And then we got two literary love letters: one from Monique Truong and one from John Dufresne.
Monique, taking her assignment literally, began her talk, "Dear Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge in Shelby, North Carolina..." She went on to talk of immigration, isolation, and homecoming.
John Dufresne, an expat New Englander who now lives in Florida, spoke of his deep affection for Craig's Bar-B-Q in DeValls Bluff, Arkansas. Growing up in Worcester, Massachusetts, Dufresne says that his family's culinary motto was "let no food offend the the palate with assertive taste." Today, he loves all things spicy and bold. He first discovered Craig's on a road trip while he was an MFA student at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, and it's not unheard of today for him to hop a plane to Memphis, rent a car, and make the one-hour drive to Craig's just for a sliced pork sandwich or a plate of ribs. He spoke of Robert Craig, the current co-owner of Craig's, and Craig's late father, Lawrence. Like his father, Robert has dedicated his adult life to maintaining Craig's as the lively center of a rapidly shrinking town.
Stay tuned for podcasts of these talks and more over the coming days. We'll be posting on our Soundcloud and iTunesU pages.