This Week’s Various

As always, all images here, unless otherwise noted, are copyright DeepFriedKudzu

Publisher’s Weekly has named Square Books in Oxford as its Bookstore of the Year.

Restaurant August, New Orleans
(above: a dish from our visit to August last summer, one of John Besh’s restaurants)

The new show, John Besh’s Family Table, premieres Saturday, April 6, on WYES and will be carried by 220 other PBS stations across the country (one of my Tivos still picks up his first show on APT). From Gambit:

In fact, the entire series was filmed in Besh’s own family kitchen at their home along Bayou Liberty in Slidell.

“It was great. We’d cook right there in my kitchen, the way I love to cook, and then we’re done and I could go upstairs to bed,” says Besh. “I could wear shorts and clogs and no one would ever know.”

Concert Stage (Barenaked Ladies Performing), Crawfish Boil 2007, Birmingham AL
Very proud of what Jack Schaeffer, who we know personally and does so many good things, has done with the Schaeffer Crawfish Boil (it has given over $500k to charity). This year, among the donations will be four education scholarships set up ‘for at-risk youth, linked to Birmingham’s 50 Years Forward campaign. The scholarships will bear the names of Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair, the four girls killed in the 1963 bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.’

The Schaeffer Crawfish Boil is a great party, a great time, and a great cause. It’s Saturday, May 4 this year.

Tujague's, New Orleans
Even the NYT is talking about Tujague’s and if someone will swoop in and save it, or if it’s doomed to become a tacky t-shirt shop.

Tujague’s was founded on Decatur Street in 1856 by Guillaume and Marie Tujague, French immigrants, as a humble restaurant serving waterfront laborers. William Sidney Porter, the writer better known as O. Henry, was a regular during his days in New Orleans. In 1912, Philibert Guichet bought the business and moved it a few doors down to its current location. During Prohibition, it is said, waiters poured drinks from bottles of gin and whiskey they toted in their aprons. Legend has it that the grasshopper cocktail was invented here.

As a functioning example of 19th-century dining and drinking traditions and aesthetics, the restaurant has few peers. It continues to serve an old-fashioned table d’hôte menu, anchored by its signature dish, boiled brisket. The long cypress bar is said to be the oldest stand-up bar in the city. And the large ornate mirror behind it was already nearly a century old when it was shipped over from Paris more than 150 years ago.

Any sale would most likely have to meet Stanford Latter’s asking price, which has been reported as more than $5 million. Still, Mark Latter thought a deal might be sealed by this week’s end.

Ann Tuennerman, a New Orleans native who founded the annual Tales of the Cocktail convention and who published an open letter to Stanford Latter last week, hopes to hold a large-scale “drink-in/sit-in” at the restaurant. “From a dining and drinking standpoint,” Mrs. Tuennerman said, “this place is so significant, I had to do something.”

Any first-hand update on the Minister’s Treehouse in Crossville, Tennessee? We knew about the fire marshal there shutting it down, but this casual mention sounds as though it has been mostly disassembled.

Ernie K-Doe's Mother-In-Law Lounge
A film series will now be part of the French Quarter Festival this month. One showing is ‘The World According to Ernie K-Doe’ and you *know* that is going to be terrific.

Beautiful ideas: Philadelphia PA’s Mural Arts Program, turning unattractive/abandoned buildings into something to see.

Truman Capote, Monroeville AL

Where Truman lived in Monroeville, with Sook and other family, next door to Nelle Harper Lee — it’s now an empty lot. Nelle’s homesite now has a dairy bar on it.

From the NYPost:
For the “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” opening on Broadway…the production tried to bring in one secret surprise guest: the ashes of late author Truman Capote.
Joanne Carson, who has some of his ashes (they were friends and Truman passed away at her home) decided not to bring them, as the ashes have almost been stolen previously (who does that?).

Lonnie Holley’s ‘All Rendered Truth’ — singing, video — from last year:

Right now, Fader has a video of Lonnie at The Whitney last month; I love Lonnie but not this particular performance as much. The plus of the piece on Fader is him telling his story:

About four months later, I had made about a 100-odd pieces. I was so upset, because I hadn’t made any money or been to work, when my friend up the street named Miss Sarah Kelly called me to get some wood. I was crying, and she tapped me on the face and kissed me on the jaw and said, “You need to take your work to town and stop waiting on town to come to you.” I had made all these things around the house, and was taking the little pieces door to door asking people to buy them, but I had never been to town. So I took my old car and loaded about nine pieces in the trunk and took them to the Birmingham Museum of Art. One piece was called Serpent in the Pit of Christ, and one was called Time, and one was called Baby Being Born. I saw a man by the name of Mr. Richard Murray, and he loved the way I described them. He took a note of them and sent pictures to the Smithsonian, and my works was chosen four months later for an exhibit of the 13 original colonies of the Appalachian region. It was shown in 64 cities, in 13 name-brand museums. They can curse me out, call me dirty, call me filthy, talk about me—I don’t care what nobody say. I came back home with appreciation.

Here’s a pic of Lonnie working, from a demonstration he did at Pepper Place Market about three years ago:
Lonnie Holley

I.M. Pei’s first designed office building, in Atlanta has been demolished, although the facade is being saved, and a portion of the building will reportedly be rebuilt in some way.

A recipe for ‘Margarita Moon Pie‘ won $25k from Scharffen Berger as an entrant in their chocolate adventure contest.  The LA Times asks this week where the recipe is — I’m wondering how they used the name ‘moon pie’ as that’s trademarked (and Chattanooga Bakery has sued to protect that name in the past).

From the press release:
The Margarita Moon Pie consists of a “margarita marshmallow,” a handmade tequila-infused marshmallow studded with crystallized lime sprinkles that is sandwiched between two graham-flour and Scharffen Berger Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder cookies. The entire sandwich cookie is covered in melted Scharffen Berger 70% Bittersweet Chocolate that’s touched by a subtle hint of coconut oil.

Po' Monkey's, Merigold MS
National Trust Tours and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area are putting on a week-long tour from September 28 through October 4, 2013. Stops include:

Vicksburg: National Military Park, Lower Mississippi River Museum, Cedar Grove Inn, Anchuca Mansion and Baer House Inn

Mont Helena in Rolling Fork, B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola, The Alluvian Hotel in Greenwood, Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Garden in Ruleville, Dockery Farms outside of Cleveland, Po’ Monkey’s Lounge in Merigold, Bryant’s Grocery in Money, Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale

Memphis: National Civil Rights Museum, Legacy Building, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, and of course…Graceland

Registration here; the charge (land only) is $2995 dual occupancy.

Journey Proud Trailer from Alabama Public Television on Vimeo.
Yay! One of my friends, Joey Brackner, is the host of a new documentary series on APT called ‘Alabama Journey Proud‘ — it will debut this fall.

Smithsonian lists ‘The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2013‘ and #3 is Cleveland, Mississippi
No matter how hard Cleveland pulls toward the New South, it persists as an authentic Delta town where historic markers are about as common as stop signs. Chiefly shaped by white Methodists and black Baptists, it benefited from surprising infusions of Chinese and Italian immigrants enticed to Delta cotton fields, traveling Jewish salesmen, Irish mule traders and Mexicans who gave Cleveland its taste for tamales. The region’s literary bent produced Eudora Welty and Willie Morris, their work underscoring the Delta’s loquacity.

Travel + Leisure just listed Canton, Mississippi as one of its ‘Most Beautiful Town Squares‘.

demi cups of turtle, gumbo, and sweet potato soup at Commander's Palace, New Orleans LA
In November 2006, after reading Alan Richman’s GQ article (written just over a year after K) ‘Yes We’re Open‘ did you find yourself asking why the magazine lets Alan get away with what has to be mean-drunk writing?:

New Orleans was always a three-day stubble of a city, and now, courtesy of Katrina, it’s more like five. The situation is worse, of course, in the devastated areas, where the floodwaters and the winds did their work. I know we are supposed to salvage what’s left of the city, but what exactly is it that we’re trying to cherish and preserve? I hope it’s not the French Quarter…

Of course, there’s the food. I’m not certain the cuisine was ever as good as its reputation, in part because the people who have consumed, evaluated, and admired it likely weren’t sober enough at the time of ingestion to know what they were eating…

New Orleans has always been about food and music, with parades added to the mix. (In the North, where I come from, we like to think we’re about jobs and education, with sports thrown in.)…

Who amongst us didn’t find at least a modicum of satisfaction in this scene of Treme when he gets it with a sazerac, no less:

Anyway, Food and Wine has tasked themselves with trendspotting, and one of their five overrrrr-itttt food fads that faded‘ is:

Creole and Cajun
Jambalaya and gumbo are classics, but they’re not “state of the art eating,” as Food and Wine reported in 1989.

The first mistake Food and Wine made was considering that culture-cuisine could be a ‘food trend that came and went’. It’s time to reconsider the magazine’s light-weight philosophy of what constitutes a fad (and listing jambalaya and gumbo as ‘state of the art eating’ as was reported in 1989 just means they had an enthusiastic writer — although thanks for today having the sense to recognize those dishes as classics). Is it just a matter of time before Food and Wine deems fried chicken passé?  It’s got to be on their radar, since David Chang has been taking reservations for his Korean/Southern fried chicken platters at Momofuku for years now. *Fads* like grits, biscuits, collard greens, get ready to be called out in the pages of Food and Wine…

Sucre, Metairie LA
(above: love those chicory macaroons at Sucre)
BTW, the Today Show ran someone down to NOLA and they did a feature on the city, published today, including visits to R’evolution, Sucre (Sucre = best macaroons ever), and Dat Dog. Although we’re past the season, a Sucre king cake recipe (obviously not the one they’re best-known for, as the glaze is different) is included.

St. Francisville Inn
The historic St. Francisville Inn is for sale.

Familiar with the area of NE AL and SE TN known as Nickajack? Georgia is still trying to correct a flawed 1818 survey which identified the 35th parallel as one mile south of where it actually is (the 35th is where the GA/TN border is upposed to be) — and while that one mile may not sound like much it has water, and that’s a big deal. This month, Georgia legislators passed a bill to the governor so that water rights can be negotiated. In part:

WHEREAS, the State of Georgia proposes to the State of Tennessee that the dispute be
17 resolved by the states agreeing that the flawed 1818 survey be adopted as the legal boundary
18 between the states except for an area described as follows which shall be made a part of the
19 State of Georgia by which Georgia shall be able to exercise its riparian water rights to the
20 Tennessee River at Nickajack…

St. Bernard Campus in Miniature at Ave Maria Grotto, Cullman AL
(above: Brother Zoettl’s vision of the St. Bernard campus, at Ave Maria Grotto in Cullman)
The Alabama Community Scholars Institute (sponsored by the Alabama Folklife Association, The Daniel Foundation of Alabama, The Alabama State Council on the Arts., and the Alabama Department of Archives and History) will be June 11-14 at St. Bernard in Cullman (if you’ve been to Ave Maria Grotto, you’ve been on the St. Bernard campus). Going to be good.


Upcoming camps at the Alabama Folk School:
Bluegrass and Gee’s Bend Week, April 15 – 18, 2013
Old Time Music and Crafts Week, October 31 – November 3, 2013

Forbes lists Belle Meade (Nashville) as one of the ‘Top 25 Places to Retire Rich’:
Belle Meade, Tennessee
An independent, three-square-mile city surrounded by Nashville, green, gracious Belle Meade has 2,900 residents (one-seventh of them 65 or older), a median household income of $230,000 and home prices averaging $950,000. Atop a moderate climate, there’s easy proximity to Nashville, with its country music fame and fine medical facilities. Belle Meade got its start as a 19th century plantation. The Belle Meade Mansion remains a tourist attraction. Notable older residents include ex-U.S. Vice President Al Gore, 65, and billionaire Thomas F. Frist Jr., 74, co-founder of the Hospital Corporation of America.

The 39 recipients of the Peabody Awards (this is the 72nd year) have just been announced by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Among the winners is Design Ah!  — it’s a Japanese show for children, and it’s *perfect* (pretend you are three and watch this, and see if you don’t just eat it up).

Pecan Pie at Leatha's Bar-B-Que Inn, Hattiesburg MS
In Austin, the House has ‘formally named the pecan pie Texas’ official state pie‘. There’s one true way to celebrate this.

Faulkner’s family has requested that some items loaned to Ole Miss for decades now be returned. That’s because his Nobel Prize for Literature and the Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur are expected to be auctioned.

The AP reports that also to be sold from his family on June 11 at Sotheby’s will be ‘a recently discovered unpublished short story’ and ‘an original book of poetry Faulkner wrote and bound for his wife Estelle’. Altogether, these and other personal effects are expected to bring over $2MM.

I found the listing — this is the sale Sotheby’s has titled ‘Fine Books and Manuscripts including Americana‘.

Scottsboro Boys Museum, Scottsboro AL
The AP reports:
The legacy of the “Scottsboro Boys” is secure: The nine black teens were wrongly convicted more than 80 years ago in one of America’s most infamous racial tragedies. Alabama is now moving to repair its own legacy, and correct past injustices, with a bill to allow posthumous pardons for the group.

On Thursday, the state House voted 103-0 in favor of legislation setting up a procedure to pardon the teens, who were falsely accused of rape by two white women in 1931. The Senate had passed the bill earlier, 29-0. Gov. Robert Bentley has indicated he will sign it.

The Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum is hosting Therese Anne Fowler, author of “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald” on April 21. I haven’t read the book yet (although I did just finish Sally Cline’s Zelda Fitzgerald: The Tragic, Meticulously Researched Biography of the Jazz Age’s High Priestess). A reviewer at HuffPo did not at all like ‘Z’ but others have been much more complimentary.

Mint Julep at Veranda

(above: a mint julep made for me at Veranda, using mint I grew and brought in one evening for the restaurant to use for my and others’ cocktails)

Thanks to us getting closer to the Derby, the Louisville C-J interviews the ‘queen of the julep’:
“I like a sweet syrup, so I mix two parts sugar to one part boiling water. And I add fresh mint leaves and let it all sit overnight, then strain off the mint leaves,” she says.

…cautions against using peppermint because it’s too spicy. For a real winner with just the right mintiness, she suggests using Kentucky Colonel spearmint.

If you appreciate ants, if you hate ants, if you’ve ever (like me) lost shoes on more than one occasion to a fire ant hill, if you know or know of Dr. E.O. Wilson (the world’s foremost authority on ants), please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers as he had to cancel his visit home to Alabama for the new Auburn University Museum of Natural History due to a medical emergency. PBS said of Dr. Wilson, a two-time Pulitzer winner, Every so often a giant emerges on the stage of science, someone who transcends the narrow boundaries of a particular line of research and alters our perspective on the world. E.O. Wilson is such a man.

Real Lane Cake, From The Original Recipe
New to me and not having anything to do with anything else: there’s a product called cake strips (although you can also make these with terry cloth strips and safety pins) and they make cakes bake level so there’s no rounded dome in the middle.

William Eggleston will receive the “Outstanding Contribution to Photgraphy award” at the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards.

At War with the Obvious: Photographs by William Eggleston” is on exhibit at the Met now through July 28th.

And: Bill can breathe a bit easier, as was reported at Artinfo:
The U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York dismissed collector Jonathan Sobel’s lawsuit against photographer William Eggleston. The case, art law experts say, has broader implications for all artists who incorporate old photographic negatives into new work — and the collectors who support them.

Filed last April, the complaint alleged that Eggleston diluted the value of Sobel’s collection by printing larger, digital versions of some of his best-known works and then selling them for record prices at Christie’s.

The complaint was dismissed.

Rural Studio Projects

Rural Studio has debuted a new site for donations, giving individuals/groups/corporations the ability to ‘Adopt a 20k’ home, with twelve levels of giving. There’s also an opportunity to give a one-time or recurring gift of any amount.

Also: you can volunteer with Rural Studio.

And thanks, RS, for the mention!

Chicken On A Stick, McPhail's Chevron, Oxford MS

(If it all doesn’t work out, you could always walk up to the Chevron and get a chicken on a stick. Like so many others, I have the love for them too.)

Double Decker in Oxford is coming up, and organizers are asking food vendors to come up with dishes unique to DD, using local ingredients (fun idea, right?). Apparently, some food vendors aren’t that enthusiastic about the prospect.

From the LA Times:
Engineers, conservationists work on lasting fix for Watts Towers
A team tries to get to root of deterioration problem affecting the 17 interconnecting sculptures after earlier repairs fail to hold up.

Cicadas are going to help the humans.

Meanwhile, WalMart settled a lawsuit with a woman who had a nutria, ‘Norman’, run at her at a store in Abbeville.

And we have a new pet (the greatest way ever to keep little boys busy during spring break) — we adopted him and *think* he’s at least part Russian Blue, like my 20 lb. soul-cat from high school, Abraham, was. His name is Eugene Walter, and it just tickles me to hear Shugie say “Mommy, here comes Eugene Walter!” or “Eugene Walter meowed at me!”:

Reading this week:
The New York Times 36 Hours: 150 Weekends in the USA and Canada
Meatless: More than 200 of the very best vegetarian recipes
Dinner with Tennessee Williams

Leave a Reply