Perfection Never Taste So Good

…at least, that’s it according to the sign at Road Side Bar-B-Que in Birmingham

A while back, they repainted the image of the gentlemen next to the pit, and they look different than before — now:


Derby Day

In honor of the Derby (which I never watch, but I have a new fab friend who does dressage (and I realize that has nothing to do with thoroughbreds other than, you know, horses) so maybe I will this year), a collection of Derby-ish pics

Derby cake
Kentucky Derby Cake//

Derby Lounge in Crowley, Louisiana
Derby Lounge, Crowley LA//

Emerson’s Ginger-Mint Julep mural in the Quarter
Ginger-Mint Julep//

and…you knew this was coming…

mint julep at SoBou
SoBou, New Orleans LA//

when the Veranda was Veranda and not what it is now
Mint Julep at Veranda//

at Giardina’s
Mint Julep, Giardina's, Greenville MS//

at Commander’s Palace
Mint Julep, Commander's Palace, New Orleans LA//

at Stanton Hall
Mint Julep and Tiny Biscuits at the Carriage House at Stanton Hall, Natchez MS//

May your Derby Day include cute biscuits and maybe some sweet little benedictine canapes, and whatever you’re calling the pie you don’t call ‘Derby Pie’, and bourbon in just almost everything else that sounds good too. xoxo!

The Best Place For Hoop Cheese Is On The Roof Of Your Car, And General Stores

Since 1884, the Simmons-Wright Company general store (called “Simmons and Wright”) has served the Kewanee, Mississippi area. This is actually the 1926 brick building that replaced the original which was destroyed in a fire. At one time, there was a blacksmith shop, a gristmill, gin, and sawmill in addition to selling…well, everything else. And apparently cotton served as currency at a certain point, too.
Simmons-Wright Company General Store, Toomsuba MS//

Simmons-Wright Company General Store, Toomsuba MS//

Simmons-Wright Company General Store, Toomsuba MS//

It seems as though just about everything’s for sale, from this old barber chair ($2200) to those old phones behind

And there’s someone in the world who I *know* would love to have this Holsum Bread cart

and this appears to be some new really old stock
Simmons-Wright Company General Store, Toomsuba MS//

Nilla wafers to hoop cheese, they’ve got it. In fact, I asked the gentleman running the store for a slice of cheese, and since it was warm outside, as he wrapped it in paper, he gave me advice to go put it on the roof of the car while I finished looking around so it would melt just a little and taste even better. Who can resist?

FDR looks over the whole place.

Not all, but here are a few other general store pics we’ve taken:

Paul C. Marsh General Store in Locust Fork AL
Paul C. Marsh General Store, Locust Fork AL//

Burnt Corn General Store, Burnt Corn AL
Burnt Corn General Store, Burnt Corn AL//

Burnt Corn General Store, Burnt Corn AL//

Turner General Store, Reece City AL (though I think they sell their antique signs and such, I’m not sure how much of a general store it truly is — but they do sell fresh eggs via the fridge on the porch)
Turner General Store//

R.E. Ringer General Merchandise, South of Carrollton GA
R.E. Ringer Gen Merchandise, S of Carrollton GA//

‘The Lrd Provides’ Shinbone Valley General Store, Shinbone AL
Shinbone Valley General Store, Shinbone Alabama

J.F. Suttle Company, Suttle AL
J.F. Suttle Co. Inc, Suttle AL//

In 2006, I took a pic of the Sprott Store (in Sprott, AL) as compared to what it looked like (on the left) when Walker Evans photographed it in 1936
Sprott Store, Then & Now - Sprott AL//

Causeyville General Store, Causeyville AL
Causeyville General Store, Causeyville MS//

The Original For Original, Igloos From McRib Boxes, And Itinerant Scoundrels With Two Cents

On our way back from Cincinnati, we were passing by Corbin, Kentucky, which is the home of the original Sanders Cafe (well, I guess second since the first was destroyed in a fire in the late 1930s) — where Harland Sanders first fried chicken. At his first restaurant across the street, he figured chicken took too long to cook and stuck to ham and steak. This building serves as museum of the original compound with the restaurant and motel as well as…a regular KFC.

My own KFC story is that I worked at one for a couple of years in high school and college, and I chose to work there specifically because I figured everybody from school was too ‘cool’ to ever be seen in a KFC (my tender teenage ego wasn’t prepared to have to ask a classmate ‘original or extra crispy?’). And my plan worked: not once in those two years did I ever see a classmate. Seriously.

Ah, here are some other KFC stories:
Our busiest day was always Mother’s Day.
Working drive-thru was more fun than the counter for some reason.
The gentleman who owned our franchise looked like Colonel Sanders and would dress like him sometimes to the delight of…only the older customers.
Now that I’m grown up, we have friends who own Popeye’s restaurants.

Ah. Oh wait I have another couple of restaurant-working stories.
When I was 15, before the gleaming spinning bucket of KFC lured me away from the golden arches, I worked at McDonald’s (thankfully never saw anyone I knew there either) and fell when I was getting french fries out of the walk-in freezer — counter service there was in charge of fries. Because the bottom of my shoes were so slippery and the door closed behind me, for two seconds I planned out how I could survive before freezing. Igloo from McRib boxes?

I worked as a hostess at a Cracker Barrel for a few months right before my college internship which righted my course to the delights of office life. So I went from saying ten thousand times a day: “original or extra tasty crispy?” to “smoking or non?”. Also: occasionally people from outside the South would come in thinking they were going to have some sort of weird authentic cultural experience (y’all. please.) from dining at a Cracker Barrel (again. please.), and as part of that would ask me to say something so they could revel in my accent. I beseech thee: never be that kind of person.

And always, always be kind to everyone you meet and especially kind to people who work in the service industry.

William Faulkner famously quit the Oxford post office and in that letter:
As long as I live under the capitalistic system, I expect to have my life influenced by the demands of moneyed people. But I will be damned if I propose to be at the beck and call of every itinerant scoundrel who has two cents to invest in a postage stamp.

This, sir, is my resignation.

Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum, Corbin KY

It isn’t the typical museum, but there are some pieces, like this 1960s weathervane from a Shelbyville, Tennessee Kentucky Fried Chicken

This restored highway sign was once used roadside in North Carolina

Here, a recreation of the old kitchen
Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum, Corbin KY//

Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum, Corbin KY

Since we were here…