Spent part of the weekend going out of the way a bit. Here in the city, it’s so easy to go to an outpost of whatever chain has taken up residence in whatever shopping center but doing so lacks the…well…charm (and that warm feeling of meeting people and making connections, where you’re more than a transaction) of going to a very walkable downtown somewhere or out in the country to do business with people whose business has their heart.
“I’m a people person,” says Mama B, 77, insisting on no other name. “I don’t care who you are: If you walk through my doors, you’re mine and I love you.”
Here, baked beans are served out of a bubbling stovetop pot and ice-cold homemade potato salad is scooped directly from the icebox. Meats are smoked on-site with abundant quantities of lip-smacking sweet sauce or spicy pepper sauce ready for a generous pour.
The menu is simple, inexpensive and irresistible: Slabs of meltaway beef brisket with a thick smoke ring and crisp crust. Spicy Elgin sausage that sizzles when you slice it. Pork ribs that slide right off the bone.
It’s this kind of place, and the kindness of the owners and helpers that reminds why it’s so important to choose local over chain. We spent Saturday in Sylacauga, Alabama — passed many chain barbecue and home improvement plant places so we could visit Pete’s Feed & Seed, and Faye’s Home Cooking & Bar-B-Que. Love to all the small places.
The boys talked to the birds inside (I heard a chatty white one say “hello!” and a few other words) and we discussed rosemary hedges and a BBC gardening show I should look up with the person who helped us.
We had plate lunches from Faye’s Home Cooking & Bar-B-Que, where I’ve photographed for several years.
Where the Boss is the Sauce
chicken & dressing with peas and macaroni & cheese
rib tips with fries and fried green tomatoes
The weather was so so so comfortable this weekend — maybe even a little cool. We were planting the window boxes with rosemary, lantana, small arborvitae, and I still need some sweet potato vines for the ends. A few years, the vines have been so happy that they’ve almost hung down from the second story to the garage doors! Shug planted a geranium, the first time we’ve ever had one of those, and Shugie wants to grow potatoes. All the herb containers are full now — plenty of them came back strong from last year, a bunch of them never really died back. Three tomato plants and an eggplant later, and I’m wondering if we shouldn’t get the Troybilt out and plow a couple of rows and get going with some serious okra this year too… Would love to hear what you’re growing.