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This Week's Various

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Nice article at Weld this week on my friend Joe Minter.

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What prehistoric river channels, bayous have to do with 'missing' Mississippi River water and how that affects river levels, levees...

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The original 1927 Westminster Presbyterian Church in New Orleans has been converted into a home and is on the market for $2.5MM.

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The Texas State Fair opens September 27; the fair's "Big Tex Choice Awards” have been made, and one of the nominees was deep-fried King Ranch Chicken Casserole in the shape of Texas. Another entry was 'Fried Thanksgiving Dinner: Imagine everyone's favorite meal — turkey, stuffing, gravy, and all — mashed together, whittled down to the size of a softball and tossed into the deep fryer, cranberry sauce on the side' which won the Most Creative award.  Oh! And yay, the new Big Tex will be unveiled on opening day.

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From the DMOnline -- John Currence is taking on a really great, charitable project in Oxford:
Now, Currence has taken on a new project in the form of Lamar Lounge. A very different set-up from Currence’s other restaurants, Lamar Lounge is a barbecue-vending townie bar.

More important than the new type of restaurant or the exciting new menu options, however, is that Chef Currence will be using this restaurant to give back to the Oxford community.

“A not-for-profit restaurant,” Currence called the project. “We will identify a new Oxford children’s charity each year to receive the profits we make.”


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This little boy recites the books of the Christian Bible at his preschool graduation and then...sweet thing! Look beginning at :40:


BTW, George Strait announced the last dates of his 'The Cowboy Rides Away' farewell tour this week.

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Ollie Irene
Painfully obvious these pics taken with my iPhone in dim lighting, above is supper from Ollie Irene in Birmingham.  Included: 'cheese and crackers' with Stone Hollow goat cheese, sweet and sour pepper relish, pickled okra, their crackers (goat cheese, jelly, okra terrific but crackers were boring), boudin balls (not terribly good, every single Chevron station in Acadiana has better boudin balls), sausage with red onions and toast (pretty good), ham plate with melons, mint, and pecans (okay but terribly boring).  You know what would have made this marginally better?  If I had never been to Root where every single thing from even the most uncomplicated idea is interesting, interesting, interesting.  And delicious.

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Okra, Okra Festival 2005, Burkville AL
An Ode to Okra in the September D Magazine.
A friend once told me that his mom carried Marlboro Reds and Virginia Slims in her purse. He knew what kind of mood she was in by which pack she was smoking. We didn’t always have okra at Sunday supper, but everything else on the table tasted better when we did. Okra was the Virginia Slims of my Sundays.

This week, the Brennan's name came off the big pink building in the Quarter.

If you're familiar with Earnestine and Hazel's in Memphis, there's been some very sad news this week.

The AP reports that NOLA Brewing is being sued by the Japanese company that owns the rights to Godzilla, claiming that NOLA's MechaHopzilla 'infringes on its copyrights and trademarks'.

Batch Nashville sends subscribers ($25/mo, 3-mo) boxes of Nashville-based goodness.  The September box had granola from Haulin’ Oats, coffee from Garage Coffee Company, banana strawberry bread from Dozen Bakery, honey from Trubee Honey, and Sunday Morning Pancake Mix.  Okay, who wants to start this in Bham with me?

There's a 'Magnificent Magnolia' cheesecake from Neiman Marcus that is party perfect.

Wiseacre Brewery opened late last month in Memphis.

Good grief: Flying Biscuit in Norcross was closed temporarily this week after scoring a 40 on their health inspection.

It sounds so not-at-all delicious when they put it that way: Smithfield is being bought by a company in China, and the stockholders here will vote on it in a few days. Meanwhile, the CEO in China told the media, "This transaction will create a leading global animal protein enterprise."

The recipe for Toups' Meatery deviled eggs here -- includes horseradish and wasabi powder.  Let's do this.

I knew we could get Whataburger (I left Alabama and lived in Texas for two years in elementary school and called it Waterburger for whatever reason) ketchup and mustard at HEB, but had no idea that earlier this summer HEB started carrying...Whatafries.

The last day for Hansen's Sno-Bliz this season is October 1.

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Not every day you see a dust devil like this in MS:
MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

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The biggest news in museums this week: there's a 'new' Van Gogh.

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The teaser trailer for James Franco's adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's 'Child of G-d' is here.  Moviefone wonders if he took a higher-learning Southern Gothic Lit class lately considering he's done Faulkner's 'As I Lay Dying' plus this McCarthy work, and next back to Faulkner with 'Sound and the Fury'.  If he can pull off 'As I Lay Dying' he can probably do just about anything.

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Old Monroe County Courthouse - To Kill A Mockingbird
Lee v. Pinkus, 13-cv-03000, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York -- the lawsuit brought by Nelle Harper Lee against her former literary agent regarding royalties for To Kill A Mockingbird, has been dismissed.

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CBS News: An Entrepreneur Who Turned A Town Around, on Pam Dorr and Greensboro AL, and HERObike, PieLab, and more.

Makes my heart swoon:
The interviewer says, "most people, they think to themselves, okay I need a business plan, I need investors ..and you had none of that."
She replies, "we didn't need it because we had pie."


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Know how galleries have sometimes printed portfolios of works by one of their artists? Middendorf/Lane and Sander Galleries made 21 copies of 'Ten Southern Photographs' -- Hale County, Alabama images by William Christenberry shot 1978-81, and the last complete one is being offered by a gallery in Germany for $130k.

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Groundbreaking will be October 24 for the Mississippi Museum of History and the accompanying Mississippi Civil Rights Museum on the Old Capitol Green.

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Billy Bob Thornton's new film, Jayne Mansfield's Car (which thankfully really has nothing to do with the aforementioned), is released this week -- set in Alabama, 1969:


...but I think this trailer is better/more interesting:


As the NYT review put it,
Behind the clunky machinery is a lyrical meditation on life, death, heroism, regret and forgiveness written in a florid style that might be described as Tennessee Williams on testosterone.

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Courtyard at St. James Hotel, Selma AL
The city of Selma via/and a group of volunteers are running the historic St. James Hotel now.  There was a lot of talk about it possibly closing and the city's agreement with an Atlanta-based management group finished, but it seems as though things are going well.  They are looking for an outside interest to come in with a plan for taking over the hotel.

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Monte Sano Art Show, Huntsville AL
The Monte Sano Art Show in Huntsville returns this year after not running last year.

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From NPR: For F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, a Dark Chapter in Asheville.

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PBS' Mind of a Chef Season 2 debuts this month, and Sean Brock is one of the two chefs featured.  This clip shows him going to Prince's Hot Chicken in Nashville and ordering the extra hot.

Proud to say my husband has eaten the extra hot and survived!

BTW, if like my PBS, yours is not airing the series, you can still view some of the episodes online.  Really liked the conversation Sean had about peanuts. Boiled peanuts are one of our original street foods.

***And I was so tickled that they talked about Lawson and Bradford watermelons, and how Bradfords are coming back now (you can read those stories here at Slow Food Southern Region).  We planted rattlesnake watermelons here at home one year and they nearly took over our whole house!  Had to keep the windows closed so the watermelon vines couldn't get us!  Next year: going to order Bradford seeds.  This is what Anson Mills is doing right now with Bradfords.

Speaking of shows on PBS, 'A Chef's Life' set in NC premiers this month also.

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A coon hunter in Mississippi says he has killed a mythic chumpacabra.  "My dog, even when it's dead, my dog's scared of it."  Also in chupacabra news (just because I love the idea of chupacabras to begin with) -- this brilliant list of why Breaking Bad would be better if it were set in Texas.

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What my kids are crazy for this week: this IKEA music video (although nothing ever surpasses the duck-chasing shark kitty on a Roomba), this cat picture, Disney's Where's My Water?, reading every night, playing with LEGOs, thinking about Sukkot and our sukkah, and realizing that they like gnocchi (best part of that was Shug telling me that there's a movie about it, called Pi-gnocchio). And here's the best parenting advice of the week.

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West Indies Salad, Oscar's, Birmingham Museum of Art
Above, lunch this week: West Indies Salad served in a shell, from Oscar's at the Birmingham Museum of Art.

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The Earl Scruggs Center, Music and Stories from the American South in Shelby, North Carolina (the Center will be housed in a completely restored 1907 county courthouse) is set for January 11, 2014.

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The Dream Rocket project is on Kickstarter:

... wrap the real Saturn V rocket in Huntsville, Alabama with inspirational quiltwork that students and individuals from all over the world have, and are, making.

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#CookClub sounds like all kinds of fun -- from the Tampa Bay Times:
I love to cook and I know lots of other people do, too. Still, transforming raw ingredients into breakfast, lunch or dinner can be a solitary event, just you, a hot stove and your pots and pans. Oh, and a lack of time and fear of failure.

What if you were in #Cookclub — sort of like a book club — where you could share your culinary triumphs and travails with people just like you? (Or people whose culinary know-how will improve yours?) Consider this your formal invitation to join #Cookclub.

You don't have to RSVP or pay dues, just get into the kitchen and cook the recipe I provide every other week. And take photos of what you've made (don't you already?) and post them on Instagram (don't you do this, too?) with your comments about the recipe. We'll get them to Pinterest and share them on Twitter. For #Cookclub, we want experts and novices; adventurers and picky eaters. The more variety, the better.

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There will be a workparty in October to help Salvation Mountain maintain.  Here's a bit from what happened last month with the rains:



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More Rural Studio Homes, Greensboro AL
Rural Studio has had its fall convocation and they will be finishing eight 20k homes, finishing up three projects in Lions Park, a Boys and Girls Club in Greensboro, and a library in Newbern.

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The Cooper Center at the University of Virginia released this racial segregation map using 2010 census data. Turn on the map labels and find your hometown, and be sure to look at Detroit, too.

Just throwing all these maps in since they're interesting: map using 1860 census data showing distribution of the slave population, and that is the map that Lincoln consulted, even shown in the 1864 painting, “First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Lincoln” by Francis Bicknell Carpenter.  Here is the 1860 cotton bale production map which correlates to the 1860 census data map.

Not from the Census Bureau but from other data, American Ethnic Geography, a map gallery of religion in the US.

This is the map I like best.

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Poke -- as in Poke Salat, a new short from Joe York and the SFA.

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Best thing for lunch this week:
Persian Piadine, Bottega, Birmingham AL
Persian piadine (one of my three usuals) at Bottega.  And guess who else was there for lunch on Wednesday?  Ted Koppel.

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There may be a National Slave Ship Museum built in New Orleans, with plans to break ground in 2015 for a 2018 opening.

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Reading this week:
Rowing the Atlantic: Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean by Roz Savage (had to read this after her NPR interview)
Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans

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Hot Green Boiled Penuts (Peanuts), Bama Nut Shop, Brundidge AL
We had a super-busy summer and the High Holidays were over the last several days, but I'll be back to regular posting starting this week.  xoxo!

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