This Week’s Various

As always, unless otherwise noted, all images here copyright
(above: Dreamland in Tuscaloosa) sold out of cronuts from Dominique Ansel last weekend; for a little while they were shipping out Momofuku’s crack pie, even.  Here in the South, they’ve sold out of many of these for the Christmas rush, but they offer: Dreamland ribs, Cheerwine, Aunt Sallie’s pralines, La Boucherie turducken, Rendezvous ribs, and Gambino’s king cakes (wait ’til it’s the season for those…).  They don’t have anything from the state of Mississippi!  They need some Caramel Factory, some comeback sauce/dressing, Edam from MSU

The ‘leaning shack’ behind Old Greenbrier Barbecue in north Alabama…
Leaning Shack

…is gone:
Leaning Shack, Leaned Too Far

Smithsonian Magazine on the December 25, 1826 egg nog riots at West Point:
But Christmas morning 1826 brought more than a little chaos–it brought news of a riot that had included nearly one-third of West Point students and changed the face of the academy for decades to come.

Despite the destructive impacts of the riots, however, their story is largely unknown, especially by current West Point students. “Hardly anyone knows about it. If pooled among 4,400 cadets, 3,000 federal employees, 1,500 military staff and faculty, I doubt 30 people will know a thing about it,” says West Point’s command historian Sherman Fleek.

…Egg nog was a traditional part of West Point’s annual Christmas celebration, but Thayer’s moratorium on alcohol threw a wrench in the festivities. Not to be denied a night of revelry, some cadets set about smuggling in liquor from nearby taverns for the holiday party. One of the cadets was Jefferson Davis…

From Forbes, Lifting the Poor: What the Mississippi Delta Can Teach the Congo
So if you were a photographer who took some pics outside Bryant-Denny…and you had access to 3D modeling software, what would you do next? Make a jello mold of Nick Saban’s face and auction it off for charity.

Brett Anderson has done his list of his 10 favorite dishes of 2013 in New Orleans.

The NYT puts up a recipe for ‘grits cakes with country ham and bourbon mayonnaise‘.
A book written by the late Leatha Jackson (Leatha’s Bar-B-Que Inn, Hattiesburg) has been posthumously published, entitled ‘If These Fields Could Talk‘.;;playerWidth=630;playerHeight=355;isShowIcon=true;clipId=9649019;flvUri=;partnerclipid=;adTag=News;advertisingZone=;enableAds=true;landingPage=;islandingPageoverride=false;playerType=STANDARD_EMBEDDEDscript;controlsType=overlayWDAM.COM – TV 7 – News, Weather and Sports

The saying that Washington DC is the city with Southern efficiency and northern charm…the Washington Post writes about a new restaurant there, ‘Southern Efficiency’, owned by the same man who owns a restaurant called ‘Eat the Rich’.  The owner says he wants to ‘confound your expectations of what, exactly, a Southern bar and restaurant can be’, but see if this doesn’t come off as just trying much too hard.

George Rodrigue, who gained fame over his ‘Blue Dog’ paintings, passed away last weekend in Houston.
This week the T-P has a piece on Ralph Brennan and what he plans to do with the pink property at 417 Royal.  There’s even a Brennan family tree (composed of most of the Brennans in the business) that they developed, here.  And there’s this, too.

T Magazine from the NYT gives us: Under the Spell of Old Restaurants


The Tennessee State Museum’s exhibit, Slaves and Slaveholders of Wessyngton Plantation, opens February 11 and goes through August 31, 2014.  Part of why this exhibit is so important is that it identifies individual slaves and charts some of the families through to today.  From The Chattanoogan:
…Wessyngton was one of the largest plan.tations in Tennessee in 1860 and the largest producer of tobacco in the U.S. In 1860, the Washingtons were one of the wealthiest families in Tennessee.

The Washingtons, with two exceptions, never sold their slaves, and by 1860 owned 274. Slave families at Wessyngton had three to five generations living together, remarkable in a system that often separated enslaved families, including selling children away from their parents.

The Washingtons, who held on to their wealth during and after the Civil War, retained detailed records about their plantation and slaves. These records, along with letters and diaries, survived into the 20th century and were later donated by Washington family descendants to the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA)…

…“The wealth of sources allows the exhibit to represent the diversity of slave experiences at Wessyngton,” said Rob DeHart, the exhibit’s curator. “Before the Civil War, they individually found ways to create lives and sustain families under very challenging circumstances. Following emancipation, they made different choices regarding their futures.”

There were cremated remains found on the field at Auburn after the Iron Bowl victory.  SEC fans, we all know someone who would do this and someone who would want this done.

From the WSJ:
Giving: The Unusual Tale of Oseola McCarty
Obscure washerwoman moved many when she left a fortune for Mississippi college fund

EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO, a small-town banker named Paul Laughlin faced a thorny problem: how to help a frail, 87-year-old woman with a fifth-grade education plan her estate. The woman had never been married and had no children to assist her. The solution Laughlin came up with was a novel one. First, he handed the woman 10 dimes, each representing 10 percent of her assets. He then gave her five slips of paper with beneficiaries’ names she had selected and asked her to divide up the coins. The elderly woman slowly deposited one dime for her church and one each for three cousins. Then, after a pause, she put the remaining six dimes on the slip designated for the University of Southern Mississippi.

BP calls out Emeril in a full page ad in the NYT over oil spill payments.  Originally an ‘unnamed chef,’ it’s Lagasse.

(above: from my first Sacred Harp singings, in Montgomery. This is ‘Nearer My G-d To Thee’. It has over 33k views on YouTube)
Buell Cobb’s new Sacred Harp memoir is available at Amazon: Like Cords Around My Heart Reasons Birmingham is Atlanta’s Cooler Cousin
(above: Sucre in Metairie)

Whole Foods is going to be selling a new creation from Sucre by June of 2014: Hanna, Sucré executive chef, said the MacBubl is a macaron-in-reverse, a cookie enveloped in chocolate ganache, encased in hardened chocolate. A traditional macaron brings together two light, meringue cookies as a sandwich with cream or jam filing. “It’s an American reinterpretation of what a true French macaron experience is,” Hanna said.

It’s pronounced “mac-bubble”. Eh. Not crazy about the way he says ‘I needed a way for you to shove it in your face’ (so it’s covered in chocolate) in the NOLA video, but they will be in Sucre stores in January, so we’ll see…
(above: fruitcake gets to be a joke, but my ‘glorious fruitcake’ little cupcakes, made with only bits you really like (for instance, no odd green cherries) is amazing.)

The Tampa Tribune on fruitcake haiku.
  Last year, Steve Winchell of Sebring won the whole shebang with this lovely poem: 

 A fan of fruitcake, 
I search for a kindred soul. 
Alas, fruitlessly.

Nice article in Garden and Gun on my friend Michael Twitty: the Antebellum Chef

For students of African American history, of Southern history, of American history, Twitty’s message is not exactly new or controversial. But for many Americans who cling stubbornly to tribal notions of a distinction between black and white, this whole-cloth history may seem brand-new, even shocking. Our schools have become such a failure at teaching history that most white Americans know little, if anything, of African American history, and of the origins of much of their foodways and folkways. Black foodways, white foodways, Southern foodways—they are all the same, blended, brothers and sisters. This is Michael Twitty’s core message.

If you’re an Auburn fan, there’s this:

 Even Tim Cook, CEO of Apple (grew up in Alabama, graduated from Auburn) can’t help himself, and makes reference to the game around 1:08 of his speech at the University:

Still so happy about the announcement of the William Edmondson Park in Nashville that’s going to be built.  This week it was released that Lonnie Holley and Thornton Dial are making site-specific art for it.

So there’s something called a ‘Besh Box‘ (John Besh) shipping each month wherein:
Each month’s edition will be different, but you can expect to receive items that support the exciting monthly themes, such as: 
– Gourmet cooking tools that I love 
– Recipes that can be shared and expanded upon throughout the years 
– Specialty ingredients that include small batch and local, artisan ingredients whenever possible 
– Household kitchen items that I have discovered and want to share with you 
– Fun toys and themed items that help bring the season or event to life 
– Music playlists to inspire during prep, cooking, entertaining… (or for dancing when no one is around!) 
– Cocktail pairings that complete the dish 
– An overview of a charitable organization that I will be supporting through your support of Besh Box

Article from the AP about the 16k linear feet of US Grant’s papers at MSU:
STARKVILLE, Mississippi — Ulysses S. Grant and Mississippi go way back.

During the Civil War, his forces fought at Shiloh, Tenn., and into North Mississippi in the spring of 1862. By the end of that year, the siege of Vicksburg began and lasted until July 4, 1963, when Union troops successfully took the Mississippi River city.

Despite that contentious history, Grant and Mississippi have a future together.

What seems somewhat odd to find in it all? A lock of Frederick Douglass’ hair.

And the clip all of us need to see this week:

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