This Week’s Various

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As always, all images unless otherwise noted copyright Deep Fried Kudzu. Like to use one elsewhere? Kindly contact me here.

Eudora Welty, Thank You Books, Birmingham AL

Thank You Books, Birmingham, 2020

Eudora Welty’s “One Writer’s Beginnings” (via Bookshop, via Amazon) was reissued last month by Scribner, and former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Tretheway wrote the introduction.

Thinking of this passage from the book, about her father being given credit for saving her mother from septicemia — by champagne:

I once wondered where he, who’d come not very long before from an Ohio farm, had ever heard of such a remedy, such a measure. Or perhaps as far as he was concerned he invented it, out of the strength of desperation. It would have been desperation augmented because champagne couldn’t be bought in Jackson. But somehow he knew what to do about that too. He telephoned to Canton, 40 miles north, to an Italian orchard grower, Mr. Trolio, told him the necessity, and asked, begged, that he put a bottle of his wine in Number 3, which was due in a few minutes to stop in Canton to ”take on water” (my father knew everything about train schedules). My father would be waiting to meet the train in Jackson. Mr. Trolio did – he sent the bottle in a bucket of ice and my father snatched it off the baggage car. He offered my mother a glass of chilled champagne and she drank it and kept it down. She was to live, after all.

The NYT’s obit for 101yr-old self-taught Kentucky artist Helen LaFrance

Medgar, Myrlie Evers Home / Museum, Jackson MS

the Medgar & Myrlie Evers home, 2013

The Medgar and Myrlie Evers home in Jackson is now a National Monument.

“We are so pleased that the National Park Service has made our family home in Jackson, MS, a National Monument. Our parents sought justice and equality for all Mississippians and knew such change locally would impact globally. Living a life of service, our parents didn’t make sacrifices for accolades or awards. Our father fought for his country during World War II, and our mother equally served on the battlefields here in America…” said Reena and James Van Evers, the two surviving children of Medgar and Myrlie.


El Quetzal, Russellville, Alabama

boots for sale, El Quetzal, Russelville AL, 2020

I only just found out what hand-lasted means in terms of shoes/boots and Texas’ Rios of Mercedes has been doing that since 1853. Also: this is everythingggg.

Possum Pottery at Black Belt Treasures

my possum necklace by Kristin Law

(gentle warning: language and, well, descriptions of marsupial anatomy) ‘Ode to the Virginia Opossum‘ by Sarah Ebba Hansen from the fall Story South

Also, because #funfact, in 1907, Helen Longstreet, a postmistress in Gainesville GA fed two possums persimmons for months, then shipped them to the White House as a Christmas supper present for Teddy Roosevelt and family.  She wrote on the box, “These o’possums surrendered near the Wren’s Nest, Atlanta, both contending smilingly for for the honor of furnishing the Christmas dinner for the American Prince and his family.”

White House China

Clinton White House china on display, William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum, Little Rock AR, 2015

Of all the Presidential Christmas supper menus in the Mental Floss piece linked above, I’m most drawn to the Clinton’s in ’93, mainly because beyond the usual, they included ambrosia, watermelon pickles, eggnog and syllabub. According to the NYT, there was also a sweet potato punch:

… a recipe Mrs. Clinton recently clipped from an Arkansas newspaper. It is made with pureed sweet potatoes, the juices of pineapple, orange and lemon, ginger ale, and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.

“Before you make a face,” she said, “I’ll send you a copy. I haven’t tried it yet, but friends of mine who have say it takes a little courage to try, but it’s actually good. Here we try everything.”

Quick google search and — here’s the recipe

Hazelrig Orchard, Cleveland AL

Hazelrig Orchard, Cleveland AL, 2020

Sorghum, sorghum, and more sorghum at the Tennessee Farm Table podcast.

Super Chikan talking about the guitars he makes and his house-sized diddly bow:


Not sure currently, but Roger Stolle used to sell Super Chikan guitars at Cat Head in Clarksdale

Super random:

Banksy Camera Man and Flower, Park City UT

the Banksy in Park City UT, 2017

The full-circle that is the family who owns the Bristol home of the new Banksy work, Aachoo!!, protecting it with a sheet of acrylic.

The Thompson Dallas Hotel has been called the largest adaptive reuse project in Texas’ history, as it was a $460M preservation of the 52-story 1965 First National Bank of Texas, designed by Thomas E. Stanley and George Dahl. It was at one time the tallest skyscraper W of the Mississippi.

airbnb: the Area 55 Futuro — here’s a 1955 Sears kit A-frame in Alabama  — a 1990s castle around Knoxville

I guess some people are eating red velvet cake like this now

A South Carolina man is offering to reimburse plus pay a finder’s fee for a family heirloom cast iron skillet that his father accidentally donated to Goodwill: “this item has immense sentimental value as my mom grew up in a farmhouse with a wood stove in North Carolina. This skillet was what her mother cooked with on that wood stove. My mother has moved this skillet from Greenville to Hilton Head to Greenville.” It’s a lidded Griswold, #8, 9, or 10. 

There’s a Waffle House beer

Super Mario World is opening next year in Japan (hi, I mentioned this is the super random section)

Z Ranch in Marfa would like to remind everyone not to come to Marfa

The mom of one of my besties has 8x10s of her ultra-80s mall Glamor Shots session (as of last year, there were still five of their studios open) displayed prominently in her living room. It definitely belongs with the other greatness at OldSchoolMoms.

Town & Country’s list of Best Books to Read this December includes one throw-back: Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory: One Christmas, and The Thanksgiving Visitor (Modern Library). (Square Books here, Amazon here).

The keyboard-playing gorilla at Showbiz Pizza used to creep me out, but now it’s the $10k 25th anniv Jay Strongwater one at Neiman’s. Also: I wish I had a delightfully dotty grandmother who would carry this Judith Lieber.

Missing parties with cheese balls, like this one with spiced pecans, from Bon Appetit

Prefacing this with: there’s a television in my office and I can pack away an incredible amount of ambient Amazon/Netflix in a week. But haaaa the most unbelievable — there are…a few — part of the newish ‘The Secret’ movie (hey, these are hard times and we all need movies in which we know it’s all going to work out): the characters from Louisiana and Tennessee calling the highways “The 59” and “The 65”.  Cue SNL’s The Californians. Also: ‘ambient television’ (can I just watch something I don’t have to pay attention to?) is a term we’ve needed for a while now, and thank you Kyle Chayka in The New Yorker.

Little Chinatown Restaurant, Kenner LA

Little Chinatown, Kenner LA, 2013

The Museum of Food and Drink in NY is doing a zoom, Jews and Chinese Food: A Love Story Dec 21.

In fact, for many Jewish families, the tradition of eating Chinese food on Christmas is almost as sacrosanct as avoiding leavened bread on Passover or eating latkes during Hanukkah.

As Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan famously responded to Senator Lindsay Graham when asked where she was on Christmas, “You know like all Jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant.”

While we have our regular place we go for Christmas Day Chinese, I will say that one year we did Christmas Day at the now-shuttered Creole Kosher Kitchen in the Quarter. An Asian family walked by, looked in the windows, shrugged, walked in, and — in the sweetest, most good-natured way, everyone just burst into laughter. Love.

Old Store (closed) in Collbran, outside Ft Payne AL

Collbran AL, 2020

Southern Spaces posts an excerpt of Writing Appalachia, an anthology of Appalachian literature published by University Press of Kentucky (via Bookshop; via Amazon)

Yet beginning in the mid-nineteenth century and flowering fully in the post–Civil War era, fueled by an enormous body of writing in the popular press, Appalachia became known as a land apart, home to what William Goodell Frost, president of Berea College, identified in 1899 as America’s “contemporary ancestors.” These curious creatures were alternately viewed either as a genetic and cultural reservoir of America’s best (noble poor rural white people of northern European ancestry who spoke Elizabethan English and lived a lifestyle like that of the colonial era), or as a sad example of America’s worst (degenerate poor rural white moonshiners and feudists who spoke substandard English).4 Distorted though they may be, those two views of Appalachia are still present in the popular imagination, as best-seller lists and television shows indicate.5

Dolceola Recordings is a music label ‘focused on analog field recording of American traditional music’ — and their first recording trip was to Boykin/Gee’s Bend in 2015. Their ‘Say You Don’t Love Me: The Last Recordings of David Kimbrough Jr’ was released in August (dir of indie record stores)

First Presbyterian, Rodney MS

First Presbyterian, Rodney MS, 2012

The Federalist 1832 Rodney Presbyterian in Rodney MS is undergoing restoration; donations to complete the work, including the completion of structural work on the bell tower, are being accepted

In the NYT interview with Berkeley Breathed:

If you were to substitute “Maycomb, Ala.,” the setting for “To Kill a Mockingbird,” for “Bloom County,” you would have guessed the correct literary inspiration for the setting. You’ll imagine the delight I took years later when I received a fan letter from Harper Lee, who eventually tried her best to convince me not to end Opus’s comic life a decade later. I told her I’d reconsider if she brought back Boo Radley. We remained in a standoff.

He’s not kidding — she was a fan.

Walker Evans: Starting from Scratch by Svetlana Alper (Princeton) was published in October (via Bookshop, via Amazon)

…She brings his techniques into dialogue with the work of a global cast of important artists—from Flaubert and Baudelaire to Elizabeth Bishop and William Faulkner—underscoring how Evans’s travels abroad in such places as France and Cuba, along with his expansive literary and artistic tastes, informed his quintessentially American photographic style.

Walker Evans: Starting from Scratch, Svetlana Alpers from Princeton University Press on Vimeo.

Shugie won the school spelling bee, Chanukah started, are we’re looking forward to a nice winter break! How about you? A healthy & safe week, y’all! xoxo!