Friday, May 17

Southern Six-Pack

1.  May has been the cruelest month for barbecue pit-masters. We bid farewell to Ricky Parker of Lexington, TN; Donald Pelts and John Willingham of Memphis, TN and Douglas Fincher, Jr. of Macon, GA.  Who's going to fill their shoes?

2.  Douglas Fincher saw his barbecue travel into outer space. Donald Pelts saw his barbecue circumnavigate the globe. Move over pork, it's chicken's turn to travel. Now comes word that KFC is being carried across an international border and through a smuggling tunnel to reach fast-food hungry patrons in Gaza. It's a four hour journey from counter to table, making this the slowest fast food around.

3.  Bully pulpit, n. -- as for making ones views known or rallying support.  Wendell Pierce has the bully pulpit but he isn't just talking about transforming New Orleans' food deserts, he's doing something. His Sterling Farms grocery store (and two smaller convenience stores) opened earlier this spring.  Spend $50 in the store and get a free ride home in the Sterling Farms' shuttle.

4.  Grits, Demystified answers several bubbling questions:  Are grits the same as polenta?  What's the deal with instant grits?  May I, in the privacy of my own home, put sugar on my grits?

N.B. I went to high school with a girl who, bless her heart, ordered "a grit" at the Cracker Barrel.  She wanted to try grits without committing to an entire portion.  The waitress obliged.  And, my high school pal recoiled at what she described as "a hangnail on my plate!"  Our lesson that day was one we might have learned in the classroom -- grit is gross and unappetizing and has no place on the plate but, grits are delicious.

5.  The food world took to the internet today to express its collective outrage at the firing of long-time Village Voice food critic, Robert Sietsema.  As well they should.  During Sietsema's 20 years at the Village Voice he found the city's best food in the city's most unlikely places.  And,  wrote without ever losing his sense of wonder and whimsy.   Also, he once called the patty melt the tuna salad sandwich's slutty cousin.

6.  Trevor Runyon broke into the ValuMarket in Mt. Washington, Kentucky and ate six steaks, a couple of pounds of shrimp, a dinner salad, a birthday cake, a case of soft drinks, and 57 cans of Reddi-wip.  And then fell asleep in the ceiling of the store.