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Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News December 2019

Marshall-DeKalb ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE

www.mdec.org

‘Bicycle Billy’: Living the simple life


Manager Scott Bobo Co-op Editor Kelli Whorton

ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. Subscriptions are $12 a year for individuals not subscribing through participating Alabama electric cooperatives. Alabama Living (USPS 029-920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office.

A taste of Italy in Athens

For nearly 13 years, Dan Oliver had enjoyed success owning and operating a popular Italian restaurant in Huntsville. So when property became available in downtown Athens, a town about 35 miles away, he decided it was time to branch out and open a second location of Terranova’s.

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VOL. 72 NO. 12 n DECEMBER 2019

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POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014. ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION

AREA President Fred Braswell Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Law Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Danny Weston Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Ad Coordinator Brooke Echols Graphic Designer Chyna Miller

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NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE:

American MainStreet Publications 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181 www.AMP.coop www.alabamaliving.coop USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311

u

Look for this logo to see more content online!

Get our FREE monthly email newsletter! Sign up at alabamaliving.coop Printed in America from American materials

The Elf on the Shelf is a popular tradition in many of our readers’ homes, as seen in this month’s Snapshots.

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Man of Troy

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Non-traditional foods

Dr. Jack Hawkins has led Troy University for 30 years, longer than any other U.S. college president or chancellor.

Christmas food isn’t always turkey and the trimmings. See what our readers enjoy preparing for their families.

D E PA R T M E N T S

ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL OFFICES:

340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 For advertising, email: advertising@areapower.com For editorial inquiries, email: contact@alabamaliving.coop

Elf on the shelf

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WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop EMAIL: letters@alabamaliving.coop MAIL: Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

In this issue: Page 11 Page 28

11 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 32 Gardens 34 Cook of the Month 40 Outdoors 41 Fish & Game Forecast 46 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop ON THE COVER: Billy Griggs poses for a picture with his bike. Billy’s simple way of living is catching attention.

PHOTO Credit: Hannah Lathan

DECEMBER 2019 3


Providing Dependable Electricity at the Lowest Possible Rate

Board of Trustees District 1 Steve Henley

District 2 Jerry Scott

District 3 Terry Edmondson

District 4 Gene Hulgan

District 5 Terry Johnson

District 6 Briggs Patterson

District 7 LaVaughn Holcomb

District 8 Steve Davis

Merry Christmas From Our Family To Yours

Adam Armstrong Matthew Beam Scott Bobo Marty Brock Tim Brooks Chris Brooks Brandan Brown Brandon Burns Jamie Camper Brent Claburn Jessica Cooley Chris Cornelius Josh Creech Haley Crowden Heath Davidson Todd Dismuke Terry Duvall Sonya England Christy Farmer Josh Galloway

David Giles Andrew Giles Tyler Gillilan Stanley Goble Tanner Greer Lloyd Hayes Hunter Higgins Donetta Hitt Cason Honea Shani Hughes Colby Kidd Kelli Knight Linda Lacks Hannah Lathan Eric Lester Lacey Lowery Connie Martin Tracy Massey Siera McWaters Joey Miller

Bryar Mintz Jennifer Oliver Zack Patterson Zach Peek Lawayne Perkins Roger Pike Alicia Powell Jason Proctor Maria Quintana Brandy Rojek Jennifer Rosales Daryl Ross Andy Siler Rita Smith Terry Turk Lee Walls Jarred Whitaker Kelli Whorton Will Wright

We take pride in lighting your homes!

District 9 Bobby Weathers

Chief Executive OfďŹ cer Scott Bobo

In case of a power outage, you may call us 24 hours a day: Call us (local) 256-593-4262 or toll-free 1-800-239-3692 Visit our website at www.mdec.org Follow us on Facebook Instagram & Twitter www.alabamaliving.coop


| Marshall-DeKalb Electric Co-op |

HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS If you are a high school senior that will be graduating this spring and are a dependent of a member of MDEC, here is your opportunity. Marshall-DeKalb Electric along with the Electric Cooperative Foundation are offering scholarships to deserving students in our coverage area. For details about these scholarships, you can obtain a copy of an Electric Cooperative scholarship application from your high school guidance counselor, visit www.mdec.org and click on the Scholarship Application form or call Kelli Whorton at 256-593-4262 ext.114. Application and attachments MUST BE RECEIVED by February 14, 2020. POST MARKS NOT ACCEPTED Do not delay and miss this opportunity.

Alabama Living

DECEMBER 2019  5


| Marshall-DeKalb Electric Co-op |

Bicycle Billy’s Simplicity Travels a Long Way By Hannah Lathan

Billy Griggs, known as “Bicycle Billy”

I

f you have driven around Boaz within the last four years, it is likely that you have seen resident Billy Griggs out pedaling his bike at some point. Moving here from Louisville, Kentucky in August 2015, Billy did not have a vehicle when he settled into the small town of Boaz. “I drove a small U-Haul truck all the way here with all of my stuff, and then used my bike as my way around for the next two years,” Billy explains. In September 2017 Billy purchased a Volvo for $1,500 and paid for it in full. Since then, he has only put a little over 4,000 miles on the Volvo, driving it only to make trips to the grocery store or doctor appointments, and traveling in the rain. Billy explains that a typical day for him begins with waking early each morning and eating

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his cornflakes and orange juice. Then he travels to the gym by car or, weather permitting, rides his bike 4.5 miles to Therapy Plus Fitness Center near the hospital and joins the morning crowd for a short workout. “I go inside, and I go to each machine in there and set the weight to about 50-60 pounds and I do 50 reps each on every machine and leave.” Billy says that he keeps it short and sweet in the gym but exercising at Therapy Plus is helpful for his muscle tone and makes him feel stronger. “It helps with this right here!” he laughs as he pulls his wrinkles up on his forearm. After his morning workouts, he returns home and gets ready to hit the road on his bike. A normal riding day for Billy consists of covering anywhere from 12-20 miles a day! Billy said he doesn’t ride his bike on Sundays at all. One of Billy’s favorite routes to ride begins at his residence at the Manor House and continues into the residential downtown area of Boaz. He follows a pretty steady routine, with his days consisting of breakfast, morning workout, his daily ride, and then ends the day with cooking a cheeseburger for himself on his George Foreman grill at home. “I eat out about three times a week. Usually Friday night, Saturday night, and then Sundays after church,” Billy says. In November 2016, Billy took a fall in his home that resulted in his needing a hip replacement. After surgery he was required to go to therapy and be released from a physician before returning to riding his bike again. The surgery

may have put a damper on Billy’s riding for a short time, but he was right back to his normal routine sooner than later. “It slowed me down a little bit, but after a week of physical therapy I started riding my bike again anyway!” Billy laughs, “I’ve been riding my bike for exercise to help me stay healthy for the last 20 years. I don’t believe there is anything I enjoy more for staying healthy than riding my bike,” Billy says. Throughout the interview, Billy laughed a lot and talked about how he loves to joke and smile “You just never know what someone may be going through, they could be having a really bad day. It costs nothing for you to smile at them. I think we should all smile more and laugh more. If you can’t laugh at yourself, then you can’t laugh at anything!” he says. Billy explained several incidents in which people have yelled at him to get off the road, or even blew the horn at him, trying to scare him. In another instance, a lady passing by was pointing and mouthing for him to move onto the sidewalk. In September 2015 he was clipped by a car passing by, and it could’ve been deadly. “I had one incident, on 431, I was going to run an errand and rode my bike. This car ran by me so close, his right view mirror hit my handlebar, and I just held on as solid as I could to try not to fall. His mirror came off and bruised my elbow,” he continues “It scared the daylights out of me, and I said something I hadn’t said in 40!” He since has avoided riding on US Highway 431. “In www.alabamaliving.coop


| Marshall-DeKalb Electric Co-op | another incident near Piggly Wiggly, a big rollback he just sat down and gave up. I know if I sit down truck was about three inches from me on my bike, and don’t stay active, I’ll be in the same boat as a lot and I guess he didn’t realize I was there because of other people my age are in right now” Billy says. he opened up his big air horn right when he saw He keeps up with his total mileage regularly and me.” Billy says he feels people are simply unaware accumulated 4,000 miles in one year. During that of the law, and not used time he had ridden 3,000 of to seeing cyclists in town, those miles in only five months. so drivers aren’t usually That’s averaging 600 miles a looking out for them. month for those five months! Billy has installed LED Billy is an advocate for staylights, flashing taillights, ing active and living a simple and wears a rear-view life. When asked when his mirror attachment on his favorite time of the year was glasses. He also wears a to ride his bike, he answered, fluorescent vest or jacket “Year-round!” when riding to try to be “I just want to try to stay more visible to drivers. healthy and like I say, I don’t On October 15, Billy’s ask God for anything in the odometer read that he morning when I start out, I just had covered more than thank Him every night. I got 545 miles since the first the simplest life you can live, week in August, averagand I am thankful for what I ing 17 miles a day. Billy am able to do.” has put up some impressive numbers in the past, “I don’t ask God for anything and this mileage is even in the morning when I start more impressive when you out, I just thank Him every consider Billy is 83. “I had a night.” Billy Griggs friend, and once he retired, Here are a few of the Alabama State Bicycle Laws to be mindful of and help keep our local cyclists safe. Cyclists must obey traffic signs and signals. Bicycles are considered vehicles in the state of Alabama and are subject to the same rights and duties as other vehicles. Cyclists may not drive on sidewalks. No vehicle in the state of Alabama is prohibited to drive on the sidewalks, including bicycles. If a designated bike path is available, cyclists are not allowed to drive on the roadways. Cyclists must ride as far to the right as practicable, except when making a left turn. Riding as far to the right as possible creates a safer space between the cyclist and other motor vehicles. No more than two bicyclists should ever ride side-by-side on a roadway for this same reason. A motor vehicle driver must allow a cyclist a minimum of 3 feet clearance between the car and the bicycle.

Alabama Living

DECEMBER 2019 7


| Marshall-DeKalb Electric Co-op |

est.1942

Employee Spotlight

Brent Claburn Warehouse Assistant Manager

How long have you worked at Marshall DeKalb EC?

I was able to co-op my junior and senior year while I was still in high school and worked part time during my first two years of college. After I graduated Auburn with my bachelor’s degree, I was hired back full time starting on May 15 of this year.

Describe your primary job.

Warehouse Assistant Manager, stock inventory, organize material.

What do you love most about your job?

I have great people to work with and a great boss to work for.

Tell us about your family.

My mom is a retired cost accountant for Keystone Foods, and my dad is retired from Marshall DeKalb Electric Co-op after 34 years with the company. I have two brothers, Eric and Jamey. Eric is a loan processor and Jamey is a welder for the railroad industry.

Where did you go to high school/college?

Boaz High School, Snead for my associates, Auburn for my bachelor in agricultural business and economics.

What are your hobbies?

Hunting, backpacking, raising cattle, and spending time with friends.

Who has inspired you the most to get where you are today?

My parents inspired me to be where I am today. I am blessed to be able to learn from watching them throughout my life.

Where is your favorite lunch spot/what do you do for lunch most days?

Grumpy’s is my favorite lunch spot, but normally I either go eat with friends or with salesmen during the week.

Where would you go on a dream vacation?

My dream vacation is backpacking the Appalachian Trail with friends.

MDEC will be closed on December 24th and 25th in observance of the Christmas Holidays and January 1st to celebrate the New Year. For power outages call 256-593-4262. You may pay your bill online at www.mdec.org, by phone at 866-765-4073 or by paying at our kiosks located at the MDEC office or at Kilpatrick Pharmacy. Merry Christmas from your friends at MDEC! 8 DECEMBER 2019

www.alabamaliving.coop


| Alabama Snapshots |

ELF on the SHELF

Dylan LaPorte’s elf, Tricky, toilet papered the entire living room after Alabama beat Auburn. SUBMITTED BY Robin LaPorte, Wetumpka.

Elf on a shelf, 4-month-old Behr McDonald, is all smiles waiting for Santa. SUBMITTED BY Gail McDonald, Prattville.

Shelly Elrod, nurse at Harmony School in Cullman County, dresses up as an elf to spread Christmas cheer on the last day of school. SUBMITTED BY Vickie Wood, Cullman.

Collect or build model trains? We want to see them! Submit “Model Trains” photos by December 31. Winning photos will run in the February issue. Alaina’s Elf, Buckles, sent her an outfit all the way from the North Pole. She can see him but Papa and Memaw can’t. SUBMITTED BY Robert and Linda Orso, St. Stephens.

Alabama Living

Online: alabamaliving.coop Mail: Snapshots P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at www.alabamaliving. coop and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to have photos returned.

DECEMBER 2019 9


Spotlight | December SOCIAL SECURITY

Three reasons why Social Security is important for women More women work, pay Social Security taxes, and earn credit toward monthly retirement income than at any other time in our nation’s history. Yet, on average, women face greater economic challenges than men in retirement. Nearly 55 percent of the people receiving Social Security benefits are women. Women generally live longer than men while often having lower lifetime earnings. And women usually reach retirement with smaller pensions and other assets compared to men. Social Security is vitally important to women for these three key reasons. You could be eligible for your own benefits if you: • worked and paid taxes into the Social Security system for at least 10 years and • have earned a minimum of 40 work credits. Once you reach age 62, you could be eligible for your own Social Security benefit. Whether you’re married or not and whether your spouse collects Social Security or not, you could be eligible. If you’re eligible and apply for benefits on more than one work record, you generally receive the higher benefit amount. The sooner you start planning for retirement, the better off you’ll be. We have specific information for women at socialsecurity.gov/people/women. Email or post this link to friends and family you love.

Whereville, AL Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer by Dec. 12 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the January issue. Submit by email: whereville@alabamaliving.coop, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. Contribute your own photo for an upcoming issue! Send a photo of an interesting or unusual landmark in Alabama, which must be accessible to the public. A reader whose photo is chosen will also win $25.

Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at kylle.mckinney@ssa.gov.

Letters to the editor

E-mail us at: letters@alabamaliving.coop or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Veteran likes column I just read your article in Hardy Jackson’s Alabama, (“The Box,” November 2019). I am a Vietnam veteran myself, but I don’t really think about it all that much. Your article really made me think about all the men and women who have served at different times and different places. What really hit home is when you said that we should do what we can to keep from creating any more veterans. How profoundly true! Amen. Dale Edwards, Flat Rock, Ala. 10 DECEMBER 2019

NOVEMBER'S ANSWER

These oversized Adirondack chairs are located in front of the Eden Career Technical Center (ECTC) in Ashville. Marcus Graves, carpentry instructor at the school, gave us a nice history of the chairs: “Ronnie McFarling, our former director, is a big fan of the website and app ‘Roadside America.’ In the fall of 2015, he and I started talking about the fact that there were no sites listed in St. Clair County. “Mr. McFarling saw two big Auburn and Alabama Adirondack chairs for sale at an outdoor store in Birmingham. He asked me if I thought we could build two of these chairs. We initially planned to build five chairs and paint them in the colors of the five high schools that we serve in St. Clair County. “One day, we saw a picture of four chairs on a beach with the word L-O-V-E spelled out. That led us to the idea of using them as a sign with the letters ECTC for our school. “The chairs were finished in 2016 and we placed them on our property near the intersection of U.S. Highways 231 and 411. They were an immediate hit with the people passing by the school. We started getting calls from people asking if they could stop and take a picture, or if we would build them a chair? “But the best calls and visits were from people that has passed our school for years and never really knew what we did or what we taught. So the chairs have really helped us draw attention to our school and our mission.” (Photo by Allison Law of Alabama Living) To learn more about the ECTC, visit sccboe.org. The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Tanya McCord of Coosa Valley EC.

Saw ads in magazine

We had the friendliest couple come in the Welcome Center last week to get information on things to do in Dawsonville. They were raving about our ads in Alabama Living Magazine! I invited them to the Moonshine Festival we had this past weekend, and sure enough, I somehow spotted them in the crowd and had another chat. They also went to Amicalola Falls while they were here because of our ad. Appreciate it, Dustin Heard, Tourism & Events Director Dawson County Chamber of Commerce & Office of Tourism Development Dawsonville, Ga. www.alabamaliving.coop


December | Spotlight

Find the hidden dingbat! OK, we admit it. The November dingbat – a cartoonish turkey – was super-hard to find. In fact, we received only a few hundred correct submissions, about a third of our usual responses. Those who hunted for that elusive bird claimed to find him in several different places, from the tree on Page 21, the grass on Page 16, in a girl’s hair on Page 9 and on the menu sign on Page 26. It was indeed on Page 26, but our turkey was hiding in the platter of fried chicken. At least two readers, Debra Hammonds of Ider and Joan Davis of Andalusia, said they’d hunted unsuccessfully until their granddaughters and nephew, respectively, spotted the turkey right away. Vivian Walker of Union Springs said she found it while she was cooking fried chicken! John Fender of Foley penned this clever response: “Your dingbat is a master of disguise. I located his first cousin on Page 18, then as I pursued him further I came upon some bits and pieces of him on Page 26, deep-fried. I finally concluded that the hunters on Page 21 must have shot poor old Dingbat and dropped him off at the Roadkill Café.” Poet Eleonore Madigan of Dothan wrote: Almost lost my calm I could not find elusive Tom. Afraid he might be on the grill Of Elberta’s Café Roadkill But was relieved he got away By hiding in their buffet tray. Congratulations to Pattie Presley of Moulton for being chosen as the correct guess winner. This month, we’ll try not to make it so hard to find a hidden Christmas tree. Happy hunting! By mail: Find the Dingbat Alabama Living PO Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 By email: dingbat@alabamaliving.com

Last month's turkey

Alabama Living

Historic documents on display

Visitors to the Alabama Department of Archives and History will have a rare opportunity in December to see all six of Alabama’s constitutions, on display at the archives in Montgomery through Dec. 31. The special bicentennial exhibition, “We the People: Alabama’s Defining Documents,” also features the 1861 ordinance of secession, which declared Alabama’s separation from the Union on the eve of the Civil War. The exhibition is curated and designed by the staff of the ADAH, where the documents permanently reside. Extensive conservation work was conducted on the documents by the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) in Andover, Mass. The Museum of Alabama will offer extended hours on Tuesday and Thursday evenings through Dec. 12. ADAH staff will offer gallery talks on these evenings beginning at 6 p.m. The ADAH’s Museum Store will also be open. More information is at wethepeoplealabama.org or call 334-3533312.

Alabama 4-H launches capital campaign

The Alabama 4-H Foundation recently announced its new capital campaign, “The Center of It All,” which focuses on expanding the infrastructure at the 4-H Center south of Birmingham. At the center, Alabama 4-H fulfills its mission of providing hands-on learning experiences, including science and camping programs, for the state’s young people. Members of 4-H are put on a wait list to attend signature overnight programs and events at the 4-H center due to lack of facility space. Recently, Alabama 4-H received a gift of 108 acres where the 4-H center is located; new dining facilities and dormitories will be built there to provide more opportunities for young people, and to help build sustainable revenue to support programs. For more information on the campaign or to make a donation, visit thecenterofitall.org or call 334-844-5536.

CORRECTION In the November issue, the photo on Page 18 of two outdoors enthusiasts canoeing was improperly credited. The photo was taken by Billy Pope, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

December 17, 1939

Singer Eddie Kendricks, the first lead tenor for the Temptations, was born in Union Springs. Formed in Detroit, Michigan, under Motown Records, the group’s original lineup featured three Alabama natives—Kendricks, Paul Williams, and Melvin Franklin—and became one of the most successful musical acts in history. Throughout their career, the group released fourteen Billboard R&B number-one singles, such as classics “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)” and “My Girl,” and won three Grammy Awards. Kendricks also released two number-one R&B singles as a solo artist—“Boogie Down”

The classic lineup of The Temptations in the 1960s consisted of (from left) David Ruffin, Otis Williams, Paul Williams, Melvin Franklin, and Alabamian Eddie Kendricks.

and “Keep On Truckin’.” Kendricks and the Temptations were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. encyclopediaofalabama.org/ article/h-2535 DECEMBER 2019 11


emories of bread back home shaped central Alabama baker By M.J. Ellington

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ostalgia for a taste of home may be the simplest explanation for how a classical pianist – who was completely at home on a Ukrainian concert stage – re-molded herself into a cottage industry European bread baker who now sells her artisanal creations to customers in central Alabama. During holiday season every year, Wild Yeast Kitchen bakery owner Yuliya Childers creates baked goods half a world away from her birth country. But for her own family’s special occasions, she likes to include special desserts from her childhood not readily available here. “My holiday table is a complex question,” says Childers, who grew up in Odessa, a cosmopolitan city on the Black Sea. Her family didn’t celebrate Christmas when she was growing up, but “made a huge deal out of New Year.” For Thanksgiving 2018, instead of a turkey, Childers made “a traditional English hot water crust pie” filled with a variety of meats and vegetables. “A whole holiday menu under one crust,” she says. “I was very proud of it.” For New Year’s celebrations growing up, Childers said her mom always made two desserts, one a custard-filled 8-12 layer crust Napoleon cake that is moist and not heavy with sugar. “I still make it occasionally for my family’s most special events. It’s a several hours feat, which is totally worth the time,” she says. The other cake was usually a walnut meringue cake, her grandmother’s recipe.

Yuliya Childers’ first-ever sale at the Prattville Farmers’ Market in June 2016.

12 DECEMBER 2019

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A country sourdough bread Yuilya Childers baked while at the San Francisco Baking Institute

A Russian Napoleon cake. Its original form hails from France, but Russians developed their own version that features many individually rolled layers and a thick custard.

New York-style sourdough bagels.

A cross-section of one of Yuliya Childers’ croissants shows off the light, flaky layers.

One of Yuliya Childers’ pretty sourdough breads. Alabama Living

PHOTOS COURTESY 2019 OF YULIYA DECEMBER 13CHILDERS


Old-world flavors

ropean bread have missed a different, complex taste that they will not forget.” Childers said her exploration of traditional European baking began beSeeking a better life cause she missed European bread, and Childers, her mother and sister fled “I wanted to see if I could replicate it.” Odessa for hopes of a better life in At the time, she lived in Atlanta and the U.S. in a period of Ukrainian govworked in information technology, A decorative brioche bread Yuliya Childers made for ernmental conflict and depression, first on the Sports Illustrated website a silent auction. This photo was featured in the Bread Bakers’ Guild of America 2018 Calendar for the month with little job opportunity and dwinand later on PGA and NBA websites of November. dling supplies in stores. Once in the for Turner Broadcasting Co. U.S., they lived first in Maryland, near Washington, D.C. There, Childers could not find the kind of bread she remembered Childers gave some classical piano performances and worked as growing up. Relatives and friends suggested ways to find the right an accompanist, using the skills she’d studied in Odessa from age flours and other supplies to make the bread she wanted to replicate. 5 through 24. She also worked as a computer programmer for a When she decided to bake her breads professionally, she named communications firm. her business Wild Yeast Kitchen after the naturally occurring leavWhile music had been her passion in Odessa, computers proening in the grain that causes the dough to rise slowly. The process vided her main livelihood here while she took steps to become a gives complex flavors and robust texture to her breads, much like naturalized U.S. citizen. Classical music continues to be part of her the ones she remembers from Odessa. life, as she still plays piano and sings in her church choir in PrattWhen Childers was growing up, she said, she went on frequent ville and in the Montgomery Chorale. shopping trips to local bakeries near her home. Her family would As Childers’ baking business continues to evolve, she describes leave the bakery with bread so fresh it was still warm, fragrant and the careful steps she took to study the best baking supplies and ready to share at a meal. recipes. Like the process involved in allowing breads to rise slowly, Childers began baking for her husband and daughter while they Childers takes her business development one small step at a time. were in Atlanta. She brought her passion for baking when the famiIn summer 2018, she spent 11 weeks at the San Francisco Baking ly moved to Prattville in 2011 and began selling her breads in 2016. Institute, earning a diploma in the Bread and Viennoiserie ProShe bakes breads, scones, croissants and specialty items – infessional Training Program in recognition of her skill in baking cluding chocolate babka, and breads resembling works of art – artisan bread and pastry using yeast-leavened dough. that she sells on Saturdays at Montgomery Curb Market. She does “I wanted to see if I could live a baker’s hours,” Childers said of home delivery to customers who order ahead in the Prattville and the very early morning baking schedules kept by most small bakMillbrook areas. eries. She found that she could and saved money for the course Her long-term goal is to establish a commercial kitchen with a and the weeks living on the West Coast. She said her husband and large commercial oven so she can bake much more at once. Such a 12-year-old daughter have been very supportive about her develkitchen could put an end to the 20-hour workday she spends withoping business. out sleep now before her weekly bread sales day in Montgomery. The next long-term step will be to establish the commercial She wants to expand to other farmer’s markets. kitchen. She hopes the commercial kitchen will effectively take “Yuliya has a passion for safe, good food that is part of her bakthe business out of the house, enabling her to scale up production ing,” said Kathy Quinn, a registered pharmacist and trained herbwhile “taking the bread quality to the next level.” alist whose Lost Creek Herbs booth is next to Childers’ booth at Childers’ careful, deliberate small steps for an evolving career the curb market. are characteristic of the way she approaches life’s challenges, Quinn “I’m on the same trajectory as Yuliya,” Quinn says. “I try not to says. “We have a gem in Alabama.” eat any bread other than Yuliya’s and I try to know the source of Learn more at wildyeastkitchen.com where my food comes from. People who aren’t familiar with Eu-

Oatmeal and Molasses Muffins 1 ½ ¾ 2 ½ ½ 2 ½ 1/3 1/3 1

cups white whole wheat or all-purpose flour cup cracked or rolled oats teaspoons baking powder teaspoon salt cup molasses large eggs cup coconut oil (or butter) cup raisins cup seeds (I used a blend of sunflower and pumpkin) zest of ½ orange cup (or a bit more) whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease muffin tin thoroughly. Sift flour and add all dry ingredients to it in a bowl. Mix well. Add molasses, lightly beaten eggs and melted coconut oil or butter. Add ½ cup of milk at first and stir very thoroughly until batter is smooth and non-lumpy. Add raisins, seeds and orange zest at this point and stir again. Now keep adding milk in small quantities until batter reaches the consistency of pancake batter (thick buttermilk or thin yogurt). Distribute batter evenly between muffin tin cups. It should fill the cups to about 2/3 or ¾ capacity. Sprinkle additional seeds on top of the batter just for looks. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until knife or toothpick inserted into a muffin come out clean. Recipe and photo courtesy of Yuliya Childers 14  DECEMBER 2019

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Alabama Living

DECEMBER 2019  15


‘Twas the night before Christmas … for ‘Alabama Living’ readers

Besides being Santa’s busiest day of the year, Christmas Eve for many families holds a special religious or cultural significance. While children are more interested in leaving notes and treats (ones not otherwise consumed by hungry grown-ups) for St. Nick, those old enough to have an appreciation for family and tradition look forward to a candlelight service or a midnight Mass, a reading of the Christmas story, a small gift exchange or perhaps a special meal. We asked readers to share their Christmas Eve traditions. Consider creating a new one this year for your friends and/or families. – Allison Law ILLUSTRATION BY CHYNA MILLER

Some of the submissions were edited for length or clarity.

Christmas beach tree

In 1982, we were expecting our first and only child. We were able to take a vacation and some three-day weekends every year. Wherever we were, our tradition was to buy a unique, sometimes custom-made, Christmas tree ornament. As the years went by our tree became a personal tree. As my son was growing up, he would gently take one ornament at a time off the tree, ask about it and look at the date on the bottom. As he got older, he would remember with the excitement of buying an ornament to go on the tree. We passed the special ornaments on to him and his family. In 2014 my son moved to Elberta, Ala., and my wife and I retired to Gulf Shores. We started what we call the Christmas Beach Tree. We are truly beach people and spend many waking hours playing along our Gulf Coast. Our tree is collecting unique ornament from our travels across our southern states. On Christmas eve, our new step grandson takes each ornament off the tree and asks about the date and where it came from. This is a true case of history repeating itself and we enjoy every minute of it. Mike and Cecilia Luna     Gulf Shores, Ala.

The Feast of Seven (or more) Fishes

For over 40 years we have celebrated our version of the Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner. Depending on where we lived, availability of fresh fish and seafood sometimes meant less than seven choices.  Since our arrival in LA (lower Alabama) we have exceeded seven. We have enjoyed anywhere from eight to 20 guests who anticipate the event yearly. Midnight Mass concludes our event. A great way to make family and friends a priority.  Donna Martray Baldwin EMC

16 DECEMBER 2019

Christmas at the cabin

Our Christmas Eve tradition started approximately 28 years ago, when our oldest sister invited all of us to her house for breakfast. We now meet in an old log cabin in Lawrence County, where we have a meal every first Saturday of the month. We begin decorating our cabin about a week after Thanksgiving; we use traditional decorations using stringed popcorn and handmade ornaments. On Christmas Eve, we get started very early in the morning to cook the breakfast, which we cook on an old wood-burning stove. Our menu consists of about 200 biscuits, ham, sausage, bacon, eggs by the dozens, sausage gravy, tomato gravy and homemade jams and jellies and coffee by the gallons. We invite all our friends as well as family, and at times we have around 100 to attend. The sisters always greet our guests on the front porch, wearing their red and white gingham aprons and Santa hats and repeating the old phrase “Christmas Eve Gift,” which we learned from our Daddy. Millie Waldrop

The pickle in the tree

My children and grandchildren come to my house on Christmas Eve. For years I have had a ceramic dill pickle that I hide on my tree. It was told that whoever found the pickle would get an extra gift. Everyone gets one minute to look, but you cannot touch the tree. They keep taking turns until it is found. Sometimes it is easy to find and sometimes not so easy. Whoever finds it gets money. When it gets found before everyone gets a turn, sometimes I have to hide it again. The kids all love it, but the grownups do, too. Even before Christmas when they come to the house they start looking and want to know if I have hidden the pickle yet. So I have to wait until the last minute before they come for Christmas. Linda Dycus North Alabama EC www.alabamaliving.coop


Family sleepover

Celebrating Czech heritage

Every Christmas Eve, my family gathers to spend the night at the home of my grandparents, Hershel and Sarah Scott (Granny and Papaw). This includes grandparents, siblings and spouses, aunts, uncles, cousins and spouses, and great-grandchildren. A total of 22 spend the night. I remember as a child writing Santa a letter on Christmas Eve, reminding him to drop our presents off at Granny and Papaw’s house. Today, we enjoy eating Christmas goodies and watching the kids play together. Every year before bedtime, a family member reads the Christmas story from the Bible. We gather around the fireplace, sing carols and thank God for another Christmas together. Everyone prepares their beds, sleeping bags and air mattresses for the night. Everyone sleeps upstairs because Santa delivers presents downstairs. This tradition has been around since my parents married 40 years ago. As a child, I always wondered how Santa delivered all those gifts to 22 people. Now, it’s a tradition I share with my husband and boys.

My mother had Czechoslovakian heritage and each Christmas Eve, she made Sauerkraut and Mushroom soup. I still make it each Christmas Eve as well. Before you cringe, it is quite good and to me, seems similar to Chinese sweet and sour soup. She called it simply:

Slovak Christmas Soup 2 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon flour Dash paprika 1 cup cold water 4 cups boiling water 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon pepper  1 cup cooked or dry mushrooms  ¾ cup sauerkraut and juice Optional: You can also add noodles cut in squares. (I leave them out)  Brown the flour and butter in small frying pan until brown. Add paprika and cold water, boil until dissolved. Add that mixture to the boiling water, salt and pepper. Add mushrooms, sauerkraut and juice. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add noodles if you like. 

Nicole Bolton Thorsby, Ala.

Rose Rush Talladega, Ala.

Christmas Gift!

Lasagna, cookies and gifts

I was raised playing “Christmas Eve Gift!” and “Christmas Gift!” My paternal grandfather’s family passed on this fun tradition, which is believed to have originated from a nanny and was part of her culture. We are told that in olden days people would fill their pockets with candy or nuts on Christmas Eve. The first to greet the other with “Christmas Eve Gift!” would a receive a candy or nut. Now, after many decades, the fun is in the “getting.” Long ago we dispensed with the candy, nuts or even a gift – but there’s no less joy. Earning “I got you!” bragging rights brings forth joyous squeals and laughter. Diane Taylor Aman Dothan, Ala.

Granna’s Lasagna recipe (courtesy of Nita Walker) Lasagna: 3 2 2 3 2 24 1

pounds ground hamburger meat teaspoons minced garlic tablespoons dried basil tablespoons salt quarts homegrown tomatoes with juice ounces tomato paste small can tomato sauce

Cook the hamburger meat and drain well. Add other ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Filling: 6 6 1½ 4 1 2

eggs cups cream-style cottage cheese cups Parmesan cheese tablespoons parsley flakes teaspoon pepper teaspoons salt

Alabama Living

Several years ago, I broke Christmas tradition and began cooking lasagna for my family’s Christmas dinner. The key is home-grown tomatoes instead of canned. We have a salad and cheese garlic bread with the meal. One of our traditions is to allow the grandchildren to open one small gift before we eat our food. They are so excited. We also donate clothing or shoes to a child in need. Teaching children to give and share is so important. In addition to these traditions, we also sing Christmas carols. They have enjoyed singing, “O Christmas Tree.” I cut out pieces of large cardboard to make Christmas trees out of. I decorate them with candy canes and paint snow on each one. Then, a hole is cut where they place their faces while singing “O Christmas Tree.” I top the tree with a star, moon and sometimes a snowman hat. We build memories. Then they return to their homes to await the arrival of Santa Claus. Nita Walker Vinemont, Ala.

Other ingredients:

1 box lasagna noodles 2 pounds mozzarella cheese

Mix filling ingredients and place in refrigerator until ready to use. In a four-quart pot, bring 3 quarts water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon oil. Add one box lasagna noodles and cook according to directions. Layer the strips of noodles in a greased 13 by 9 baking dish. Top noodles with half of the cheese filling. Add 1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese. Spread ½ of the meat sauce over the cheese. Repeat layers. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. Lasagna can be made the day before and refrigerated; in this case, bake about 1 hour.

DECEMBER 2019 17


The Princess’ neon lights are a welcoming sight in downtown Decatur. PHOTO BY JEAN FRANK

Princess Theatre’s visual splendor continues to charm audiences By Aaron Tanner

T

he Princess Theatre, which turns 100 this year, is the crown jewel of downtown Decatur. The premier multi-function community arts center showcases films, concerts, and performances from local and national acts in its 677seat auditorium, hosts private events and features a listening room for live music. Initially a location for a livery where horses were parked while patrons shopped downtown, the Princess opened in 1919 showcasing vaudeville acts and silent films. As movies with sound became popular, a decision was made by the owner to remodel the Princess in 1941 into a theater that showed those types of films. “When ‘talkies’ came in, the Princess came into her own as the premier movie house in North Alabama and beyond,” communications director Melissa Ford Thornton says. The Princess’ sleek, elegant Art Deco style, which swept across Europe and the U.S. during the 1920s and ’30s, made the theater an attractive place for people to imitate the glamor of movie stars by dressing up for a night on the town. The bright neon marquee, now an icon of the region, preserved façade and historic lobby, featuring tiles made of the same type of Italian stone used on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, are stunning visual reminders of the theatre’s early years. “The aura that art deco displayed was sophisticated,” Thornton says. As indoor shopping malls and multi-

18 DECEMBER 2019

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The Blind Boys of Alabama are one of many national acts that have performed at the Princess. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PRINCESS THEATRE

screen cinemas with surround sound became popular across America during the 1970s, along with movie channels on TV, many cities saw the bulk of their business shift from downtown to the suburbs. In 1978, the Princess fell victim to this trend and closed. “The rise of malls as the new shopping standard hit theatres and performing arts centers hard nationwide,” Thornton says. Fortunately, the Princess avoided demolition as city officials and the community raised funds to restore the theatre. In 1983, the Princess reopened as a multiuse performing arts center, allowing a new generation of residents to experience excellent entertainment. “There is a love for this place,” Thornton exclaims.

The energy of downtown

Today, the Princess and downtown Decatur are thriving, thanks to the creation of an arts and entertainment district. Merchants are experiencing increased foot traffic, thanks to cooperation be-

tween businesses and the theatre. “Downtown Decatur has had a breath of fresh air blown into its lungs,” says technical director Penny Linville, who has been with the Princess since 1990. The Princess and downtown Decatur have become a hub for entertainment, due in part to younger generations looking for authentic, rather than cookie-cutter, manufactured experiences. An example is the theatre’s monthly singer-songwriter series. During the event, the audience is up-close and personal with the artist where music is the focus while the musician tells their story. “The veil between the singer and the audience is torn,” Thornton says. The Princess is an economic boom for downtown Decatur due to the singer-songwriter series and other live shows held at the theatre. Those from out of town often stay at nearby hotels when attending concerts featuring nationally touring acts, such as when recording artists Drive-by Truckers and Larkin Poe performed earlier this year. Sometimes the performers mingle with guests after a show at downtown restaurants. “There is a huge spirit of conviviality between cast, crew, and patrons,” says Carol Puckett of the Bank Street Players, who regularly perform at the Princess. “Getting the Princess returned to the central heartbeat of the Second Avenue commercial district has had a ripple effect in all the nearby businesses.” With help from local college students, Decatur will be getting additional exposure with a live-recorded podcast from the Princess, promoting artists performing that week at the theatre, the Alabama Center for the Arts and elsewhere in the area – along with news from the ConvenLarkin Poe rocked a full house at the Princess Theatre this past summer. PHOTO BY JEAN FRANK

Alabama Living

Original costume worn by a child who tap danced between shows at the Princess Theatre in the 20s. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PRINCESS THEATRE

tion and Visitors Bureau. “We want to talk about collaboration and cooperation, not competition,” Thornton says. Another way the Princess is involved in the community is through various arts education workshops for different age groups. Thornton is especially delighted when younger students create and showcase a performance before an audience through teamwork. “Having the children step into the spotlight for the first time and having people clap for them is an amazing experience,” Thornton says. Throughout its long history, the Princess has brought the community together through the power of performing arts. Many who grew up in Decatur have fond memories of the theatre, from a first kiss to riding bikes down to the theatre as a child to catch a film. “The Princess captures the essence of the old and new,” Thornton says. “It’s a testament to history, a catalyst for change and a meeting space in between.” The Princess has several special fundraising events upcoming to commemorate its 100th anniversary. For more information about the Princess Theatre, or to get tickets for events, visit princesstheatre. org. DECEMBER 2019  19


The city of

Enterprise continues to persevere By Emmett Burnett

I

n the heart of downtown, a majestic maiden lifts a prize overhead. Outstretched hands hold a big, black bug. It is the world’s only tribute to an insect pest, in a city just as unique – Enterprise, Ala. The Boll Weevil Monument turns 100 on Dec. 11, 2019. In town, Beetle-mania is everywhere and rightly so. For in Coffee County’s largest city, Anthonomus grandis is not a creepy-crawly. It is the bug of benevolence. The statue symbolizes gratitude to a 6-legged foe turned friend. In the late 1800s boll weevils marched from Mexico, destination Alabama. Cotton was its all-you-can-eat buffet, and the swarm was unstoppable. Farmers grimly waited their turns – except in Enterprise. “But initially, growers did not embrace change,” notes Douglas Bradley, president of the Pea River Historical and Genealogical Society. “With cotton’s boll weevil invasion, we had two choices: diversify crops or cease farming.” In 1913 after witnessing the demise of Texas cotton fields, Coffee County agent John Pittman assumed the role of Paul Revere, warning Enterprise, “The boll weevils are coming! Change  your ways!” Meanwhile, local businessman H.M. Sessions explored agriculture outside Alabama and returned with the promise of peanuts. Cotton farmers eventually took heed, planting alternative crops, including peanuts, just in time. By 1915, boll weevils had devoured the region, eating 60 percent of cotton production.  But by 1917 Coffee County produced more peanuts than any other county in the U.S. In appreciation of the creature that made it happen, on Dec. 11, 1919, the Boll Weevil Monument was unveiled in tribute. “There is a positive message in that statue,” says Enterprise’s director of tourism, Tammy Doerer, pointing at the display standing 13 ½ feet above street level. “It illustrates how open minds willing to cooperate with new ideas accomplished great things.” The spirit continues. 20 DECEMBER 2019

‘Small’ ideas

Enterprise has the world’s smallest St. Patrick’s Day Parade – one person. “I loved it,” says grand marshal and solitary entry, Sean Roehler. “People lined up to watch.” The parade starts at the town courthouse and loops around the Boll Weevil Monument and back. “Including stops for photographs and handshakes, takes about 15 minutes,” recalls Roehler. “Absolutely I would do it again, except I want others to participate and enjoy as much as I did.” Erin Grantham, president of the Enterprise Chamber of Commerce explains, “Our city encompasses lots of small things. We have a small pest, the smallest parade, and a very small race.” She refers to the city’s Half-K Run, covering about 547 yards. “Our last .5 event had about 400 participants,” Grantham says. “There were conventional racers along with moms pushing baby strollers, people in wheelchairs, and people of all ages.” St. Patrick’s Day Parade participant Roehler ran the race too – donned in his Irish kilt. Mayor William “Bill” Cooper notes, “Enterprise is different from other cities because of our military base proximity. We have Ft. Rucker (U.S. Army) personnel with roots from all over America in town. Such a diverse mix demands diverse services and we give it to them.” Here’s something insiders know and the rest of us should: Enterprise has professional quality theater and wonderfully seasoned food. Southern Broadway, a dinner theater, combines both. The repurposed 1902 former drugstore and barber shop runs sold-out performances. “We seat 80,” says co-owner and set designer Susan Gilmore, preparing sets for the next performance of “The Depot.” “Everybody does everything, we even cook the food onsite.” Plays are also homegrown, written by co-owner Lydia Dillingham. According to patrons, Southern Broadway is comparable to that other Broadway, up north somewhere. www.alabamaliving.coop


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DECEMBER 2019 21


Other adventures in art are available at the Performing Arts Center, for plays, ballets, musicals and more. Enterprise’s eateries border on artistic too. The Rawls Restaurant is a Main Street must. The former opulent hotel now housing the eatery and bar was built in 1902. Chef Bill Schleusner and wife Daphne came onboard 107 years later. It’s about time. The Rawls’ offerings are abundant and include sautéed grouper, listed in the state Tourism Department’s “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama.” Or request a signature drink – “The Evil Weevil” - a bourbon-based mixture topped with floating happy local peanuts. “Our restaurant is a continuation of this fine old building,” Chef Schleusner says. “We are honored to be its next torch bearers for those to enjoy good food.” Many local restaurants obtain produce where everybody else does – the farmers’ market. Forty-plus vendors offering fresh fruits, vegetables, and crafts are available three mornings a week all year. “We can’t really track our attendance numbers,” market director Kay Kirkland notes. “But a thousand or more is not uncommon during special events.”

Clockwise from top, Enterprise Mayor William “Bill” Cooper; Rawls restaurant coowners Daphne and Chef Bill Schleusner; Enterprise High School’s Memorial is in memory of 8 students and one nearby resident who died from the deadly tornado on March 1, 2007. Each pillar includes the students’ image and memories – including “band member,” “cheerleader” and others; The Rawls Restaurant building dates to 1902. PHOTOS BY EMMETT BURNETT

Remembering history

In the early 1900s the Enterprise Train Depot was here. Today it is a museum. “This puts history in perspective,” says Diane Napoli, Depot Museum director, as we walk across original 1902 wooden floor planks. “It’s a quiet remembrance of where Enterprise has been.” Across town is another quiet remembrance. A memorial stands on a school campus. It pays tribute to 8 students and a nearby resident who died March 1, 2007 when a 170 mph tornado stuck Enterprise High School. Pillars of brick, each with a heartbreaking image of a teenage victim, are permanent reminders of that tragic day. The inscription reads in part: “The loss of 9 precious lives left an endearing mark on our community and on our hearts.” The town vowed to never forget the victims lost as it persevered in the aftermath. Enterprise has always survived adversity, hardship, and sorrow. The tornado memorial quotes Adlai Stevenson, “It’s not the years in your life but the life in your years that counts.” Perhaps the words also exemplify the city that defied adversity and prospered. For Enterprise is strong. Boll Weevil strong. 22  DECEMBER 2019

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Alabama Living

DECEMBER 2019  23


| Alabama People |

Jack Hawkins

Man of Troy Dr. Jack Hawkins celebrated 30 years as chancellor of Troy University this year, making him the longest serving university president in the country. The Mobile native earned degrees at the University of Montevallo, served with the Marines in the Vietnam War, was an assistant dean at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and president of the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind before joining Troy in 1989. In those 30 years, Troy changed its name, moved to NCAA Division 1-A athletics and invested $400 million in new and modernized facilities. Hawkins took some time recently to talk to us about his tenure there. – Lenore Vickrey The average tenure of a college president is about 6.5 years. What’s your secret? I tell students I don’t want them to have a job after they graduate from Troy, which really gets their attention. Then I tell them I want them to have a cause that becomes their commitment and that becomes their career. My advice to them is based on personal experience, as my commitment to Troy University became my career. My secret is simple: After falling in love with this University, Janice and I couldn’t picture ourselves doing anything else. What’s been your proudest moment in those 30 years? Personally, my proudest moments were seeing my daughters Katie and Kelly receive their Troy diplomas. However, if I had to choose one professional moment, it would have to be Friday, December 7, 2007, when the Alabama Commission on Higher Education granted approval for Troy University to offer its first doctoral degree, the doctorate in nursing practice. We have added two Ph.D. programs since then. Thanks to your leadership, Troy is now known as Alabama’s International University. Why is that important? From the start of this journey internationalization was a major part of our vision. In the inaugural address in 1990, I shared my belief that by 2000 our university would no longer be regional in nature. It would become international in outreach. A key component of this educational experience is interaction with classmates from other nations. If you understand people unlike yourself – people from other cultures, speaking different languages – then you can develop an appreciation for those people on a personal level. At that point, true and lasting relationships can develop. In 1990 we enrolled only 40 international students. Today our students come from 80 nations. Further, this past year we sent more than 50 study-abroad delegations to 34 countries.

In 2008, Troy was the first U.S. university to award a college degree in Vietnam. Having served as a platoon leader in the Vietnam War, that must have been an emotional trip for you. When I left Vietnam in 1969 I never envisioned I would return. Returning to Vietnam in 2002 was a profound personal experience. My earlier time in-country had a major impact on my life, so you can imagine re-entering the country brought back a wave of memories and emotions. However, apart from the personal aspect, I knew that establishing degree programs in Vietnam was the right thing for Troy to do. In 2002 we established teaching programs in Hanoi and in Ho Chi Minh City. The Vietnamese people covet a degree from a U.S. university, and teaching overseas has been a hallmark of Troy. On Feb. 28, 2008 Troy University became the first American university to award the bachelor’s degree in Vietnam. Today, I am proud we have more than 1,000 alumni working and leading in Vietnam. Do you have a favorite spot on campus? Yes. The Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park is a beautiful and contemplative spot. Janice has done so much for Troy University besides being a gracious first lady. She has made major contributions to the beauty of the campus. She was instrumental in creating our Troy for Troops program, which serves our military and veteran students. Her commitment to the fine arts led to the transformation of an old dining hall into a beautiful arts center. And, she has been an advocate for studyabroad programs. Plus, she does so much behind the scenes that is invaluable to Troy. At age 74, you could have retired years ago, yet you recently signed a new fouryear contract. What are your goals for those years? We are working on the creation of a new Center for Materials and Manufacturing Services, which will conduct research in polymer science. We are working closely with KW Plastics in Troy, the largest plastics recycler in the world, in this area. We also want to work to increase the employability potential for every graduate by requiring an internship in every discipline. Continued internationalization is important. I want to see every Troy student have a studyabroad experience, and we award every student who studies outside of the U.S. a $1,000 scholarship to defray expenses. I would like to see a health sciences and technology facility to house nursing and allied health programs, as well as our School of Science and Technology. These are and have been exciting times…but for Troy University, the best is yet to be! be! PHOTO BY MARK MOSELEY, TROY UNIVERSITY

24 DECEMBER 2019

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Alabama Living

DECEMBER 2019  25


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December crossword Our December crossword puzzle will put you in the Christmas spirit! So make a cup of hot cocoa, put your feet up and your glasses on, and enjoy! Let us know what you think at letters@alabamaliving.coop. Answers on Page 45. Across 1 Famous present giver 4 One of the Christmas reindeer 8 Tomato Pie and Pork on Greens and Grits, for example 9 Was compassionate 11 __ and behold! 12 Alabama neighbor, abbr. 13 Color of Santa’s suit 15 “Jingle ___” song 19 He guided the sleigh 21 Scrooge’s outburst, “___ humbug” 25 Yellowfin tuna 26 Tea variety 27 Santa’s helpers 31 Harry Potter, for one 33 Alabama river 37 Crimson Tide or Tigers for example 38 She’s lazy in the kitchen? 39 Noted Snowman

28  DECEMBER 2019

Down 1 Present transport 2 Cashews or almonds 3 Had some turkey 4 Upscale 5 Rainbow shape 6 Joyful song 7 Went on horseback, e.g. 10 Whole shebang 14 Call forth 16 Popular TV drama 17 Aquatic rodents common in Alabama 18 Santa comes down it 20 Apple or pecan 21 Leadoff batter’s success, 2 words 22 Expression of relief 23 Cumin and cardamom 24 Traveling vehicle, for short 28 Zodiac sign 29 And so on 30 Breakfast meat 32 Wide shoe fitting 34 Tax that led to the party in Boston 35 Light brown colored 36 Sale abbreviation www.alabamaliving.coop


| Around Alabama ten live scenes celebrating the time before, during and after the birth of Christ. 251-714-0513.

13-14

Troy, Ole Time Christmas at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama, 6 to 8 p.m. Colorful decorations, holiday treats, storytelling, ornament making, Christmas music, Santa and Mrs. Claus and more. Adults $10; seniors $9; students $8; members and children 5 and under free. 334-5663597 or pioneer-museum.org.

14

The three-year Alabama Bicentennial celebration ends this month. (contributed photo)

All

month Mobile, Magic Christmas in Lights at Bellingrath Gardens and Home. The dazzling nighttime display features more than 1,100 set pieces, 3 million lights and 15 scenes, set in a walking tour throughout the 65-acre estate. 251-459-8973 or bellingrath.org .

with the play at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday is a matinee only at 2:30 p.m. Play is $15, dinner is $15. 334-738-8687 or info@reddoortheatre.org.

6-8

Montgomery, Governor ’s Mansion holiday candlelight tours, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. These self-guided tours are free, but tickets are required and available at the Governor’s Mansion gift shop across the street. 334-834-3022.

Montgomery, 49th Annual Montgomery Gem, Mineral and Jewelry Show. Garrett Coliseum, 1555 Federal Drive. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Beads, crystals, geodes, gemstones, tools, mineral and fossil specimens and more. Adults $2 or $3 for weekend pass; 18 and under free with student ID and one paid adult ticket.

5-7

7

2, 9, 16

Fairhope, Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network (ASAN) 2019 Food and Farm Forum and Youth Food and Farm Forum. This statewide, grassroots network of farmers, gardeners, community leaders and good food advocates convene to swap stories, ideas and wisdom to help build a more robust local food system in Alabama. Camp Beckwith, 10400 Beckwith Lane. Asanonline.org/ forum19 or call 256-743-0742.

5-8

Union Springs, “A Doublewide, TX, Christmas,” Red Door Theatre, located at Prairie Street and U.S. 82. In this comedy, it’s Christmastime in the newest – and tiniest – town in Texas, and it’s beginning to look a lot like trouble in Doublewide. Thursday through Saturday, dinner is 6 to 7 p.m.

Bridgeport, Citizens United for a Better Bridgeport (CUBB) Christmas Parade begins at 11:30 a.m. in the downtown area. The theme is “America the Beautiful.”

7

Millbrook, Christmas Market on the Village Green, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Village Green Park. Spirit of Christmas Parade begins at 2 p.m. (rain date is Dec. 8) at the Smokehouse on Main Street. Arts and crafts, food vendors and entertainment from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 334-285-7231 or search MillbrookSpirit on Facebook.

8

Cullman, Christmas Tour of Homes presented by the Share Club of Cullman, 1 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 each; proceeds will go to Good Samaritan Clinic, Hospice of Cullman and Cullman Caring for Kids.

8

Dothan, Victorian Christmas at Landmark Park, 1 to 4 p.m. Annual open house with hot chocolate, apple cider, Christmas music, a church service by a circuit riding preacher, wagon rides, crafts and a visit with Santa. Visitors encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to donate to the food bank. Landmarkparkdothan.com.

8

Tuscumbia, Plantation Christmas at Belle Mont, 1 to 5 p.m. Traditional live decorations, period Christmas music, vintage ballroom dancing and refreshments. Costumed docents will be in place throughout the mansion, built circa 1828, to explain its history. $6 adults, $3 ages 6-12, 5 and under free. 256-381-5052 or visit bellemontmansion.org.

11-15

Opelika, Victorian Front Porch Christmas Tour. Sixty homes in the town’s historic district are decorated with life-size Santas, angels, toys, carousel horses and Christmasthemed figures. Self-directed driving tour, but on Saturday evening, North 8th and 9th streets are closed to traffic so visitors can enjoy the homes up close and listen to carolers and characters in Victorian attire. OpelikaVictorianFrontPorchTour. com.

13-14

Frisco City, 10th annual live Nativity from 6 to 8 p.m., 200 School St. Free hayride, or drive yourself through

To place an event, e-mail events@alabamaliving.coop. or visit www.alabamaliving.coop. You can also mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; Each submission must include a contact name and phone number. Deadline is two months prior to issue date. We regret that we cannot publish every event due to space limitations.

Alabama Living

Montgomery, Bicentennial culmination. The grand finale of Alabama’s three-year bicentennial celebration is a free, daylong event that begins at 10 a.m. with a parade from Court Square Fountain. At noon, Gov. Kay Ivey will lead ceremonies that include the unveiling of Alabama Bicentennial Park on the State Capitol steps. The familyfriendly Bicentennial Festival begins at 1 p.m. with historical re-enactors, arts and crafts, games, performances (including talks, readings and dance), tours and open houses and special exhibits. And at 4 p.m. the concert and light show will feature popular musicians from Alabama. 334-2424537 or visit Alabama200.org.

14

Bay Minette, 37th annual Christmas Festival, Courthouse Square in downtown. Vendors, food, Santa photos, Christmas parade, ping pong prize drop, live music, children’s activities, entertainment and more. NorthBaldwinChamber.com.

14

Decatur, Historic Decatur Christmas Tour, 3 to 8 p.m. Homes in the Old Decatur and Albany Historic districts are open for public tours. Westminster Presbyterian Church, the tour headquarters, will have refreshments for ticket holders, a holiday market and handbells concert. DecaturChristmasTour. com.

14

Wetumpka, Christmas on the Coosa, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Food, arts and crafts all day; car show until 1 p.m.; street parade at 2 p.m.; wakeboarding Santa show at 4 p.m.; and fireworks at 6 p.m. 334567-5147.

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DECEMBER 2019 29

Al


| Worth the drive |

Family recipes

bring a taste of Italy to Athens By Lenore Vickrey

F

or nearly 13 years, Dan Oliver had enjoyed success owning and operating a popular Italian restaurant in Huntsville. So when property became available in downtown Athens, a town about 35 miles away, he decided it was time to branch out and open a second location of Terranova’s. “Athens is a wonderful, growing, caring community,” he says, “and they did not have an Italian restaurant, so when the situation presented itself, we were all in!” Terranova’s, located right on the city square, has been a hit with locals and visitors since it opened in June 2018. The most popular entrees are Italian specialties Chicken Marsala, Pasta Portofino (bowtie pasta sautéed in creamy sauce with smoked bacon, mushrooms and scallions), and Terranova’s Trio (Chicken Parmesan, lasagna and Fettuccine Alfredo), but the ribeye bistecca (a 12-ounce ribeye steak seasoned with Italian marinade) and grilled salmon have their fans as well. “All of the recipes, except for one, are my recipes,” says Oliver, who describes himself as the “chief cook and bottle washer.” “Believe me, I had a lot of ones that didn’t pan out, but the good ones stuck and are still kicking.” Not hungry enough for a full entrée? Terranova’s appetizers, soups or salads could fill you up. The corn-crab soup, full of sweet, sautéed corn, onions, peppers and blue crab claw meat is a house original. Fried green tomatoes are given an Italian twist with a bechamel sauce, mozzarella, and baked with a sweet red pepper and basil topping. Got room for dessert? There’s Italian cream pie, tiramisu, crème brulee and of course, cannoli.

Terranova’s Italian Restaurant 105 Jefferson St., Athens, AL 35611 256-800-8016 or 256-800-8061 Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday Terranovasrestaurant.com 30 DECEMBER 2019

Athens

Terranova’s building was built in the early 1900s to store cotton, Oliver was told, and was later used as a bowling alley after its cotton days were over. Oliver has decorated the exposed brick walls with a variety of architectural elements, from 1840s antique doors originally from Alexandria, Egypt, to an old wooden church register board and Italian directional road signs. Walk through the front side door into U.G. White Mercantile, an eclectic general store that’s been in business since 1917, when Athens was a hub for the cotton and railroad industries in Limestone County. Check out the homemade chocolate candy counter, get a U.G. White soft T-shirt, and take home a bar of homemade soap, a funky kitchen towel or jar of homemade pickles or fruit preserves. Why the name Terranova’s? Oliver borrowed it from one of his favorite TV shows. “It came from a TV series in the late 1980s called ‘Wiseguy,’” says Oliver. “It was a show that every episode built on the previous show. The lead actor was named Vinny Terranova, and he worked undercover for the OCB, the Organized Crime Bureau, and he would filter into organized crime families, gather info on the people and then finally at the end of the season, he would bring them all down and arrest them all. It was a truly awesome program with famous actors who are still acting (today).” Terranova’s is open every day but Mondays, for lunch on Sundays, and on weekend evenings, diners get a special treat. Local self-taught accordion player Brody Wilhelm, 15, entertains patrons with folk music and American classics. Brody, who’s been entertaining patrons since June, also plays xylophone in the James Clemens High School Marching Band in nearby Madison. “Brody is a pleasant, gifted and kind young man and his talents in music complement those characteristics,” says Oliver. “I believe it is a reflection of his wonderful, loving family.” Just one of the many reasons Terranova’s is worth the drive.

Ashton Parker is ready to serve canneloni, a popular pasta dish.

Spaghetti with meat sauce.

Terranova’s building dates to the early 1900s. www.alabamaliving.coop


Alabama Living

DECEMBER 2019  31


| Gardens |

Make soil the first crop to grow in 2020 T

his can be a tough month for gardeners who want to be outside digging in the dirt but know it’s too early in the season to grow much of anything. Luckily, there is something that can — and should — be grown right now and for months and years to come: soil. Can soil be grown? Definitely, because soil is a living entity that can be generated and regenerated. Should we grow soil? Absolutely, because we need soil, and it needs us. But why should we care so much about dirty old dirt? Because we’re not talking about dirt — we’re talking about a complex, interconnected natural resource that is critical to our existence. Soil, which forms the crust of our planet, exists in layers (or horizons), each of which provides its own unique ecosystem functions. The uppermost layer (topsoil) is the soil we want to grow because it is teeming with life. In that layer is an amalgamation of minerals, gasses, liquids, organic matter and living creatures (micro-organisms, worms, insects and small mammals) that work together to create and sustain one another and other life on Earth. Dirt, on the other hand (or foot), is the residue of mineral components in soil, which are not teeming with life. In other words, by itself, dirt is dead. Add the other ingredients, though, and you have soil, which is very much alive. Topsoil provides essential life-supporting services. For example, soil sustains plant growth, from which we, directly or indirectly, get our food. Soil also provides Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@gmail.com.

32 DECEMBER 2019

habitat for other creatures that play their own parts in the food chain and in ecological balance. In addition, soil has engineering functions that clean, capture and store water and clean our air and atmosphere. Though humankind has long appreciated the importance of soil and tried to protect it from erosion and degradation, more than half of the world’s topsoil has been lost during the past 150 years, and we continue to lose it at a rate of 36 billion tons per year globally. Just as we lose it, we need it even more to feed growing world populations but also to mitigate climate change. That’s because well-managed, healthy soils can capture (sequester) carbon and decrease greenhouse gas emissions, which are driving the rapid advance of climate change. Conversely, poorly managed and depleted soils release carbon into the atmosphere (as carbon dioxide, or CO2), which contributes to climate change. So, yes, we should grow soil, and we can do that in our very own yards and gardens. Here are a few simple ways to get started. • Keep soil covered, either with plants or mulches, to stop erosion and start building soil quality. • Disturb the least amount of soil possible by using minimum- or no-till practices and by planting perennials, including fruits and vegetables, rather than annuals, whenever possible. • Increase biodiversity by planting native species, rotating annual species and breaking up large areas of monocultured crops (including lawns). • Minimize soil compaction by reducing foot and vehicular traffic wherever possible and avoiding working soil when it’s wet.

• Build soil and improve soil quality by amending soil with organic matter (compost, for example) and planting legumes and other soil-building plants. • Test soil to determine its nutritional profile and needs, especially before adding fertilizers. These are just a few ideas on growing soil, an undertaking supported by a diverse array of organizations ranging from the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Environmental Protection Agency to the Union of Concerned Scientists, Green America and Kiss the Ground. To learn more, contact any (or all) of the organizations above, or search the Web using keywords such as “garden soil restoration,” “regenerative farming” and “green gardening.” Before long, you’ll be well on your way to growing soil, the most important crop for you and for the planet.

DECEMBER TIPS  Prune small limbs and suckers from

trees and shrubs but avoid heavy pruning until winter.  Clean fallen limbs, dead fruit and emerging weeds from garden beds, orchards and landscape areas.  Add mulch (1-2 inches deep) around tender plants and newly planted shrubs, trees and vines.  Plant shrubs, trees, spring-flowering bulbs and flowers.  Get a soil test and apply recommended soil amendments.  Clean and store garden tools and equipment.  Review garden notes and new seed and plant catalogues.

www.alabamaliving.coop


Alabama Living

DECEMBER 2019  33


| labama Recipes |

Twist Tradition on

BY JENNIFER KORNEGAY STYLING/PHOTOS BY BROOKE ECHOLS

Seafood Gumbo

Is your regular holiday menu getting a little stale? You can always freshen up a tradition without forgetting the meaning behind it.

34 DECEMBER 2019

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W

e throw around the word tradition a lot, and usually use it in a favorable light. That’s with good reason: It’s good to have customs and to remember old ways. It connects us to our history – both our collective and our personal pasts. Some wider traditions reinforce cultural ties; others are just for us and keep family bonds strong. Basically, at their best, traditions ensure good things keep going. But ritual can become routine, and in so doing, dull the very meaning that makes a tradition important. When we’re only going through the motions, the significance of the tradition may be lost. And at its worst, a tradition can hold us back, stop us from branching out and trying something new or from seeing something in a new way. If you only and always eat that one menu at every annual holiday meal, what else are you missing out on? What (or who, even) are you leaving out? These questions aren’t meant to suggest you should

forgo your traditions all together, stop making or quit eating your traditional holiday recipes. But consider adding one or two new dishes and giving the favorites a little twist or two. Shaking up a tradition doesn’t mean getting rid of it. It’s just breathing fresh life into it. Finding ways that traditions can be flexible, allowing them to evolve as we evolve, is the best way to keep a tradition going. And for traditions that really matter, the significance is in the spirit, not the specifics. When it comes to holiday meals, it’s more about togetherness than what’s on the table. With these ideas in mind, we invite you to think beyond the borders of your traditional feast (beloved though it may be) and try one of the “non-traditional” holiday recipes we got from readers this month. And in strictly keeping with the tradition of good ole Southern hospitality, we wish you and yours a very merry and bright holiday season (no matter what you’re eating).

Cook of the Month

Pamela Donahoe, Joe Wheeler EMC A few years ago, a terrible car accident left Pamela Donahoe with a brain injury. As part of her recovery, she began cooking more often. She was relearning how to speak, how to read and how to do math. “I started really basic, leaning on recipes that were favorites and that were familiar,” she said. One dish that checked both boxes is her Old Fashioned Chayote Casserole. “I learned to make it when I lived in Louisiana, and I love it because the chayote has a great texture but doesn’t have a strong flavor, so it is a fun veggie to play around with,” she said. “This casserole is a great way to use it, and you can add all kinds of things to it if you like. It’s really versatile.” She wanted to share the recipe since it’s not a common holiday dish in Alabama, and because it has such special meaning to her. “I thought people who’ve never had chayote would enjoy it,” she said. “And I just love the part it played in my recovery, and now that I’m doing so much better, I wanted to share it for that reason too.”

Old Fashioned Chayote Casserole Meat mixture: 6 chayote squash (aka: mirliton) 1 tablespoon butter 1 pound spicy Italian sausage 1 yellow onion, diced 1 tablespoon minced garlic Salt and pepper, to taste Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning to taste Binder: 2 eggs 1 cup milk Salt and pepper, to taste Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning (may substitute Tabasco and cayenne pepper, to taste) Topping: 2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs 3 tablespoons butter Lowry's Seasoned Salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil chayote (skin on) in enough water to cover them for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until fork tender. Drain and let cool. Do not blanch. Peel the skin. Cut in half lengthwise and remove the seed. Cut into ¼-inch dices. Discard any excess liquid. Sauté Italian sausage in 1 tablespoon butter until browned. Add onions and sauté until transparent. Add garlic, salt, pepper and Tony's to taste; stir and add chayote. Grease a 9x13-inch pan. Add mixture, gently pressing. Mix eggs, milk and seasonings. Pour over casserole. Lightly toast breadcrumbs in remaining butter for 1-2 minutes, being sure to incorporate butter into breadcrumbs. Pour breadcrumb mixture over casserole, lightly pressing. Lightly season entire surface of casserole with Lowry's Seasoned Salt. Cover with foil. Bake 1 hour. Remove foil and bake an additional 30 minutes or until top is golden brown.

(Ed. note: Be advised that for some persons, peeling raw chayote can cause skin irritation and some numbness in hands and fingers. You may want to peel them under cold running water or use gloves when handling.)

Alabama Living

DECEMBER 2019  35


Christmas Morning Crockpot Rotel Grits -2 pounds Velveeta cheese 1 1 can Rotel tomatoes 1 stick butter 1 pound Conecuh sausage 2 cups Jim Dandy quick-cooking grits 8½ cups water Salt, to taste

Seafood Gumbo

Stuffed Beef Tenderloin

4 2 2 2 2 3 3 1 2 2 1

1/4 pound beef tenderloin 3 6 ounces spinach 4 slices bacon, finely chopped 1 cup mushrooms, finely chopped 1/2 onion, finely chopped 1 cup provolone cheese, shredded 1 cup red wine (recommended: Pinot Noir) 1 cup beef stock 1 stick butter 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon garlic Salt and pepper, to taste

slices bacon, cut into small pieces tablespoons all-purpose flour medium onions, diced medium cube steaks 15-ounce cans tomatoes cloves garlic, diced small boxes frozen okra pound shrimp, shelled and deveined cups crab meat (fresh is best) sea trout or other mild fish package crab boil Salt, pepper, red pepper, and oregano to taste

Make Roux: Lightly oil a Dutch oven. Fry bacon until crispy. Remove bacon and reserve grease. (Bacon may be added back to finished gumbo) Add the flour and cook on low heat, stirring often, until roux is dark in color (the color of an old penny), but not burned. The secret to a good gumbo is in the roux. Add onions, cube steaks, tomatoes and garlic. Cook until cube steak falls apart and tomatoes are cooked down, about an hour. Add 2 cups water and okra. Bring back to a simmer. Add seafood, crab boil and seasonings. Cook slowly until flavors are blended and seafood is done. Kathy Skinner Tallapoosa River EC

Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Add olive oil and bacon, cook for 2 minutes. Add onion and mushrooms and cook 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high heat and add butter, garlic, beef stock, red wine, salt, pepper and spinach, and cook until spinach wilts. Using a sharp knife, slice beef tenderloin down the middle but not all the way through. Open up the tenderloin, cover with wax paper and pound it with a mallet until about ½- inch thick. Spread the mushroom onion mixture evenly over the beef and sprinkle the provolone cheese. Take one end and roll the beef, securing it with kitchen twine. Pour the liquid from the skillet into a casserole baking dish and place the rolled tenderloin in the center of the baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes on 450 degrees until the internal temperature of the beef is 125 degrees. Remove twine and cut across the grain to serve.

Cube Velveeta and place in Crockpot along with Rotel and butter. Turn heat on high. Cook Conecuh sausage and slice into bite-size pieces and add to the Crockpot. Cook grits according to package directions. Add cooked grits to Crockpot and simmer. Amy Miller Clarke-Washington EMC

Cheesy Chili Baked Potato Casserole 4 baking potatoes 16 ounces cheddar cheese 15 ounces canned chili 2 sticks butter 1 cup sour cream 1 cup Fritos corn chips 1/2 cup jalapeños, chopped Olive oil Salt and Pepper Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the 4 baking potatoes in a casserole dish and cover each potato with olive oil. Poke each potato with a knife and bake for 1 hour. When potatoes are soft cut each potato down the middle and open it. Cube the 2 sticks of butter and spread evenly over the potatoes. Layer 8 ounces of cheddar cheese, then the 8-ounce can of chili over potatoes and bake for 10 minutes. Top casserole with 8 ounces of cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped jalapeños and crumbled Fritos corn chips. Kirk Vantrease Cullman EC

Kirk Vantrease Cullman EC

36  DECEMBER 2019

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Try these twists on holiday favorites

Mac ‘n Cheese: Mince some pickled (or fresh) jalapenos and add to the cheese sauce for a kick.

$

Green Bean Casserole: Stir some cooked and crumbled bacon into the sauce and/or top the casserole with roasted pecans or walnuts for crunch instead of fried onions.

Roasted Veggies: Go sweet and spicy by tossing your potatoes, carrots, onions or other root veggies in a bit of oil, sriracha and brown sugar before baking.

50

Makes a great gift

prize and title of

the best of

of

Cook the Month

Themes and Deadlines: March: Peanut Butter | Dec. 13 April: Pimento Cheese | Jan. 10 May: Avocados | Feb. 7 Please send us your original recipes (developed or adapted by you or family members.) Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year.

3 ways to submit: Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: recipes@alabamaliving.coop Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 To be eligible, submissions must include a name, phone number, mailing address and co-op name. Alabama Living reserves the right to

Cornbread Dressing: Dice up and sauté some smoked sausage (like Conecuh Sausage) and mix it in before baking. Be sure to drain off the sausage’s grease first.

Cookbook

Christmas orders must be received by Dec. 13.

Mail order form and payment to: COOKBOOKS Best of Alabama Living Cookbook @ $19.95 EACH: (Shipping included) P.O. Box 244014 TOTAL Montgomery, AL 36124-4014 ENCLOSED: $

Name: Address: City:

State:

Zip:

reprint recipes in our other publications.

Phone Number:

Alabama Living

DECEMBER 2019 37


| Consumer Wise |

Bright ideas for smart home lighting By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen

Q:

I’ve heard a lot about smart lighting for the home. What is it, and will it save energy?

A:

It seems like every device is getting smarter these days. Since smarthome lighting is so new, many of us could use a little introduction. At its heart, smart lighting covers a range of bulbs, controls and lighting systems that are programmable through an app on a mobile device, computer or smart speaker. Smart lighting can do more than just turn on and off at the right time. Some smart lighting systems can dim at various times. Some can be connected to a sensor or motion detector so that a light goes on when a door is opened, or someone enters a room. Some smart lighting systems can change color so you can set up a holiday light show indoors or outdoors. It can also be practical, providing lighting that matches sunlight during the day and is more relaxing in the evening. You may even be able to play music directly from the bulb! In most cases, you control smart lighting through your home Wi-Fi. You can communicate to individual smart bulbs or to a hub that, in turn, controls individual bulbs. Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Write to energytips@collaborativeefficiency. com for more information.

Many smart lighting systems can be controlled through smart speakers like the Amazon Echo shown here. PHOTO COURTESY AMAZON

38  DECEMBER 2019

In some cases, you can use Bluetooth® on your phone to control smart lighting, but you’ll need to be within range of the bulb or hub. Smart lighting can also be used outdoors, but the range of your control device could limit this approach. If the smart bulbs are the type that connect through a hub or connect directly to your Wi-Fi network, you should be able to control them via smart speakers like Google Home, Amazon Echo or Apple HomePod, and remotely through the internet or smartphone. While a hub-based system is more expensive, it allows lights to be grouped by floor or room, and also uses less bandwidth on your network than running many separate bulbs. Some hub kits also allow you to use regular bulbs instead of requiring more-expensive smart bulbs, which could save you money. Will smart lighting save energy? That depends on how you light your home and control your lighting now, and on how you would control the smart lighting you install in the future. If you use smart lighting to turn lights off when they aren’t needed, like when rooms are empty or no one’s home, or to reduce the wattage, you will save energy.

How much can you save?

How much energy can you save? Lighting accounts for about 6% of electricity use in the average home, which means your total cost for all the lighting in your home might only be $100 per year. If you have some high wattage bulbs that are on for long periods of time every day, your light-

ing use could be significantly higher than average. Investments in smart lighting are not likely to pay back as quickly as some energy efficiency measures that control heating or air conditioning. Smart bulbs are more expensive than typical LED bulbs, ranging from $15 to $80, and a hub can cost of up to $125, so it could take a long time to make your money back. Chances are, you’re better off investing in smart lighting for the features than the energy savings. One alternative to smart lighting is smart wall outlets or wall switches. For example, you can plug a lamp with a standard bulb into a smart wall outlet, or you can have several lights wired to one smart switch. The downside to smart switches and outlets is that installation could be more challenging, and you may not have as many options and features that come with smart lighting. Another strategy for smart lighting that has been around for a long time and is reasonably priced is to use occupancy sensors, motion sensors or timers as control devices. The wide number of options and costs makes it difficult to select the best smart lighting for your situation. We suggest you do the research to make sure it’s worth your time and money to make the change. This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen of Collaborative Efficiency. For more information on smart lighting, please visit: www.collaborativeefficiency.com/energytips.

Wall-mounted smart tile lights, like the ones from Lifx shown here, can add mood lighting to your room. PHOTO

COURTESY LIFX

Smart lighting systems that run through a hub, like the Philips Hue shown here, can control all the lighting inside and outside your home. PHOTO COURTESY PHILIPS

www.alabamaliving.coop


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Alabama Living

DECEMBER 2019 39


| Outdoors |

Rabbit hunting makes for challenging fun

S

age. When they grow up, those hunters teach new generations. ome distance away, dogs erupted in excited howling as they On this frosty morning, my son Daniel and I joined James and jumped another cottontail. Tensing with anticipation and an his dad, Jim Sealy, Roy Shofner and Steve Byrd. I envisioned an adrenaline rush as the frantic ruckus rumbled closer to my easy hunt where dogs did all the work pushing rabbits out of dense position, I anticipated a quick shot. Surely, the rabbit would zip cover while I picked my shots. Instead, I spent most of my day right past me. chasing the dogs and trying to guess where a rabbit would burst Instead, it quietly slipped through high grass about 40 yards from cover. I never fired a shot, although other more, experienced behind me and disappeared into tall brush. With every carnivore rabbit hunters in our party did bag some bunnies. wanting a rabbit meal and little defense except speed and stealth, “Many times, people make the mistake of listening to the dogs cottontails know how to miraculously disappear into the most impenetrable briar patches, thickets, log piles and anything else that and trying to spot the rabbit right in front of the dogs, but the might conceal them from predators. rabbit will be way out in front of them,” says Larry Meeks, a rabbit hunter from Huntsville. “When rabbit hunters hear the dogs “A rabbit is hunted day and night from all kinds of predators heading toward them, they don’t really need to hide, but they need on land and from the air,” says James Sealy Jr. of Citronelle. “They to stop, keep quiet and are constantly trying to start looking for the rabavoid predators much bit. Hunters must keep more skilled than human alert. Rabbits are pretty hunters. They can see a sneaky.” person and disappear While most rabbit without that person ever hunters use dogs, sportsknowing it. Hunting rabbits with beagles is not men can sometimes bag as simple as one might one without canine help. think, but it’s a lot of fun.” Occasionally, a squirrel Because rabbits thrive or bird hunter jumps a in entangling cover, most cottontail. Some hunthunters turn to dogs for ers take turns smashing help. Trained beagles through thickets, kicking grass clumps or fallen can enter the roughest logs as their companthickets to flush rabbits. ions watch for anything However, dogs sniffing to bolt from the edges. out rabbits does not necessarily guarantee a shot. A pair of canvas pants Everyone who follows or leather chaps comes beagles loves shooting, Charles Koger watches his beagles to see if they pick up a rabbit scent during a hunt in handy when busting but most sportsmen take near Bay Minette, Ala. Many hunters use beagles to hunt rabbits because the small through thorny thickets. to the fields and forests dogs can go into the thickest cover where rabbits like to hide. For a really challenging hunt, carry a .22 rifle for fun and camaraderie. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER and walk along the edge Rather than sitting quiet, of a field, powerline or other opening at first or last light. A fresh still and alone in a tree all day, rabbit hunters spread out, talk and clear-cut or recently burned forest makes a great place to look for socialize while listening to the dogs howl. rabbits in low light. Rabbits frequently leave their protective cover “Rabbit hunting is a very social sport,” Sealy says. “Most rabbit to feed on tender new shoots at dawn or dusk. Some deer hunters hunters enjoy the company. They’ll take a person out and show sit in their stands overlooking food plots with scoped rifles waiting that person a good time. We get in competition with other hunters to pick off rabbits as they emerge from cover to feed. and tease each other, but it’s all in good fun. The camaraderie is Practically any wildlife management area in Alabama with what I enjoy most about hunting rabbits – that and hearing my thickets, fields, brush or similar habitat should hold rabbits. Some dogs!” better WMAs include Barbour near Clayton, Blue Spring near AnThe sport of chasing rabbits with beagles dates back hundreds of dalusia, Choccolocco near Heflin, Freedom Hills near Cherokee, years. European colonists brought the tradition to North America Geneva State Forest near Florala, Lowndes near White Hall, Mulcenturies ago. Most people probably began hunting rabbits by following their fathers, grandfathers or other relatives at a very young berry Fork near Tutwiler, Oakmulgee near Tuscaloosa, Perdido River near Gateswood and James D. Martin-Skyline near Scottsboro. John N. Felsher lives in Semmes, Ala. Contact him Rabbit season runs through March 8, 2020, with a daily limit of through Facebook. eight per person per day. Season dates and other regulations might differ on some public lands. 40  DECEMBER 2019

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DOUG HANNON’S FISH & GAME FORECAST 2019 DECEMBER

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3:54 - 5:54 4:42 - 6:42 5:30 - 7:30 6:18 - 8:18 7:06 - 9:06 7:54 - 9:54 8:42 - 10:42 9:30 - 11:30 10:18 - 12:18 11:06 - 1:06 11:54 - 1:54 12:42 - 2:42 1:30 - 3:30 2:18 - 4:18 3:06 - 5:06 3:54 - 5:54 4:42 - 6:42 5:30 - 7:30 6:18 - 8:18 7:06 - 9:06 7:54 - 9:54 8:42 - 10:42 9:30 - 11:30 11:06 - 1:06 11:54 - 1:54 12:42 - 2:42 1:30 - 3:30 2:18 - 4:18 3:06 - 5:06 3:54 - 5:54 4:42 - 6:42

9:57 - 11:27 10:45 - 12:15 11:33 - 1:03 NA 1:09 - 2:39 1:57 - 3:27 2:45 - 4:15 3:33 - 5:03 4:21 - 5:51 5:09 - 6:39 5:57 - 7:27 6:45 - 8:15 7:33 - 9:03 8:21 - 9:51 9:09 - 10:39 9:57 - 11:27 10:45 - 12:15 11:33 - 1:03 NA 1:09 - 2:39 1:57 - 3:27 2:45 - 4:15 3:33 - 5:03 5:09 - 6:39 5:57 - 7:27 6:45 - 8:15 7:33 - 9:03 8:21 - 9:51 9:09 - 10:39 9:57 - 11:27 10:45 - 12:15

10:21 - 11:51 11:09 - 12:39 11:57 - 1:27 12:45 - 2:15 1:33 - 3:03 2:21 - 3:51 3:09 - 4:39 3:57 - 5:27 4:45 - 6:15 5:33 - 7:03 6:21 - 7:51 7:09 - 8:39 7:57 - 9:27 8:45 - 10:15 9:33 - 11:03 10:21 - 11:51 11:09 - 12:39 11:57 - 1:27 12:45 - 2:15 1:33 - 3:03 2:21 - 3:51 3:09 - 4:39 3:57 - 5:27 5:33 - 7:03 6:21 - 7:51 7:09 - 8:39 7:57 - 9:27 8:45 - 10:15 9:33 - 11:03 10:21 - 11:51 11:09 - 12:39

FULL MOON

NEW MOON

The Moon Clock and resulting Moon Times were developed 36 years ago by Doug Hannon, one of America’s most trusted wildlife experts and a tireless inventor. The Moon Clock is produced by DataSport, Inc. of Atlanta, GA (www.moontimes.com), a company specializing in wildlife activity time prediction. Alabama Living

DECEMBER 2019 41


42  DECEMBER 2019

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Alabama Living

DECEMBER 2019 43


| Our Sources Say |

Year’s end brings celebration, opportunities for innovation

TVA performed maintenance, upgrades, repairs, inspections and modifications to the equipment on all three units at Browns Ferry as part of its Extended Power Uprate (EPU). The improvements will help Browns Ferry generate more power than ever before. Workers inspect one of the replacement pumps on Unit 3; all three units received higher capacity condensate booster pumps.

A

s we near the end of 2019, there is much to celebrate in Northern Alabama. The year brought commitments from Toyota and Mazda to build a $1.6 billion plant on a TVA megasite in Huntsville, which will eventually bring about 4,000 new jobs to the area. TVA completed the sale of approximately 900 acres of the Muscle Shoals reservation in Colbert County, Ala., to Muscle Shoals Holdings LLC., which is an economic investment in the community that preserves local recreational opportunities. TVA retained approximately 2,000 acres, so that Alabama families and tourists from all over the world can continue to enjoy the nationally recognized Rockpile Recreational Area. Plus, in August, TVA celebrated the 80-year anniversary of the formation of Guntersville Lake, and the electricity brought to the region as a result of the Guntersville dam.

Browns Ferry renovation

The three units at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant near Athens, Ala., gained an additional 465 megawatts of carbon-free generating capacity with the recent completion of the Extended Power Uprate (EPU). Through upgrades to plant systems and components, the five-year project allows the plant to safely produce more electricity. And as the first three-unit site to implement EPUs, Browns Ferry’s total output increases to up to 3,933 megawatts. Kevin Chandler is general manager, Alabama District Customer Service, for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

44  DECEMBER 2019

This $475 million investment adds enough power for 280,000 more homes in north Alabama. And with this uprate, nearly 60 percent of the energy TVA supplies everyday now comes from non-carbon-emitting sources. The EPU is part of TVA’s continuing investment in its generation resources, aimed at meeting the energy needs of the Tennessee Valley for decades to come. The additional electricity produced by Browns Ferry will help TVA keep customer rates stable, which is a key to providing a catalyst for economic development. More than 50 vendors from 20 states, from Washington to North Carolina to Vermont to Florida, supported the EPU. Nearly 150 workers were engaged to work on the project, which made approximately 200 modifications to existing plant equipment. Those extra workers included a diverse team of project engineers assembled to provide dedicated support to the multitude of engineering activities needed to make the uprate possible. Browns Ferry won a national industry award for its use of innovative technology during the project. Teams developed a first-of-itskind technology to use remote-controlled crawlers to move some of the large, difficult-to-transport equipment, and were recognized with a Top Industry Practice (TIP) Award from the Nuclear Energy Institute. As we approach 2020 and continue to evolve with the changing energy landscape, TVA is exploring additional opportunities to innovate. While no one has a crystal clear vision of the future, more and more industries are pursuing electrification as a competitive, environmentally-sustainable option to production and distribution. This is a win-win for those in the energy business – like TVA – who have environmental stewardship as a key part of their mission. www.alabamaliving.coop


| Classifieds | How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office): February 2019 Issue by December 25 March 2019 Issue by January 25 April 2020 Issue by February 25 Ads are $1.75 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis; Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each. Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to hdutton@areapower.com; or call (800)410-2737 ask for Heather for pricing.; We accept checks, money orders and all major credit cards. Mail ad submission along with a check or money order made payable to ALABAMA LIVING, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124 – Attn: Classifieds.

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Answers to puzzle on Page 28

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Alabama Living

DECEMBER 2019  45


| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

Christmas in Dixie:

Illustration by Dennis Auth

Not quite what it used to be

T

oday Christmas down South looks pretty much like Christmas in other parts of the country -- without the snow. But it wasn’t always that way. At one time, Christmas in Dixie was marked with customs and practices unique to the region. What happened? Let’s look back a bit. By the time Christmas came here, it was already established in the English countryside as a mid-winter festival for farm folk. The harvest was in. There was food Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University and a columnist for Alabama Living. He can be reached at hjackson@cableone.net.

46  DECEMBER 2019

in the pantry. So, they cut what greenery remained, decked the halls, laid out the feast, and had one last merry time before winter descended with a vengeance. In Dixie, as in England, Christmas was celebrated most enthusiastically among the lower classes, who used the opportunity to engage in activities frowned upon by their “betters.” For example, on December 25, 1796, Indian Agent Benjamin Hawkins, down close to the forks of the Coosa and Tallapoosa, wrote disapprovingly of how he was visited by a party of slaves who had been released from their work to have “a proper frolic of rum drinking and dancing.” What bothered Hawkins most was that “white people and Indians met gen-

erally at the same place with them and had the same amusement.” Southern yeomen farmers often celebrated Christmas in the open. With the weather still warm enough for outdoor activity, it was common “for a crowd of young men to band together, with guns and every sort instrument of music, or of noise, [and] go ‘Christmasing’ among their neighbors,” from whom they demanded “a treat.” Southern towns and cities witnessed a variation on the same theme, as bands of people -- usually men, usually young, and usually from “the lower orders” -- wandered about the streets, making merry and making mischief. Well into the late 19th century, these boisterous celebrations continued, but slowly they changed as the region changed. The Post-Civil War “New South” imposed a commercial culture on Dixie and the region’s rising middle class abhorred all kinds of rowdyism. The approach these community leaders took to civil conduct was to restrict activities that threatened peace and tranquility. Also contributing to the calming of Christmas was the growing influence of evangelical religious groups that encouraged worship instead of revelry. Meanwhile, other forces were beginning to have an impact on the way Southerners celebrated Christmas. Although the commercialization of the holiday was nothing new, during the late 19th century increasingly sophisticated advertising campaigns elevated gift-giving to a national passion and made Santa Claus a national icon. In short, Christmas became a national holiday. Today Southerners still add a few distinctive twists to the season. We buy and shoot more fireworks and hold more parades (remember the weather). But for the most part, the modern South is solidly within the national mainstream when it comes to celebrating Christmas. So, if you are looking for evidence of the Americanization of Dixie, there is no better time or place to start than Christmas. Now excuse me, I’ve got to go buy my firecrackers. www.alabamaliving.coop


Profile for Alabama Living

December 2019 Marshall-DeKalb  

December 2019 Marshall-DeKalb