This Week’s Various

As always, all images unless otherwise noted copyright Deep Fried Kudzu. Like to use one elsewhere? Kindly contact me here. I usually try to do these on Fridays (and I know it’s been a few weeks), but here we go…happy Mondee!

From APT. on Alabama Black Belt Blues, a film premiering this fall:

Alabama’s blues tradition, centered in its fertile Black Belt, is more rural than the well-known Mississippi Delta blues and in some sense closer to the original source. What is known as the blues developed out of the slave culture of the 19th century and lives on today in the impoverished yet culturally rich Alabama Black Belt. The work of John and Alan Lomax along with Pickens County native Ruby Pickens Tartt during the 1930s and 40s brought Alabama’s Black Belt blues music to the fore with their recordings of Vera Hall, Dock Reed, Rich Amerson and a host of other singers, some previously unknown. As the film will demonstrate, Alabama’s Black Blues tradition is still strong today.

A little behind on this, but check out the still new-ish Cotton House hotel in Cleveland, Mississippi — part of Marriott’s Tribute Portfolio.

Guntersville Lake

The subtitle of a NYT piece: ‘All I want to do is play Myst, an immersive computer game I was obsessed with when I was 11.‘ and yes, thank you. So happens on my last visit to Guntersville Lake, I recorded what — and I promise you when I was standing there I thought this, and to belabor this point thought in the moment ‘how messed up is it that right now I am at the edge of a lake and my immediate association with this sound is not just drinking in this nature but rather I’m seeing that scene in Myst?’

Also: I’ve been playing SimCity since maybe high school; the Obscuritory writes about how the company behind the game started making simulations for real corporations.

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Among them, the National Gallery in Washington (pic from our visit 2019)

Virtual museum tours

Miss Opryland?

Online exhibit Don’t Mess with Me from NY’s Shrine Gallery of drawings of Mississippi artist Sarah Mary Taylor, 1916-2000.

From Forbes, on her quilts: Made from pieces of old dresses, the quilts were brightly colored, and featured motifs including hands, the Statue of Liberty, guns, chickens and men wearing scarves. Striking even in online images, the quilts have been exhibited at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Taylor was also commissioned to create a quilt for the 1985 film adaptation of Alice Walker’s novel The Color Purple.

Shop cat, Mary Carter Paint Store, Cullman AL

Shop cat, Mary Carter Paint Store, Cullman AL

Bar, Odette, Florence AL

The bar at Odette, Florence AL

Robb Report on The 20 Best Bourbons of the 21st Century (So Far) which, you know, another ‘best of’ list. Buuuuttttt though this is not a new release, it’s the first time I’ve seen the presentation for the John E. Fitzgerald Very Special Reserve 20 Year Old, and nice.

Whiskey lovers tend to speak of the old Stitzel-Weller Distillery in hushed, reverential tones. Before being shuttered in 1972, the facility produced brands such as Larceny, Old Fitzgerald, Pappy Van Winkle, and Weller’s Cabin Still. John E. Fitzgerald Very Special Reserve 20 Year Old ($300 for 375 mL) contains wheated bourbon gleaned from 12 barrels produced at old Stitzel-Weller that had been designated for use in Old Fitzgerald.

Yes yes and yes to the Dabls MBAD African Bead Museum in Detroit

Faulkner House Books

Faulkner House Books, New Orleans

Lawrence Wells, director of Yoknapatawpha Press in Oxford, which he established with his late wife Dean Faulkner Wells, has a new book out: In Faulkner’s Shadow: A Memoir. An excerpt here, at Hotty Toddy.


If you’re in the mood for another Faulkner-was-inebriated-and-actually-said/did-this story, here’s Was This the Greatest Literary Advice Ever Offered?

Turtle Rock, Grant AL

Turtle Rock, Grant AL

Fried Matzah Balls

Fried matzah balls, Passover 2011

Okay the Schmaltz Brothers food truck in DC is doing fried matzah balls and I LOVE IT. I thought it was kinda genius when I dreamed it up Passover 2011 (they have a certain hushpuppy quality) but they’ve probably been around forever and I just didn’t realize it. More about them in The Washingtonian.

Sun -n- Sand Motor Hotel, Jackson Mississippi

The Sun -n- Sand, 2019

Marshall Ramsey has done a series of Mississippi coloring pages and they’re all here at Mississippi Today. A good one to start would be the Sun -n- Sand.

Margaret's Grocery, 2001, Just Outside Vicksburg MS

Margaret’s Grocery, 2001

Thrillist on Suzi Altman’s campaign to save Margaret’s Grocery:  This Piece of Roadside Art Is Collapsing, But One Woman Is Fighting to Save It: The life and death of the most extraordinary grocery store in Mississippi.

The Save Margaret’s Grocery gofundme is here.

Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia

Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia, 2019

Looking forward to reading Writing Appalachia: An Anthology from the University Press of Kentucky

This comprehensive anthology covers an exceedingly diverse range of subjects, genres, and time periods, beginning with early Native American oral traditions and concluding with twenty-first-century writers such as Wendell Berry, bell hooks, Silas House, Barbara Kingsolver, and Frank X Walker. Slave narratives, local color writing, folklore, work songs, modernist prose — each piece explores unique Appalachian struggles, questions, and values. 

James Magee’s Hill art environment in Texas:

“For people who are ready and receptive to James Magee, if you go to the Hill with him, you will forever divide your life into two parts: before the Hill and after”

GooGoo Cluster Store, Nashville TN

Nashville’s GooGoo Cluster store, 2016

GooGoo’s Summer Chef Series 2020 includes Nina Singto’s (owner of Thai Esane) Ninahot version with basil milk chocolate ganache, Rice Krispies, and chili caramel.

Also: Skylar Bush’s Local Yokel(ish) with Bae’s Matcha Butter ganache, halva, black sesame seed base, and Willa’s Shortbread crumbles wrapped in Ruby Chocolate.

Faye's Bar-B-Que, Sylacauga Al

Faye’s Bar-B-Que, Sylacauga AL

Trailer for Flannery, the new documentary:

Flannery reading ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’

Fave quote of hers: “When in Rome, do as you done in Milledgeville.”

Yes a thousand times to the Commodore Perry opening in Austin and I’ll stay there just for that yellow happiness around the pool.

The large Enrique Alferez’s “Symbols of Communication” mural that had been in the lobby of the Times-Pic will be moved to the auditorium of NOMA.

Ignatius J. Reilly Statue outside Hyatt French Quarter, New Orleans LA

The Ignatius J. Reilly statue outside the Hyatt FQ in New Orleans

A Confederacy of Dunces at 40: A Book that can change your life at the UK’s The Critic

Toole finished writing his magnum opus in 1964, and sent his manuscript to the editor Robert Gottlieb at Simon & Schuster. Gottlieb, who was responsible for publishing Joseph Heller’s similarly off-the-wall Catch 22, was troubled by the novel. He could recognise the originality of Toole’s voice and the extraordinary comic invention within it (‘you’re wildly funny often, funnier than anyone else around’), but, after a long, agonising period of indecision, he eventually declined to publish it in 1966. His major reason for rejecting it was that, for all of its wit and originality, he remained unconvinced that it had any particular point.

PS say that last part to anyone who ever loved, say…Seinfeld, as an easy reference. That it doesn’t have a particular point is the way to love it most.

Hopewell Cemetery, Hanceville AL

Maybe the first time I’ve seen “etc” on a cemetery monument. Hopewell Cemetery, Hanceville AL

Barbecue Baptist Church

Whitesboro Cemetery, Etowah County AL

Another visit to the Jacobs grave shelter at Whitesboro Baptist in Sardis, Alabama, from June of this year

I’m documenting all the grave shelters of Alabama; this is how one of the grave houses at Annotto Bay Cemetery in Jamaica appears.

In Nevada, a restaurant is going to be doing biscuit flights with various butters and jellies and yeahhhhhhh.

Jack Salmon Fish House, Starkville MS

The Jack Salmon Fish House, Starkville MS, from a 2004 visit

The world needs more of these newspaper columns like “Fare Exchange” in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, where people talk about malted ball cake;  what was the secret in another restaurant’s bread pudding (just magic with day-old rolls and an eggy, sugary mix, “no precision in the recipe”) and another person looking for Faulkner’s salmon croquette recipe, because apparently he best liked the one printed on the can.

How about:

Baked French Toast With Skillet-Fried Peaches, Butter Pecans and Whipped Cream recipe from Athens, Georgia Chef Jessica Rothacker who owns Heirloom, plus also at that AJC link, she shares Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs and I’m thinking about subbing chub.

According to NYT Cooking, Cowboy Caviar was developed by Helen Corbitt, a dietitian from New York who didn’t know black-eyed peas until she moved to Texas in 1931.


My friend Amy Evans and Martha Foose have the new-ish cookbook, A Good Meal is Hard to Find: Shared Recipes from the Deep South
A Good Meal is Hard to Find

There are a ton of Amy’s artworks included, and a short little fun story with the recipes. This is my riff on their ‘Frank’s Collard Greens and Field Pea Fried Rice’:
Frank's Collard Green and Field Pea Fried Rice from A Good Meal is Hard to Find Cookbook

From one of the cookbooks, I cut out some of Amy’s art to make these as a surprise for one of my friends’ new kitchen
Kitchen Artwork

Martha Foose is also an author with Asha Gomez on the new cookbook, I Cook in Color: Bright Flavors from My Kitchen and Around the World, out October 6.

Drexell & Honeybee’s, a donation-only restaurant in Brewton, Alabama:

Super random thoughts:

I want to go to a pizza farm
What is going on with baseball peanuts
This man speaks the truth re: boneless chicken wings — “Christensen suggested that the city call the dish “Buffalo-style chicken tenders,” “wet tenders,” “saucy nuggs” or “trash.””
Center Pivot Sprinkler instagram, “Constellations made up of dots of life when seen from space.”
Russian Cake and New Orleans
We should prob consider adding horseradish to pimento cheese more often

This recipe for skillet apple blondie from the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge may be going on the menu in the next few days after Rosh Hashanah and/or apple-pickin’ season, which is right now

Complicated: When Strangers with Cameras Travel Inside Appalachia at West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Shower thought I had this week: if I were to ever open a Mexican-food/breakfast restaurant, I would name it Dos Eggies.

Essex, Massachusetts

a not-a-face-jug Elvis I found in Essex, Massachusetts

Elvis Presley Face Jug #4 by Georgia’s Michael Crocker in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum

From a most fabulous obit of a lovely soul in Minnesota:

The grandkids always said her pancakes were the best!  Other family favorites were her strawberry pie, caramel rolls, pickle roll ups, pea soup, pickled fish, refrigerator pickles, deviled eggs, calico beans & frozen slush punch.  She was always looking for new & unique recipes to try.  Many years ago, the local paper published her recipe for Hamburger Stuffing Hotdish & all of the stores in Little Falls sold out of stuffing because of her.

***Tell me: is ‘hotdish’ just Minnesota & environs for ‘casserole’?

Howard Finster's Paradise Gardens, Summerville GA

From a 2009 visit to Paradise Gardens

The Paradise Garden Foundation has purchased the last home Howard Finster lived in on the property of the Gardens, as well as acquiring two desks with his murals, and his 1976 Lincoln Continental.


Resurrected & Revised: Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden at Bitter Southerner

As the story goes, Finster was repairing a bike in 1976 when a dab of tractor paint formed a face on his thumb and relayed to him a message from God: “Make sacred art.” But long before the calling that jump-started his art career, Finster was creating for most of his life: performing in the pulpit and traveling throughout the South as an evangelical preacher; making pews, and clocks, and doll furniture; fixing bikes.

Was looking forward to new leadership at the Southern Foodways Alliance as things looked like they were coming to a conclusion with the director this summer, but nope.

On the NYT’s T List of things the editors recommend last week, the Walter Price (who grew up in Macon, Georgia) show of new abstract(ish) works  at Greene Naftali, through October 31.

Willa Jean, New Orleans

Willa Jean

The Good Book of Southern Baking: a Revival of Biscuits, Cakes, and Cornbread by Kelly Fields (Willa Jean!!) and Kate Heddings is out now. I’ve never had ANYthing at Willa Jean that isn’t just crazy good, so this is top of the list.

Shug's Gee's Bend Baby Quilt

Shug’s Gee’s Bend baby blanket

Gee’s Bend quilts now available through Nest, and “100% of the proceeds go back to each individual quilt maker.”

Also: in Cracking Codes with Sanford Biggers in the NYT:

His epiphany, however, came with the landmark “Quilts of Gee’s Bend” show at the Whitney Museum in 2002. In the magisterial work of the Alabama quilters, he said, he saw all the possibilities of painting, and more. “There was color, modulation, rhythm, and all these compositional things,” he said. “But seeing them in these beautiful textile works made by a woman’s hands, it was touching on sculpture, touching on the body, touching on politics.”

And don’t miss Roberta Smith’s NYT piece on Rosie Lee Tompkins and her quilts.


From UNC-TV on :15 doc ‘Rendered Small’ : “Directed by Louis Cherry and Marsha Gordon, Rendered Small explores the private collection of over 1,200 American folk art buildings meticulously curated and displayed by Steven Burke and Randy Campbell in their home in Hillsborough, North Carolina, conveying, in the voices of its collectors, what it’s like to live amongst so many treasures and, as a married couple, with each other’s obsessions.”

Fant's, Guntersville

Fant’s in Guntersville AL reminds what she really wants this Thanksgiving, from 2006

House Beautiful on Charleston’s Smithey Ironworks cookware and why their pieces don’t start out black. Sidenote: their carbon steel farmhouse skillet is gorgeous.

Not Blockbuster, Oneonta AL

not Blockbuster, Oneonta AL 2020

So you can call the world’s last Blockbuster and get movie recs? Omggggg yesssss. PS: they have a store with hoodies and pj pants. If I had a stupid amount of money and one of those houses with unnecessary extra rooms, I would turn the theater room into some kind of comfy ’80s/’90s downstairs den with a collection of Blockbuster VHS tapes in plastic cases, Spiegel catalog furniture, and either a Garfield phone (which I actually had) or one of those clear Conair ones.

The State Fair of Texas is doing a drive-thru this year, with Fletcher’s Corny Dogs, Stiffler’s Fried Oreos, french fries, cotton candy, kettle corn, and the opportunity to have a pic taken with Big Tex.

Audio of Janette Carter (from the AP Carter family) explaining the Carter recipe for chowchow. Start at 17:45 for that, but this is Tennessee Farm Table, so every bit of the podcast is fab.

Shannon Lee’s piece, Bill Traylor’s Powerful Drawings Transformed the Market for Outsider Art, at Artsy, ends (deep sigh, because Traylor transcends hip but hey this is how the world works sometimes, I guess) with Christie’s Cara Zimmerman saying “Traylor more than anyone (with the possible exception of James Castle) is an artist that has become a must-have for contemporary art collectors who want to be seen as really hip.”

Ginger and Steve Duke and Dutchess Sunray Elementary 1982

Corsages all around, when I represented my 5th grade at homecoming in Sunray, Texas. Looook at the winggggsssss.

A little fun piece on high school football mums at Texas Highways, but huh? Some places are using artificial flowers

Natchez Drug Company / Turning Angel, Natchez City Cemetery, Natchez MS

The turning angel, from a visit in 2005

The vandalized Turning Angel monument at the Natchez City Cemetery will be repaired soon.

Dr. Charles Smith's Home, Hammond LA

Dr Charles Smith’s home in Hammond LA, from a visit in 2010

Dr. Charles Smith: Aurora is on exhibit at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center

After a fateful stop in Hammond, Louisiana, convinced Dr. Smith that he needed to relocate his project there, the majority of the sculptures from his Aurora site were removed, conserved, and acquired by several museums. The 218 sculptures acquired by the Arts Center make it the largest single institutional holding of the artist’s work. Dr. Smith continues his work on The African-American Heritage Museum + Black Veterans Archive today in Hammond, documenting the ongoing struggle for equality and educating his local community and site visitors on the tragedies and triumphs of African-Americans.

There’s a gofundme — not related to the Kohler exhibit — for Dr Smith and his work.

Old Monroe County Courthouse - To Kill A Mockingbird

on display at the Old Monroe County Courthouse, 2006

Meet the Alabama Man who makes Old Typewriters New Again on William Lee, owner of American Typewriter Co, on S Decatur in Montgomery.

a la Carte: A Visual Exploration of our Relationship with Food at the AEIVA in Birmingham, through December 12, 2020

Beauty Salon in Natchez MS

Natchez beauty salon door, 2016

Capturing a colorful Southern town where everything and nothing is Black or white in the LA Times on Richard Grant’s The Deepest South of All: True Stories from Natchez, Mississippi and, you know, since people love the eccentric South to stay on brand:

The book opens at another party, where we meet:

a) a man who lives part time in a former mental hospital with — among other squatters — a magician, an Andrew Jackson impersonator and two fraudulent bishops.

b) a woman who approvingly relates an anecdote about the only white doctor in Natchez willing to treat Black patients during the Depression; he took in the son of a Black woman who died in childbirth, named the boy Rooster and raised him on the back porch…

CBS News on the dioramas from the American Negro Exposition, the “Black World’s Fair” from 80 years ago, that have been restored by the Legacy Museum at Tuskegee University.

Fort Davis AL Post Office

Fort Davis AL Post Office

The Ft Davis, Alabama post office, 2020

You know the often teensy-bit (and some times really-really) peculiar photoshoots that are published in W Magazine, about 7/8s through each issue? I completely see this tiny post office used as a set for one of those. Somebody call Sara Moonves. I’m apparently a location scout now.

Post Office Mural By Reuben Gambrell "Kiln Room, Cement Plant", Rockmart GA

Post Office Mural By Reuben Gambrell “Kiln Room, Cement Plant”, Rockmart GA, from a 2011 visit

The Guardian with Searching for America’s 1930s post office murals – a photo essay

and the NYT on Doug Leen, who searches for WPA national park poster designs (he also reproduces them for sale), and:

Of the 35,000 posters created during the WPA, only about 2,000 have been found and cataloged, and just a fraction of those are national park prints.

The Menil Collection, Houston

from a visit in 2015

Apollo Magazine: Leap of faith – how Mark Rothko reimagined religious art for the modern age which also mentions ‘The Color Inside’ (2013), one of James Turrell’s ‘Skyspaces’ at UT at Austin, and Ellsworth Kelly’s ‘Austin’ (2018) structure. The Rothko Chapel (seriously, one of my favorite favorite favorite places on earth) will reopen to the public September 26.

Instead, the Rothko Chapel waits patiently for a time when the crisis has subsided, like a biblical deluge, and we start looking again for places to contemplate what has transpired, and what kind of world we want to build. Not only will we crave open, peaceful places where we might come together (while remaining a safe distance apart); we will need spaces that are spiritually and aesthetically gracious enough to receive our diverging emotions – grief, anger, purposelessness – and refocus them like a prism.

Boudin from Chevron Station in Opelousas, LA

Opelousas Chevron boudin

From Extra Miles at 64 Parishes on gas station cuisine:

Hebert can now rave knowledgeably about the white-linen Italian restaurant in an Idaho gas station and the blue Chevron in Noonday, Texas (population 777), where you can order Cornish game hen. But he swears up and down that the fare is still best in Louisiana…