This Week’s Various

Publishers Weekly puts together their choice of ’13 Worst Reviews of Classic Books’ beginning with:
“The final blow-up of what was once a remarkable, if minor, talent.” -The New Yorker, 1936, on Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner

“Whitman is as unacquainted with art as a hog is with mathematics.” -The London Critic, 1855, on Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Shug and Shugie at Dia De Los Muertos in Nashville at Cheekwood
We went to Dia de los Muertos at Cheekwood Botanical Garden in Nashville last weekend — very nice.

…then we had lunch at Pied Piper, and I wondered: why do more restaurants not have train tables for kids to stay happy and occupied and make friends?
Pied Piper, Nashville TN

Bryant's Grocery and Meat Market, Money MS

(above, Bryant Grocery in Money, Mississippi)

Hard to even imagine this scenario, but there’s a play called “Anne and Emmett” wherein ‘two iconic 14-year-old victims of modern bigotry: Anne Frank, who died in a Nazi concentration camp, and Emmett Till, who was lynched in Mississippi…meet in an other-world called Memory’.  It’s playing in St. Louis now.

In a new edition of the 1823 ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ a publisher has removed reference of Santa’s pipe.
The author says:
“I want children to celebrate the spirit of giving and to reflect proudly on the holiday traditions that shape their childhood, and the best way to honour Santa and this story is to make him smoke-free.”

The American Library Association counters that the changes make up:
“an act of censorship that denies the audience access to the author’s authentic voice” …”such censorship misrepresents the artist’s original work and relies wholly on the idea that children are incapable of critical thinking or that a parent’s guidance and training are meaningless”.

Gibson's Donuts, Memphis TN
(the best hot doughnuts in the world come from my hometown, at Duchess Doughnuts in Cullman. But the best doughnut shop is probably Gibson’s in Memphis (above))
Twists and Turns along a Kentucky Doughnut Trail in the NYT.
Food writers often lament the death of road culture and the slow strangulation of homey American foods by predatory restaurant chains. But in this corner of Kentucky, at least, you can still find a plump round of fried dough filled to bursting with caramel and apple for $1.29. All is not lost.

Hope makeup artist Billy B (from Aberdeen, he does home renovations!) is on this latest season of Project Runway!  Loved seeing him so much in this last one!  I have some pics I’ll try to find of homes he’s done there; here’s a 2006 NYT article about what he’s done back home.  Here’s one — look, for $69.9k.

The Gong Company, Merigold MS
Nice article about Chinese heritage in the Delta. (above, a pic of The Gong Company grocery I took last year, in Merigold MS)

Extra-Hot Chicken from Prince's Hot Chicken, Nashville TN
(above, Prince’s Hot Chicken)

Conde Nast Traveler does a piece: Grits Gone Wild, A Southern States Food TourLike Tuscany in the 1980s and California in the late 1990s, the American South is in the grips of an epic culinary boom. Adam Platt’s plan? Start in Tennessee and slowly eat his way east…

I’D BEEN ON THE ROAD FOR A DAY OR TWO, TACKING to and fro among the nouveau food snob destinations of backwoods Tennessee, before I met the man gourmet chefs in tony Yankee-style restaurants call the Rock Star of Country Ham. During the course of my travels, I’d already tasted “hand-wrapped” artisanal chocolates touched with barrel-aged bourbon and discussed the merits of the corn bread madeleine with several loquacious self-proclaimed food snobs from Nashville. I’d stood in line for a taste of that city’s famously addictive Prince’s “hot” fried chicken and paid one hundred dollars for an elaborate eleven-course tasting menu that included a strange, intoxicating substance called Wonder Bread Purée. I’d visited with an artisanal “seed saver” who travels the mountain valleys looking for ancient beans and strains of corn, and sat at the bar of a little barbecue joint in Nolensville, Tennessee, contemplating the Big Momma Sampler, an impressive local specialty that includes a pile of barbecued pork products roughly the size of my head.

Gumbo, Galatoire's, New Orleans LA
(above, my gumbo at Galatoire’s)

Gumbo’s Taste of Something Different in today’s NYT.

Montgomery may be home to a new Wright Brothers museum.

The Wright Brothers opened the nation’s first civilian flying school in Montgomery in 1910. In 1922, the flight school’s location became Maxwell Field.

My friend Stephanie Dwyer, in her segment on Mississippi Public Broadcasting, Mississippi Roads:

National WWII Museum, New Orleans

In Delta Sky magazine, what to do in New Orleans.

Lonnie Holley singing:

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