This Week’s Various 05.21.17

disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links, which means that at no cost to you, DFK is compensated if a purchase is made

As always, all images here unless otherwise noted are copyright Wish to use one? Contact me.

Hi friends! Thanks for sticking with me this past week with the transition to WordPress. I found out (thanks Jacob!) that my Blogger template had some code that wasn’t 100% which needed cleaning up, and it was time to make the leap to a better platform anyway. I’ll keep streamlining and such, and have things in a really good place very soon. Now, back to ‘This Week’s Various’! xoxo!

The NYT reviews Wayne Flynt’s new book of letters between himself and Nelle Harper Lee, Mockingbird Songs: My Friendship with Harper Lee. I was at a conference in Auburn last month, and got to ask him about the book. He said we’ll see her in this book ‘unfiltered’ and told me that if someone already liked her, they’d like her more. And the converse would also be true.

From the Times:

In her letters, Ms. Lee often mentioned books and writers. She praised a host of authors, from Frank McCourt to William Faulkner. She referred to Eudora Welty as “my goddess.”


Of Olek‘s plans to make 50 large-scale yarn creations of ‘strong female figures’ in each of the 50 states by 2020, the first is this fab one of Harriet Tubman in upstate NY. And it was a group effort: people crocheted 2’x2′ sections that were stitched together to make the mural.

(above: if you’ve never gotten the turkey — yes, the turkey — at BBG, there’s some exploring to do)

Big Bob Gibson‘s has won their 5th Grand Championship at Memphis in May.

Inside Appalachia and West Virginia Public Broadcast are doing a project called The Struggle to Stay

Just saying: there are a world of great hamburgers in the world, but two of the best happen to be at Chez FonFon in Birmingham, and Stamps Superburger in Jackson. 

So apparently every year, the UK McDonald’s franchises do a special ‘Great Tastes of America‘ promotion whereby they develop hamburgers that are supposedly representative of a certain region. This year, among those selected are the ‘South Carolina Stack’ with “two beef patties, beechwood-smoked bacon, smoky cheese, grilled onions, lettuce, and a “sweet ‘n’ tangy” South Carolina mustard sauce on a toasted corn meal-dusted bun” plus a ‘Louisiana Stack’ with “two beef patties, pepper jack cheese, red and yellow peppers, mayo, and spicy ketchup on a spicy sesame seed bun” (huh? you had all of Louisiana to go on and that’s what you went with?) and the ‘Tennessee Stack’ with “two beef patties, beechwood-smoked bacon, smoky cheese, grilled onions, lettuce, and “Tennessee-style” BBQ sauce on a toasted flour-topped bun.”

Via Via Hannah Raskin at the Post and Courier: Charleston is having a ‘Spririted Brunch’ on Sunday:

The menu for the event is terrifically diverse: Participating houses of worship were asked to serve whatever best represents them, so attendees will sample dates at the Central Mosque of Charleston and pound cake at The First Baptist Church of Charleston. Most of the congregations are offering something sweet, ranging from rugelach to ice cream. But there are savory reminders of the surrounding area, including pimento cheese sandwiches and okra rolls, which likely have little meaning to Episcopalians and Unitarians in Montana or Maine.

Tennessee Farm Table talks with Ronni Lundy on her new book, Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes, and greens, greens, greens.

A new exhibit at the Eudora Welty Education and Visitors Center in Jackson, “Dear Miss Welty: A Rotating Selection of Correspondence” is based around her fan mail.

At Lucky Peach, The Quest to Make a Super Tomato: Why do most tomatoes taste bad

Klee and his team of researchers based at the University of Florida have figured out what, precisely, makes a tomato taste like a tomato. Using one hundred and fifty tomato varietals, an extensive taste testing panel, chemical analyses, and genome sequencing, they describe with laser accuracy the alchemy of acid, sugar, and scent that yields the best tomato, and all the genes responsible. It’s a tomato instruction manual—and Klee thinks he can use that instruction manual to build a better tomato.

#spoileralert: the best tomato is always the one you grow in your backyard

…and Duke’s Mayonnaise had a celebration for their 100th year, and of all the items:

Still, as the market research promised, attendees weren’t especially interested in hopped-up mayo. They gravitated instead to the simplest mayonnaise presentation on offer: Duke’s smeared on white bread and topped with sliced tomatoes.

The winner of their 100th anniversary recipe contest was one for ‘Lolly’s Alabama White BBQ Sauce’ and online later this year, they’re making available (they verified for me these will not be available in stores) Duke’s jars in glass, one with a tomato graphic.

And as strange as it is, the glass jar made me think of the gentleman who in 2014 made his wishes known that when the time came, he wanted his cremated remains to be housed in a glass Duke’s jar:

The company obliged, contacting their label makers to help prepare two bespoke glass jars and labels printed with Clinton’s full name on them.

“They were custom all the way,” said Sauer. “We took the basis of the label and with the swirl on the bottom and put his name in there. His daughter said he was just delighted.”

From Texas Standard: Crawfish in Your Lawn? Hope You’re Okay with That

The family of Willie Seaberry plans to reopen Po’ Monkey’s in Merigold, Mississippi this summer.

Why Some Say It’s Past Time Texas Bans ‘Lunch Shaming’

And yes a million times to people paying off school lunch debts.

Oseola McCarty’s home in Hattiesburg will be turned into a museum. From the AP:

McCarty, a former washerwoman, revealed in 1995 that after her death she would leave a portion of her life’s savings for scholarships. Those savings, which totaled about $150,000, were donated to USM…

The person who runs the Smithsonian’s Sweet and Sour Project tells Munchies in Are We Wrong to Call Americanized Chinese Food ‘Inauthentic’? that Chop Suey probably has origins in China after all, and that

Chinese food has been in this country for about 160 years, and even from the beginning, immigrants were never accepted, but the food was. When the first immigrants arrived in the 1850s and they needed to feed themselves, they didn’t have access to recipes; they weren’t even cooks. Most of them were bachelors. It was all men who came over at first, and men didn’t cook; women cooked. So you were getting some strange versions of the quote-unquote traditional dishes to begin with.

Rosa Parks’ recipe for pancakes includes melted peanut butter.  Eudora Welty contributed this recipe for onion pie that Katherine Anne Porter gave her. Robert Penn Warren put together a ‘particularly insidious punch‘.

(above: inside Heirloom Barbecue)
Munchies on Heirloom Barbecue in Atlanta

Taylor and Lee, who are married, fuse American barbecue and Korean cuisine, but it is not “Korean barbecue,” which is meat cooked on a charcoal grill. Taylor even grimaces at the fusion label. “It’s just us being us,” he stresses. Certainly, Heirloom sounds like fusion, though. On offer are ribs marinated in gochujang—a sweet, fermented chili paste–cooked in a Texas smoker, and a smoky gochujang-marinated pork sandwich topped with kimchi slaw and collard greens in Korean miso. But one can see what Taylor means: There is nothing tacky, forced or unnatural about the menu, which is probably the secret to their success.

The second-most popular American opera after ‘Porgy and Bess’ is Southern Gothic ‘Susannah’, written by the son of a South Carolina Methodist minister:

Floyd based his story on the tale of Susanna and the Elders, included in the Book of Daniel by Catholic and Eastern Orthodox faiths, in which two lechers falsely accuse a righteous woman of adultery after she refuses to have a tryst with them. She is condemned to death, saved only when the prophet Daniel exposes the lies of her accusers. Floyd transplanted the plot to Tennessee, making Susannah a free-spirited outsider conspired against by members of her church. 

I’m #teampamplemousse & this is fab

Oh ya know, we just made a LA CROIX CAKE!!!!! NBD! (Full tutorial on the blog! 🎥: @sugarcoatedinsp)

A post shared by Kelly Mindell (@studiodiy) on

And no, Pepsi is not okay.

(above: the old Brotherhood Blues Lounge in Bessemer AL)
Via PopMatters: Contrary to Popular Belief, the Blues Were Not Born on the Mississippi Delta and much credit is given to Montgomery’s Butler “String Beans” May and black vaudeville.

His legacy, elusive and too little acknowledged, is preserved in the repertoire of country blues singer-guitarists and pianists of the ‘20s. (May neither recorded nor copyrighted any of his songs.) May was best-known for his song, “I’ve Got Elgin Movements in My Hip and Twenty Years Guaranteed”, which later “became entrenched in blues tradition”. Robert Johnson fans know the “Elgin movements” phrase from his song “Walkin’ Blues”, but it appeared in songs by many other artists, including Blind Lemon Jefferson’s “Change My Luck Blues”, which actually preceded Johnson’s recording by eight years. 

(above: inside Lusco’s)
Wright Thompson writes Taste the Delta of Old at Lusco’s…on the magic of traveling to a Mississippi institution for G&G:

I’m writing about Lusco’s from memory, which makes sense. As long as it continues to exist, then those ghosts have a home…

Last month, a group of students from Colorado College came to Oxford on something of a Faulkner pilgrimage, but:

No students in the class hail from any cities traditionally considered “the South.” In fact, most of the students had never even visited it before. Other students commented on Oxford’s thriving bar scene, the stark difference in people’s clothing style, and of course, the humidity. One student even shaved his head because the heat and humidity was so overwhelming for him.

…heat and humidity was so overwhelming…and that was in April.