaurant at Stanton Hall, Natchez MS

Aspic at the Carriage House at Stanton Hall in Natchez

Neshoba County Fair

prize tomatoes & friends at the Neshoba County Fair

Fried Green Tomatoes, Apolline, New Orleans LA

A meal: the fried green tomato app at Apolline in New Orleans

GrateFull Soul, Hattiesburg MS

Tomato pie at Gratefull Soul in Hattiesburg

Giant Tomato Swatch, Swatch Shop in Las Vegas

Giant tomato watch I found at the Swatch shop in Las Vegas

Vicksburg Tomato Sandwiches, BB Club, Vicksburg MS

Vicksburg Tomato Sandwiches from a luncheon I attended at the BB Club

Fried Green Tomatoes, Walton's Southern Table, Huntsville AL

I go to Walton’s Southern Table in Huntsville for one reason (though it’s good all-around) and here it is

Straight Mountain Tomatoes, Oneonta AL

Straight Mountain Tomato Farm

Purloo, New Orleans LA

Green tomato chutney from Purloo (RIP) in New Orleans

Mrs B's Home Cooking, Montgomery AL

FGTs from Mrs B’s in Montgomery

Cullman County Fair

various tomato goodness from the Cullman County Fair

Chandler Mountain Tomatoes, Finley Avenue Alabama Farmers Market, Birmingham AL

We all have our favorite mountain for tomatoes

Aspic, The Colonnade, Atlanta GA

aspic from The Colonnade in Atlanta

***and my favorite favorite favorite tomato art, Madonna and Child with Homegrown Tomatoes, by Kati Ozanic-Lemberger, viewable here.

Goodbye, Red’s Little Schoolhouse

Hate to hear that Red’s Little Schoolhouse, a restaurant in Grady, Alabama, 25 miles south of Montgomery, is going to close early next month.

Hills Chapel Community School was built in 1910 for black students, from grades 1-6. It sat empty for 25 years until 1985, when it was purchased (for $3500 at auction the year before) to become a restaurant. Four generations of the owner’s family have worked here — just really good people (seriously, read their FB posts).

We last ate here last year, and because of Covid reasons, just masked up, got a go-plate, and ate in the car. Love this place.

Red's Little Schoolhouse, Grady AL

Red's Little Schoolhouse, Grady AL

Red's Little Schoolhouse, Grady AL

Red's Little Schoolhouse, Grady AL

Red's Little Schoolhouse, Grady AL

Red's Little Schoolhouse, Grady AL

Red's Little Schoolhouse, Grady AL

Pie safe, baybeeeee

Red's Little Schoolhouse, Grady AL

Red's Little Schoolhouse, Grady AL

You *know* you’re in the south if they’ve got camp stew by the quart

Red's Little Schoolhouse, Grady AL

Thinking of other restaurants in Alabama with similarities to Red’s — White House in Warrior also lines their walls with portraits of the presidents, and I wish I had taken pictures but we’ll have to settle for this pic of chicken, greens, and green beans:

White House, Warrior AL

Also: Mossy Grove Schoolhouse Restaurant in Troy, Alabama.

A few other schoolhouse restaurants: The Old Schoolhouse Inn and Restaurant in NY // Behham Inn in KY // Schoolhouse Restaurant and General Store in OH // Schoolhouse Lunch Room in MI // Dorset Valley Schoolhouse Restaurant in WI

PS: Red’s recipe for their frozen cucumber pickles is here.

St Roch, Rededicated

Saint Roch Cemetery and Shrine, New Orleans LA

St Roch Cemetery, New Orleans

Saint Roch Cemetery and Shrine, New Orleans LA

To celebrate the reopening of New Orleans’ St Roch Chapel — dedicated originally in 1876 in gratitude for the saint’s intercession in protecting the city against yellow fever — last month, Father Patrick Williams, vicar general for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, led a prayer ceremony. The restoration, which took four years, also won a 2022 Louisiana Landmarks Society Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation earlier in the month. The building is officially the National Shrine of St Roch.

Saint Roch Cemetery and Shrine, New Orleans LA

Saint Roch Cemetery and Shrine, New Orleans LA

Saint Roch Cemetery and Shrine, New Orleans LA

Saint Roch Cemetery and Shrine, New Orleans LA

Saint Roch Cemetery and Shrine, New Orleans LA

I know the room just off the chapel for what it holds inside — rhe pictures interspersed above and below are from some of my visits there.

Saint Roch Cemetery and Shrine, New Orleans LA

Saint Roch Cemetery and Shrine, New Orleans LA

Saint Roch Cemetery and Shrine, New Orleans LA

Saint Roch Cemetery and Shrine, New Orleans LA

Saint Roch Cemetery and Shrine, New Orleans LA

National Shrine of Saint Roch

Saint Roch Cemetery and Shrine, New Orleans LA

Saint Roch Cemetery and Shrine, New Orleans LA

Saint Roch Cemetery and Shrine, New Orleans LA

National Shrine of Saint Roch

From the article in the Clarion Herald:

St. Roch Chapel’s most famous interior feature was left largely untouched – the grotto-like room holding ex-votos – cast replicas of limbs, leg braces, crutches, children’s shoes and other tokens of gratitude for St. Roch’s healing intercession – survives as a historical freeze-frame of the prayers of past pilgrims.

St Roch was a “Third Order Franciscan who devoted his life to caring for victims of the bubonic plague and was credited with miraculous cures. Born in 1295 in Montpellier, France, St. Roch is the patron saint of the sick, invalids, dogs and dog lovers.

When New Orleans was plagued with wave after wave of yellow fever in the late 19th century, Father Peter Leonard Thevis, pastor of nearby Holy Trinity Church, asked his parishioners to pray to St. Roch for his intercession. In gratitude for a lull in disease outbreaks, Father Thevis’ flock erected the chapel in 1876 as a monument of gratitude.”

Leaders said the chapel will host a Healing Mass on the first Friday of each month at 10, open to all, especially to those in need of healing. More here: nolacatholiccemeteries.org.

National Shrine of Saint Roch

Saint Roch Cemetery and Shrine, New Orleans LA

National Shrine of Saint Roch

National Shrine of Saint Roch

Pursell Farms & Orvis

I brought a friend out to Pursell Farms outside Sylacauga, Alabama this month; I’ve only ever been once before, and it’s absolutely gorgeous there. Leslie and I just found it by accident the first time and drove the grounds, enjoyig the scenery and especially seeing the longhorns

Pursell Farms Longhorns, Sylacauga AL

They have a special Orvis store there in its own building, and an Orvis shooting grounds plus fly fishing courses.

This time, my friend and I stopped for lunch at Old Tom’s Pub there, with a view of the golf course

Pursell Farms, Sylacauga AL

Old Tom's Pub, Pursell Farms, Sylacauga AL

Old Tom's Pub, Pursell Farms, Sylacauga AL

This happens to be Jim Nabors’ 1903 Brunswick pool table (he was from Sylacauga, and friends with the Pursell family) – more abou that, and the object below, in this article.

Pursell Farms, Sylacauga AL

Pursell Farms, Sylacauga AL

The other sit-down restaurant is Arrington, which at the moment only seems open for supper on Friday and Saturday, with reservations on OpenTable.

The resort also features other activities, like axe throwing, archery, a UTV experience (I’m putting together a group this summer for that)…

There’s a 40-room Inn down this hallway, plus detached cabins and cottages, an 8-bedroom lodge, and the Orvis farmhouse.

Pursell Farms, Sylacauga AL

They do a good number of corporate meetings and weddings here too; I’ll do another update once we go back for the UTV trip!

A Graveshelter to Research

I’ve known about, and visited a certain monument at the Harpersville Garden of Memories cemetery in Shelby County, Alabama for several years now, but has had me perplexed for a while, and it’s time to put some research time in.

Shelby County, Alabama, USA BURIAL Harpersville Garden of Memories Cemetery, Harpersville AL

It’s a large, old cemetery, with some newer monuments in the back, and some nice features like this stacked rock enclosure in the earlier section.

Shelby County, Alabama, USA BURIAL Harpersville Garden of Memories Cemetery, Harpersville AL

This is the graveshelter. At first, I was trying to figure out if it was — rather than an open-sided graveshelter like so many others — some sort of mausoleum. I’m convinced that it is a barrel-roofed empty space covering graves in the ground.

Shelby County, Alabama, USA BURIAL Harpersville Garden of Memories Cemetery, Harpersville AL

Above, it appears as though this end has the opening to the inside that’s been filled in. Below, the opposite.

Shelby County, Alabama, USA BURIAL Harpersville Garden of Memories Cemetery, Harpersville AL

The plaque in view below reads:

Restored 2005
by
Mary Louise Moore Lamkin
Great Great Grandaughter (sp)
of the
Rev. Lemuel C. & Orpah Byrd Moore

Shelby County, Alabama, USA BURIAL Harpersville Garden of Memories Cemetery, Harpersville AL

Shelby County, Alabama, USA BURIAL Harpersville Garden of Memories Cemetery, Harpersville AL

The inscription reads:

To the memory of the deceased whose names are inscribed beneath this monument

erected and piously consecrated by their surviving relatives

Rev LEMUEL MOORE born February 13th 1761 departed this life October, 1826. ORPAH, consort of Rev. Lemuel Moore born August 13th 1772, departed this life March 24th 1823

MARTHA MOORE, consort of M.E. Moore, departed this life August 24th 1823 Aged 30 years

By whose side sleeps her infant daughter SARAH ANN

They all left assurances of their peace with God. Let then the doctrines of the immortality

of the soul and of the resurrection of the dead cheer the

hearts of the mourners who come to ??? at this tomb

That’s really as far as I can read because the rest of it is at least partially covered. I’m going to contact some other historians to see what I can find, and if you have information, please contact me.

Thrift Store: A Question Requiring Lots of Question Marks

Pure-Dee Philosophy at King's Home Thrift Store, Hanceville AL

(cleaning up the grammar here a teensy bit because I had to read the original a couple of times to understand):

???????
If you open it
it’s what it’s supposed to be
and it works as it’s supposed to

You don’t purchase it.

Would you answer why you opened it.???
Just curious!

Thrift Store Management Musings
King’s Home Thrift Store
Hanceville AL, 2022.