Tiled To Last

Posted by ginger On Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Summertime, walking down Magazine, wanting Casamento's.  Can't have it.  They're closed June, July, and August.  Most people think it has something to do with the adage about eating oysters only in cooler months, but that's really not it.  It makes so much sense, though, that people hang onto it.

When they're open, which thankfully is right now, that tiny kitchen and oyster counter serves up some of the best oysters anywhere, and more.

Really, though, the show starts just inside.  The restaurant has been in business since 1919, and the original owner (it's his nephew that owns it today), knowing how important cleanliness is, had the entire place tiled.  It took four tile companies to fill his order.  In fact, the original owner, Joseph Casamento Sr lived with his wife Elena above the restaurant, and she gave birth to Joe Jr there in 1925.  Joe Jr ran the restaurant until his death the night Katrina hit.  From his obit:

..."He didn't travel at all," Linda Gerdes said. "There was a rumor around that we closed every summer so Joe could go back to Italy. He'd never been to Italy, never intended to go to Italy. He'd say, 'My dad left Italy. Why would I go back?'"

...Casamento took on every task at the restaurant, with the exception of cooking. He was allergic to corn, and thus couldn't be around the fried seafood, which is dusted in corn flour. The career restaurant professional wasn't keen on spicy food or culinary exploration of any kind.

"When he evacuated for Ivan, some friends took him to an IHOP," C.J. said. "That was the first restaurant (besides Casamento's) he'd been to in 36 years."
...
"He never lived anywhere else," Linda said, referring to 4330 Magazine Street. "He was born there, literally, and he probably would have died there if it wasn't for Katrina."

Upon entering the front door, there's a long counter to the left for the oyster shucker:

Casamento's, New Orleans

The floor pattern -- this tile is original, from 1919:
Casamento's, New Orleans

The wall tile was installed in 1949 -- it goes up 10 feet or so.  That summer of '49 was when and how the summer break tradition started: not because of the idea of avoiding oysters in warmer months, but rather because the family enjoyed getting away:
Casamento's, New Orleans

Casamento's, New Orleans

The food? Yes, yes, and yes:
Casamento's, New Orleans

The before:
Casamento's, New Orleans

and after. Some with sauce (thankfully, you get to concoct this on your own at the table (à table?): ketchup, lemon juice, horseradish) and others without, a couple just with a splash of lemon:
Casamento's, New Orleans

Chargrilled oysters:
Casamento's, New Orleans
Drago's does these better, but still, mmmmmhhhhh......

...and fried calamari -- the menu offers that all the seafood here is gluten free as they use corn flour for everything.  These were just crazy-good. So light.
Casamento's, New Orleans

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Great story in the Times-Pic about Ella Brennan visiting the newly reopened Brennan's for the first time in 40 years.

Yummy Thanksgiving

Posted by ginger On Thursday, November 27, 2014

This year's Thanksgiving pie count:  33
Pumpkin, pecan, chocolate pecan, buttermilk coconut, chess, Pawley's Island, and chocolate meringue (three for our family, thirty for a church we know that serves its community Thanksgiving lunch): this is one of my favorite things all year.

Thanksgiving Pies, 2014

Hope you all are having a wonderful, warm Thanksgiving with those you love!

This Week's Various

Posted by ginger On Friday, November 21, 2014

As always, all images here unless otherwise noted are copyright DeepFriedKudzu. Interested in using one? Contact me. Thanks

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This week's playlist.  Enjoy! xoxo!


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Paradise Garden: Howard Finster's Legacy won 'Best Documentary' at the Orlando Film Festival last month:


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Wonderful! Kathyrn Tucker Windham will be inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame. Beautiful.

Here, KTW on her friendship with Nelle Harper Lee, E.O. Wilson, Alice Lee, and getting bitten by Nelle Harper Lee:

She even thinks I'm a good cook. She likes my cornbread. I even take her cornbread down to Monroeville sometimes.  Some people down there, regretfully, they put sugar in their cornbread.  I hope nobody here does that.  It is a desecration!  If you want cake, make cake! Leave that sugar out of cornbread.  It's as Yankee as it can be.  


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Crystal Bridges
The former American Art curator at Crystal Bridges, Kevin Murphy, is apparently made of elitist material that must be dutifully maintained.  This, from Lee Rosenbaum:
Describing Northwest Arkansas, tongue-in-cheek, as “the Afghanistan of curatorial posts,” Murphy told me he was “still recovering from the post-traumatic stress of that place” and confessed that “it was hard for me, after two and a half years, to acclimate to living in Fayetteville, AR” (a town near Crystal Bridges).

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Thank you, wonderful Cabot Creamery!  I was randomly chosen to win *A Year of Cheese* from Cabot because I had signed up to volunteer for something in our community via volunteerspot.com.  This was our first box of four over the course of the next year.
I Won a Year of Cheese from Cabot!
Kisses, Cabot, for being sweet to volunteers!

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"Beyond the Stereotyped South" images by Tamara Reynolds are in the NYT but so many of these images appear just as I suspect so many others expect of us.  Very little 'beyond' in that collection.

Baby in a gun store. Old car in a yard. Baby on mother's hip while she's running the register at a convenience store. Dumpy motel-turned-home with clothes on line.

Her images are very fine, but the title the NYT gave to the series should have been given more consideration.

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Ever had brisket so good it just fell off the bone?  Me neither (brisket = boneless).  But the Washington Post did, in its piece, Austin, the Best New Barbecue Destination (honest mistake as the correction now notes that the author meant the ribs, but it was good for a giggle).

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"Untitled: The Art of James Castle" is open at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and the Washington Post titles its piece as 'James Castle, Subject of Smithsonian Show, Puts the 'Taught' in Self-Taught':
Experts are divided on how museums should contextualize works such as Castle’s. On a panel at the American Art Museum in October, moderator Bell asked panelists what it would take for them to be satisfied that Castle had received due recognition. “To walk into the prints and drawings department at the British Museum and see his work alongside Jasper Johns or Rembrandt,” said Lynne Cooke, a senior curator at the National Gallery of Art.

“I’d like to see him make it into the American art history books and be understood as an artist who ranks among any that the country has ever seen,” echoed Leslie Umberger, curator of folk and self-taught art at the American Art Museum.


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Barbecue Baked Potato from Jim 'n Nicks, Hoover AL
above, from the Jim 'N Nick's in Hoover, Alabama. *That's* a potato.

Jim 'N Nick's (based in B'ham) and Dinosaur (Syracuse, NY) have formed a holding company called 'Good Smoke' to better their collective purchasing power, including health insurance for employees.  It looks as though the holding company was filed back in June.  This is all a back-office maneuver and is designed to never affect either's menu; both establishments figure they are concentrating on specific parts of the US and shouldn't run into any conflict in that manner.

Just looking at the Brooklyn Dinosaur's menu, they've got everything from fried green tomatoes (with pimento cheese and chow chow on top) and deviled eggs to to chili con queso nachos, but they have some things we don't -- poutine (which I would completely embrace), something called Harlem potato salad, and bbq fried rice.

Also: is this odd? The Brooklyn Dinosaur does, but the Harlem Dinosaur Barbecue menu doesn't have 'Harlem potato salad' (trying to figure out what the ingredients are) -- it has 'Creole potato salad'.

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Turducken

For those of us thinking turducken, NPR serves up the rôti sans pareil, the roast without equal, from a 1807 recipe:

The daredevil-ish recipe calls for a tiny warbler stuffed in a bunting, inserted in a lark, squeezed in a thrush, thrown in a quail, inserted in a lapwing, introduced to a plover, piled into a partridge, wormed into a woodcock, shoehorned into a teal, kicked into a guinea fowl, rammed inside a duck, shoved into a chicken, jammed up in a pheasant, wedged deep inside a goose, logged into a turkey. And just when you think a 16-bird roast is probably enough, it's not. This meat sphere is finally crammed up into a Great Bustard, an Old World turkey-turned-wrapping paper, for this most epic of poultry meals.

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All Saints Chapel, University of the South, Sewanee TN
Above: All Saints Chapel at Sewanee

The Future of College Football is... The University of the South? from Deadspin:
While they haven't faced a SEC giant since World War II, Sewanee has sent three inductees to the College Football Hall of Fame and still boasts a winning record against the likes of Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, and Georgia. It's the name itself— the University of the South, where pigskin just had to be played, and played with passion. But it's also something more. For Majors, it's the camaraderie forged in isolation, at a non-scholarship school of roughly 1,500 atop the lush Cumberland Plateau, 1,000 feet in the air and miles from anything.

"I think football meant more to us than it did at the big schools because we didn't have to go through the drudgery of being obligated," he says. "There is no obligation here. The motivation is inside."

College football is grappling with a series of crises—financial, moral, existential—that will inevitably transform the sport. How so, nobody can say for sure. It's conceivable, though, that the professionalized, money-drenched version of the game we've come to know could peter out, whether because of public disenchantment, the workings of the legal system, or some as yet unforeseen development. Stripped and scaled down and more than nominally amateur, the sport of the future may well look a lot like it does here, from Majors's lonely vantage point at Hardee-McGee.


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I love these boys.
Shug and Shugie

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Really various:
What I Discovered by Visiting Every Disney Park in the NYT
There's a new community at DisneyWorld, and ownership starts at $1.8MM
What was on the Menu at the First Thanksgiving from Smithsonian
What to do when your home is boring/non-descript
Four words that just went together for the first time: LSD-tainted WalMart steak
Two others: mistletoe drones
And you know not to ever deep-fry a frozen turkey right?
Spotify is giving you a playlist to accompany your turkey cooktime
Salted caramel Moon Pies
Small-batch salt from South Carolina

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Buttermilk Pumpkin Pie
Above: my buttermilk pumpkin pie

The NYT does a feature on Thanksgiving dishes from each state (plus DC and PR) and Alabama's is Lucy Buffett's oyster dressing, although Lucy admits she puts sugar in cornbread (a big no-no) and often uses a box mix.  Sigh.

Florida: Mojo Turkey
Georgia: Pecan Pie
Louisiana: Shrimp-Stuffed Mirlitons
Mississippi: Ale-Braised Collard Greens with Smoked Ham Hock
Tennessee: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Peanut Vinaigrette (never thought of BrSp as Southern, but okay)
Texas: Turkey Tamales

Minnesota got Grape Salad which kind-of started grapegate, as Minnesotans were apparently put off by this dish (some of whom didn't know what it was, others say it's regional):
“It’s lazy and it’s dismissive. And I think that is why everyone has risen up saying ‘No, you’re not going to pin this crazy thing that you invented on us,’” Grumdahl said.

The paper says the recipe comes from an unnamed Minnesota-born heiress. Within hours a new Twitter account named @MNBornHeiress began been spewing pro grape salad tweets.


For another opinion we turned to Sue Zelickson, Minnesota food critic for more than 40 years.,
“I’ve never heard of it and I am 80-years-old. And it’s never shown up on any of my Thanksgiving dinners,” Zelickson said.


...but there's also this by the NYT which tries to clear grapegate up -- and from this, ***you have to wonder what it was the NYT was trying to accomplish in the first place*** -- check out that first sentence, second paragraph here:
Updated, Thursday, 7 p.m.: I heard from Julia Moskin, a reporter with The Times’s Food section, who offered some background on the project.

“The recipes were not intended to be traditional, popular, or fully representative of the state’s traditions — agricultural, Thanksgiving, or culinary,” she wrote in an email to me. “We didn’t make stupid errors, or fail to check our facts with perfunctory phone calls. We worked hard — writers and especially editors — to generate a mix of 52 recipes that would not be cliched, repetitive, unhealthy, or unappetizing.”


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Disappointing news on super-talented Dwight Henry, owner of Buttermilk Drop Bakery in New Orleans, who had parts in 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' and '12 Years a Slave'.

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83 of Zelda Fitzgerald's artworks are now available via art.com.

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Perfect "Pink Perfection" Camellia, Monroeville AL
Above: a pink perfection camellia at the Monroe County Courthouse

The Dothan Eagle reports on the death of Alice Lee, 103, sister of Nelle Harper Lee and legend in her own right.  Thing is, this is the headline:
Our View: Alice Lee Has Passed.
(was it up for debate, Dothan Eagle?)

Her obit ran in Christian Today, the Christian Science Monitor, media who run the AP, the Washington Post, and more.
From the AP via NPR:
Everyone trusted Alice Lee and her brilliant mind, Butts said. "Whenever there was a question in the community that no one could answer, the saying was, 'Go ask Miss Alice,'" he said. "Her death is like the closing of a great library."

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Storybook Buildings, Authors Unknown in the NYT on the little buildings collected by a couple in North Carolina. Video, too.

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Thinking of summer camp for grown-ups: 2015 Barbecue Summer Camp:
We will gather together deep in the heart of Texas for this meat and smoke-filled (wood smoke that is) weekend, where we will roll up our sleeves and learn about unique barbecue traditions, methods, and styles. Featuring award-winning professors from Texas A and M’s Meat Science Section, well-known pit masters, and regional barbecue authorities, the seminar will provide attendees with cooking and butchery demonstrations that will focus on the different types of meat, smoke, and spices used throughout the state and beyond. In addition, attendees will tour legendary Martin’s Place in Bryan, Texas, before learning about barbecue history and regional differences. Please join us in College Station as we investigate and celebrate one of our state’s great traditions.

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A tree was planted at the U.S. Capitol this month to honor Emmett Till.

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Brennan's, New Orleans
The exterior of Brennan's, years ago before the restoration

Brennan's looks positively lovely after the ~$20MM remodel by Richard Keith Langham (who was born in Brewton, AL and became famous doing designs for Jackie Kennedy Onassis, among others), and will reopen November 25.  Can't wait.

Ted Brennan's Decatur will open early next year.

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CBS did a story on Bergeron's in Port Allen, Louisiana:
There's a 10 percent discount to anyone with a firearm. Not just cops -- anyone -- and all you have to do is prove it to one of the workers.

"Show it to me out of your purse, out of your back pocket, show it to me," Bergeron's restaurant owner Kevin Cox said said. "Show that you have one so if something goes wrong here today I know you're here to protect me."

...The restaurant's lunch business has jumped 25 percent. Cox has also added a dinner menu and hired four more employees. He said his customers are helping him send a larger message: other stores that have banned guns, like Target, are making themselves targets.

"You make a gun-free zone, that's where bad people with guns are going to go -- dumbest thing I've ever heard," Cox said. "So I'm trying to prove that this is the right route to go. Somebody gets robbed every day, not me."

..."You feel calm, like your cameraman came up behind me a while ago saying, 'I want to take a picture of you from behind, I don't wanna scare you.'" Hughes said. "I said 'You don't scare me, I'm the one that's got the gun.'"

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Had a delicious supper last month at Cotton Blues in Hattiesburg. It used to be that we almost couldn't drive through H'burg without stopping at Leatha's (we sure did love her) but the food is just *so sweet* and and I was turned off last time when I asked to share a plate with Av (no extra sides or even an extra plate, as I wasn't very hungry and just wanted a couple of bites) and they were going to charge me several dollars to do so.  I just passed on the whole thing.

Looking for something new and initially considering one of the Robert St. John restaurants, I opened Yelp and found Cotton Blues as #1 with *tons* of great reviews.  It really was terrific.  The bread they brought out was from the Breadsmith there in town, and it came with three spreads: lima bean, potlikker, and butter.   Everything we were served (especially the catfish) was amazing -- and the servers were great and loved chatting with our boys. Yes, yes, yes.
Cotton Blues, Hattiesburg MS

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To be developed in City Park, opening 2017: the $38MM Louisiana Children’s Museum Early Learning Village.  The Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi is now a Smithsonian affiliate.  This is what the Lucas Museum in Chicago will look like. The 1950s FLW Bachman Wilson House is now being reconstructed at Crystal Bridges.  The Whitney's new home will open May 2015.  What to do with the Gurlitt collection.  The Hobby Lobby family, the Greens, are behind the Museum of the Bible which will be opening in DC in 2017. Nothing by Analia Saban will be hanging over Doug MacCash's couch. The Schindler factory in Krakow. And as Slate put it, Detroit Exits Bankruptcy, Thanks to its Art Museum.

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Grits Pie
Above: a slice of my grits pie

On pie supper culture, at Modern Farmer:
Across the Midwest and Southeast, the box social slowly morphed into the more dessert-focused pie supper: all the same rules, just sweeter. The soirees were particularly popular in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, where the pie suppers were typically held in conjunction with square dances. A large portion of the one-room schoolhouses constructed in the late 19th and early 20th century across the mountainous region were partially financed by pie suppers. (Typically, the cash box at the end of a pie supper totaled no more than $50.)

While the fundraiser was the stated goal, pie suppers were ripe with courting rituals: lovelorn boys would try for months to secretly learn which girl crafted which pie, praying for a shot to share a slice with his beloved after successfully bidding on her sugary concoction.


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Andy Warhol's 'Triple Elvis' sold at $81,925,000 at Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale.

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There's an Indiegogo campaign to raise the money to paint Waverly Plantation in West Point, Mississippi:


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Another Indiegogo, for a second season of 'BBQ with Franklin':


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Boys at Audubon Zoo
Spent almost three hours at Audubon Zoo while daddy had an event at the Audubon Tea Room with friends, and had a great time!

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More Rural Studio Homes, Greensboro AL
Auburn's Rural Studio Outreach program is taking applications now.

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Rethinking Sherman's March at the NYT.

...and from the C-L, Matthew McConaughey has signed on to play Newt Knight, who led a group of anti-slavery Confederate deserters in Jones County during the Civil War.

The movie, "Free State of Jones," is written by Gary Ross, of "The Hunger Games," "Pleasantville," and "Seabiscuit" fame. It details the story of Newton Knight, an American farmer, soldier and Southern Unionist, who became the leader a band of Confederate Army deserters that turned against the Confederacy during the Civil War.


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Jerry Saltz and Roberta Smith make a trip to Knoxville, and speak at UTK. But first:
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Nice, on my beautiful friend Joe Minter:

Joe Minter's African Village in America from 2threefive on Vimeo.

Strikingly Beautiful, Homeless Carwash

Posted by ginger On Tuesday, November 18, 2014

One evening when driving through Sheffield, Alabama, we came to this, a ministry for the homeless:
Homeless Carwash, Sheffield AL

From the Times Daily:
“I saw there were many people that did not have any work; it was hard for them to get work,” she said. “I saw them walking the streets and I noticed some didn’t have places to stay. We opened up the car wash to offer some income.”

Homeless Carwash, Sheffield AL

Many of the car wash’s employees know what it is to be without a home, whether a physical home or an emotional home. The car wash and Weakley offer them a second chance.

“It is not something that is lucrative payment, but it is enough to get you through the day,” Weakley said. “I wanted to teach people not only how to work, but how to serve.”


Serenbe

Posted by ginger On Monday, November 17, 2014

Another of the new urbanism planned communities, I wasn't sure what to make of Serenbe until we got there and were able to see that it has less of that planned-just-so feel with overwrought constrictions on what homeowners can have on their porches and in their yards, and more of that eclectic-tied-together-works, just-do-your-thing feel.

Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop, Serenbe GA

Well, first things first: a little snack at Serenbe's Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop.

Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop, Serenbe

 Shug wanted a sprinkle cookie, and Shugie the chocolate lover got a brownie:
Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop, Serenbe

Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop, Serenbe

Some of the other shops weren't yet open, but we walked around one of the commerce parts of the community:
Serenbe

This is how Serenbe describes itself, from the website:
Each of Serenbe’s four hamlets have complementary commercial centers focused on the elements of a well-lived life: arts for inspiration, agriculture for nourishment, health for wellbeing and education for awareness.

Fresh food is another of Serenbe’s natural assets, with a 25-acre organic farm, seasonal Saturday Farmer’s Market, thriving CSA program and edible landscaping, including blueberry bushes along paths and sidewalks.

Year-round cultural events include outdoor theater from Serenbe Playhouse, culinary workshops and festivals, music events, films and lectures, boutique shopping, art galleries, a spa and trail riding, plus a robust Artist in Residence program featuring dinners and talks.


Serenbe

Marie Nygren's really lovely site, Serenbe Style and Soul (Marie's a cofounder of Serenbe) is filled with beautiful pictures and recipes.

Serenbe

Serenbe

Serenbe

The common area elements are cohesive, from the street lamps to stop sign outlines:
Serenbe

Serenbe

The mix of architecture, even on the same stretch, makes the community seemed less planned and more organic, which is so refreshing:
Serenbe

This, from Congress for the New Urbanism:
The vision for Serenbe was born at the height of Atlanta’s sprawl in the 1990s, in an effort to protect largely rural southwest Fulton County. Landowners in the area began to discuss a way to avoid losing the character of the land, while accommodating inevitable development. This movement eventually led to the formation of the Chattahoochee Hill Country Alliance, which developed a vision plan and outlined various land use tools, such as conservation easements, transfer of development rights, and mixed-use villages, to protect land from traditional suburban development. The result was a master plan and zoning overlay, and eventually the formation of a new city, Chattahoochee Hills, encompassing 40,000 acres. The development plan will cluster growth into hamlets and villages, while preserving a minimum of 70 percent of the acreage unbuilt. Serenbe, with 1,000 acres, is the first of the hamlets to be built, and demonstrates how this balanced growth can be accomplished – by building high density villages and hamlets surrounding community centers.

Serenbe

Commuting to Atlanta, this would have to be a good option, because it's only about 35-40 miles in
Serenbe

Serenbe

Serenbe

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Here's what's on the market in Serenbe (Chattahoochee Hills) currently.

Kevin Gillespie just this month did a video for Bing about Serenbe (well, it starts out there anyway, but now I know about Gu's Szechuan, which is -- where else -- Buford Highway).


Tupelo Honey Cafe

Posted by ginger On Sunday, November 16, 2014

We had the best time in Knoxville.  We walked around downtown, and had supper at Tupelo Honey Cafe, which began in Asheville and now has a few outposts (it's actually so good and the people behind it seem so nice, that this is a restaurant one can look forward to seeing more locations of). We all thought it was just crazy-delicious and the service was amazing.

Top left, my entree (which is listed as an appetizer) Appalachian egg rolls -- pulled pork tossed in smoked jalapeno bbq sauce and rolled with braised greens, pickled onions and carrots.  I don't even have to say how good that was, because you know it already.  Av had the nutty fried chicken (bottom-right) which was nut-encrusted, hormone-free chicken breast topped with milk gravy and served with smashed sweet potatoes and an asparagus garnish.  Both boys were in the mood for a simple grilled cheese, with fruit on the side.  Those sandwiches were no kitchen afterthought.  They were excellent.
Tupelo Honey Cafe, Knoxville TN

When I ordered, I just casually mentioned that I didn't have the appetite for a whole serving of the pimento cheese but had heard such wonderful things about it, and guess what?  Just as a surprise, they brought out a little serving and...well yes, of course, that was just fabulous.  They use Duke's and even have the recipe on their website.
Tupelo Honey Cafe, Knoxville TN

Also, these are some of the best restaurant biscuits I have ever had.  Ever-ever.  They have the recipe for them in their cookbook.  I made the recipe this week (although I baked them in one of my cast iron skillets rather than on a baking pan as they do, because I love the amazing crust that develops that way) and everyone loooooved them.
Tupelo Honey Cafe, Knoxville TN

And another trick to their biscuits, from THC's Chef Brian Sonoskus? "Pinch the flour and fat together like you're snapping your fingers" which, as the Today Show put it, creates thin sheets of butter that create puff pastry-like layers in your biscuits. Their biscuit recipe is at the bottom of that page, too.  (And he loves the buttermilk from Cruze Dairy!)

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Right now, Tupelo Honey Cafe is doing their 'Southern Holiday Recipe Contest' wherein people send in their recipes in four different categories, and one of the best parts is that they publish the entries so the public can try them and vote.

The restaurant now has two cookbooks:
Tupelo Honey Cafe: Spirited Recipes from Asheville's New South Kitchen
Tupelo Honey Cafe: New Southern Flavors from the Blue Ridge Mountains

The Children's Holocaust Memorial, Whitwell TN

Posted by ginger On Thursday, November 13, 2014

The education I received about the Holocaust in my high school years probably filled three minutes, if that.  I imagine my history teachers thought something along the lines of: here are the facts, the numbers, the condensed ideology behind it, and beyond that...coming to grips with what the Holocaust actually was...was simply too enormous to even grasp.  And maybe they thought it was a deep and dark subject for young people, there's so much history to cover, let's keep moving.

This summer, I remember that Av told the boys that some "bad people had done something bad" in a place that is important to us, and we were going to send cards.  I privately asked him why he had told the boys that there were "bad people" that did something bad?  I mean, they're just 6 and 7 -- can I just keep them thinking that the world is a nice place where nice things happen and we're all nice to each other?  They have a lifetime to learn about...the other stuff.  I know, I'm protective.  But why do little kids need to know anything else while they're little?  They don't.


Granted, when they get older, it will be appropriate for them to learn the mistakes of the past.  In 1998, a teacher at Whitwell Middle School in Tennessee, -- Whitwell having a population of just over 1700 now -- started an after-school lesson about the Holocaust as a way of "respecting different cultures as well as understanding the effects of intolerance. As the study progressed, the sheer number of Jews who were exterminated by the Nazis overwhelmed the students. Six million was a number that the students could not remotely grasp. The students asked Sandra Roberts and David Smith if they could collect something to help them understand the enormity of this extermination. The teachers told the students to ask permission of principal, Linda M. Hooper. She gave the students permission to begin a collection, IF, they could find something to collect that would have meaning to the project. After some research on the Internet, the students decided to collect paper clips because they discovered that 1) Joseph Valler, a Norwegian Jew is credited as having invented the paper clip and 2) that Norwegians wore them on their lapels as a silent protest against Nazi occupation in WWII."

The Children's Holocaust Memorial, Whitwell TN
Here, behind the school is an authentic German boxcar built in 1917 which served to transport prisoners to camps during the reign of the Third Reich. How the railcar came here to Tennessee is here.

Much of the rest of the story is pretty well known.  After getting the word out, the students were sent more than six million paperclips from all over the world, and to date, the number is now over 30 million.  They've received over 30,000 other pieces -- letters, documents -- and those are in the Children's Holocaust Memorial Research Room at the school.

The Children's Holocaust Memorial, Whitwell TN

As the school puts it, "For generations of Whitwell students, a paper clip will never again be just a paper clip. Instead, the paper clip is a reminder of the importance of perseverance, empathy, tolerance, and understanding."

The Children's Holocaust Memorial, Whitwell TN

The Children's Holocaust Memorial, Whitwell TN
"As you enter this car, we ask that you pause and reflect on the evil of intolerance and hatred"

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The Six Million Paperclips book
The 2004 Miramax movie, Paper Clips, is on Amazon Streaming.

Wear it? Frame It.

Posted by ginger On Wednesday, November 05, 2014

As a very young girl, my grandmother gave me this pin.  It belonged to my late great-grandmother, and even to this day, I love it but find it a bit too 'mature' to wear.  This is the perfect solution: framed, I get to think of her each time I see it -- every day.

Very simply, I purchased a shadowbox (spraypainted the frame gold), then hot-glued a pretty, complementary piece of scrapbook paper to the cardboard, and hot-glued the pin to the paper.  I think hot glue is a good option here because when I decide to do something different with it, I can just pop the hot glue off the back easily.
MawMaw's Pin, Framed

MawMaw's Pin, Framed

Love.

MawMaw's Pin, Framed