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Generation Fresh A new crop of chefs are spreading

the gospel of farm to table

College football: SEC vs SEC playoff prediction



Chellie Phillips 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. AREA cooperative member subscriptions are $3 a year; non-member subscriptions, $6. 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. POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014.



340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 E-mail:

VOL. 67 NO. 8 AUGUST 2014


10 Longest Yard Sale

An estimated 40,000 visitors will be hunting for bargains in north Alabama Aug. 7-10 during the World’s Longest Yard Sale. Be sure to bring cash and shop early for the best buys.

16 Are you ready for some football?

Our prognosticator Brad Bradford has studied the teams and has some interesting predictions for the upcoming college football season. One thing’s for sure: the SEC will dominate.

We managed to get three of the state’s young and up and coming chefs out of the kitchen long enough for a cover shot at Randle Farms in Lee County. From left, Leo Maurelli, Wesley True and David Bancroft. Read more beginning on Page 12. PHOTO: Taste Buds Photography

20 Alabama Aviation Day Every year on Aug. 19, National Aviation Day is observed to commemorate the history and development of aviation, and Alabama has much to celebrate.

When you see this symbol, it means there’s more content online at! Videos, expanded stories and more!


National Country Market 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181 USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311

DEPARTMENTS 9 24 32 33 34

Spotlight Worth the Drive Outdoors Fish & Game Forecast Cook of the Month

Printed in America from American materials

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AUGUST 2014 3

Manager’s Comments

South Alabama Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees

Bill Hixon District 1

James Shaver District 2

Leo Williams District 3

Ben Norman District 4

DeLaney Kervin District 5

Norman D. Green District 6

Glenn Reeder District 7

James May At Large

Headquarters: 13192 Hwy 231 P.O. Box 449 Troy, AL 36081 800-556-2060 4 AUGUST 2014

Energy policy will affect you MAX DAVIS GENERAL MANAGER

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Obama Administration have taken energy policy into their own hands instead of letting Congress – and the American people – make decisions about their energy usage. On June 2, 2014, the EPA released its proposed Existing Source Greenhouse Gas rule to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing fossil fuel-burning power plants. The rule will require Alabama – the home of all of PowerSouth’s generation facilities – to achieve a 26.7 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030. The rule, set to become final by June 1, 2015, would dramatically affect the nation’s coal-fired power plants. Coal is the cheapest and most abundant fossil fuel and considered the workhorse of the U.S. power system. It is used to produce approximately 40 percent of the nation’s electricity, more than any other fuel. It helps keep prices stable for our cooperative and power flowing even when demand spikes. “We’re concerned this rule could result in significant rate increases and higher energy costs,” says Gary Smith, PowerSouth President and CEO. “It’s our mission to provide reliable, competitively priced wholesale power. We rely on a diverse generating mix that includes coal, natural gas, hydro and renewables to ensure we offer reliable power at

the lowest cost to our members. We’re going to continue to act in the best interest of our members and their consumers.” The EPA suggests states reach their goals by making efficiency improvements at coal plants, switching from coal to natural gas generation, expanding the use of renewable energy and investing in energy efficiency programs. “The new rule dictates carbon constraints but leaves it up to the states to determine compliance, so it’s a back door way for the Administration to require Renewable Portfolio Standards without going through Congress,” says Damon Morgan, PowerSouth chief operating officer. “In the Southeast, renewables are more costly and less reliable than the resources we currently employ. As a result, power costs will increase and will likely be less reliable in the future.” PowerSouth determines which generation units are dispatched based on fuel costs, reliability and availability. The Greenhouse Gas Rule would, in effect, force system operators to dispatch units based on CO2 emissions rather than economics. As a result, that could increase what you and I pay monthly on energy bills. The proposed rule is considered an effort by the EPA and the Obama Administration to drive coal from the generation mix through regulation rather than legislation. In the af-

Just A Reminder!

Cooperative members are reminded to make sure your membership is in voting order. In order for a husband or wife to be eligible to vote at the annual meeting and be eligible to win prizes, the membership needs to be listed as Mr. and Mrs. You must come to the cooperative office and sign a form to make this change on your membership. All changes must be made prior to August 31, 2014, to be effective for this year’s annual meeting. Remember only the person (or persons) listed on the membership is eligible to vote and win prizes at the annual meeting. If you have questions contact our office at 1-800-556-2060.

South Alabama Electric  Cooperative

South Alabama Electric Monthly Operating Report KWH Sold 24,170,405 Avg. Utility Bill $189.42

termath of EPA’s carbon emissions proposal for existing power plants, 41 U.S. senators – including Alabama’s Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby – have signed a letter strongly urging President Obama to withdraw the rule. “Once again the Obama administration is trying to circumvent Congress and use the regulatory process to push through radical environmental policies that will raise energy costs for hardworking American families,” said U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL). “President Obama’s new destructive anti-coal regulations will also have serious negative effects on power plants here in southwest Alabama and across our state. I will continue to fight against these unilateral actions in favor of a common-sense, all-of-the-above energy strategy.” At its best, this rule will have negligible effects on global CO2 emissions. U.S. power plants are responsible for just 4 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. EPA’s proposal will reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by less than 1 percent at a cost, according to EPA, of $4.2 billion to $8.8 billion per year. Because of its growing economy, China emits more CO2 in one month (more than 800 million tons) than the maximum amount EPA’s proposal will reduce in one year (apAlabama Living

proximately 550 million tons). We are evaluating what this rule means for PowerSouth, South Alabama Electric Cooperative, and you, our members. PowerSouth is researching the rule’s effects on how it operates generating facilities and by actively participating in the regulatory process, including submitting detailed comments to the EPA during the 120-day comment period. South Alabama Electric’s and PowerSouth’s priority is providing reliable, affordable energy to you...and we’ll continue to do that the best way we know how. You can help by visiting today and sending a message to the EPA: We need coal as part of America’s fuel mix. Whether we speak out against the proposed Existing Source Greenhouse Gas rule or other regulations introduced by the EPA and the Obama Administration, we must stand together and fight for reliable, affordable energy. Be assured that PowerSouth and South Alabama Electric Cooperative are doing our part.

Average Use 1,495 Total Accounts Billed 16,159 Total Miles of Line. 2,668 Consumers per mile of line 6.06 Information from MAY 2014

AUGUST 2014  5

Using energy efficient window treatments

Part science, part style

by B. Denise Hawkins

6  AUGUST 2014

South Alabama Electric Cooperative

A recent study by two federal agencies used rigorous science and analysis to dissect window-covering choices—how you use them, where you install them and whether they really save energy. These days, every penny counts, which is why South Alabama Electric Cooperative always recommends finding ways to be energy efficient around the house. “Windows account for 25 to 40 percent of annual heating and cooling costs, especially in older homes,” says Chellie Phillips, member services representative. “Blinds, shades, films and drapes are all good options to consider if old or inefficient windows can’t be replaced.” According to a joint government and industry research effort (including the U.S. Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Window Covering Manufacturers Association), window coverings—blinds, shades, curtains and awnings—could save significant amounts of energy at a relatively low cost to the consumer. Researchers next want to quantify how much energy consumer households could save based on the dominant types of window coverings used, in which climate zones people live and how U.S. households currently operate their window treatments. In the meantime, you may want to give your window treatments a second look when it comes to cooling, heating and comfort in your home. “It’s important to remember that location, placement and materials are key,” said Phillips. “Windows facing west let in the hottest light and need the most coverage, while windows facing south are the most important natural light source and only need light coverage.” Drapery. During the winter months and in cold climates, draperies work best. Their ability to reduce heat loss depends on fabric type (closed or open weave), color, the season and other factors. Keeping drapes drawn during the winter, especially at night, could save up to 10 percent of heat loss from a warm room. When hanging draperies, make sure they are placed as close to windows as possible to reduce heat exchange and that they are long enough to fall onto a windowsill or floor. Shades. Shades—pleated or cellular, quilted roller

Alabama Living

and dual—are one of the simplest product choices for insulating rooms. But depending on the material, some are more energy efficient than others. Cellular or pleated shades are one example of an energy efficient choice. They can help keep air from either entering or escaping your home. Dual shades—highly reflective (white) on one side and heat absorbing (dark) on the other side—are also energy efficient and can be reversed with the seasons. In the summer, lower shades on sunlit windows. Shades on the south side of a house should be raised in the winter during the day, then lowered at night. Interior blinds. Because of their spacing and openings, blinds tend to be more effective at reducing summer heat gain than winter heat loss. But the level of cooling and heating can also be influenced by the position of the slats. When completely closed and lowered at a sun-filled window, for example, heat gain can be reduced by around 45 percent, according to industry estimates. Slats can also be adjusted to block and reflect sunlight onto a light-colored ceiling. Window film. Residential window films can be high-end and permanent or inexpensive and temporary solutions to improve the energy efficiency of windows. Clear solar-control window films can block up to 84 percent of the solar energy that would normally enter through windows, according to the International Window Film Association, a nonprofit organization of window film dealers, distributors and manufacturers. When installed well, you may not even know some types of film have been applied to your interior windows, manufacturers say, but they’re working yearround to block ultraviolet light in summer and retain warmth in the winter. With these and other carefully selected window treatments, you can reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer – keeping your house comfortable and your energy bills lower. To find out more ways to save, contact South Alabama Electric Cooperative or visit our website at Sources: U.S. Department of Energy,, and “Residential Windows and Window Coverings: A Detailed View” September 2013 Report

AUGUST 2014  7

A cooler home and lower bills? Now that feels good! You could save up to 40 percent on energy costs by replacing your heating and cooling unit with one that has a SEER — seasonal energy efficiency ratio — rating of 15 or greater. High-efficiency systems often include additional energy-saving features and are more environmentally friendly. Combine those benefits with the knowledge that you’re saving on your monthly energy bills, and that feels good!

8 JUNE 2014 or 800-556-2060

South Alabama Electric Cooperative

Spot Light

In  August AUG. 9

Teams prepare for wild game cookoff Winning Wild Game Cook Teams from 13 competitions across the state will battle it out for a $1,000 first prize and the title of Alabama Wildlife Federation-Alabama Army Teams from across the state National Guard Wild Game will compete in the wild game Cook-Off State Champion cookoff in Millbrook. on Saturday, Aug. 9 at Lanark Pavilion in Millbrook. The festivities kick off at 5:30 p.m. and, in addition to the outstanding cuisine, there will be a silent auction, raffle and musical entertainment. Teams will be preparing their specialty of wild game, fish or fowl for the judges and those in attendance. Tickets are available for $35 per person or $50 per couple. Proceeds benefit the Alabama Wildlife Federation’s programs and projects. For ticket information contact the Federation at 1-800-822-WILD.

p.m. Korree Rudolph and his band will perform for Okra Festival grown folks from 6 to 9 p.m. There will be food and art from all over at Annie Mae’s Art Place. The Okra Festival’s famed poster artist Amos Kennedy will also be attending. Admission is free. For more information, visit Poster artist Amos Kennedy will attend the Okra Festival.

AUG. 30 & 31

‘Live history’ at Fort Mims in late August The Fort Mims Living History and Reenactment Weekend will be Aug. 30 and 31 at Fort Mims in Tensaw. Drop back in time 201 years to 1813 when wagons rolled along the Old Federal Road and Alabama was the “Mississippi Territory.” The Tensaw Country was a popular destination for many families homesteading along the banks of the creeks and rivers. Fort Mims Living History and Reenactment Weekend is the place to come to learn about the history, crafts, weapons and clothing of that era. Experience those early days by riding on a mule-drawn wagon, throwing a tomahawk or eating delicious food prepared over an open fire. Open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Admission is $5 for adults. Visit for more information. SEPT. 1

Annie Mae and friends (author Hasan Jeffries on left and photographer Estizer Smith) gather for a photo at the Okra Festival. Art will be on display and for sale at Annie Mae’s Art Place during the festival.

AUG. 30

Okra Festival will delight all ages On Saturday, Aug. 30, Burkville in Lowndes County will once again play host to the Okra Festival. The familyfriendly event kicks off at 11 a.m. with music by Slim and the Soulful Saints beginning at 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. At 6 Alabama Living

Get pulled along to Mule Days in Ider Mule and draft horse pulls are a main The 28th Annual Town feature of the Town of Ider’s Mule Days event. of Ider Mule Days will be Sept. 1 at Ider Town Park in Ider. There will be a parade at 9:30 a.m., mule and draft horse pulls, antique tractors and car shows, arts & crafts, food vendors, children’s activities and gospel singing. Call 256-657-4184 for more information, or email

AUGUST 2014  9

Power Pack

Committing Social Security fraud is illegal If you’ve ever watched funny videos showing thieves undoing themselves, or read weird news stories about criminals who do stupid things, you have an idea of how we feel at Social Security when we learn about some of the people who try (and fail) to defraud taxpayers. Social Security’s employees and our Office of the Inspector General diligently work to uncover fraud and prosecute offenders to the full extent of the law. We take fraud seriously. Here are some real Social Security fraud stories. Police rushed to the house of a Florida man who’d been shot in the face. The gunshot victim was in possession of about 250 stolen Social Security checks. He got batches of checks from a postal worker who was stealing them from the mail and had been selling the stolen checks on the street. The victim cooperated with author-

ities and received a sentence of two years in federal prison for theft of government funds and theft of mail. A Maryland waterman falsely certified he was not working, even though he owned and operated two profitable fishing boats while collecting disability benefits. He racked up $36,691 in disability benefits and $35,610 in Medicare services. He has been indicted and faces up to 10 years in prison for theft of government property and 5 years in prison for making a false statement to Social Security and for improper receipt of benefits.    A Pennsylvania man pled guilty to pocketing more than $304,000 of his deceased mother’s Social Security benefits for 40 years after her death in 1973.   While Social Security employees are always on the lookout for fraud and have historically been one of our best weap-

ons against it, we also rely on you to let us know when you suspect someone is committing fraud against Social Security. They are, in fact, stealing your tax dollars. Reporting fraud is a smart thing to do. It’s easy to report fraud online by visiting the Fraud, Waste, and Abuse page at www.oig. Reporting fraud is the smart (and right) thing to do. A

Kylle’ McKinney, Alabama Social Security Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached in Montgomery at 866-593-0914, ext. 26265, or at kylle.

Four days of bargains begins in north Alabama this month By Lori Quiller

Looking for a great bargain? Then mark your calendar for Aug. 7-10 and make plans to check out the World’s Longest Yard Sale. This annual four-day event stretches from Alabama following the Lookout Mountain Parkway and U.S. Highway 127 North to Michigan. According to John Dersham, president and CEO of DeKalb Tourism, the Highway 127 Yard Sale will easily bring 3040,000 visitors to the Lookout Mountain area. “Because of Alabama’s public parks and mountains, this is a great vacation spot, and we promote that,” Dersham says. “Every piece of available land in the area will have tents set up for sales…really everything from Gadsden north along the corridor will have something for sale.” Dersham added that the event in 2013 produced more than $2.5 million of revenue for the county in just four days, calling it “the largest single event of the year.” 10  AUGUST 2014

“It really is a fun getaway weekend that’s more than just selling knickknacks,” Dersham says. “It’s a great way to have a good time visiting Alabama’s state parks and scenic mountains.” Following the Lookout Mountain Parkway, visitors will come to Mentone, which will also be filled with yard sale participants during the weekend in August. Ray Padgett, who owns Kamama Fine Art with his wife Sandra, says he’s looking forward to the event this year. “This place will be a sea of white tents!” Padgett laughs. “The entire mountain will be! It gets quite crowded, but it’s a lot of fun because of all the people that we meet. Mentone is already a diverse community, and the yard sale brings in a lot of people who have never been here before…and that’s a good thing.” Because the yard sale covers more than 690 miles, here are a few tips to make your trip a success: § If you’re staying overnight, make your accommodations early. Local hotels will fill up quickly.

§ Don’t forget the sunscreen and mosquito repellant. § Wear comfortable shoes and drink plenty of fluids. § Bring cash. Some vendors may be set up for credit cards, but be prepared for cash-only transactions. § Shop early! Most vendors will open at 8 a.m., but some operate sunup to sundown. § Be cautious of vehicles and watch for pedestrians. This event will have you walking most of the time, so remember where you parked your vehicle. For more information, go to www.

Praise the Lord, it’s August! Years ago, when agriculture dominated Alabama, August meant it was time for revivals. Crops were laid by and the first cotton boll was yet to open, so it was a dandy time to get folks to church, entertain them with music and preaching, shake them out of their summer spiritual lethargy, and maybe even save a few souls. A visiting evangelist would come to town to bring The

Alabama Living

Word in a series of nightly messages. There would be “special music” and professions of faith that would soften the hardest heart. A week of this would culminate with a wingding of a sermon on Sunday, followed by dinner on the grounds. Bring a friend and a covered dish. When I was a boy, rural churches loaded up members and drove to town for the festivities -- a trek that normally was only made on Saturday. But it was OK to take time to make the journey because, well, it was done in the name of the Lord. Not to downplay the spiritual side of revivals, but there was also a reunion aspect to the gatherings – especially for the children. Friends they had not seen since school let-out came with their parents. Often segregated from the adults who went to “Big Church,” kids were among their own, and as I recall there was more playing than praying where we gathered. Most folks I knew were either Methodists or Baptists. They mingled freely. Children were especially ecumenical. We attended each other’s Vacation Bible Schools, where we learned which denomination had the best cookies and Kool-Aid. Theological differences eluded us – Baptists dunked, Methodists sprinkled – that was pretty much it. And we attended each other’s revivals, because it was a great place to meet girls. Rural families who came to town to be “revived” often brought a daughter you had not seen since school shut down three months earlier. Time had worked a miracle and the skinny, knob-kneed girl that no one would give a second glance had blossomed into a sun-kissed beauty. By the last night, some lucky lad

would be holding her hand under the hymnal as they sang “Have Thine Own Way.” There were also moments of high drama, which usually came at the end of the evening when the evangelist issued the altar call. While the congregation sang “Softly and Tenderly,” sinners came forward, confessed their sins, and prayed for forgiveness. Only sometimes they didn’t. I remember well such a time. Over and over the congregation sang “calling o’ sinner come home” but the sinners just sat there. The evangelist looked worried. If no one got saved his reputation would suffer. My fear was that we would be stuck there all night. I was on the verge of going down myself and confessing that I was the one that put the dead snake in Mrs. Poole’s flower box – almost gave her a heart attack, she told her neighbors –when the spirit moved someone else and I was safe. Then we sang a closing hymn, the relieved evangelist pronounced the benediction, and we went our separate ways to wait for September and football season. A Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is retired professor emeritus of history at Jacksonville State University whose most recent book is The Rise and Decline of the Redneck Riviera, featured in the January 2013 Alabama Living. His work appears in the Anniston Star and Northeast Alabama Living. He can be reached at hjackson@

AUGUST 2014 11

Eat fresh and local New generation of Alabama chefs are spreading the good news By Jennifer Kornegay

If you asked someone outside our state to name the first few things that come to mind when someone says “Alabama,” you’d probably get answers like football, farms, maybe even Lynyrd Skynyrd or that band from Fort Payne bearing our name. It’s doubtful anyone would mention our culinary scene. It may not pop up in your mind either. But it certainly should. And if a couple of veteran chefs and a crop of new ones have their way, it soon will.

SpringHouse special: Pan-seared Gulf red snapper and fresh local veggies. PHOTO BY TASTE BUDS PHOTOGRAPHY

12  AUGUST 2014

In the beginning, there was Birmingham


labama has always been home to good food. Mamas and grandmas keep comfort-food traditions alive in their kitchens. Meat ‘n three joints, BBQ shacks and fish camps have long been the bastions of a rich food culture. There are even a few fine-dining establishments that have been wowing diners for decades with their fancy, flavorful fare. But the real restaurant renaissance in Alabama can be traced back to Birmingham and right into pioneering Chef Frank Stitt’s kitchen at Highlands Bar & Grill, which he opened in 1982. Stitt now owns two other lauded restaurants in the Magic City and in 2011 was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who of Food and Beverage,” a major honor. One of Stitt’s protégés, Chef Chris Hastings, blazed several miles further down the trail as one of the first in Alabama to base a restaurant on the “farm-to-table” philosophy when he opened Hot and Hot Fish Club in 1995. In addition to being a Beard nominee for “Best Chef in the South” twice, he competed in the Food Network’s “Iron Chef ” show, cooking against and handily beating one of the country’s leading chefs, Chef Bobby Flay. Hastings and Stitt will forever be recognized as two of Alabama’s best, and they are still going strong, but a new class of chefs following in their footsteps is spreading the “eat fresh and local” good news as well as plenty of good food far beyond Birmingham. We picked a few of our favorites from around the state and asked them what inspires their cooking and influences their cuisines. While their individual styles are reflected in their unique menus, they all share one thing: An understanding that the best dishes begin with the best ingredients — and that the best ingredients come from home.

working for Jim and Nick’s while also serving as a personal chef when he was offered the SpringHouse job. “I’m so glad I took it,” he says. “I love the company I work for, and I love the restaurant. Being a chef is hard work—really hard work. When everyone else you know is out playing on weekends, you’re slaving in a hot kitchen, but the friends you make through this process, you get really close to them, so it’s a neat family you create.” His sacrifices are his diners’ gains, who choose from an everchanging menu that is, as Chef Rob explains it, “Southern, but yet influenced by many other cultures and cuisines too.” Tastes and techniques gleaned from his mother’s kitchen are just as likely to show up in a dish as his classical French training. But it all goes back to the basics. “We source local as much as possible, but it’s more about making things ourselves. Ninety percent of everything we do is made from scratch, right here in our kitchen,” he says. “And we break down whole animals ourselves. It’s tough, but we can get so much more out of it and learn so much about it. Then we really know how to treat it so we pull out its best flavor.” Odette’s ginger lemongrass pork kebobs.

Generation Fresh Chef Rob McDaniel Restaurant: SpringHouse in Alexander City Opened: 2009 Eat This: The cheese plate with local honey and berries (pure satisfaction), the Southern veggie plate (with whatever’s ripe right now) and hickory-grilled bone in pork loin with summer squash, lemon and Parmesan. Real food done right is what you’ll find at SpringHouse in Alexander City where Chef Rob McDaniel proves that simple can be stunning. “We use quality ingredients, and we use things in season. When you do that, you don’t need to dress them up or drown them in sauces. We don’t alter food very much because I want you to taste it for what it is,” he says. The North Alabama native got his degree in hotel and restaurant management from Auburn before heading to the New England Culinary Institute. He honed his craft at Creola’s in Grayton Beach, Fla., for a few years before heading to work under Chef Chris Hastings at Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham. He was Alabama Living

Chef Josh Quick Restaurant: Odette in Florence Opened: November 2013 Eat This: Ginger lemongrass pork kebobs, red curry deviled farm eggs (You’ll never truly enjoy a regular deviled egg again) and chilaquiles made up of practically melted braised pork, topped with a perfectly fried egg all over crispy, just-made tortilla chips and finished with smoky roasted tomato and avocado salsa. When you step off the main street running through downtown Florence and into Odette’s long, slim, sleek dining room (built into a 100-year-old building), Chef Josh Quick hopes you see a few things you recognize on his menu, but he wants you to embrace the twists he’s putting on these familiar flavors. “We’re putting some innovative spins on things,” he says. “There are things you’ll know, but they’re probably executed a little differently. “When people leave us, I hope we’ve pushed them past their boundaries a little bit, and have helped them break out of their AUGUST 2014 13

own culinary mold.” And since the menu changes often, and Chef Josh is passionate about learning and creating new things, there are always new tastes to try. Born in New York City, Quick moved to Montgomery when he was five. After high school he opened a coffee shop, his first attempt at the career in food he’d known he wanted since he was a kid. “I knew pretty young that I wanted to cook,” he says. “I remember going to visit my grandmother in New York at 14 and saying I wanted to be a chef. We went to the Culinary Institute of America to check it out and took a tour; I was then positive being a chef was for me.” The coffee shop was short lived. “I realized fast that I didn’t know what I was doing,” he says. In an effort to find out, he enrolled in a three-year culinary apprenticeship program at Disney World. Next, he worked as the sous chef at the Ross Bridge Resort in Birmingham, working up to become banquet chef. He moved to Florence to work as the banquet chef at the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa. He was promoted to executive chef, but when the Odette opportunity came his way, he jumped on it. At Odette, Chef Josh’s belief that “scratch-made” and “fresh” are more than mere buzzwords is evident in every menu item. “We make everything from our bread to our ketchup in house, with a focus on local products,” he says, “and my food is very influenced by the region we live in, but since my culinary education was European-based, you’ll find classic techniques applied to local ingredients. An ACRE specialty entree: Roasted duck with risotto. PHOTOS BY TASTE BUDS PHOTOGRAPHY

14 AUGUST 2014

Chef David Bancroft Restaurant: ACRE in Auburn Opened: August 2013 Eat This: Crispy fried goat cheese salad, BBQ brisket tacos and “Butt-rubbed” Gulf snapper with creamy grits, spicy Andouille and a drizzle of herb-crawfish butter (just the right mix of heat, richness and light, flaky fish). Rustic timber and stone anchor the physical structure of ACRE, Chef David Bancroft’s restaurant in Auburn, and the plates coming out of his kitchen are as pretty as the food is delicious, but Chef David wants his guests’ time at ACRE to transcend the tangible. He wants every bite of every dish to convey sincere hospitality; he wants you to feel the love. It’s a sweet sentiment from the avid outdoorsman who’s more often than not in jeans, cowboy boots and sporting a hefty belt buckle that hints at his Texas roots. Born in Mobile, he grew up in San Antonio where he learned the art of brisket and barbecue. “I was always cooking, smoking, grilling,” he says. “I love to cook because I love to eat. There’s no greater satisfaction than enjoying something good you made yourself.” He made his way back to Bama via Auburn University, following his two older brothers and his parents. In college, David’s culinary skills, particularly his way with smoke and flame, were quickly noticed, and he was made kitchen manager for his fraternity. “I told my dad then that I wanted to

go to culinary school,” he says. But his dad says, ‘Wait.’ “He told me to work in a restaurant first, so I got a job at Amsterdam Café.” After a year, he was offered the chef position, and he led the kitchen at the popular restaurant for six years, putting an emphasis on local produce and products while also running the management and financial side of things. Amsterdam Café’s success gave Chef David the confidence he needed to open his own place, and he did. ACRE is Chef David’s food philosophy in action. He built the restaurant on an acre of land in town, and scattered between parking spaces and sidewalks is ACRE’s mini-farm. Peach trees line a median; an herb garden is right near the front door. Other veggies and fruits (plums, figs, blueberries, heirloom tomatoes, beans, carrots, zucchini) are growing in unexpected places, and they all find their way into Chef David’s creations, food that he deems “driven by the land and what it gives us. “I enjoy the communal aspect of folks eating and enjoying food together; it is an immediate invitation for storytelling and passing down traditions. I love being able to prepare food and attach to someone else’s story through my food or attach my story to theirs, to find that common bond,” he says.

running a successful version of the restaurant in his hometown. The James Beard Award nominee and CIA grad has fashioned a menu featuring dishes that shine the spotlight on the best locally sourced, seasonal ingredients he can find. Each item reflects the classical French training he received at school and his tutelage in the kitchens of renowned NYC eating establishments like Bouley and Aquavit, as well as his commitment to farm-fresh food, but not necessarily “Southern” food. “I think ‘Southern food,’ can be a misleading and limiting way to describe something,” he says. “I’m inspired by multiple influences from all over.” The menu section titled “Chef True’s Signature Small Plates” illustrates this best with selections that read like poetry and look like paintings. Case in point: the Taste of Spring with seafood mousse, poached Gulf shrimp, red pepper ice cream, spring pea dash and squid ink. Follow that masterpiece with a more rustic, definitely regional, dish: crispy fried chicken skins in hot sauce with buttermilk-herb dressing for dipping. Placing these dishes mere inches apart on the menu is proof that Chef Wesley is well on his way to re-interpreting what Southern food encompasses.

Chef Leonardo Maurelli, III Restaurant: Central in Montgomery Opened: 2012. Chef Leo joined Central in February 2013. Dessert at TRUE: Fresh peach shortcake

Chef Wesley True Restaurant: TRUE in Montgomery Opened: 2012 Eat This: The Cox Farm burger with Alabama beef, house-made boursin, hand-cut fries and house-made pickle (a better burger in every way) and the house-made gnocchi with local tomatoes, celery leaves, Parmesan and white wine butter. Some minds are never static, never satisfied with the status quo. They achieve, and then they keep climbing until they reach that “aha!” moment again. Chef Wesley True knows this; he lives it, consistently pushing past culinary boundaries and encouraging an “open palate” attitude, much to the delight of capital city diners who visit his Montgomery restaurant TRUE in the hip and historic Old Cloverdale neighborhood. The Mobile native opened TRUE in Montgomery in 2012, after Alabama Living

Eat This: Braised duck wontons with crunchy vinegar slaw, the tangy pickled Gulf shrimp and wood-fired meatloaf (way better than your mama’s!). He’s a big guy with a big smile and an even bigger appetite for bonding with other food lovers and blowing their taste buds right off their tongues with his dishes that are a happy marriage of just-harvested produce, fresh meats and the finest anything else he can get his hands on prepared under the influence of his Panamanian heritage, the lessons from an Italian grandma and no small amount of energy. He’s Chef Leonardo Maurelli, but you can call him Chef Leo, and when you’re at Central in downtown Montgomery’s Alley entertainment district, you’re in his house. And everyone’s welcome at Chef Leo’s house. He comes by his enthusiasm for eating naturally. “I just grew up in the kitchen and in an environment where food was about more than filling your stomach. On both sides of my very social family, food was a big deal. It’s why I fit into the South so well,” he says. Born in the Republic of Panama, he moved with his family to Daphne, Ala., in 1991, and he graduated high school early, at age 16. His mom didn’t want him off at college that young, so he took a year off and then did two years at a technical school in Mobile. He chose Auburn University with the idea he’d study architecture, but quickly changed his mind and pursued his degree in hospitality and restaurant management instead. He started working as a fry cook at Willie’s Wings and while still working there and taking classes, began work in the kitchen at Hamilton’s restaurant. After graduation, he worked at the Hotel at Auburn CONTINUED ON PAGE 40 AUGUST 2014 15

SEC will control college football’s final four By Brad Bradford

Finally, a playoff!


or all those college football fans who have been clamoring for a playoff, your wishes have come true. 2014 will be the first year of a type of “Final Four” to crown the national champion at Jerry World in Dallas on the night of Monday, January 12, 2015. To those deprived souls who eat tofu and put sugar in their cornbread and live outside the beloved footprint of the Southeast: Be careful what you wish for. There is not a limit on the number of teams from any particular conference in the final four, so the odds of an SEC vs. SEC championship just went up. It is very possible that the loser of the SEC championship game can (and should)

Brad Bradford is ready for the 2014 college football season.

16 AUGUST 2014

be in the playoffs. Last year, Missouri would not have been one of the top four. Alabama would have been. The 13-member selection committee has the marching orders to select and seed the top four teams, pitting #1 against #4 and #2 against #3. This year’s semifinals will be in the Sugar Bowl and the Rose Bowl. The higher seeded team will be placed in the closest bowl geographically. The committee will also pair up the opponents in this year’s Orange, Cotton, Peach and Fiesta Bowls. 2013 IRON BOWL REWIND: Coach Paul Bryant famously stated that to win championships, you have to have injury luck and schedule luck. Many teams also create their own luck. Auburn did that last year. Auburn stayed healthy. Nick Marshall did a great job at quarterback and Auburn made huge plays against Georgia and Alabama when needed. (Last year, I picked the Tigers to win 8 games and was accused of being a “homer” since my wife was a former Auburn cheerleader. I also picked Alabama to win it all and would do it again.) Since Auburn had already lost to LSU by 14, a loss to Georgia basically sent thenundefeated Alabama to Atlanta. That’s why the tipped pass for a touchdown against the Dawgs meant so much in the total season. Without this play, there would be no Auburn SEC championship nor a trip to Pasadena to play Florida State for the BCS trophy. Alabama took care of everything all season until the end of the Iron Bowl with no SEC opponent (except A&M) getting closer than two touchdowns. There were three questionable decisions in the game at

Auburn, one by Auburn and two by Alabama: Both teams went for it on 4th down and were stopped when a punt or field goal would have been safer. An Alabama field goal after stopping Auburn on fourth down in scoring territory would have given them a two-score lead which would have been huge at the time. With one second remaining, most Alabama fans liked the odds of a “Hail Mary” jump ball in the end zone to Amari Cooper, O.J. Howard and Kevin Norwood against Auburn’s shorter secondary as opposed to a 57-yard field goal attempt. The questionable part had more to do with the size of the linemen and lack of speed of the Bama field goal unit (in case of a miss) than the attempt itself. This situation is practiced every Thursday of the week on both sides. Auburn entered the SEC championship game and final BCS game with unbridled confidence. PONDER THIS: Auburn or Alabama could win the West and be in Atlanta for the SEC championship game in early December. Would you pay $400 for a ticket if your team was favored by two touchdowns or save up for the next one? The winner would then play in the Rose Bowl or Sugar Bowl, depending on the rankings, on New Year’s Day. Would you travel to California and pay $500 for a ticket to the semifinal game knowing that in 11 days, you could be in Dallas for the championship game paying much more? Three games in five weeks would be a challenge on any budget. The winners are going to be the corporate sponsors, ESPN and ticket scalpers. SEC EAST: Predicted order of finish: 1. Georgia 2. South Carolina 3. Florida 4. Tennessee 5. Missouri 6. Vanderbilt 7. Kentucky. The top two teams both have to play Auburn from the West. Conventional

dom is to go with South Carolina. However, the Gamecocks have to open with Texas A&M and have to play Auburn on the road. Replacing NFL top pick Jadaveon Clowney will be tough. The winner of the showdown with Georgia on September 13 will be the front runner in the East. Georgia returns nine defensive starters and gains the services of former FSU defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. The Dawgs have a tough road opener against ACC foe Clemson. The winner of the East will probably have two losses. Florida had 13 season-ending injuries last year but should be better as the younger players got experience by filling in. The Gators draw Alabama and LSU from the West and play Florida State. Otherwise, Will Muschamp needs to buy stock in United Van Lines. Tennessee will improve but plays Oklahoma and Alabama. With some breaks, they could win 7. Missouri will prove that it was a one hit wonder from 2013. Suspended receiver GreenBeckham was their only offensive threat. They won the East last year by staying healthy and playing a weak schedule. James Franklin took Vandy about as high as they can go last year before he left for Penn State. They return only four defensive starters. A bowl is not likely this year. Kentucky has recruited better but has too much distance to make up this year. SEC WEST: Predicted order of finish: 1. Alabama 2. Auburn 3. Ole Miss 4. LSU 5. Texas A&M 6. Mississippi State 7. Arkansas The difference between Alabama and Auburn in 2014 will boil down to the schedule of the crossover games from the East. Alabama plays Florida at home and Tennessee on the road. Auburn plays South Carolina at home but has to travel to Georgia. Auburn may have the better team but Alabama could have the easier road to Atlanta. When Nick Saban has the top recruiting class year after year, the quality of the depth becomes unfair. Replacing quarterback A.J. McCarron with FSU transfer Jacob Coker is going to be a challenge for new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. Having T.J. Yeldon, Derrick Henry and Kendrick Drake at running back; O.J. Howard at tight end and Amari Cooper at wide receiver will make it easier and force defenses to choose their poison. Better corner play and a better pass rush will be key for Kirby Smart’s defense. In 2013, AuAlabama Living

burn came as close as any team to playing to its full potential. Gus Malzahn is better than any offensive coach in the country in creating mismatches and exploiting them. Auburn returns the best quarterback in the league, Nick Marshall, and has a big play receiver in Sammie Coates. Replacing left tackle Greg Robinson, running back Tre Mason and blocking back Jay Prosch is going to be tough. Auburn will have a big bull’s-eye on its back this year. Ole Miss has recruited well and draws Vandy and Tennessee from the East. Playing Alabama and Auburn at home with an experienced quarterback in Bo Wallace is an advantage toward winning 8 games. LSU returns 4 offensive line starters but must replace quarterback Zach Mettenberger and 6 players who left early for the NFL. Texas A&M lost the most dynamic and creative player in years in Johnny Manziel. Last year, they lost to Alabama, Auburn and LSU. Ditto for 2014. Missis-

Coach Paul Bryant famously stated that to win championships, you have to have injury luck and schedule luck. sippi State has a top quarterback in Zac Prescott. Their watered down schedule plus Kentucky and Vandy from the East will get them to a bowl. Arkansas is still a couple of recruiting classes away after the departure of Bobby Petrino. IRON BOWL: For the first time in the history of this game, both teams will enter the game undefeated and ranked second and third behind Florida State. The winner of this game will come down to key injuries, turnovers and the kicking game. Nick Saban and the Bama players have a vivid memory of the fans storming the Jordan Hare field last year. Home field advantage and the revenge factor means Alabama wins 30-24. SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: Alabama (12-0) will play Georgia (10-2) in Atlanta. The previous week, Bama plays Auburn and Georgia plays Georgia Tech. Big difference in those contests. Alabama can relax a little knowing that they are probably a lock for the final four, win or lose.

Believe it or not: Auburn fans will pull for the Tide to win to keep the Tigers in the running for a “Final Four” slot. Alabama will win 31 to 21 with Derrick Henry being the MVP. WHO MAKES THE FINAL FOUR: Eight teams can make the Final Four: Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Florida State, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Oregon, and UCLA. (Outside chance: Ohio State, South Carolina, Wisconsin and Georgia) SEMIFINAL GAME PREDICTIONS: #1 Florida State vs #4 Auburn in the Sugar Bowl. Gus Malzahn will have the Tigers well prepared for this rematch from last year. FSU’s off the field issues will be a distraction. Auburn will find a way to win in a shootout: 38-35. #2 Alabama vs #3 Oregon in the Rose Bowl. Oregon’s quarterback and leading Heisman trophy candidate Marcus Mariota will be more confused than a baby in a topless bar. The Tide will have played a similar spread offense in Auburn and will prove to be too physical: Bama 28-17. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: #2 Alabama vs, #4 Auburn. The entire nation (outside the state of Alabama) will get what they dreaded: SEC vs. SEC for all the marbles. Commissioner Mike Slive will laugh all the way to the bank. The game will be played 11 days after the semifinals on Monday Jan. 12 in Dallas. This will be a rematch from the Iron Bowl on Nov. 29. Alabama will lead at halftime 21-13. Alabama’s kicking game will once again be the deciding factor. Auburn’s offense will make a 4th quarter comeback and win its second national championship in 4 years. Auburn 33-Alabama 31. Most valuable player: Nick Marshall. Alabama finishes the year 14-1 and SEC champions. Auburn finishes 13-1 and national champions. A Brad Bradford is a 21-year veteran of the coaching business, six years as a high school assistant, four years as a head coach, three years at the University of Alabama with Ray Perkins and eight years as the running backs coach for Howard Schnellenberger at the University of Louisville. He is the author of the inspirational and humorous book, “Hang in There like Hair in a Biscuit” (hairinabiscuit. com.) Brad can be reached at followed on Twitter @ coachhardknocks.

AUGUST 2014 17

Chatting with

Paul Finebaum By Brad Bradford


ny book titled My Conference Can Beat Your Conference (Why the SEC Still Rules College Football) is sure to irritate football fans outside their chosen conference. In this case, the SEC. Paul Finebaum’s book by this name comes out in August, just in time for the 2014 football season. Finebaum has been the leading voice and opinion maker of the Paul Finebaum SEC since his move to Birmingham in the early 80s. Paul has written a number of books and has hosted his popular radio show for years. Last year, he appeared on ESPN’s “Gameday” program. This year, he will be working with the new SEC Network, along with former quarterbacks Greg McElroy and Tim Tebow. His radio program can also be viewed daily on the SEC Network. I recently caught up with Paul and asked him a few questions about the SEC Network and the SEC in general.

What will be your primary role with the SEC Network, and what do Greg and Tim bring to the table? Each Saturday, I will be on the set of SEC Nation, much like I did on occasions with ESPN’s Gameday. I will be able to rely on my 30-plus years covering the conference as a writer, radio host and fan. Greg McElroy (former Alabama quarterback) will be in the Charlotte studio each Saturday. His knowledge of the game is outstanding. Even though it didn’t work out for Tim Tebow in the NFL, his popularity both on and off the field is unequaled. Tim will also be on the set giving his views, much like Kirk Herbstreit does for ESPN. I feel really good about the team that has been put together. Most predictions have Alabama and Auburn fighting it out in the West, with Georgia and South Carolina in the East. Do you see any way that someone else could sneak in the top two like Auburn and Missouri did last year? Probably not. LSU could surprise some people in the West if they upset Auburn and beat Alabama at home. Ole Miss was a disappointment last year. The Rebels would have to have a lot of pieces fall in place to get there. However, they play both Alabama and Auburn in Oxford. In the East, Florida has to be better than they were last year. Having to play at Alabama and playing LSU leaves very little room for error. The Tennessee-Florida game will finally mean something this year. The winner will have some momentum and the loser can pack it in. The Vols are doing things right for a change but its game with Oklahoma is going to be difficult. What do you see as the key games in the SEC this year? Well, the obvious choice is the Iron Bowl. Both Alabama and Auburn have a chance to be undefeated. Auburn’s schedule is 18 AUGUST 2014

tougher. Alabama plays a pivotal game at Ole Miss this year. The Georgia-South Carolina game will put the winner in the East’s driver’s seat early. Like last year, the loser will have an uphill battle to get to Atlanta. The two largest crossover games this year will be Florida-LSU and Auburn-Georgia. The Bulldogs will remember the ending of the game at Jordan-Hare last year. Adding Jeremy Pruitt as the defensive coordinator may be the missing piece to the Georgia puzzle. Each year, it becomes tougher and tougher for teams and coaches to survive in the SEC. Who do you see on the hot seat this year? The frontrunner would have to be Will Muschamp at Florida. His team could be better but having to play two of the favorites to win it all in Alabama and Florida State, along with Georgia, South Carolina, and LSU could send him to the unemployment line. The fan bases at Georgia and LSU will not tolerate middle of the pack standings for very long. Both teams need to avoid costly upsets. If LSU loses to Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia and is upset by Ole Miss, it could be rough for Les Miles. Dan Mullins at Mississippi State needs a break out year. The recruiting class and its win over Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl last year give the fans in Starkville hope. It is almost impossible to move up when you have to play Auburn, Bama, LSU, Texas A&M and cross state rival Ole Miss every year. Last year was the first time in eight years that the SEC didn’t win the BCA Championship. Who do you see in the Final Four this year and who do you see advancing to Dallas? My top two right now would be Florida State and Alabama. Florida State plays in a weaker conference and has an experienced quarterback in Jameis Winston and they are the defending champions. I think they are in the same boat that Alabama was in last year. Auburn could get back there but Alabama has a more favorable schedule and the Iron Bowl is in Tuscaloosa this year. Last year, I was totally convinced that Alabama would win it all and was as shocked as anyone when they lost to Auburn. I really felt as though Saban lost the game at the end of the second quarter when it should have been put away. The Oklahoma loss in the Sugar Bowl was not as shocking. It will be tough for the committee to put two SEC teams in the Final Four due to SEC fatigue unless one is undefeated and the other has a close loss early in the year. The other obvious teams are Oregon, Oklahoma, Ohio State, UCLA, Michigan State and either Georgia or South Carolina if they win the SEC. If I were a betting man though, I would put the Seminoles and Bama in Dallas. A To obtain the SEC Network, contact your local cable or satellite provider and visit

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2014  19

A century of Alabama aviation is cause for celebration By Marilyn Jones

Every year, on August 19, National Aviation Day is observed in the United States to commemorate the history and development of aviation…and boy, does Alabama have a lot to celebrate!

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T. Gary Wick and the Quick Plane. PHOTO BY MARILYN JONES


t was in 1908, along the Flint River in Madison County near New Market, when William Lafayette Quick’s mid-wing monoplane took flight. His 16-year-old son William was at the controls. This was the first airplane designed, built and flown in the state, and the first to leave earth’s gravitational pull. “He wasn’t in a race to be first,” says T. Gary Wick, a retired NASA aerospace engineer and the greatgrandson of the inventor. “He was a designer, a contemporary of the Wright Brothers.” Gazing up at the Quick Plane at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Wick says the airplane is not a replica, but the restored plane his ancestor built. “I remember as a kid looking at it in (my greatgrandfather’s) workshop,” he says. Made of wood harvested on the Quick’s farm and cut in his sawmill, and the metal forged in his blacksmith shop, the design allowed the pilot to be seated and had a three-wheel landing gear. Construction began in 1900. Awaiting an engine, it took nearly eight years to complete. On its only flight, the airplane sustained damage to its right wing and gear when it landed. “He learned from this experience and designed an ‘Improved Flying Machine,’” says Wick. “He patented in it 1912. It included other unique features including retractable landing gear and folding wings. “And 50 years later I went to work for NASA,” Wick says with an easy smile.

T. Gary Wick, the great grandson of William Lafayette Quick, looks out over the gallery featuring the Quick Plane. PHOTO BY MARILYN JONES

Wright Brothers and Tuskegee Airmen

In 1910, as Quick was perfecting his monoplane, Wilbur and Orville Wright were opening the nation’s first civilian flying school on an old cotton plantation just west of Montgomery. Their idea was to train pilots for exhibition shows which, they hoped, would boost sales of their aircraft. Although the school didn’t stay open long, the location was later used for aircraft repair during World War I and, in 1922, became Maxwell Field. Today it is the site of Maxwell Air Force Base. Another significant aviation location is Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in Tuskegee. It’s all here: the gate these young black men passed through during World War II when they arrived at the air base, the airplane hangars and the control tower. This was a time of segregation and these men weren’t allowed to be a part of the U.S. Army Air Force. Every black military pilot who trained in the United States — including five Haitians —were trained here.

They had a lot to prove, and they did. The first African American military aviators were highly decorated for their defense of this nation, their bravery and mission success. Visitors to Hangar #1 first enter an orientation room where they can watch a short video of introduction before entering the sprawling museum which houses two World War II era training aircraft. Rooms around the outside of the hangar are set up as 1940s offices, training rooms and a coffee shop. The entire museum is like a time warp as visitors are suddenly transported back nearly 75 years. And the quiet in this chasm of time remembers these men who served their country.

Aviation Museums

The Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham is home to the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame. Exhibits feature several facets of aviation including Korean War jets, Vietnam War helicopters and Huff-Daland crop dusters.

Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site.

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2014  21

U.S. Army Aviation museum at Ft. Rucker.

Young Space Camp attendees listen to their instructor in the shadow of space and rocket displays. PHOTO BY MARILYN JONES

The museum is one of the largest of its kind in the Southeast and is dedicated to presenting civilian, military and experimental aircraft and memorabilia from the  earliest history of powered flight. The United States Army Aviation Museum in Fort Rucker houses a collection of helicopters and airplanes that trace the development and use of aviation by the Army from troop and cargo transportation, to medical evacuations and scouting missions. The museum is also home to the Army Aviation Hall of Fame and a Vietnam Memorial, and has the largest collection of helicopters held by a museum in the world.

Full Circle

Walking with Wick past displays and artifacts at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, it’s hard to imagine all that has been accomplished between 1918 when an airplane first took to the skies over Alabama and today. Huntsville is where the space program was born. Men and women from Alabama, like Wick, and others from across the nation and around the world worked together to develop rockets that put the first U.S. satellite into orbit and sent men to the moon; where the power of the space shuttle was developed; where the modules for the International Space Station were designed and built; and where the Space Launch System is being designed. Yes, Alabama has a lot to celebrate on August 19 and all year round; its aviation history is legendary. A Space and Rocket center skyline.

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Hangar 1 serves as a museum at the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site. PHOTO BY MARILYN JONES

For more information: U.S. Space & Rocket Center 1(800) 637-7223; Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site; (334) 724-0922; Southern Museum of Flight (205) 833-8226 United States Army Aviation Museum 1(888) ARMY-AVN

Space shuttle at the Space and Rocket Center

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Worth the Drive

Cajun Café: A different kind of Southern comfort food


Cajun Calling Uncle Mick’s Cajun Cafe 334-361-1020 136 West Main Street Prattville, AL

By Jennifer Kornegay

“Good? Everything good?” Every day at Uncle Mick’s Cajun Cafe in Prattville, Ala., this questioning phrase is repeated by a silver-haired, spectacled man strolling around the tables in a pretty packed dining room. He’s looking at plates, to see if food is regularly leaving them via forks en route to mouths. He’s watching those mouths, to see if their corners turn up in a satisfied smile after bites. He’s Mickey Thompson, owner of Uncle Mick’s, and he’s always there, ensuring his business is doing its business of feeding folks as well as it should be. Thompson is from Montgomery and opened Uncle Mick’s in 2009 after leaving the real estate investment business he’d worked in for three decades. He’d actually been retired for a few years when he realized retirement itself was “no fun” and decided to open a restaurant in one of the two historic buildings he’d bought in downtown Prattville. The story is not unusual, a retiree looking to keep busy, but an Alabama guy opening a Cajun joint is, considering how seriously (and personally) Louisiana natives and others who love the cuisine take it if the roux isn’t right, the crawfish is overcooked or the Andouille isn’t authentic. So why and how did he do it? “While I was still in real estate, I had a guy from Lafayette, La., a guy with real Cajun roots, working for me,” Thompson says. “I learned from him to love Cajun food, and then he taught me how to make it.” He knew that Cajun-style food would work well for a buffet-type eatery, and that would be simpler to run. “Our food, by its nature, can be cooked well in big batches,” he says. So he restored the building and honed his recipes, and then he opened the doors, not quite sure what to expect. He started with a steady crowd and it has grown, as more and more people discover a different kind of Southern comfort food, something that’ll spice up their fried chicken and squash casserole routine. Yet Uncle Mick’s dishes are not overly spicy, as some might expect. “So many people think all Cajun food is hot, but it’s not. Even some things that are usually spicy, we keep on the milder side and let people add the heat themselves,” Thomson says. And it’s easy to do, thanks to a wide range of hot sauces available. The exceptions are the dishes that end in “piquante;” they are often pretty fiery. Most days around lunch you’ll find a line, but it moves fast as folks grab a tray and then point out what they want their plates

filled with. Choose from crawfish etouffee, crab meat au gratin, seafood gumbo, chicken and sausage gumbo, alligator and sausage sauce piquante, and the classic red beans and rice. Sides include corn maque choux (a rustic corn dish), dirty rice, deviled eggs and Cajun potato salad among others. For dessert, Uncle Mick himself recommends the bread pudding with bourbon sauce or the buttermilk pie. Choosing is hard, so a sampler platter is offered. But how can you go to a place that bills itself “one bite away from the bayou” and not order red beans and rice? You can’t. So when you do, you’ll be happy to find a good consistency (not too soupy but not gummy either), and the subtle flavor of slow-cooked beans highlighted by the salt and fat of Andouille sausage. If you like your RB&R with a kick, you’ll be grabbing for hot sauce, but, again, there is plenty of it around. The provided bread lets you sop up every last drop. And try the Cajun potato salad on the side; the potatoes are cooked with crab boil seasoning, which is pretty hot, but the traditional mayo dressing tames it just enough. If your lunch sparks a desire for more Cajun cuisine, shop Uncle Mick’s market. Take home some house-made boudin or even that secretive beast of the bayou, a turducken (if you’re feeding a crowd). And when you’re leaving, if Uncle Mick asks again, “Everything good?” you should be able to truthfully say, “Ça c’est bon! (that’s good!)” in reply. A

Jennifer Kornegay travels to an out-of-the way restaurant destination in Alabama every month. She may be reached for comment at j_kornegay@

24 AUGUST 2014

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2014  25

Alabama Gardens

The bounty of our Alabama-grown trees


s the heat of August settles fully upon us, there’s nothing like taking a break from our gardening chores under the shade of a spreading tree. Yet these generous giants of the landscape give us so much more than shade. They clean the air, turn carbon dioxide into oxygen, help stabilize soil and reduce water pollution, provide aesthetic beauty to the landscape, increase the value of real estate, provide habitat and sustenance for wildlife, give us branches for climbing and building treehouses and, of course, provide us with wood, paper and other products. In addition to all those benefits, trees also provide us with a wide array of fruits and nuts that, in turn, give us a chance for an almost year-round supply of something delicious and nutritious to eat. In the spring and early summer, plums and nectarines are in abundance. As summer progresses, peaches (the official state fruit of Alabama) come into their own, followed by figs and, as early as this month, even apples. More and more apple varieties will be available this fall as well as persimmons and pears. Later in the fall and into early winter, pecans, walnuts and chestnuts will be raining down, and a variety of citrus fruits will be ready to pluck—all just in time for the holidays. In short, we can have something Alabama-grown and delicious regardless of the season if we just take advantage of the bounty of our trees. Of course an ideal way to have access to all this bounty is to establish home plantings of fruit and nut trees. While late fall, winter and very early spring are the best times to plant most trees, as well as many fruiting vines and bushes, there is no time like the present—maybe as you sit in the shade of a tree this summer—to start con-

Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@

26 AUGUST 2014

sidering what and where to plant a few trees or even a small orchard for yourself. A great resource for home gardeners is the Alabama Cooperative Extension System publication Fruit Culture in Alabama ( index2.tmpl), which offers details on how to choose fruit types and varieties, select and prepare a site for planting and care for your trees throughout the year. Similar publications are available for pecans and other nuts, berries, grapes, kiwifruit and even some more novel tree, bush and vine crops. To learn more, search the ACES website at for “home fruit and nut production” or ask your local Extension office for help. Planting fruit and nut trees is also something of a social movement. Think Johnny Appleseed on a bigger and more diverse scale. Many horticultural experts these days recommend the inclusion of fruit and

Becky Ward-Rogers of Pecan Point Farm in Hurtsboro,one of many fruit and nut orchards that sell at farmers markets, retail outlets and also open their farm to Saturday afternoon tours. Pecan Point sells pecans, eggs, honey, dairy products, beef, small-batch pecan-based granola, roasted nuts and baking mixes.

nut trees as part of a beautiful and edible landscape. Other groups advocate planting fruit trees as a community-building project. For example, the nonprofit Fruit Tree Planting Foundation ( has a goal of planting 18 billion fruit trees (approximately three for every person alive) worldwide. Communities can apply to them for assistance, including donations of trees and help with planting and caring for those trees. And, for a $50 tax-deductible donation, they also offer the Home Orchard Handbook: A Complete Guide to Growing Your Own Fruit Trees Anywhere, which

August Gardening Tips d Watch for signs of insect and disease damage on ornamental and vegetable plants and treat for problems before they get out of hand. d Continue to mow and water lawns as needed. Keep container plants well watered, too. d Divide irises and other perennials that have become overcrowded. d Plant fall vegetables such as cabbage, collards and broccoli, and fall-bearing beans and peas. d Plant a winter cover crop in your garden as it finishes its growing season. d Keep fresh water in birdbaths. d Plant seeds of cool-season flowers such as snapdragons, dianthus and pansies in flats or in the garden for fall blooms. d Order fall-planted bulbs and start looking in catalogues and online for sources of fall-planted trees, shrubs and trees to order later. d Use mosquito repellant and sunscreen when you’re out in the yard or garden.

helps homeowners create and sustain their own orchards. Don’t have the space or inclination to plant fruit and nut trees? No problem. Alabama is chock full of commercial orchards, berry farms and vineyards that offer the bounty of their boughs and branches to the public, many of which also offer value-added products such as jams, jellies and baked goods as well as family-friendly on-farm activities and events. To find such an experience or sources of fresh fruits, nuts and other Alabama grown and made products in your part of the state visit the Pick Your Own website at, the Local Harvest website at, the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association website at www.aces. edu/department/associations/afvga/ or, to find out about farms that offer tours and other special events throughout the year, check out the Alabama Agri-tourism website at A

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2014  27

Pages from the past

Down memory lane with

How many of you remember what you read in Alabama Living in August 40 years ago? What about 30, 20, or even just 10 years ago? Here’s a look back at what we were featuring on the covers in August, back in the day.

1974 Foxhunters Rally at Burnt Corn Hounds, grills and men alike

1984 Smokey was nation’s ‘top bear’ The nation’s favor-

gathered in Monroe County recently to participate in the Dixie Burnt Corn Foxhunters Association Rally. Hunters from all over the Southeast and northern part of the state and their four-legged friends crowd Burnt Corn to take part in this tradition every year. During the day’s events, hounds are evaluated on their hunting, trailing, speed and drive during a field trial, or hunt. Once the fox is run to ground, or treed, the hounds are called in and their hunters are left to trace both them and the fox. Even for the non-hunters of Burnt Corn and the hound-less spectators, watching these events is just as enjoyable as participating.

ite bear who warns against the dangers of forest fires turns 40 this year. The concept of Smokey the Bear was originally created during World War II after a Japanese submarine shelled a coastal area of California. United States officials became concerned about possible resulting forest fires. Smokey was then selected as the official symbol of forest fire prevention.

1994 Possum Bend Historian Possum Bend’s very own

2004 Whitetail Tale The story of Alabama’s na-

William Harris has made quite the name for himself. From his famous tales of shipwrecked boats, dating back to the late 1840s and 1850s, to his prized works of art and love of adventure, Harris has made his hometown in Wilcox County a sure stop. Harris’ knowledge and level of community involvement throughout Possum Bend’s history made him a valued source for historians and authors looking to uncover more about the town’s history. Harris’ account of how Possum Bend achieved its name, and his story of lost boats that once transported gold and his paintings of historic moments helped put this Alabama River locality on the map.

tive whitetail deer can be traced back to their presence when Alabama’s first settlers arrived. Unfortunately, the growth in human population brought along a decrease in forest habitats for the deer species to populate. Introduction of the market system also proved that these deer were valuable in more ways than one. By the 20th century, Alabama’s deer numbers were at an all-time low of 2,000. Fortunately in the early 1940s, Alabama officials saw the need to keep the species’ population growing, and created the Department of Conservation. Since the creation of this department and laws governing deer hunting, the population of the whitetail deer has seen an enormous increase.

28 AUGUST 2014

Around Alabama August 30 • Luverne

World’s Largest Peanut Boil The Crenshaw County Chamber of Commerce is hosting the 5th Annual Peanut Boil Festival in conjunction with the Shrine Club’s “World’s Largest Peanut Boil” this Labor Day weekend. For more than 30 years, the Shriners’ annual peanut boil has been recognized as the largest peanut boil in the world, and in recent years the peanut festival has become a popular stopping spot for folks heading to and from the beach during the holiday weekend. Festivities include music, children’s activities, vendor booths, car show, a 5K race, and of course, all the boiled peanuts you can eat! This year’s festival is adjacent to the peanut boil at the intersection of US Highway 10 and Highway 331 in Luverne from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information about the festival contact the chamber at 334-335-4468, or visit AUGUST 9 • Courtland, Play it Forward Golf

Tournament at Valley Landing Golf Course to benefit the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Registration at 7 a.m., survivor speaker and helmet blessing at 7:45, and tournament begins at 8. Online registration at Contact Caren Stewart at 256-318-5275 or ffrn126@ for information. 9 • Fairhope, Beekeeping Workshop and Field Day. Auburn University Gulf Coast Research & Extension Center, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. There will be an open hive demonstration (weather permitting) so bring your protective gear if you would like to participate in this activity. $25 per person or $35 per family at the door. Lunch will be provided. Call Roger Bemis at 251-213-0168 or email 9 • Dothan, Dothan Artifacts Show. There will be display cases, pipes, bowls, spears, arrowheads, clothing, jewelry, books, educational displays, as well as a flint knapping demo during the show. There will also be refreshments and a raffle. Westgate Gym, 8 a.m.- 3 p.m. 9 • Castleberry, IGNITE. Vine and Branches Baptist Church is hosting this free concert. Doors open at 1 p.m. Many prize drawings including a new Polaris ATV (must be present to win). Contact:

15 & 16 • Russellville, Franklin Count y Watermelon Festival. Watermelon contests, arts and craft vendors and enter tainment beginning Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m. Free admission and a free slice of delicious watermelon. For information, call 256-332-1760 or visit www. 15-17 • Montgomery, Buckmasters Expo. Montgomery Convention Center Friday 3-9 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m-7 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Top bow indoor world championship, deer scoring and display, young bucks activities and more. www. 16 • Georgiana, “Watermelon Wine - Remembering the Golden Years of Country Music” at the Ga Ana Theatre. Southern authors and songwriters will share the stage and examine the legacy of southern folk, blues and country music through readings and performances of original songs. Theater opens at 6 p.m., show begins at 7. Tickets: $5 students, $7 adults. Contact: Margaret Gaston, 334-376-0064. 16 • Somerville, Songwriters Workshop at Gurley’s Soggy Bottom Music Barn. Terry Smith, Nashville musician and composer, will begin at 7 p.m. backed by the Poor House Band. Information: Joel Gurley, 256-606-7083 or 256-778-8432.

23 • Cullman, Farm Y’all Festival at Festhalle Market Platz from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Local celebrity chef appearances, contests, rides, activities and local produce available. Free admission. Farm to Fork Dinner from 6-9 p.m. with meal prepared by Birmingham chef Mauricio Papapietro; reservations required. 23 • Fyffe, 9th Annual Fyffe UFO Day at Fyffe Town Park. Gates will open at 9 a.m. and entertainment will begin at 10. Live music, arts and crafts, antique tractors and cars, and kids games. Free parking and free admission. www. 24 • Talladega, 2nd Annual Afternoon of Praise at the historic Ritz Theatre. More than 120 talented singers and musicians from throughout Alabama will perform contemporary praise music created by Christian artists. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased by calling The Ritz Theatre at 256-315-0000. www. 30 • Deatsville, Lightwood Volunteer Fire Department BBQ at 6250 Lightwood Road. Boston butts and dinner plates consisting of pork, baked beans, cole slaw, bread and dessert will be for sale. Call Daphne at 334-5692264 or 334-303-1750 for information. 30 • Burkville, Alabama Okra Festival in Lowndes County off Highway 80. The family-friendly event kicks off at 11 a.m. with music by Slim and the

To place an event, e-mail or visit 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 Living

Soulful Saints from 1-4 p.m. From 6-9 p.m. Korree Rudolph performs for the adult crowd. Great food, no admittance charge, and a large art collection at Annie Mae’s Art Place. Contact: 30-31 • Decatur, Battle for Decatur Reenactment at Point Mallard Park. Reenactors will be fighting battles using infantry, cavalry, cannon and battle tactics unique to the War Between the States. Battles begin daily at 2 p.m., camps open to the public at 10 a.m. daily. Information: 256-341-4900.

SEPTEMBER 1 • Ider, 28th Annual Town of Ider

Mule Day at Ider Town Park. Mule and draft horse pulls, antique tractor and car show, arts and crafts, plenty of food vendors, children’s activities, and gospel singing. Parade starts at 9:30 a.m. Call 256-657-4184 or 2-6 • Scottsboro, Jackson County Fair at Veteran’s Park Fairgrounds. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Admission charged. 5 & 6 • Cullman, 17th Annual 10 Mile Yard Sale on County Road 1545. Call 256-737-0604 or email for information. Like Alabama Living on facebook Follow Alabama Living on Twitter @Alabama_Living

AUGUST AUGUST 2014 2014  29

Best Alabama 20


It’s back! Once again, Alabama Living readers have a chance to vote on the places and things that make our state great! We’ve got some new categories this year, so check out the list and tell us what’s your choice for the “Best of Alabama”!

advice for a newcomer 1. Best moving to Alabama

9. Best historic cemetery

17. Best annual event

city/town with unique 2. Best or funny name

statue or historical 10. Best marker in Alabama

18. place

place to take a 3. Best all-time athlete (past or present) 11. Best Sunday drive

Best non-chain breakfast

Alabama grown 19. Best produce

4. Best Alabama export

random roadside 12. Best attraction

20.Best cook-off event

5. Best movie about Alabama

location in 13. Best Alabama for a selfie

seasoning, sauce, or 21. Best condiment made in Alabama

6. Best place to go on a first date

place to get muddy or 14. Best play in the mud

Alabama dish to serve 22. Best out-of-town guests

7. Best place to get married

outdoor adventure 15. Best destination

Alabama made product to 23.Best send home with “out-of-towners”

8. Best place to retire

outdoor annual festival/ Best thing about living 16. Best 24. jubilee/etc. in Alabama


Best article, feature, photo or helpful tip you read in Alabama Living in the past 12 months

Cast your vote for VOTE ONLINE Name: ___________________________________ the Best of Alabama for the chance to win Address: _________________________ City: ___________ St: ___Zip: ________



Deadline to vote 30 AUGUST 2014 is Oct. 15, 2014.

Phone Number: __________________Co-op: ______________________________

Mail to: Alabama Living Survey • P.O. Box 244014 • Montgomery, AL 36124 No purchase necessary. Eligibility: Contest open to all persons age 18 and over, except employees and their immediate family members of Alabama Rural Electric Association, and Alabama Electric Cooperatives; and their respective divisions, subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising, and promotion agencies.

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2014 31

Alabama Outdoors

Alligators make remarkable recovery By John N. Felsher


hosen sportsmen will fan out through the swamps and marshes of southern Alabama on sweltering summer nights to battle dinosaurs fully capable of killing and eating humans. In the Southwest and West Central Zones, which includes the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, the annual state alligator hunt runs from Aug. 14-17 and Aug. 21-24. In the Southeast Zone, which includes Lake Eufaula, the season runs from Aug. 8-24. Only sportsmen who received a limited number of tags may kill alligators. “Alligators are very common in southern Alabama,” says Kenneth Blalock, an Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources conservation officer. “They range as far north as Tuscaloosa on the Black Warrior River and Montgomery on the Alabama River. The hunt takes place at night. Hunters must snag a free swimming alligator with a bow and arrow, harpoon, rod and reel or snatch hook and secure it to the boat before shooting it with a firearm.” People in southern Alabama routinely see alligators today, but a few decades ago, they nearly disappeared from state wetlands. From colonial times to the 1930s, people considered the reptiles vermin worthy of eradication as quickly as possible. Fortunately, the prehistoric beasts typically lived in swampy places largely inaccessible to most people back then. After World War I, products made from alligator leather became chic and more people took to the swamps to make their fortunes. By the 1920s, gasoline-powered outboard motors began to grow in popularity. Armed with modern firearms, more powerful motors and larger boats, hunters could venture farther into remote wetlands to meet a rising demand for leather and successfully bag alligators with little regulation. With alligator numbers plunging, Alabama banned gator hunting in 1938, the first state to pass laws protecting the remnant population. In 1967, the federal government placed alligators on the Endangered Species List, giving them national protection. Protected by state and federal law, the big reptiles multiplied steadily. By 1987, the federal government removed alligators from the Endangered Species List, but the beasts remained protected or highly regulated. However, as populations continued to increase, states began to allow limited harvests to cull surplus animals.

John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer and photographer who lives in Semmes, Ala. He’s written more than 1,700 articles for more than 117 magazines. He co-hosts a weekly outdoors radio show. Contact him through his website at www.

32  AUGUST 2014

The Francher gator is the largest gator taken in Alabama since the season started in 2006. It was taken by Keith Fancher and crew on the Alabama River in the West Central zone. The gator measured 14 feet, 2 inches and weighed 838 pounds. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER

In 2006, Alabama opened its first alligator season in nearly 70 years. During the initial season, 46 Alabama hunters including five women bagged 40 gators. The reptiles ranged in size from 7 feet, 7 inches to 12 feet, 4 inches. The biggest one weighed 461 pounds. “We started an alligator season in Alabama because we felt we had a viable population of alligators that would support a limited hunt each year,” Blalock says. “The largest gator taken in Alabama since 2006 was taken by Keith Fancher on the Alabama River in 2011. It measured 14 feet, 2 inches long and weighed 838 pounds.” Louisiana, where I grew up, closed its season in 1961, but reopened a very limited harvest in 1972. Today, Louisiana allows a statewide commercial harvest of about 30,000 wild alligators and more than 250,000 pen-raised alligators each year, but we seldom saw alligators when I was young. In fact, I didn’t see my first alligator until the late 1960s as the giant reptiles began to recover. Dad always tried to turn every outdoors excursion into a deathdefying adventure. He called every place “out in the middle of nowhere” and always said that we were the first people ever to venture up some nameless bayou or slough. Always, dinosaurs, giant alligators, man-eating snakes and other frightening creatures waited just beyond the next bend. A single digit midget like me believed it. On one such trip through a Louisiana swamp with my dad, two older brothers and cousin, we motored through ebony waters under massive cypress trees eerily draped with Spanish moss. As usual, Dad spun his bone-chilling yarns of giant kid-eating alligators waiting to pounce on us at every bend in the bayou as we explored this vast, forbidding wilderness of no return. Full of teen-aged bravado, my cousin and brothers each tried to outboast the others in their false fearlessness. Each jostled to see who would first take the honor of diving into the water with a knife clenched in his teeth to fight the savage beast like Tarzan -- should an alligator so foolishly appear! They bragged about the wonderful leather boots, wallets and other items they would make with the hide of this mythical leviathan that until that moment none of us had ever seen. As we rounded a bend, we saw our first real live alligator, about an eight-footer sunning itself on a log just a few feet away. Dad pulled out his knife and offered it to my brothers and cousin. “There he is, boys. Who’s going first?” The alligator rested blissfully on its sunny log as we glided past it to the fading echoes of, “He said he wanted to go first.” “No, it wouldn’t be fair for me to go first …” A

Tables indicate peak fish and game feeding and migration times. Major periods can bracket the peak by an hour before and an hour after. Minor peaks, half-hour before and after. Adjusted for daylight savings time. a.m. p.m. Minor Major Minor Major

AUG. 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 SEP. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

---01:22 02:37 03:37 04:37 05:07 --01:07 01:37 08:22 09:07 09:52 11:22 ---01:37 03:07 04:22 05:07 -12:52 07:52 08:37 09:37 10:37 ----02:37 03:37 04:37 05:07 05:52 -07:07 07:37 08:22 09:07 10:07 11:22 --

Alabama Living

05:37 06:52 08:22 09:22 10:07 10:52 11:22 11:52 05:52 06:22 07:07 07:37 02:07 02:52 03:22 04:22 05:22 06:52 08:22 09:22 10:22 11:07 11:52 06:07 06:52 01:37 02:22 02:52 03:52 04:37 05:52 07:22 08:37 09:37 10:22 10:52 11:37 11:52 06:22 12:52 01:07 01:37 02:22 02:52 03:52 04:52

12:37 03:37 08:52 10:07 10:52 11:22 11:52 12:22 07:07 07:22 07:37 08:07 02:22 02:37 03:07 03:52 01:37 03:37 09:07 10:07 10:52 11:37 12:22 06:52 07:22 01:52 02:22 02:52 03:22 12:22 03:07 12:37 10:07 10:37 11:07 11:22 11:52 06:07 06:37 12:52 01:22 01:52 02:22 02:52 03:37 01:22

10:52 11:52 04:52 05:22 05:52 06:07 06:22 06:37 12:22 12:52 01:22 01:52 08:22 08:52 09:07 09:37 10:37 11:52 04:22 04:52 05:22 05:52 06:22 12:37 01:07 07:52 08:22 08:37 09:07 09:37 10:22 04:07 04:37 04:52 05:22 05:37 05:52 12:22 12:22 06:52 07:07 07:37 07:52 08:22 08:52 09:52 AUGUST 2014 33

Alabama Recipes

Made from scratch

Zucchini Chocolate Cake ½ cup margerine or butter ½ cup vegetable oil 1¾ cups sugar 2 eggs ½ cup sour cream 2 cups grated zucchini 2 ½ cups flour 4 tablespoons cocoa

½ teaspoon cinnamon ½ teaspoon nutmeg ½ teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon vanilla flavor

Mix softened butter, oil and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla, sour cream and zucchini. Mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix. Bake in a 9x13-inch pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Check with a toothpick in the center to make sure cake is done. On warm cake, frost with cream cheese frosting. Cream Cheese Frosting: 1 3½ 1 /3 1 1 3

stick butter teaspoons. cocoa. cup milk box powdered sugar teaspoon vanilla flavor cups chopped pecans

Cook of the month: Ann Varnum, Wiregrass EC

Stir together butter, cocoa and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and pecans. Beat until smooth. Spread on warm cake.

Any cook who takes the time to prepare a dish “from scratch” gets my compliments. I remember the first time I made homemade pancakes using actual ingredients instead of baking mix and another time I baked a cake without using a box mix. Truth is, it’s worth the trouble. I tend to add special things, like adding almond extract to my pancake batter, to recipes from a box to make them taste a little more homemade. It’s delicious! But don’t tell anyone I cut corners in the kitchen! Mary Tyler Spivey is a graduate of Huntingdon College where she studied history and French but she also has a passion for great food.

You could win $50!

Upcoming recipe themes and deadlines are: October November December

Wild game

Thanksgiving Holiday Cakes

August 15 September 15 October 15


online at email to mail to Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Contact her at

34 AUGUST 2014

Editor’s Note: Alabama Living’s recipes are submitted by our readers. They are not kitchen-tested by a professional cook or registered dietician. If you have special dietary needs, please check with your doctor or nutritionist before preparing any recipe.

Zucchini Strudel Pie Dough: 4 cups all-purpose flour 1½ cups sugar ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup butter Filling: 5-7 cups zucchini, peeled and cubed

½ cup lemon juice (add enough water to equal 2/3 cups) 1 cup sugar 1½ teaspoon cinnamon (divided) 1 /4 teaspoon nutmeg

Dough: Combine flour, sugar, salt, and butter until crumbly. Press ½ of mixture in 9x13-inch greased pan. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Filling: Combine cubed zucchini and lemon juice/water mixture in a saucepan. Cook until tender. Add 1 cup sugar, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg. Simmer 5 minutes. Add ½ cup reserved dough mixture to filling. Stir until thickened. Spread zucchini over baked dough. Topping: Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon to remaining dough mixture and sprinkle over top of zucchini. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Yummy served warm and topped with vanilla ice cream! Note: Tastes like apple pie! A great way to sneak zucchini into your menu. Martha Joy Troyer, Southern Pine EC

Crab Jambalaya 1 pound crab meat ½ cup chopped bacon ½ cup chopped onion ½ cup chopped celery ½ cup chopped green pepper

1 (29-oz.) can tomatoes 1 /4 cup uncooked rice 1 table spoon Worcestershire sauce ½ teaspoon salt Black pepper, to taste

Remove any remaining shell or cartilage from crabmeat; set aside. Fry bacon until lightly brown. Add onion, celery, and green pepper; cook until tender. Add tomatoes, rice and seasonings. Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring occasionally. Add crabmeat; heat through. Serves 6. WM. J. Peyregne, Pea River EC

Spinach Pizza 2 large handfuls spinach 2 tablespoons crème fraîche ½ garlic clove, finely chopped 2 small handfuls grated Parmesan cheese

Sea salt and black pepper 2 large golf-ballsized pieces pizza dough 2 small eggs

(This recipe serves two, but you could make more individual pizzettas if you have guests)! Preheat your oven to 500°F. Put a pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven to heat it up. Plunge the spinach leaves into boiling salted water for one minute to blanch them. Remove the spinach and plunge into ice-cold water. Squeeze dry and finely chop it. Add the crème fraîche, garlic, about 3/4 of the Parmesan, a pinch of salt, and black pepper. Mix together to form a green paste. Roll each dough ball out to around 8 inches in diameter. Evenly spread the spinach mixture over each pizza base, creating a tiny wall. Crack an egg into the center of each. Place the pizzas on your pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven for 6–8 minutes.One minute before your pizzas are ready, sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and black pepper. Robin O’Sullivan, Wiregrass EC 36 AUGUST 2014

Want to see recipes, feature stories, and other Alabama happenings during the month? LIke Alabama Living on facebook and don’t miss anything!

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Vacation Rentals

WWW.GULFSHORES4RENT.COM Beautiful and great priced condos on West Beach in Gulf Shores. Call (404)219-3189 or (404)702-9824 HELEN GA CABIN FOR RENT – SLEEPS 2-6, 2.5 BATHS, FIREPLACE, Jacuzzi, washer/dryer – (251)9482918,, email PIGEON FORGE, TN – 3 BEDROOM, 2 bath house – Walking distance to parkway, light# 1 - $85.00 / night – (256)309-7873, (256)590-8758

CABINS / PIGEON FORGE, TN – SLEEPS 2-6, GREAT LOCATION – (251)649-3344, (251)649-4049, WWW.

CABIN IN MENTONE – 2/2, BROW view, hottub – For rent $100 / Night or Sale $199,000 – (706)767-0177

ORANGE BEACH CONDO, 3BR/3BA; 2,000 SQ.FT.; beautifully decorated; gorgeous waterfront view; boat slips available; great rates - Owner rented (251)604-5226

FINANCIAL HELP LINES FOR AL FAMILIES BANKRUPTCY ADVICE FOR FREE (877)933-1139 MORTGAGE RELIEF HELP LINE (888) 216-4173 STUDENT LOAN RELIEF LINE (888)694-8235 DEBT RELIEF NON-PROFIT LINE (888) 779-4272 Numbers provided by A Public Benefit Organization

GATLINBURG – DOWNTOWN LUXURY CREEKSIDE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6 – aubie12@centurytel. net, (256)599-5552

38  AUGUST 2014

GATLINBURG, TN – FOND MEMORIES start here in our chalet – Great vacation area for all seasons – Two queen beds, full kitchen, 1 bath, Jacuzzi, deck with grill – 3 Night Special - Call (866)316-3255, Look for us on FACEBOOK / billshideaway

GULF SHORES GULF FRONT - 1 BR 1 BA, and hall bunks. Fall rate $804.75/ week. vrbo listing #435534., (256) 352-5721

GULF SHORES, WEST BEACH – GULF view, sleeps 6 – www.vrbo. com/92623, (404)641-4939, (404)641-5314

18X21 CARPORT $695 INSTALLED – OTHER SIZES AVAILABLE - (706) 226-2739, www.

GULF SHORES PLANTATION - GULF view, beach side, 2 bedrooms / 2 baths, no smoking / no pets. Owner rates (205)339-3850

USED PORTABLE SAWMILLS – BUY / Sell. Call Sawmill Exchange (800)4592148 or 713-sawmill. USA & Canada –

LUMBER FOR SALE: CIRCULAR SAW Red & White Oak, Hickory, Ash - $1.20 BFT; Heart Pine - $5.00 BFT – 5” Treated Round: One Side Flat Fence Post 8 FT Long $9.50 each - Loring White (334)782-3636 (Tallapoosa)

Closing Deadlines (in our office: October 2014 – August 25 November 2014 – September 25 December 2014 – October 25

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Real Estate Sales GANTT LAKE – FRONT, 2 BED, 1 Bath, Large Den, Pier, extra buildings – more (334)669-1934 NICE 3 BR, 2 BATH FISHING, HUNTING & RETIREMENT HOME on river in Dallas Co. - Recently remodeled with hard wood floors & ceramic tile, metal roof and new A/C unit, large high lot. E-mail smerrill05@, Cell- 850-582-7633 Home 850-939-2054 HOUSES (2) FOR SALE – BRIDGEPORT, ALABAMA – Each with two bedrooms and one bath, two lots with each $35,000 and $45,000 – Call (256)4953492 Leave Message. SECTION, AL – BEAUTIFUL PROPERTY WITH BLUFF VIEW – Great hunting location. Up to 190 acres, sold in tracts or as a whole - $2,800 per acre. Call Greg Henderson (256)302-1192 at Main Street Realty Plus (256)400-1335

Travel CARIBBEAN CRUISES AT THE LOWEST PRICE – (256)974-0500 or (800)726-0954

Musical Notes PIANOS TUNED, REPAIRED, refinished. Box 171, Coy, AL 36435. 334-337-4503 PLAY GOSPEL SONGS BY EAR - 10 lessons $12.95. “LEARN GOSPEL MUSIC”. Chording, runs, fills - $12.95 Both $24. Davidsons, 6727AR Metcalf, Shawnee Missions, Kansas 66204 – (913)262-4982

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; 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.

Education WWW.2HOMESCHOOL.ORG – OPEN YEAR ROUND K-12 enrollment. Contact Dr. Cerny (256)653-2593 BECOME AN ORDAINED MINISTER correspondence study. Founded in 1988. Free info. Ministers for Christ Outreach, 7558 West Thunderbird Road, Ste. 1 - #114, Peoria, Arizona 85381. FREE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE – WRITE to P.O. Box 52, Trinity, AL, 35673

Critters CHIHUAHUA PUPPIES. REGISTERED, GUARANTEED healthy, raised indoors in loving home, vet records and references. (256)796-2893

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2014  39


Appetizer from Central: Pork bites made with cured lard, Tucker pecans and cane syrup. Watch Jennifer and Chef Leo in the kitchen at Central!

University & Dixon Conference Center. “There was so much talent there, and I got to cook under that and get the basics: making stocks, sauces, knife skills.” After helping open Montgomery’s Railyard Brewery, he became Central’s executive chef. In the lofty space that was once a grocery warehouse, he and his staff are turning out dishes focused on seasonal ingredients prepared with precision. “We use things that are at their peak, and I want the food to speak for itself, so I don’t fuss around with it too much,” he says. He’s earned some high praise: Alabama Restaurant Association’s Chef of the Year 2011 and being named one of the Best Chefs America-South by a peer review publication highlighting the best of the best in the culinary profession. But it’s not gone to his head. In fact, he’s eager to share recipes and offer kitchen tips with anyone and everyone. On Friday evenings in the spring and summer, he partners with Montgomery’s Downtown Farm to put on Desde el Jardin (from the garden) dinners. On Friday afternoons, he gets a basket full of whatever is ripe and ready on the farm, creates a menu based on the basket and posts it, as well as photos and videos of the dishes in process, on his social media sites. He also includes the playlist he and his kitchen staff will be jamming to while whipping up the evening’s offerings.


Born in Great Britain while his military dad was there, he and his family finally settled in New Orleans. He tried college, majoring in industrial drafting, and didn’t love it, so he went to work for a little Mexican eatery back home in NOLA. One knock on a door put him on the path to a culinary career. “I just knocked on the door at Emeril’s [famed Chef Emeril Lagasse’s flagship restaurant] and offered to work for free for one day if they’d give me a chance,” he says. “They did, and he worked there for 11 years, moving his way up the ranks in the kitchen.” His next job was with Chef Donald Link, another major name on the national culinary stage, and he was the executive chef of Link’s Cochon restaurant for three years before Fisher’s owner, Johnny Fisher, brought him to Alabama to head up his namesake restaurant. Chef Bill’s approach is to treat food honestly. “You don’t need 85 things on a plate,” he says. “You just need a balance of flavors, and you want to truly taste every one of them.” He strikes this balance in Fisher’s two menus: one for the casual dockside dining, the other for the fine-dining upstairs area. Both are designed to be part of an overall experience. “From the atmosphere in both dining rooms to the service to the food, it is all about being relaxed,” he says. “You’re at the beach.” But don’t get too comfortable. Chef Bill wants diners to branch out and try new things, and he makes sure the wait staff clearly understands every item on the menu so they can accurately describe it to Fisher’s guests. A

Fisher’s sauteed shrimp and tomato gravy atop grits. PHOTO COURTESY OF FISHER’S

Chef Bill Briand (right) Restaurant: Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina in Orange Beach Opened: May 2013 Eat This: Ham and green onion hushpuppies with jalapeno dipping sauce and blackened fish tacos (dockside) and oysters Earle (you really must!) and seared jumbo sea scallops with roasted cauliflower and ginger herb salad (upstairs). “All Alabama” is the mantra of Chef Bill Briand. He’s striving to incorporate as much Alabama-grown produce and as many Alabama-made ingredients as possible into his menu, particularly the bounty of the warm Gulf waters only steps from his kitchen. “We are definitely using Alabama seafood to our advantage,” he says. “It would be crazy not to, but you’d be surprised how many places don’t.” 40 AUGUST 2014

It’s Back to School time in



Visit all of our local merchants for great deals on school supplies. From computers to pencils, Brundidge has it all.

Pinckard Food Mart Main Street Brundidge, AL 36010

Horn Beverage

Our Sources Say

GASP and Real Jobs


n June 4, published an article by Stacie Propst, executive director of The Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), celebrating the EPA’s recent proposed rule on carbon dioxide emissions for existing power generation plants. Among other things, Dr. Propst states, “…history was made this week with the announcement of new rules to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants, the single largest source of emissions in the U.S.” She goes further in explaining accurately that the rule, if imposed, will reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels. Dr. Propst also states, “Power plants have long been required to limit certain toxic pollutants, such as mercury, arsenic and soot, but this is the first time in our nation’s history that carbon will be regulated. The Supreme Court has ruled that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and, as such, the EPA is authorized to regulate it under the Clean Air Act.” Dr. Propst continues, “Carbon pollution is damaging to human health and accounts for 84 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, which is driving climate change. As the earth warms, thanks to carbon pollution, ground-level ozone (smog) and particulate matter worsen, which is harmful to our lungs and our hearts.” Dr. Propst also warns, “…critics have come forth to cry foul, twisting and contorting data to make baseless arguments about costs and jobs. Do not be deceived by the spin. Reducing carbon pollution will benefit our health, our environment and our economy.” She adds, “…more importantly for Alabama, 75 percent of the coal burned to generate our electricity is imported from other states and countries, Wyoming and Colombia among them. In other words, reducing carbon pollution has little to do with coal jobs in Alabama.” Dr. Propst makes an impassioned plea. She obviously has a passion and an agenda. Now let’s talk about the twisting and contorting of data to make baseless arguments. First – and it is a minor but important point – the Supreme Court has not ruled, as Dr. Propst alleges, that carbon is a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. It ruled if EPA declares carbon to be a pollutant under the Clean Air Act it may regulate it. Too many environmentalists wrongfully argue that the EPA must regulate carbon under an order from the Supreme Court. That is just wrong. Second, Dr. Propst states that carbon pollution increases ground

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative

44 AUGUST 2014

level ozone and particulate matter. She is obviously passionate and knowledgeable about the subject matter and knows her statements are just wrong. Power plant carbon emissions do not in any way contribute to ozone or particulate matter emissions. Those two emissions are in the group of many pollutants that are dictated by other regulations – regulations that Alabama’s electric generators comply with. Third, Dr. Propst states that shutting down Alabama’s coal-fired generation plants will have little effect on Alabama jobs. That, too, is just wrong, and Dr. Propst should know it as well. PowerSouth employs approximately 185 people at its coal-fired Lowman Plant in Leroy, Ala. PowerSouth’s comparably sized natural gas-fired Vann Plant in Gantt, Ala., employs approximately 30 people. If the Lowman Plant was closed and replaced with natural gas-fired facilities, 150 jobs would be lost. Alabama Power and TVA employ hundreds more Alabamians at their coal-fired generation plants. The majority of those jobs would be lost as well. It is easy for Dr. Propst to say those jobs are worth the gain of closing down coal-fired generation plants to reduce carbon emissions. But those jobs are not faceless, as Dr. Propst would portray them. They are real people with families and children with futures. They are people I know, and maybe you know some of them, too. They are not nameless, they are Robby Hunt, Bryan Pansing, Tommy Bridges, Brian Reeves, Morgan Rogers, Calvin Davenport, Byron Beverly, Deidra Monigan and 175 more people – my friends and fellow employees who do a day’s work for a day’s wage, which they use to pay their grocery bills and household expenses, educate and provide for their children’s futures. They are good people who produce the electricity that drives other businesses and provides the conveniences of life we all enjoy and take for granted. Dr. Propst would throw those good people into the street without conscience for the unlikely prospect of slightly cleaner air. Those people have already produced more for Alabama’s economy and society than Dr. Propst ever will with her fundraising. But Dr. Propst holds out hope for those people. After all, the National Defense Resource Council (NRDC) says a green economy could fuel a surge in energy efficiency investments, creating new green jobs. Of course, the NRDC is not a balanced organization, but instead is one of the most aggressive environmental activist groups in the country. Of course, they will say things are better just over the green rainbow. I doubt if the prospect of those green jobs will help any of my friends in Leroy. Maybe they could all just start their own environmental groups, write emotional articles about the dangers to our children’s futures and raise donations to support themselves. I hope you have a good month. A

Market Place

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2014  45

Alabama Snapshots

2 1




Submit Your Images! OCTOBER THEME:

“Off roading”


Photos, Alabama Living, 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 Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. DEADLINE FOR OCTOBER: Aug. 31

46 AUGUST 2014


Championships 1. Alex Scott and Kaydi Langley after winning a state volleyball tournament SUBMITTED BY Rhonda Langley, Addison 2. Aurora smiles after completing her first bike race SUBMITTED BY Robin O’Sullivan, Dothan 3. Stephenie Roden and Katrina Barksdale finish the Mud Mania 5K in Auburn SUBMITTED BY Stephenie Roden, Boaz 4. Zyler and Zaden Higgins with

their medals and trophies from soccer SUBMITTED BY Loretta Higgins, Cedar Bluff 5. Joseph Barnett and Gabrielle Barnett at the ESA Surf Competition in 1985 in Orange Beach. “I grew up on the beach, watching him surf, he was always a champion in my eyes” SUBMITTED BY Gabrille Barnett, Gulf Shores



Alabama Rural Electric Association’s


Quilt Competition Our theme is: What put us on the map? Design your quilt square around the idea of what your local co-op area is known for. We need all co-ops represented!

Mail, E-mail or Fax form below for your entry package. Deadline to submit quilt square is December 31, 2014 Name: ________________________________________________ Address: ______________________________________________ City, State Zip: __________________________________________ E-mail: ________________________________________________ Phone: ________________________________________________ Cooperative: ___________________________________________ (The electric cooperative name on front of this Alabama Living.)

Mail to: AREA 340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117 or Phone: 334-215-2732 Fax: 334-215-2733 E-mail:

Profile for Alabama Living

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