This Week’s Various, Part 1

Things have been so busy the last few weeks that I’m going to do a series of ‘This Week’s Various,’ one each day this week.  Monday:

Pimiento and Tomato Salad

The Washington Post on the cult of Duke’s mayonnaise (I admit, while I have campaigned for them to switch to cage-free eggs a la Hellmann’s to no avail, I remain a faithful Duke’s cult member):
There was the man on his hospital death bed who asked for a tomato sandwich made with Duke’s. There was the mother of the bride who, after the company made its switch from glass to plastic containers around 2005, demanded four glass jars with labels intact to use as centerpieces at her daughter’s wedding. And there was the elderly woman from North Carolina. She wrote in hopes of obtaining just three glass jars, saying she’d like to be cremated and have her ashes placed in the containers for her three daughters. Hatcher assured me that she followed through on that request.

For any of us who have literally run out of their shoes (me, twice, from accidentally stepping in fire ant beds) and anyone else who’s ever wondered what the architecture of an ant hill might be underneath, it turns out to be ten thousand times more interesting, and would make a great piece of sculpture if you could ever square your use of lavalike molten aluminum to obliterate ten zillion ant beings with your taste in art:

86-year-old Georgia artist Carter Wellborn, brother in law of the late artist Annie Wellborn, passed away last month. From the Athens Banner-Herald:
“He didn’t want a funeral service. That was his request,” Hanson said. “He wanted us to put him next to his momma.”

Wellborn, who lived for many years in Oconee County, moved to the Statham area about a decade ago.

Relatively unknown as an artist in the area, few people knew the wide market that existed for Wellborn’s work.

…“A lot of people don’t realize Carter is in some really significant art brut and folk art collections,” …I probably shipped them to almost every state and I guess about 15 countries, but most of them went to Germany and France to serious art brut collectors,” Lowery said.

…“He said, ‘Carter Wellborn is the only contemporary artist in my collection. I collect Australia aboriginal art, primitive art that is hundreds or thousands of years old. If you were sitting where I’m sitting, you would see that the way Mr. Wellborn draws his cows is almost indistinguishable from the way an Australian aboriginal drew a four-legged animal,’” Lowery recalled.

From the LA Times: ‘Tennessee Williams Receives a Production Worthy of Him‘ for the Broadway revival of ‘The Glass Menagerie’ and other critics are just *loving it*.

‘The Artist’s Eye’ — works that were gifted to Fisk in Nashville by Georgia O’Keeffe and stated in a will that they would never be sold, etc and were anyway (see Barnes Foundation, now in Philadelphia (!) for more in that vein)…will appear at Crystal Bridges beginning this weekend.

Contestants,Colonel Sanders Look-Alike Contest, Alabama Chicken and Egg Festival, Moulton AL
(above, from the festival in 2008 — we saw the Col. Sanders lookalike contest)

The Alabama Chicken and Egg Festival in Moulton is no more.

Isaiah's Restaurant, Montgomery AL
Isaiah’s Restaurant in Montgomery has closed.  The owners are going to focus now on getting their peach cobbler in grocery stores.

W Magazine on William Eggleston at his new ‘At Zenith’ gallery show in NYC:
Eggleston made a brief show of protest—his eyes are not so great, and he did not have his reading glasses on hand—but soon he picked up the book. He cleared his throat, and began: “‘Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths/Enwrought with golden and silver light …’” As he continued on, Eggleston’s previously matter-of-fact voice took on a roguish warmth, as if he were regaling an entire Memphis bar with a story he knew was bound to kill.

“‘… I have spread my dreams under your feet/Tread softly because you tread on my dreams,’” he finished, his eyes crinkling, and the room broke into applause.

The new Discovery Park of America museum in Union City, Tennessee is something of its own brand of Smithsonian, and expects 150k visitors/year:
The centerpiece of Discovery Park is Discovery Center, a 100,000-square-foot building showcasing ten exhibit galleries: Children’s Exploration, Energy, Enlightenment, Military, Native Americans, Natural History, Regional History, Science/Space/Technology, and Transportation. In addition, a Special Exhibit Gallery features traveling exhibits.

Discovery Center’s multi-story atriums are filled with exhibits that invite visitors to open their minds to a greater understanding and appreciation of our world…past, present and future. Highlights include:

– A theater simulation of the 1811-12 earthquakes that shaped the land in this region as well as a planetary tour in the starship theater.

– A 20,000-gallon aquarium revealing the underwater life of Reelfoot Lake.

– A 60-foot replica of a human body with a 30-foot slide.

– Dinosaurs, fossils, Native American artifacts, military equipment, vintage automobiles, and dozens more hands-on experiences for children.

Peanut Soup from Southern Kitchen, New Market VA
(above: peanut soup we had at ‘Southern Kitchen Restaurant’ in New Market, Virginia)

Hugh Acheson in the National Post:
“The truth of Southern food is that what started as Southern food was actually brought here by slaves. They weren’t from here, either.”

Annnnnnd discuss.  It’s not that easy.  Southern food — which we can spend an eternity trying to define — was brought/developed here, started not with one point, not with one people (which is what makes it so strong).  We are the diaspora of so many communities. It would be shortsighted to imagine that the South was a blank slate, that no one people were either already here without, or came here lacking foodways from their point of origin, whether it be the Germans, the Alsatians, the Africans of all nations, the French, the Italians, Greeks, the eastern Europeans, our brothers and sisters of every land who toiled as itinerant workers.

Bless the community cookbook.  Bless dinner on the ground, and the black-sooted barbecue pit.  Bless the roadside stand overflowing with tomato, crookneck squash, muscadine, peas (oh the peas!), watermelon, the jars of chow-chow, quarts of Brunswick stew, the fresh fried peach pie nestled in parchment.  Bless Buford Highway and the shrimp truck man.

It started with us all, not just your people and not mine, or my people and not yours, his people and not hers.  It is and was and always will be — L-rd willing — us all.  Now *that’s* what Southern food is.

Sincerely, the girl who loves to eat boudin, Delta hot tamales, fried green tomatoes, curry-laden Country Captain chicken, stuffed mirlitons, crackers in buttermilk (love you PawPaw z”l!), and matzah balls simmered in potlikker.


And bless Dr. Roseann Cook, a nun who serves Pine Apple, Alabama.  Story here from WBHM 90.3.

Southern Soul Blues Show Poster, Eutaw AL

The National Blues Museum will be built in…St. Louis.

From the Red and Black: Weaver D’s in Athens is closing (really, this time).  From the Red and Black:

Weaver D’s Fine Foods became a famous Athens landmark when R.E.M used its slogan “Automatic for the People” as an album title — but now the landmark is closing its doors for good in the coming weeks.

A staple of the Classic City since 1986, the restaurant, located on East Broad Street, has recently hit tough times, according to owner Dexter Weaver.

“It’s part financial, part being tired, part the economy,” Weaver said. “We’ve been here so long that we’ve gotten tired. And business is not what it used to be.”

The Braves are moving to Cobb County.  Cobb County!  Made me think of that article in the July Atlanta Magazine — ‘The Other 284 Days:

A half century ago, this stretch of Georgia Avenue housed French’s Ice Cream, Austin’s Grocery, and a dozen mom-and-pop stores. Now there are just two operating concerns: Joe’s Laundry and Cleaners—whose owners triple-barricade themselves behind steel doors, metal grates, and burglar bars—and Fuwah Chinese Restaurant, cash only, where you walk up to a glass-shielded counter, place an order, and wait until the server slides a Styrofoam container of house lo mein through a narrow slot like it’s a sheaf of lottery tickets or a fifth of Evan Williams. 

It’s said the Braves generate a $100 million economic impact on metro Atlanta. But it doesn’t take an economist to conclude that little of the team’s monetary power is felt in the neighborhoods around the ballpark. 

The story of Turner Field and its neighbors is one of stunted vision, cynical opportunism, halfhearted reform efforts, and misguided renewal schemes. Millions of dollars have been squandered and hundreds of acres left vacant. Around here, thousands of people live below the poverty line while just a handful—some legally, some not—cash in, because it’s more lucrative to park cars on an empty lot eighty-one days a year than to clean up that lot, open a business, and operate it year-round.

Crazy-happy about this:
Nashville is building a two-block park named after William Edmondson!  From The Tennessean:

The park next to John Henry Hale homes and the Youth Opportunity Center will be named for Nashville native William Edmondson, the first African-American artist to have a solo show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

When Edmondson Park opens in the spring, it will include a quarter-mile walking trail, two sculptures and limestone column fragments from the Tennessee State Capitol in a gathering area. 

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