This Week’s Various 05.21.17

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.


This Week’s Various

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

Pensacola Beach, Florida//
We just got back from the beach. It’s a great time — still warm enough to swim in the Gulf but not crazy hot. Go. 

And prayers to everyone in the path of Hurricane Matthew.

Dexter Avenue UMC in Montgomery

At the WaPo: MLK’s booth at his go-to barbecue joint became a memorial.Then it disappeared.

Helen Keller, between the ages of 8 and 11 writing (in the most lovely penmanship ever) of her life in Tuscumbia, Alabama.

Is Eataly coming to Atlanta?

I just added the first Georgia restaurant to my Slugburger map: Fincher’s Barbecue in Macon, Georgia

Domilise's, New Orleans//
from a visit to Domilese’s

Bon Appetit’s Bite by Bite Tour of New Orleans’ Poboys and it’s a pretty good list.

Houston’s Weird Homes Tour is Saturday, October 8.

Dockery Farms

From the November issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine: Trekking the Mississippi Blues Trail: B.B. King Museum, Parchman Farm, Dockery Farms, and More

…the Mississippi Blues Trail markers aren’t of the cast-metal, “George Washington Slept Here” variety. As befitting their purpose, these are narrations written by blues experts who have been given free rein to write what are more akin to chapters in a roadside biography. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), a Blues Trail founding participant, along with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA),” Barretta says, “cautioned against simply using a ‘great man’ approach. They wanted us to incorporate humanities themes—the influence of agriculture and the railroad, of segregation, Jim Crow, and Civil Rights, the broader social factors.”

Civil Rights Memorial, Montgomery AL//
above, the Civil Rights Memorial designed by Maya Lin, in Montgomery

The Memorial to Peace and Justice in Montgomery will open in 2017. It’s to become the “most comprehensive memorial for the thousands who were victims of “racial terror lynching,” defined as “acts of violence that were done with complete impunity, where there was no risk of prosecution,” according to Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) founder and executive director Bryan Stevenson.”

Why the focus of the new African American Museum in Washington will go beyond soul food, from the Washington Post. Also:

…there will be barbecue in the restaurant but not in the museum — a decision that may raise the hackles of some barbecue traditionalists.

“We had it slated, and then we just ran out of space,” Hyppolite said.

Alabama love, North Alabama barbecue love, Big Bob Gibson love at the new AA Museum, too, from the he WaPo piece The African-American Museum Cafe Gets Off to a Solid Start Feeding a Tough Crowd:

Chicken also starred in another hit from the Creole Coast; it was rubbed with cayenne and other seasonings, then cold-smoked and striped with Alabama white sauce.

(Big Bob Gibson in Decatur originated white sauce)

Skip to 7:21 for its mention:

Blue ribbon basket of vegetables at the Neshoba County Fair

Super Size: The Dizzying Grandeur of 21st-Century Agriculture by George Steinmetz in the NYT (spoiler alert: you’re going to need either Kleenex, or a backyard and Troybilt with a full tank of gas to help with the feelings those pictures are going to bring about. Maybe both.) — and just keep scrolling that page because there are lots of other great pieces.

On Lauderdale, Selma AL//
in Selma

The Telegraph with Verandas: a taste of the Deep South in rural England. Their advice:
Rocking chairs always look good on verandas. So do bench swings and cane tables with jugs of Pimm’s on top.

K-Paul's, New Orleans//
lunch at K-Paul’s

WYES airs documentary Paul Prudhomme: Louisiana Legend on October 8, 9, 22, 26, and 30.

Main Street Homes, Greensboro Alabama//
Greensboro homes

Melanie Vangsnes, who grew up in the Black Belt, writes ‘Southerness‘ at Bitter Southerner:

Once inside Rosabelle’s home, he inevitably would discover evidence of squirrels in the attic or mice in the kitchen or, once, a rattlesnake skin between the cushions of the parlor divan.

At the New Yorker: Revisiting Eugene Richards’ Sweeping Portrait of Life Below the Poverty Line

An image of a skinny boy lying on the hood of a dingy car in Still House Hollow, Tennessee, and another of the boy and his family shooting off fireworks were made after four days of waiting, Richards told me. The family was expecting him when he arrived at their door, but after sitting for a single posed portrait they retreated into their home and refused to open up for more. So Richards sat down on their porch and waited. When he returned to the house the next day to resume his vigil, they offered him water but remained resistant. On day four, something gave way, and the family started carrying on as if the photographer had become invisible. By the time he was done, he says, “they were going to build me a house there. They were telling me where it was going to be.”

Promise Land B.B.Q. in Woodstock AL//
Promise Land B.B.Q in Woodstock, Alabama

The Macon Telegraph with Why some people call barbecue the ‘true cuisine’ of America

Jackson's, Pensacola FL//
apples and honey at Jackson’s in Pensacola for last year’s RH supper

Hanna Raskin at the P and C on ‘Sticky Situation: Truly local honey producers face competition from unregulated fakes

Horsecreek Honey Farms now has about 1,000 hives scattered across South Carolina and another 500 hives in Nebraska. “We’re at the point that we’re expanding so rapidly that we need more help,” Bayer-Crooks says. But Tucker says they haven’t abandoned the methods he learned from his uncle, which include letting bees find their own food rather than suckling them on sucrose and processing honey without heat. That latter technique is used to prevent honey from crystallizing on supermarket shelves, but it also alters its fundamental character. “As far as I’m concerned, that’s not honey,” Tucker says. “That’s syrup.”

The Great British Baking Show is good for business, from the UK’s Shields Gazette:
Hobbycraft, the UK’s largest craft retailer, reported sales for layer cake sets have increased by an incredible 1,125% while cake pillars were up by 1,000%.

The firm has also seen a 51 per cent increase in cookie cutter sales since last week’s biscuit episode.

The Pontchartrain Hotel shares the recipe for Mile High Pie

Did You Miss Dixie?//
In Louisiana: Did You Miss Dixie?

The Chicago Reader runs a restaurant review entitled Dixie’s peculiar fantasy of ‘evolutionary’ southern cuisine and there’s just so much strange in the piece.
* soba noodle ramen with Broadbent ham
* “plate of hard-fried sweetbreads done “Nashville hot style” wallowing in a thick, mucilaginous sauce meant to evoke the white bread hot chicken is normally served on. Here it approaches something like Elmer’s glue.”
* “benne seeds (what dewy-eyed southerners call sesame)”
* and this phrase:  “There seems to be a penchant for Asian-southern inbreeding at Dixie.”  Really, ‘inbreeding’?

Jason Jackson, lead design architect with brg3s architects, gives a TEDx Memphis talk about “Neighborhood Revitalization through Culture, Community and Creativity” and work with the South Memphis “Soulsville” neighborhood

at the Freedom Rides Museum in Montgomery

Skift with The Rise of Civil Rights Tourism in America’s Deep South

Toups' Meatery, New Orleans LA//
at Toups’ Meatery in New Orleans

From the T-P: At Toups South, Cajun chef Isaac Toups tackles entire region

He discovered crab fat in the South Carolina Lowcountry and worked it into the butter for Toups South’s biscuits. He became skilled at barbecue, and at the new restaurant he will cook smoked goat tamales and smoked foie gras.

“If I open a bar, we’ll serve cracklins,” he said. “If I open a daycare, I’ll serve cracklins.”

The anonymous town that was the model of desegregation in the Civil Rights era: Here’s how it fell apart from the Heching Report

They called it “River City,” singled out half a century ago as a beacon of hope for school integration in the South. Authors of the landmark civil rights-era Coleman Report, a massive federal survey of U.S. educational inequality, concluded that if desegregation were to work anywhere in the Deep South, it would be in this town, an oasis of tolerance and pragmatic gentility in the Mississippi Delta, the blackest, poorest, “most southern place on earth.”

The Coleman Report became legendary, fueling and informing debates that are still raging today. But no one gave away River City’s identity, or kept track to see if its promise came true. Did the town’s good-intentioned integration plan succeed in bringing a deeply divided community together to improve education for both black and white students?

The town, it turns out, was Greenville, an unusually diverse community of blacks, whites, Chinese, Creoles, Jews, as well as immigrants from Lebanon and Syria. Home to more than 12,000 public school children, the district was the first in Mississippi to defy the governor and voluntarily offer real choice for white and black children to enroll in each other’s schools…

In W Magazine: How William Eggleston’s Daughter Turned His Art Into Fashion: With the help of his daughter, Andra, and longtime friend and supporter, Agnès B., the photographer’s lesser-known but equally colorful sketches are stepping into the limelight.

Graceland Too, Holly Springs MS//
Graceland Too in Holly Springs, Mississippi, in 2011

A court in Denmark has ruled against a man whose Elvis museum was using the ‘Graceland’ name, and he changed it to ‘Memphis Mansion’. The museum had 130k visitors last year.

Rosa Parks' Home//
above, one of the homes Rosa Parks grew up in, in Alabama

The facade of Rosa Parks’ first home in Detroit was shipped to Berlin to become an art piece to save it from destruction.

“She loved the city, but I don’t think the city loved her very much back,” McCauley said at the send-off, according to the Detroit Free Press. “This house should have been preserved here. But we live in a world where every other project takes precedence.”

Arts ATL interviewed Katerine Jentleson, curator at the High, with much of the talk about the upcoming Fever Within: The Art of Ronald Lockett exhibit, which opens October 9:

Also, I think doing this retrospective will help people understand things about the term “self-taught.” As much as I think it’s a good term to use, it often doesn’t leave room for people to realize that these artists are working in their own kind of circles and schools. Lockett was really part of this Birmingham-Bessemer School of artists that just dominated for the last few decades.

In that vein, the Forging Connections: Ronald Lockett’s Alabama Contemporaries installation will feature six sculptures by Lockett, Thornton Dial Sr., Thornton Dial Jr., Richard Dial, Joe Minter, and Lonnie Holley.

at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans

The USPS next year will release a set of stamps based on WPA posters.

Arby’s has discovered white chicken sauce (what will probably go on to become next year’s Nashville hot chicken) and have put it on their new Smokehouse Turkey Sandwich.

The Storytellers: Eudora Welty, Richard Wright, William Faulkner sculptures at Pinnacle, Jackson MS//
Eudora Welty sculpture in downtown Jackson

What would Eudora Welty’s perfect day have looked like? This (and it doesn’t include the post office or the Jitney Jungle).

Pageants go on all year, but with the fall fairs and festivals, it’s officially pageant season. Louisiana has the best tiaras.

St. Viateur Bagels, Montreal//
at St. Viateur in Montreal

ExtraCrispy says forget Montreal bagels, the best are in Charlottesville, Virginia. My husband, a University of Virginia grad, appreciates a Bodo’s bagel but says he sticks with St. Viateur in Montreal.

At West Virginia Public Radio: Road Trip Through Apple-atcha: Homemade Apple Pies, Apple Cider and More

Hurricane Katrina - Biloxi//
Parts of this study feels like this picture.

Mississippi State’s Intelligent Community Institute with the Digital Divide Index, and in its finding of the ‘Top Ten Rural (Noncore) Counties with Largest Digital Divide’ four of those counties are in Mississippi (including the #1 spot, Humphreys County), and Perry County in Alabama is in second place. With the exception of Arizona and Missouri, all those counties are in the south. As Daily Yonder explains:

100% of Humphrey’s County population did not have access to 25/3 fixed broadband and only 20 to 40% of its households had a fixed broadband residential connection of at least 3 Mbps download and 768 Kbps upload. It had an average advertised download speed of 9.6 Mbps, almost three times slower than the 25 Mbps cutoff speed to be even considered broadband and an average advertised upload speed of 1.9 Mbps, below the 3 Mbps cutoff speed.

Christie’s on outsider art:

The results from the September 20 Christie’s auction, with the 1930s William Edmondson ‘Critter’ at $81250.

This week, supper at the James Beard House, from Woolery “Woody” Back of Table and Main in Roswell, Georgia, includes these two hors d’oeuvre:

Fried Chicken Skins with Bourbon Barrel–Aged Hot Sauce and Buckeye Creek Honey

Collard Wraps with Carolina Rice Middlins, Pickled Shrimp, Cajun Holy Trinity, and Sour Pickled Yogurt

Faulkner’s monument in Oxford

Atlanta’s NPR station WABE with A Trip Through Mississippi, Guided By Its Legendary Authors

“Light and shadow play along the avenue as you approach the ghostly-white 1844 primitive Greek revival house. This is Rowan Oak.”

Best thing read all week, from the WaPo: She needed treatment to save her life. Instead, she chose to live it.

Brunswick Stew from Southern Comfort, Hope Hull AL//
Brunswick stew at Southern Comfort in Hope Hull, Alabama

Ronni Lundy speaks with Indy Week about her new book, Victuals, and mentions

What no one is saying is that Brunswick stew was created by a Native American woman who you will never know! What was written about our history was largely written by men who concentrated on the meat on the table. And everything else was ignored. But everything else was what was keeping that family alive.

Super-proud of my friend Jessie Zenor, who is Modern Mississippi!
Jessie Zener I Mapping A Modern Mississippi from Mississippi Museum of Art on Vimeo.

This Week’s Various

A writer at The Atlantic takes the leap, however long or short, between Frank Ocean and Nelle Harper Lee in Frank Ocean, Harper Lee, and the Reclusive Artist

But what about that invisible rubric? That is, why can’t Channel Orange be enough in the way that Mockingbird is? Is it because rather than keeping us almost entirely out of the empty room, as Lee did, Ocean chose to let us in through hints and ephemera? And more broadly, what are we owed by an artist whom we profess to love? Why does the quiet deliberation of one soft-spoken Southern Gothic artist with a widely adored debut inspire awed respect and deference, while another inspires bitter disappointment? How do we maintain an earnest interest in and desire for art we love, while respecting the autonomy of the person who creates it and the fact that creating anything at all is the most excruciating of human endeavors?

Howard Finster, An Angel of the L-rd #10000, High Museum, Atlanta GA//
Howard Finster’s An Angel of the L-rd #10000 at the High

Smithsonian with These Letters Written by Famous Artists Reveal the Lost Intimacy of Putting Pen to Paper and the letter from Finster to a curator about an upcoming exhibit looks like one would expect.

Butch Anthony’s roadside museum in Seale, Alabama is featured on NPR’s Morning Edition

Fabulous Beth Ann Fennelly has been named Mississippi’s poet laureate. Her ‘Kudzu Chronicles’ here. Go to track seven below for Claire Holley’s ‘Kudzu’ song using words from Beth Ann’s poem:

Yes a million times to Cantor Fine Art and their emojis:







Bon Appetit has come out with their list of Best New Restaurants 2016, and in the South category, there are four, all of which are in Louisiana (three of those, NOLA): N7, Josephine Estelle, Pop’s Poboys, and Willa Jean (knew it was Willa Jean from the shot of the cookies with milk and beater!). Well deserved.

Willa Jean, New Orleans//
…and of course we loved it!

…cookies that are crisp and caramelized around the edges, soft in the center, and studded with gooey pockets containing not one, not two, but three (very specific) varieties of Valrhona chocolate. The milk—cold and rich, infused with Tahitian vanilla bean—miraculously tastes as though one thousand cookies have already been dunked in it. And the kicker? The egg-beater whisk served alongside, onto which clings more raw cookie dough than any grandma, no matter how permissive, would ever let you sneak. Yeah: It’s like that.

Casamento's, New Orleans//
at Casamento’s in New Orleans

At NPR: The Oyster’s Mighty Comeback is Creating Cleaner US Waterways

13 Obscure and Amazing Food Products We Buy on Amazon from Bon Appetit includes Talk o’ Texas pickled okra

Excited about the Take Me I’m Yours exhibit at the Jewish Museum in NYC (at which visitors can bring home pieces of art from dozens of artists, incl Yoko Ono, even) and their Kickstarter campaign, at which for a $250 donation, you can skip the plane tickets and they’ll send you one of every piece of art

Loved Stranger Things on Netflix so much. I’m going to be Eleven for Halloween and Av is going to be Dustin (I already have the Castroville Artichoke Festival tee for him). It was filmed in Jackson, Georgia, and one of the funniest things ever is it re-imagined as an ’80s sitcom:


At Bitter Southerner, The Godmother of Southern Cooking (with Gas) on Mrs. S.R. (Henrietta) Dull

Mary Frances, one of seven grandchildren, is now the keeper of the treasures of Henrietta’s life, from photos with Walt Disney to handwritten notes attached with straight pins to first-edition pages of “Southern Cooking.” Open a scrapbook and Mary Frances dials back time, telling stories of white gloves, tomato aspic and Atlanta debutante parties, of Sis Hennie’s Japanese Fruitcake on the sideboard at Christmas, of crisp corn pone at supper. And of war rationing, wringing a chicken’s neck, beating egg whites by hand for angel-food cake, and the knowledge that before Sis Hennie was famous, she sold food to the ladies at First Baptist Church to support her family.

Peaches on Farish Street in Jackson

Also at Bitter Southerner, Up All Night on Farish Street:

“Mississippi is not a state,” he says. “It’s a club.”

The Hattie B’s Hot Chicken supper at the James Beard house August 11:
Hors d’Oeuvre: Deviled Eggs with Pickled Ramps, Crispy Hot Chicken Skins with Tennessee Honey,
Beer-Boiled Peanuts, Benton’s B.L.T. Bites 

Dinner: Tennessee Tomato Gazpacho with Fried Chicken Crunchies, Fresh Cheese, and Pickled Green Tomatoes; Poppers and Pickles – Nashville-Style Hot Chicken Rillettes with Three Bean Salad and Pickled Watermelon Rinds, Ramps, and Okra; Sweet Tea Sorbet with Lemonade and Mint; Family-Style Hattie B’s Hot Chicken with Tennessee Speckled Butter Beans, Southern Braised Greens, Raw Corn Salad, Housemade Chowchow, Skillet Cornbread, and Bourbon Barrel Sorghum Butter; Banana Pudding with Torched Meringue

Gore Vidal and Eudora Welty talking religion

A bottle tree made by my friend Stephanie Dwyer, in Port Gibson, Mississippi

Bottle Tree by Stephanie Dwyer in Port Gibson, Mississippi//

This Week’s Various

A super-short ‘This Week’s Various’ this time!

Dr. Bob‘s art studio in the Bywater was shot at repeatedly early Tuesday morning, thankfully he was missed and is okay.

Maurice's Piggy Park, Columbia SC//

From the WaPo: A barbecue case that helped the cause of civil rights — although this story is worthy of more than the paltry 322 words given here. Also: there’s an error in that Maurice Bessinger (who had a thing for the battle flag at his South Carolina Piggie Park restaurants) died in 2013 — it was actually 2014, though his kids were implementing changes at the restaurant earlier.

Back to the author, Jim Shahin, in another piece for the Washington Post: he declares Charleston as ‘the future of barbecue.’

Butch Anthony deciding to make a pirate ship with some Dutch guys to go get oysters in Apalachicola is one of the best things ever.

A gift from the Kohler Foundation will help complete the restoration of the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park in North Carolina.

Sunbrella has come out with a line of fabrics inspired by Vollis’ whirligigs
Vollis Simpson Whirligig Fabrics from Sunbrella on Vimeo.

at Black’s in Lockhart

Barrett Black (Black’s in Lockhart) tells Zagat in a piece entitled ‘Why Texas is the Best Barbecue in the Country‘ that there are a few pitmasters outside the state who are doing some great Texas-style bbq, including Hometown Bar-B-Que in Brooklyn.

Wow, Glasgow is so happy about their Krispy Kreme.

This Week’s Various

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

The AIA‘s (American Institute of Architects) new short doc on Rural Studio

And this is on the market on the beach in Ocean Springs for $2M but *where* are the interior pics? Because you know that is going to be interesting.

Nothing revolutionary, but at the NYT: Enchiladas are the saucy, cheesy addition to your Dinner Table

I came here to eat at those restaurants, and in particular to eat their enchiladas, plate after plate of fat-dipped tortillas wrapped around their filling, topped with cheese and broiled into molten excellence. I ate enchiladas with intent. Because: It would be great to make enchiladas at home. It would be great to make them casually, often, for a weeknight meal for family and friends.

For anyone interested in doing that, in deploying the American home cook’s standard mechanism of taking a delicious restaurant dish or regional specialty and making it into a casserole (that’d be me!), the restaurants of Houston are a good place to start.

If there was a Central Casting for names:
It's like his parents knew he would be a sheriff.//
Hoss Mack, Sheriff of Baldwin County, Alabama. On the website: “Keep Hoss Boss.”

On Air Sign at WSM//

Ken Burns is going to make a country music documentary to be released in 2019. Nashville Mayor Megan Barry will use part of the $1.375MM in the proposed budget for ‘music and entertainment economic development and film initiatives’ to help, as it’s believed the film will bring more people to town.

Part of State Highway 36 in Lawrence County, Alabama will be named in honor of Jesse Owens, who was from Oakville and went on to win four gold medals at the ’36 Olympics.

Asics + seersucker looks like this.  Last month, Reeboks in seersucker became available.

Supposedly inspired by chicken and waffles, Nike makes this. And this happened when Nike teamed up with Krispy Kreme.

Hicks' Tamales, Clarksdale MS//
Tamales from Hicks’ in Clarksdale

Tamales, Catfish and Meringue Pie: Delicacies of the Mississippi Delta in the NYT:

“I cried for three days when I moved here,” she said, leaning forward on her stool and resting her elbows on her bar. “But now, I don’t know why — I hate to love it so much. There’s something about the dirt. It gets stuck in your toes.”

Pasaquan, Outside Buena Vista GA//
this pic from my visit in 2012, it’s so much more vivid now

Pasaquan’s Grand Opening (after all the love from the Kohler people and others, esp Fred Fussell) will be October 22.

Downtown Mural, Rayne LA, Frog Capital of the World//
downtown mural in Rayne, Louisiana

Lucky Peach runs an excerpt from Donald Link’s Down South: Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp, and Second Helpings of Everything: ‘Late Night Frogging in Rayne

We got in Billy’s crawfish boat with another case of beer and a giant floodlight and headed out into the rice fields, which were flooded with about a foot of water. This is when I discov­ered that you definitely don’t want to be the person holding the floodlight. I’ve been around plenty of bugs and mosquitoes, but nothing like the swarm that consumes you when you are holding a bright light in a rice field in the middle of the night.

At Smithsonian: Walker Evans Wrote the Story of America With His Camera

From the Getty:

Traditional Home’s Southern Style Now Showcase is in New Orleans, and it’s full.

Howard Finster's Paradise Gardens, Summerville GA//
from a visit to Paradise Gardens in 2009

HuffPo wonders: What Ever Happened to the Late Great Folk Artist Superstar and Cultural Hero Howard Finster? which is actually deeper than it sounds. It was written by Norman J. Girardot, author of last year’s Envisioning Howard Finster: The Religion and Art of a Stranger from Another World.

…I’m admittedly biased with regard to these matters. However I do not think that that I am totally misreading the signs of the times with respect to the relative eclipse of critical interest in Finster. The fact is that outsider art gatekeepers no longer spontaneously invoke Finster as an outsider giant alongside the pantheon of Ramirez, Darger, and Traylor. I do not mean to cast doubt on the greatness of this extraordinary triumvirate, but what explains the diminishment of Finster? What is truly curious about the case of Howard Finster is the rather dramatic shift in opinion and, even more peculiar given his cultural impact, the general lack of serious interest, analysis, and interpretation of his life and body of work. In the words of the new folk art curator at Atlanta’s High Museum Katherine Jentleson, the time has come for a “reappraisal“ of Howard Finster (Art Papers July-August 2015).

Phillip March Jones writes: Howard Finster’s legacy and cultural impact endure despite the folk artist’s status on the margins

This very curious piece from the chairman of Howard Finster’s Paradise Gardens Park and Museum in Georgia on how he sees the (as he puts it) ‘activist culture’ at NPS being used contrary to his own beliefs, and EOM’s Pasaquan is mentioned. Just going to keep in mind this sentence the chairman wrote himself:

Rev. Finster, a Baptist minister, had been the pastor of rural churches in Georgia, had become a beloved figure for his lifelong motto “I have never met a person I did not love.”

My understanding (not presenting as fact, but after hearing from some Finster people) is that the author owns only the house adjacent to the property and has actually been banned from the actual Paradise Gardens. Lots and lots and lots of ill will here. I and many others agree that Finster would be very unhappy with this piece, as he did love everybody.

The David Zwirner Gallery in New York are now the exclusive representatives of William Eggleston — he’s left Gargosian (Damien Hirst is back, tho, so ok) — and in November of this year they will mount an exhibit of works from his ‘The Democratic Forest’.

How abstract art brought a father and daughter closer on William Eggleston and his daughter, Andra.

A Road Less Traveled: How William Eggleston Transformed Photography in America

Due to the Memphis Zoo parking space drama, what will be the Eggleston museum is now searching alternate locations.

And Eggleston’s cheese grits recipe appears at Lucky Peach, and know what the cheese is? The un-cheese cheese.

In Edmonton, Alberta, there’s a new Southern (US) themed restaurant called ‘Have Mercy’ — some bits from the CBC article:

Tacky, trashy and tasty — it’s a winning combination…

…”This is sort of trashy food, and they’re OK with that,” Campbell says.

The fried chicken came with two juicy, crispy, salty pieces, and a doughnut on the side — because, why not? 

‘This menu is a really good representation of what you would find on the back roads of the Deep South.’

I am practically ready to start rending my clothes after reading that. Interesting that this is how the people behind this restaurant in Canada choose to portray their vision of the American South. Fun is fun. But fried chicken with a doughnut on the side isn’t a ‘good representation of what you would find on the back roads of the Deep South’ – not that I haven’t seen some crazy. But still. And these videos. Guns, and kids with guns. Have Mercy, indeed.

The new Dixie in Chicago = completely beautiful with completely beautiful food.

From the Art Newspaper: Bortolami creates US-wide mini-Marfas: Artists given non-traditional spaces and free rein to put on shows

The gallery has already established spaces for Daniel Buren in Miami, Barbara Kasten in Sante Fe and Eric Wesley in Cahokia, Illinois. Wesley’s space is a former Taco Bell restaurant “replete with ersatz Spanish colonial architecture”, according to a release.

Robert Irwin’s new untitled permanent work is complete in Marfa.

a Vollis Simpson work at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore

Sunbrella has come out with a line of outdoor fabrics inspired by the work of Vollis Simpson.

A Southern angel loses its wings every time a recipe in Mississippi Magazine starts with ‘1 box cake mix’ and watch out because Betty Crocker has made a Krispy Kreme cake mix.

The Krispy Kreme board has approved the company to be acquired by a German conglomerate. To help us forget, their two newest US flavors are cherry pie and strawberry shortcake.

Cheerwine and KK got together for a drink, and it’s called Cheerwine Kreme.

Anthony's, Bainbridge GA//
at Anthony’s BBQ in Bainbridge, Georgia

Jed Portman writes How to Identify a Good Barbecue Joint for Garden and Gun. These kinds of pieces usually swim in the shallow end of the pool, but this one is alright.

At the BBC: The People Who Can’t Stop Eating Dirt and there’s this documentary making the rounds, Eat White Dirt:

The NYT reminds us that (wonderfully) there are two Welty works playing in NYC this summer — Eudora Welty – Mississippi Stories (features Why I Live at the P.O.), and The Robber Bridegroom, though the Times’ critic called it ‘Southern-fried shtick’ and that the set was a combination of Hee-Haw and Dickens’ Old Curiosity Shop.

The Improbable Rise of Mississippi Roast in the NYTimes, the recipe for which (by Robin Chapman of Ripley, MS) calls for beef chuck, a packet of dry ranch dressing mix, a packet of dry au jus gravy mix, a stick of butter, and some pepperoncini. Turns out, the recipe has been pinned over a million times. The most curious part is that when the NYT author asked some sources, one who was unfamiliar with it asked if it was called ‘Mississippi’ to be dismissive, as in the ‘White Trash’ cooking book. What? I’d never heard of it either, but yeouch.

Also: you know the aliens are out there but aren’t coming to visit because they’ve read the comments section at and, and that was enough to scare them off, right? Anyway, the comments for this story are generally pretty great.

Po' Monkey's, Merigold MS//
at Po Monkey’s in 2011

Sorry to hear Willie Seaberry passed away. What’s the future of Po’ Monkey’s now that Monkey has passed away? from the C-L:

Jacks said Seaberry’s most lasting legacy was building a structure that allowed people of all races to intermingle without pretense — “people who in any other situation probably wouldn’t have said more than two words to each other, but for a couple of hours on a Thursday night they were best friends because (Seaberry) made it OK.

Golden Flake is doing a limited time only flavor chip, Tangy Pickle BBQ, and Zapp’s has released a Drago’s Charbroiled Oyster chip.

Birmingham’s Golden Flake has been snapped up by Utz of Philadelphia.

The old Louisiana Governor’s Mansion in Opelousas was destroyed by arson.

Elvis' Home, Tupelo MS//
Elvis’ home in Tupelo

This piece at Curbed describes How Houses were Cooked before Air Conditioning and uses a pic of a small shotgun house without noting that the small shotgun house they’re showing is the home Elvis Presley lived in as a boy in Tupelo.

Winterville Mounds, Near Greenville MS//
Winterville Mounds

The AP reported that heavy rains in March caused a ‘slope failure’ on the largest of the Winterville Mounds. The section was approximately 24 ft wide, 18 ft deep, and 100 ft long, and it slid to the bottom of the mound.

The self-driving tour, Mississippi Mound Trail, is now available. Prepare thyself: papyrus font utlized.

The first release on the new Blue Front Records label: It Is What It Is by Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, whose parents opened the Blue Front in Bentonia

Recipe for a sazerac snoball.

Yesss to Brooks Barrow‘s work in Alabama stone

Yard Eggs//
in Alabama

At NPR: An All-Volunteer Squad Of Farmers Is Turning Florida Lawns Into Food

Clementine Hunter, Melrose Plantation, High Museum of Art, Atlanta GA//
Clementine Hunter painting of Melrose Plantation, at the High in Atlanta

Clementine Hunter murals have been restored and reinstalled at Melrose Plantation after almost two years.

Goo Goo is doing a summer chef series and a couple of the examples are available online

Chef Margot McCormack of Nashville’s Margot Cafe & Bar and Marche Artisan Foods collaborated with us to create a Premium Goo Goo with unique flavors and ingredients for our Summer Chef Series. The Margoo is made with salted caramel, candied hazelnuts, hazelnut butter caramel ganache, and Willa’s Classic Shortbread, all coated in rich dark chocolate.

Egg & Olive Sandwich, Trowbridge's, Florence AL//
also a fan of the egg and olive sandwich at Trowbridge’s in Florence, which…pretty sure they wouldn’t like, either

GQ Magazine did a piece on Five Gross Sandwich Combinations People Actually Eat — they dislike the idea of banana/mayo and pineapple/mayo, but I approve and am married to a peanut butter and bologna adherent. Last month, we hosted two Israeli girls for camp, and they introduced me to what they like: cottage cheese on a slice of bread, open-face. I would have never thought that up.

Rural Mississippians Fight the Digital Divide in New Episode of ‘The Movement’: …how digital culture’s advances leave many impoverished rural residents behind.

Well-written piece at the NYT on Fire at Virginia Smokehouse Leaves Pork-to-Table Movement Reeling

Old Monroe County Courthouse - To Kill A Mockingbird//
Old Monroe County Courthouse

What’s the only movie available on Netflix in every country?

To Kill a Mockingbird.


At the 20th annual National Cornbread Festival, the winning recipe was from a Maryland baker who made Cornbread-Topped Cordon Bleu Skillet (recipe here).

Leidenheimer's Truck//

175 Nashville restaurants depend on Chapier’s Bakery for their bread; wonder how many hundreds in New Orleans with Leidenheimer??

The trailer for ‘The Bankheads’- a one-hour documentary screened at the 2nd Annual Tallulah Bankhead Tribute last month

via my fridge, because.

LA Magazine on 5 Regional Food Chains That We Wish Would Come to L.A. includes Waffle House and Whataburger.

And Texas Monthly does a blind taste test to see How Good is Whataburger, Anyway?

Sign at Smoke House Restaurant (a meat and three) in Birmingham

The best thing I’ve read in months was At Tampa Bay Farm-To-Table Restaurants, You’re Being Fed Fiction

This is a story we are all being fed. A story about overalls, rich soil and John Deere tractors scattering broods of busy chickens. A story about healthy animals living happy lives, heirloom tomatoes hanging heavy and earnest artisans rolling wheels of cheese into aging caves nearby.

More often than not, those things are fairy tales. A long list of Tampa Bay restaurants are willing to capitalize on our hunger for the story.

and the author, Laura Reiley, is naming names.
She’s on a roll, too, because part two of the series is Tampa Bay farmers markets are lacking in just one thing: Local farmers

Over several weeks, I visited Tampa Bay’s outdoor markets. At a dozen different markets, I counted 346 discrete vendors, many of whom sell at multiple markets. Of that number, only 16 sold their own produce, honey, eggs, meat or dairy. Plenty of wind chimes and hot sauces, but less than 5 percent represented Florida farmers growing their own food.


I ask a young woman if the produce is from her farm. She says yes. I ask if it is all from her farm. She says no, they buy from neighboring farms. When I notice asparagus and apples, which generally don’t grow in Florida, I ask if it is resold produce from a broader radius. She says yes. And then I ask, specifically, which items are grown on Lee Farms.

Her answer: “We are currently replanting.”

In 40 seconds, Lee Farms went from growing everything to nothing.

This Week’s Various

Joe Minter's African Village in America Art Environment, Birmingham AL//

The incredible Fred Scruton took this pic of Joe and me (2013) in one of Joe’s sculptures.

Loving that the Artnet piece, Unexpected Artworks Dominate This Year’s Outsider Art Fair, which is going on this weekend in NYC mentions Lonnie Holley and my sweet friend Joe Minter’s work there:

The fair opens boldly with a two-artist presentation by James Fuentes, of sculptures by Lonnie Holley and Joe Minter…

First Baptist Church, Rodney MS//
a visit to the church we made in 2012

This is how the Baptist church in Rodney is looking, with the Mississippi River flooding now.

Pasaquan, Outside Buena Vista GA//
a visit to Pasaquan pre-restoration in 2012

CNN ran ‘16 Things to See and Do in the US in 2016‘ includes the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum outside Birmingham, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture opening this fall, and EOM’s art environment Pasaquan in Georgia which will reopen to the public later this year.

Kohler, who came in to do preservation on the site, gifted the property to Columbus State University in December.

Atlanta Food Walks put out a press release about their Downtown Southern Food Walk and Dr. King’s love of food:

“Dr. King’s first memory was standing at the bread lines during the Depression. In his letters, he compared the quality of food at the jails where he was imprisoned; though the conditions at the Albany, Georgia jail were brutal, he wrote that their breakfasts of sausages, eggs, and grits, were generally good. In fact, one of his last conversations on that fateful day in Memphis was about what they would be eating for supper,” Akila McConnell, owner of Atlanta Food Walks, explains. “Our Culinary Storytellers intertwine Dr. King’s story with the history of Southern food, from slavery through the Civil Rights Movement to today’s fusion cuisine.”

‘Parchman Prison’ Quilt by Hystercine Rankin at Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson – from a visit in 2013

At Texas Standard: Not Your Grandma’s Blanket: Can a Quilt be Modern Art? A new generation of quilters is challenging the convention that their work is simply a craft. (Really, Gee’s Bend answered this, but the article is about ‘modern quilters’ as well.)

Sweet Jessie Zenor (who also was with Rural Studio) had her ‘Green House on Porter’ in Ocean Springs featured at Bitter Southerner.

one of the 20k homes in Hale County

Rural Studio’s partnership with Serenbe to build its $20k homes there for artists to use while in residence at Serenbe turned out to cost about $135k for two of them plus a deck. Sounds like it was completely worthwhile and Rural Studio learned a lot, though, in what it would take to further mainstream their acceptance and construction beyond Hale County, Alabama where RS is based. From ArtsATL:

The houses are not only too small, they are too cheap. Contractors work on commission, generally 20 percent of construction costs. Says Smith, “A contractor won’t get out of his truck for less than $20,000.” That’s kinda hard to do if the house costs less than $100,000. In addition contractors assess costs based on past experience and rely on subs for materials estimates, usually based on square footage. You can bet that nary a contractor has, like Rural Studio, actually counted the number of two-by-fours needed on a project.

Images here at Atlanta Magazine.

The trailer for The Free State of Jones has been released:

This 11k sq ft Philip Johnson contemporary in Dallas is on the market for $27.5M.

At Munchies: Robert’s Western World Is a Bastion of Country Music and Fried Bologna

Robert’s is still carrying the flame for the very idea that you can still play country music in 2015—in front of a live audience, with no cover—and people will be so excited about it that they’ll pay you enough to survive. And as a guest at the bar, you can enjoy all of this while eating a fried bologna sandwich.

Tomato Aspic//
I like to serve aspic in cups…

The New Yorker runs Tatyana Tolstaya’s piece, Aspic:
It’s a special kind of religion, making the aspic. It’s a yearly sacrifice, though we don’t know to whom or for what. And what would happen if you didn’t make it is also a question mark.

Hanna Raskin writes in the Post and Courier about Edna Lewis’ short three-year stay at Middleton Place and her legacy there:

“It was really Alice Waters on the West Coast and Edna on the East.”

Beignet at Cafe du Monde, New Orleans LA//
of course

The Mercury in Australia did a story on travel in the US South (Louisiana, really) with a piece titled, ‘If you’re taking a culinary tour of the American deep south, know there’s more than fried chicken on the menu

From the press release:

A major example of American folk art sculpture with strong Southern history will be presented for sale at the 2016 Winter Antiques Show by Americana specialists David A. Schorsch and Eileen M. Smiles. The one-of-a-kind apothecary trade figure known as “Tom Long” was made to advertise the Athens, Georgia medical office and pharmacy of Dr. Crawford W. Long (1815-1878), famed as the pioneer in the discovery of surgical anesthesia.

The Winter Antiques Show is held at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City from January 22 to 31,

The poplar and yellow pine figure stands 58 inches tall and was carved in Athens by Charles James Oliver, circa 1851-1855, and retains a fine old painted surface. For nearly half a century it stood outside Long and Billups Pharmacy on Broad Street in Athens, Georgia, until 1909, when it was acquired by Joseph Jacobs (1859-1929), an apprentice of Dr. Long, who went on to open his own pharmacy in 1884 in Atlanta, where two years later he earned a place in American history by introducing the first Coca Cola fountain drink to the public.

It’s always complicated. Here, WV Public Broadcasting on Revisiting What Happens When Strangers With Cameras Travel Inside Appalachia

What happens when strangers with cameras go to Appalachia? It’s a complicated topic that many Appalachians have strong feelings about. This week, we revisit our most popular episode from 2015. Since this first aired, Vice Magazine has published another article by photographer Stacy Kranitz. It’s the latest in Kranitz’s photo essay series called, “There Aint No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down“, which takes its title from the song by Brother Claude Ely.

More of Stacy Kranitz’ series here.

The other Vice photo essay, Bruce Gilden’s Two Days in Appalachia, is here.

Black's Barbecue, Lockhart TX//
the only two places to eat — Black’s and home

In the Washington Post: Move over, foie gras: The latest rage in Paris is . . . classic American barbecue

In 2013, Abramowicz quit his highflying job as a marketer of luxury goods (think cognac and champagne) to apprentice at the 65-year-old Louie Mueller Barbecue, a famous standard-bearer in Taylor, Tex.

“All wood,” Abramowicz says, referring to the lack of assistance from gas or electricity in the J&R cooker, shipped from Mesquite, Tex. The Beast gets its name from the giant, two-ton smoker. “I had to keep it real.”

Robbie Fulks’ Meditative new ‘Alabama at Night’ from Rolling Stone:

In 1936, writer James Agee and photographer Walker Evans traveled to Alabama to document the lives of sharecropping families in the Great Depression for Fortune. The harrowing experience was eventually published in book form as Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, which has proven influential for future generations of writers.

Among them are Chicago-based alternative-country pioneer Robbie Fulks, who wrote his new song “Alabama at Night” from the journalists’ perspective. “We were not there to talk, we were only there to see,” he laments, describing the heartbreaking scenes of poverty he sees with empathy.

Mount Ararat Cemetery, Nashville TN//
Mt Ararat Cemetery in Nashville, where some Edmondson monuments had previously been installed

William Edmondson’s Boxer was the top lot at $785k in Christie’s sale, ‘Liberation Through Expression: Outsider and Vernacular Art’ — it’s a new world record for this genre. Yesssss!!!

from ArtNews:
And yet calling Edmondson himself an outsider at this point is full of problematic implications. He was the child of freed slaves, worked for a time as a janitor in a Nashville hospital, and didn’t start making sculpture until the age of 57. But, as stated in a biographical note on the artist published by the Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in Nashville, which organized an Edmondson show in 2011, he was also exhibiting at the Museum of Modern Art in New York as early as 1937, when he was the first African American artist to receive a solo show at that institution.

HuffPo on Why Big Auction Houses Want In On The Growing Outsider Art Craze:
For Zimmerman, the more eyes on the historically under-appreciated and undervalued pocket of the art world, the better. “I hope it grows and people who are unfamiliar with it now will know it by heart in 10 to 20 years,” she said. “I hope the work thrives. I want it to take on a life of its own and be in every major museum. I want this to be a part of the art world that people just can’t ignore.”

Barber's Milk Mural, Pontotoc Mississippi//
taken in 2008 — sign in Pontotoc, Mississippi for Barber’s Milk

From the Atlantic:
Milk, Bread, and Eggs: The Trinity of Winter-Storm Panic-Shopping
Why do people reliably stock up on the same things before they get snowed in?

…and one source mentioned that other thing we stock up on for hurricanes: alcohol.

At Slate this week: ‘In This Impoverished Mississippi Community, Teacher Assistant Is a Coveted Job. It Pays $9 an Hour.‘ (they’re talking about Greenville). Also: Today almost all the students in the Greenville Public School District receive free and reduced lunch.

4-H Exhibit - Peanuts, Watermelon at Neshoba County Fair//
4-H exhibit at the Neshoba County Fair

Virginia Willis is developing 13 half-hour shows for PBS for a series to be called “Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lovers’ Tour of the Global South” — it’s expected to begin airing in January 2017.

The new Grammy museum in Cleveland, MS will have as its first exhibit “Ladies and Gentlemen…the Beatles” when it opens in March.

Banh Mi at Le Bakery, Biloxi MS//
the banh mi at Le Bakery in Biloxi

Over the last couple of months, media has made much of how some are offended by the history (or not) and authenticity (or lack of such) of food. The bahn mi served in the dining hall at Oberlin wasn’t really (I’ve eaten in the dining hall at Oberlin: leave your expectations elsewhere) plus some dissatisfaction with the undercooked rice there coming across as ‘disrespectful’, Clemson Dining served another ‘Maximum Mexican’ day then the university apologized, and while Whole Foods encouraged people to eat collards there was some upset as to whether this grocery store wasn’t crediting — actually ruining per Ebony — or whether the idea of a dish of peanuts and collards they depicted was even a thing (it is).  Food wasn’t the only source of ire: yoga too.

Different but not different, at the New Yorker, Hua Hsu writes Chinese Food and the Joy of Inauthentic Cooking:

…Talde and Bowien’s books suggest a shadow aspiration: to pay tribute to the anonymous genius of immigrants, and to build a “strange and awesome” new America in their honor. Inauthenticity becomes a kind of power, a refusal of someone else’s expectations and tastes. The great lengths that diners are willing to travel to eat their food, the hours they are willing to wait for a seat at the bar, may dramatize a desire to return, impossibly, to something unrecoverable—the “flavor memory” of childhood, the simple ecstasy of a packed family dinner table, a transformative Styrofoam plate of food-court stir-fry. A wish to glimpse highs more common in some neighborhoods than in others. Sometimes it has nothing to do with taste at all, but instead is about the chain of associations triggered when you hear the squeak of a lazy Susan, or the sound of a bundle of chopsticks being run under a faucet, and you remember the rote explanation for why your family has an extra refrigerator in the garage, secreting all the ingredients that make you different—that will one day make you special.

Buc-ee's, Luling TX//
the Buc-ee’s in Luling

Three years late in seeing Ken Herman’s statement in the Statesman:
If you haven’t been to a Buc-ee’s your life is hollow and incomplete.

Phillip Ashley Rix of Memphis has been named Official Chocolatier of the Grammy Awards Gift Lounge. From the Memphis Business Journal:

23-Karat Gold Salted Caramel Pecan Praline will also be a featured parting gift for guests of the official Grammy Celebration. The Grammy Awards will be held Feb. 5.

Rix handcrafts each praline using a rare purple bean cacao, roasted Mississippi Delta pecans and Fleur de Sel. Each praline is laced with 23-karat gold leaf, and the 68 percent single origin dark chocolate shell is finished with 23-karat gold dust. Each piece retails for $79.

He’s just finalized a deal that will have his chocolates sold through Neiman Marcus and Horchow — they’ll ship direct from his shop in Memphis.

Frank Fleming//
a Frank Fleming piece in the Southern Living offices, 2009

Frank Fleming wants everyone to know he’s back in Birmingham and welcoming commissions.

Thanksgiving Pies, 2014//
among these pies for Thanksgiving are a couple of my buttermilk pies

The Daily Meal’s Best Pie in Every State:
Alabama = buttermilk pie
Arkansas = chess pie
Georgia = peach pie
Louisiana = king cake pie
Mississippi = Mississippi Mud Pie
Tennessee = Tennessee Whiskey – Pecan Pie
Texas = Sparkling Grapefruit Pie

There’s an exhibit on the African-American cookbook collection at Alabama’s W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, now through early February.

Comprising some 500 volumes, the David Walker Lupton Collection documents everything from the industry’s origin in the 1800s to the celebrity cookbook craze of the 2000s. It is especially strong in cookbooks that look back to Africa, celebrate the concept of “soul food,” or originate within local community groups.

In addition, the Libraries recently acquired the personal collection of one African-American cook, Viola Pearson Ragland. Donated by her son, Rev. Wylheme Ragland, these books sometime focus on African-American foodways but often simply reflect the main currents of American cooking.

Another exhibit going on now, in Maine, is What to Eat and How to Cook It: A Celebration of the Esta Kramer Collection of American Cookery, The author of the piece about it in the Portland Press Herald mentioned:

In “La Cuisine Creole,” published in 1885, I found lots of “gombo” recipes, including Oyster Gombo with filee. Ingredients: “a grown chicken, 50 oysters and a half-pound of ham to flavor the Gombo.”

Frito Chili Pie//
frito pie at home – but not tosti elotes

Via Phoenix New Times: La Carreta de Lily serves something like a Frito chili pie, but it’s called ‘tosti elotes’:

The snack is made using Mexican-brand Tostitos (salsa verde-flavored, for an extra layer of salty spice), mayonnaise, melted butter, chili powder, lime, granulated queso cotija, fresh-off-the-cob elote, and, to top it off, a hit of Mexican hot sauce.

…The process involves slicing open a bag of Tostitos, dumping a bunch ingredients over the chips, and finally, planting a plastic spoon into the stiff muddle of chips and creamy goop…

Uneeda Biscuit Sign, Meridian MS//
not biscuits in this sense, but the Uneeda Biscuit sign in Meridian

Garden and Gun had a blind taste testing of fast food biscuits — they made the field *very* small and didn’t even include Whataburger or Biscuitville. Here are the results. Thing is: the really good fast-food biscuits, if we must — and we all must at some point really — are the ones under the heat lamps in tinfoil bundles at gas stations and Piggly Wigglys. Alas, the Pig doesn’t have a drive-thru.

Deer Mount on Tree in Front Yard, Ocean Springs MS//
front yard, Ocean Springs

This Week’s Various

Sign we found in rural Mississippi in 2013

The Land that the Internet Era Forgot at Wired:

Gallardo is affiliated with something called the Extension Service, an institution that dates back to the days when America was a nation of farmers. Its original purpose was to disseminate the latest agricultural know-how to all the homesteads scattered across the interior. Using land grant universities as bases of operations, each state’s extension service would deploy a network of experts and “county agents” to set up 4-H Clubs or instruct farmers in cultivation science or demonstrate how to can and freeze vegetables without poisoning yourself in your own kitchen.

State extension services still do all this, but Gallardo’s mission is a bit of an update. Rather than teach modern techniques of crop rotation, his job—as an extension professor at Mississippi State University—is to drive around the state in his silver 2013 Nissan Sentra and teach rural Mississippians the value of the Internet.

What if all of I-10 — 2400 miles from Florida to California — was a giant art project? YES. The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project:

At the Willie Nelson Concert//
Willie Nelson concert at the Alabama Theater in Birmingham, 2012

On the Road Again: Mapping All the Cities in Willie Nelson’s Songs

also: this month, he received the Library of Congress’ seventh Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

Louise, Mississippi, a town of ~200 people, passes a resolution in support of Syrian refugees, which I’m only bringing up (I don’t do politics here) because Channel 15 went to Belzoni to speak with Ethel Wright Mohamed’s daughter (if you’ve ever heard of ‘Mama’s Dream World‘ — that’s the house in Belzoni that serves as a museum for Ethel Wright Mohamed’s memory pictures that she stitched), Carol Mohamed Ivy, on her take, as Mr. Mohamed was a Syrian refugee who came to this country in 1911.

Zagat with five Thanksgiving-in-one-bite opportunities:

Turducken Sausage at Dog Haus: Created by Dog Haus’ culinary team and mastermind sausagemaker Adam Gertler, the flavorful holiday link is made with turkey, chicken, duck, fresh herbs, whiskey soaked cranberries and yams. It’s then grilled and topped with sage gravy, a Brussels sprouts and bacon slaw, and crispy onions.

Anyway, you can buy a turducken in Cape Town, South Africa, even.

And: David Burke exec pastry chef Zac Young at Fabrick put this on IG:

I’m resisting this idea.

HarperCollins managed to have (you know, here I am a bit lost in how to say this as the whole idea is so contrary to what we’ve all believed for years about Nelle Harper Lee’s philosophy on signing books, which has grown more and more closed) — 500 editions of the new ‘Go Set A Watchman’ autographed, and they’re going to sell them. For $1500 each.

In Vanity Fair: Does William Eggleston Love Women? “You’re Damn Right!”

Then he sportingly offered to take a cell-phone shot of me, although he confessed he didn’t know how. After a little explanation, he figured out my cell phone’s push button and took one picture, scarcely glancing through the lens.

The difference was laughable. Mine were just the usual snapshots, while his was a single, masterly composition of someone seated amid the day-for-night kitsch of El Quijote.

Leah Chase on what she likes for Thanksgiving.
and not: “Please don’t cook red beans on Thanksgiving.”
And beautiful Leah talks about gratitude too:

Yes to ‘Cabin in the Sky’ by Benny Andews at the Birmingham Museum of Art:

Cabin in the Sky by Benny Andrews at Birmingham Museum of Art//

From Eater: Prepare to Witness Jimmy Red Corn Reach Cult Status on Charleston Menus an endangered species:

Now, Geechie Boy Mill farmer Greg Johnsman brings a crop that industry insiders think could install just as much fervor — Jimmy Red Corn, also know as James Island Corn. Johnsman spent the past eight years cultivating the almost-extinct variety of kernels on Edisto Island. Slow Food USA calls the crop, “… one of the most interesting and talked about Southern heirloom corn varieties …”

“Twixt Cup and Lip,” a one-act play Faulkner wrote just after WWI that was recently found has just appeared in The Strand magazine.

From Fox10 in Biloxi on Thanksgiving:

“Crab claws. Crab meat. And shrimp and oysters,” he recited, “We don’t do much turkey.”

Though turkey may still be the star for many Thanksgiving feasts, shrimp and crab and oysters will play strong supporting roles on local holiday tables.

“Everybody’s making their fresh gumbo. Peeled shrimp and head on shrimp and crab meat,” said Andrew Gunkel, with Quality Seafood. “Oh yeah, and don’t forget your oyster dressing. Everybody loves their oyster dressing.”

Newbern Library, Newbern AL//

The official grand opening and dedication of the Rural Studio project Newbern Library happened last month. The 17th Rural Studio 20k house, Geraldine’s House in Newbern has been completed.

Had double date supper with best friends at Hot and Hot (Hot and Hot Fish Club) this month, and while it was good I still stand by the maxim that you really only eat there if you can confirm that Chris Hastings is there. But he wasn’t.

I had the lionfish. Meh:
Lionfish, Hot and Hot Fish Club//
Appreciative they are putting this invasive species on the menu, though.

Have been thinking of visiting Chris’ newest, Ovenbird, but while Yelp gives me pause (and yes…I know…Yelp…), Yelp on Ovenbird gives me serious pause.

Here, the tiny Hubert Richter Chapel in Cullman, Alabama

The smallest church in America, in Townsend, Georgia, was destroyed by fire this week.  There were seats for 12 (the same number as the disciples) and was deeded to Jesus by the woman who had it built in the 1950s.

A list of tiny churches here.

This sentence in the new Rick Bragg book, My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South:

I love the mountain churches along the Georgia-Alabama line, love the hard-rock preachers in their Conway Twitty sideburns who fling scripture with the force of a flying horseshoe at congregations who all but levitate in the grasp of the Holy Ghost, and every old woman’s purse in every pew smells like a fresh stick of Juicy Fruit.

Some of the makings of my matzah ball soup bar

Favorite sentence this week, though, is the last in this paragraph on Jewish life in Jackson, Tennessee:

These two amazing women, Janice Axelrad Rosenbloom Riddler and Gertrude Kisber, were the inspiration for a cookbook celebrating the congregation’s 130th anniversary — along with many of the other women who cooked up Jewish life, commerce, and cooking in Jackson, Tennessee. The stories of the dishes these women prepared live on today in the cookbook our congregation now shares. A former rabbi paid one of the women featured in the cookbook, Mrs. Gold, quite a special tribute by saying, “her soup was beyond compare as her secret seasoning was to ‘sigh into the pot,’ flavoring its golden droplets with two thousand years of Jewish hopes and dreams.”

According to the 2014 Social Security Administration’s records, the 6th most popular newborn girls name in Mississippi is Brooklyn.

Munchies’ BBQ Road Trip Part Two is here (part one was London) and this time they visited Tennessee, going Nashville to Memphis. At Scott’s Parker’s (think: Ruth’s Chris) in Lexington, the host meets Zach Parker who is still cooking whole hog, a 23-24 hour process.

“That’s what my dad strived on. And I do a lot of things based on the way he would do them. He tried to keep it old-fashioned. That’s what this area grew up on. And that’s the way I want to keep it. If I had to quit doing whole hogs, I’d quit in general. It’s whole hog or nothing. It’s not a job to me. It’s an art. I get to pour all of my love and heart and blood and sweat into it.”

Kara Walker//
Kara Walker works, at Hotel 21C in Bentonville

Via Hyperallergenic: An Encounter with Kara Walker’s Poignantly American Work in the UK. Her ‘Go to Hell or Atlanta, Whichever Comes First’ was at Victoria Miro Gallery in London.

Bill Murray, Sean Brock, and Anthony Bourdain sit down at Husk in Charleston, and Bill Murray apparently likes CHS so much, “the standard of food here is so high,” he doesn’t want anybody else to move there.

Complete aside, though, the presentation of the last dish in this clip — with the server touching half the meat with his hand — needs to be thoroughly reworked.

A big deal was made of Bourdain’s new appreciation of Waffle House. What I thought more interesting was that Sean Brock mentioned he was obsessed with Waffle House as a child because it was the only place at which he could actually see people cook, how the atmosphere of it all really helped him fall in love with cooking.

It’s really American teppanyaki with fascinating precision (including the square that the server stands on and how to call orders),

When I was old enough to think seriously about what kind of man I wanted to marry, what character traits and so on, I knew I wanted someone who could recite Maimonides’ Eight Levels of Charity as well as the entire heirarchy of ordering hashbrowns at WH: scattered, smothered, covered…

At the end of the WH segment, Sean says, “you don’t come here expecting The French Laundry. You come here expecting something *amazing*.”

To which, Bourdain answers (mouthful of pecan waffle): “This is better than French Laundry, man.”

CBS This Morning visits Aaron Franklin:

.cbs-link {color:#4B5054;text-decoration:none; font: normal 12px Arial;}.cbs-link:hover {color:#A7COFF;text-decoration:none; font: normal 12px Arial;}.cbs-pipe {color:#303435;padding: 0 2px;}.cbs-resources {height:24px; background-color:#000; padding: 0 0 0 8px; width: 612px;}.cbs-more {font: normal 12px Arial; color: #4B5054; padding-right:2px;}

I found out that next month I’m going to an event with Sara McDaris of Grunches and Grins which ran on Alabama Public Television from the mid-70s to mid-90s. This intro was my 3-year-old jam:

I wanted Miss Sara and Mister Rogers to get married.

Front Dining Room, Antoine's, New Orleans LA//
The front dining room at Antoine’s

Bless Mrs. Sanders in Hartsville, South Carolina for the etiquette class she gives at the high school there, from the NYT:

First period Monday morning this week was no different. Desks had been pushed together to make tables. Her family silver, including her late mother’s silver goblets in the Francis I pattern, was laid out in proper formation. Place cards were read. Napkins fluttered to laps. The 29 students spent the next hour eating turkey and making polite conversation.

“It’s a lost art we must carry on,” Mrs. Sanders said as she made last-minute adjustments to butter knives and plate chargers. “There’s got to be civility.”

The Advertiser reports that 39 of the first Acadians, who were buried from July to November 1765 along along the Bayou Teche (now Loreauville) will be exhumed as part of the New Acadia Project, a ‘multidisciplinary research effort designed to systematically locate, identify and investigate the 18th century homesteads and unmarked gravesites of Acadian exiles — the first Cajuns.’

Pecan pie at Pie Lab

Yahoo Travel decided to tackle who made the best pie in each state, and for Alabama, Pie Lab was chosen. Shugaree’s in New Albany (and their pretty chocolate meringue) won Mississippi.

Ole Miss is slated to destroy the Old Power Plant, where Faulkner wrote ‘As I Lay Dying’.

“I set out deliberately to write a tour-de-force,” Faulkner wrote later. “Before I ever put pen to paper and set down the first words, I knew what the last word would be. … Before I began I said I am going to write a book by which, at a pinch, I can stand or fall if I never touch ink again.”

My Refrigerator//
My refrigerator right now: That Green Sauce from HEB. BTW, yes all those things are on a lazy susan, and yes one day I will license the idea to some huge appliance company and make a zillion dollors because yes, it is a great idea (and I’m sure a zillion other people are doing it too!)

And GLO-ree Hallelujah, HEB is shipping online orders! That means my Texas-shaped chips, Whataburger ketchup, and ‘That Green Sauce’ (oooooh the green sauce) is a click away. YESSSSS.  Now if Buc-ee’s would just send me some fresh Beaver Nuggets…

A Secret House of Curiosities: This Art Couple’s Wonderfully Weird Lair Deserves Attention of Julie and Bruce Lee Webb (Webb Gallery) in Waxahatchie, Texas — interview slideshow a *must*:

BLW/JW: We once curated a show here in the gallery of the late blind sculptor Hawkins Borden of Memphis, Tennessee. We draped the gallery with black plastic to create total darkness, filled the space with Bolden’s haunting masks composed of hole-pierced pan sculptures and allowed people to feel the sculptures before seeing them.

BLW/JW: Yes, we first did an exhibit of William Burroughs’ artwork in 1994 as our inaugural exhibition in our current building … William’s paintings and Bill Daniel’s photos of train-car graffiti. We met William and asked him what he thought of having a show in Waxahachie, Texas. He said, “It’s as good a place as any.”

A short film called ‘Central Texas Barbecue’ was published on Vimeo this week, featuring Kreuz, Louie Miller, Davis Grocery, Taylor, and Black’s.
Central Texas Barbecue from Urtext Films on Vimeo.

“…our family, we say barbecue, but that’s family, that’s what that means. And for someone who’s not from around here may kinda, that’s kinda weird, put religion, politics, and barbecue up there, but barbecue’s family, I mean everyone knows that.”

NPR visits J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works in West Virginia.

Bruns uses a wooden rake to gather finished salt crystals into a pile. Her company will produce about 10,000 pounds this year to be dried, sorted, put in small jars and shipped out to top restaurants like The French Laundry in northern California, Husk in Charleston, S.C., and Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore.

“I think of salt as like wine, so the minerality of our salt is different from the minerality of any other salt, kind of like a pinot noir grown in California is different from a pinot noir grown in France. Could be exactly the same vine but because of the earth that it’s grown in it gives you a different flavor,” Bruns says.

At Ninfa’s on Navigation (the original and the best)

When is Tex-Mex No Longer Tex-Mex: Could the answer lie in a puddle of chili gravy? at Houstonia:

And it occurred to me then: could good chili gravy be the lynchpin of “real” Tex-Mex? I scanned my memories for all the terrible Tex-Mex meals past, eaten in places like Rochester, New York and Manchester, England. What did all of those meals have in common? A distinct lack of chili gravy.

The New Art World Math: What It Really Costs to Be an Art Dealer from The Observer
Fear is Boring and Other Tips for Living a Creative Life
I guess this is proof we really don’t need our Lululemon and UnderArmour