This Week’s Various

As always, unless otherwise noted, all images here copyright DeepFriedKudzu.  Interested in using any? Contact me first. 

The Times-Pic gets to Domenica‘s king cake:
A beautifully messy oval roll, split sandwich-style and filled with salted caramel, fresh bananas, toasted pecans, mascarpone cheese and caramello, topped with a praline glaze and garnished with gold leaf. The bananas stand out as the sweet note against the strong salted caramel. The impressively extravagant filling is bolstered by a sturdy, crisp crust: in fact, we broke a plastic knife during the feeding frenzy.

The Huntsville Museum of Art has extended its exhibit of Cal Breed’s glasswork to May 4, citing how well it was received by the public.

RC and Moon Pie Festival, Bell Buckle TN
Above: we found this at the RC and Moon Pie Festival in Bell Buckle, TN

It seems as though North Koreans have their own version of Moon Pies, and they *love* them.

From MPB: at age 81, Leo Welch releases his first album
Good things come to those who wait, but 81 years is a long time by any standard. Leo Welch’s first recording, authentic Mississippi gospel blues with a hill country bent just hit the market this week. It’s produced by the label Big Legal Mess, an imprint of Oxford-based Fat Possum Records.

But things nearly went astray. Bruce Watson is the owner of Big Legal Mess.

“His manager called the office and, you know, said, ‘I got a blues guy.’ And basically one of the interns was like, ‘Well, we don’t really do Blues anymore.’ ‘Cause we really don’t.”

The reason for that is simple.

“You know all the blues guys… we worked with the best of the blues guys in this area and there’s just… all of them a dead basically. There’s not anymore left. And I really thought we’d never make another blues record. And, you know, he showed up in my office and it was like, ‘Yeah, we’re making another blues record.’ “

Sabougla Voices avail here.

Close-Up of King Cake
Above: close-up from a king cake from Paul’s in Picayune

Finally, a king cake festival!

Olive and Sinclair Chocolate
Above: I had to try it (2010)

Alton Brown’s latest podcast includes a visit he made with the chocolatiers at Olive and Sinclair in Nashville:
“Southern food kind of defines itself by using what we had access to, be it collard greens, bacon, things of that nature,” Witherow said. “We try to do the same thing. We have access to bourbon barrels, so we age cacao in bourbon barrels. We have access to smoke houses so we smoked cacao for certain products.”

And not to take the wind out of any sails, but don’t regional foodways define themselves by what they had/have access to?  Local cuisine = shaped by what’s on hand.

BTW, their bars are available at Whole Foods.  The new Whole Foods in New Orleans opens next week, and the kinds of programs they’re implementing, incl working with Liberty’s Kitchen, sound wonderful.

Wedgwood at the Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham AL

Above, this Wedgwood mantle appears at the site

Very nice: the Birmingham Museum of Art is now part of the Google Cultural Institute, and it feels so good to see a Bill Traylor.

The ‘lost’ Johnny Cash album, ‘Out Among the Starswill be released in March.

Wade Wharton's Creations
Above, one of the works that will appear at the gallery; I photographed this one in January 2012 at Wade’s home

The ‘Wade Made: Works from the Hands, Heart, and Mind of Wade Wharton’ exhibit at Union Grove Gallery on the UAH campus will be Sunday, February 2 from 2-5p.

Water Spillway at Clarkson Covered Bridge Area, Cullman County AL
Above: water spillway at Clarkson Covered Bridge in Cullman County, Alabama

Our cousin, James Salzman (author of Drinking Water: A History, and prof of Environmental Law at Duke), was interviewed on NPR Weekend Edition: Americans Prefer their Water Clean, but not Pure:

Well, it’s called distilled water, sure. It ends up actually not tasting very good. It’s funny actually – for Aquafina and Dasani and actually the major bottled water brands, that’s actually tap water that is passed through very fine filters. It’s called reverse osmosis. And then the water actually is too clean to taste good. So, in the industry they call it pixie dust – they put some minerals actually back into the water to improve the taste.

NEARY: So, clean water tastes bad.


SALZMAN: Well, I mean, what’s clean water, right? I mean, the water that we have out of our tap is clean. The water that we have out of bottled water is clean, right? The question is do you want water that has no contaminants in it all, which would be distilled, or water that’s safe to drink? And the fact is we could certainly treat water if we wanted to, to the point where there’s nothing in it, but we wouldn’t be willing to pay the cost.

Rarely am I thinking of convention speeches weeks later, but this one I read, by Rabbi Rick Jacobs, in part on the concept of ‘audacious hospitality’ given at the URJ biennial last month was pretty terrific.

Oh, and Sabine Parish, please don’t let all this be happening, that there’s a teacher in your midst bullying a student for religious (or other) reasons. From the Times-Pic.:
The parents and the child assert that his sciences and social studies teacher began proselytizing the sixth-grader after he enrolled last August. The child says the teacher, Rita Roark, told the class that Buddhism is “stupid,” questioned if the student “has to be raised Buddhist” and suggested he “change” his faith.

The parents say when they complained to the school superintendent, Sara Ebarb, she advised them to move their child to a school with “more Asians.”

School officials have not officially responded to the suit, except to say the “system recognizes the rights of all students to exercise the religion of their choice and will defend the lawsuit vigorously.”

Documents and photographs presented by the parents and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Louisiana suggest that Roark and other school officials believe that their jobs entail religious proselytizing. In particular, the suit offers evidence suggesting that Roark has required students to profess their Christian faith on tests and other assignments.

For example, the final question on one of Roark’s science tests was: “ISN’T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _______ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’…

My friend Fred Scruton (amazing photographer) has an article in the latest Raw Vision (#80), ‘Apocalypse at Niagara Falls: Prophet Isaiah Robertson‘:
…Robertson is a parishioner – not a preacher – at the Mount Erie Baptist Church, and its three-storey sanctuary is the site of his “first prophesy” – that The Jubilee (a year of forgiveness and redemption) began in 2006. Originally hired by the church to simply sheetrock and panel the walls, he recalls that a guest speaker at an outdoor spiritual revival event could sense there was a person with the gift of prophecy in their midst…

Ernie K-Doe's Mother-In-Law Lounge
Above: a pic of the MIL Lounge from a couple of years ago

Kermit Ruffins is closing his Treme Speakeasy after Mardi Gras.
The restaurant is generally open every day except Tuesday from noon til. Ruffins does everything from “going to get the garbage bags to cooking up food to hiring the bands to paying everybody.” He typically cooked red beans, cabbage, stewed rabbit, meatloaf and potato salad over a three hour period every day, leaving the frying of frog legs and shrimp to his employees. He also performs at the Speakeasy on Sunday evenings at 6 p.m. (though he’s taking off Feb. 2 to watch the Super Bowl).

About him taking over Ernie K. Doe’s Mother-In-Law-Lounge, he said:
“The Mother-in-Law is quite easy,” Ruffins said. “I order my liquor and hire a couple of bands. And I don’t have to cook.”

BTW, the new name is ‘Kermit Ruffins’ Treme Mother-in-Law Lounge’.

Annual Rotunda Sacred Harp Singing, Montgomery AL
Above: the rotunda singing, 2008

The 16th Annual Rotunda Singing (shape note) in Montgomery will be February 1.

The 23rd Annual Festival of Negro Spirituals will also be February 1, at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Baton Rouge.

The WSJ on food festival pageants this week.
Janelle Johnson, 26, current Asparagus Queen first runner-up, is working to ensure that the pageant continues. Ms. Johnson, who is single, is the first unmarried contestant in the pageant’s history. In June, she will move into the role of queen coordinator. She lately has begun a contestant outreach campaign, partnering with local farmers and businesses to create incentives for female employees to apply.

And she hopes to ramp up the amount of asparagus trivia in the competition, adding more questions like “How much can an asparagus stalk grow in a 24-hour period?” (Answer: 10 inches.)

Bankhead Home and Museum, Jasper AL
Above: at the Bankhead Museum in Jasper, AL, Tallulah’s address book is opened to the contact information for Tennessee Williams

The Daily Beast runs an excerpt from Flappers: Six Women of A Dangerous Generation (published this month) on Tallulah Bankhead.  You know this, but our girl from Jasper ran off to NYC and had a really big time.

Weaver D’s in Athens is closing again, again, again, or maybe not.  It’s almost as if Ronnie Marchant (famous for his perpetually going-out-of-business furniture sales, and ‘everwhatchaneed!’ in B’ham) is in charge of marketing.  Again, the Red and Black has an article about how dire the future of the restaurant is.  An advertising major at UGA is trying to help things with meat-and-two-plus-a-drink $8 promotion for students on ‘Automatic Saturday!’ but there needs to be some kind of permanent shift.

With each time Weaver has announced he was about to close, the public has responded. But there was a drawback. After hearing that the restaurant could close soon, some people believed that it actually was closed – which doesn’t help get them inside.

“They ask, ‘Are you closed?’ when I answer the phone,” he said. “I say, ‘Get closed out of your mind.’ The first time, we said we might have to close if we don’t receive community support. Come on out here and save us. I threw out the lifeline.”

The subject of ‘teaching to the test’ has blown up in Mississippi after someone with an anonymous blog titled ‘TEACHING IN A MISSISSIPPI DELTA CLASSROOM‘ (which has since been deleted, but that’s what Google’s cache is for) posted video, as the C-L put it:
In one of the videos, a young teacher is advocating for a class presentation project that her mentor says must end.

“We’re going into testing mode,” says the senior teacher, who explains that unless something will be on the end-of-year assessments, commonly called MCT2, don’t teach it.

In another video, the older teacher said no school in Mississippi can afford their students creative learning opportunities since the state started assigning the schools all grades.

“When they started with all this state stuff and that this school’s got to do this or we’re going to take over, you’ve got to be a D school, you can’t be an F school,” she said. “Before all that happened you could go in there, you could take time…”

AND (prepare to shake your head in disgust after reading this, in the direction of several agencies):
In another video, the young teacher says her mother also is an educator and is able to incorporate creative lessons into her classroom despite the MCT2 testing constraints; she wants to do the same thing.

But the mentor says her mother probably doesn’t teach in a poor district and that the two can’t be compared.

“If I could give them a little taste of what they would get if they came from a different demographic …” the younger woman says before she is cut off by the mentor.

“Well they didn’t come from a different demographic,” the mentor interrupts. “So they’re not going to get a little taste. The little taste they’re going to get right now is that we have got to get ready for tests.” there’s one more video at the C-L too.

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