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Chef Kevin Gillespie’s Love Affair With Southern Fare THE SUPPER TABLE


Celebrating A Cajun Heritage


A Virginia Community Elevates Lying to an Art RANDOM JOURNEY

An Eye-Opening Visit to Charming Washington, Georgia




50: DEFENDING SOUTHERN FOOD Chef Kevin Gillespie’s Love Affair With Southern Food

62: A BEAUTIFUL MESS Encouraging women farmers from a Tennessee farm


Great conversation over great steaks in the Mississippi Delta


Preserving old seeds to bake better breads in Asheville


Adding new tastes to our morning meal










Our Southern food memories

Memories of a grandfather’s beloved cookie

Lending a helping hand in Alabama

Serving up authentic Cajun food in New Orleans

Chef Tom Ramsey’s Winter pork and potatoes

You’ve got to raise a little hell


Remembering the tastes of Summer

96 46





An Alabama artist crafts the unexpected from recovered logs

PG 23: BY SOUTHERN HANDS You’ll want these finds made by locals


Cozy up with Deborah Malone and a good mystery

Big history in a small Georgia town




Tim Avalon makes it happen in Jackson

PG 130: SOUTH AND ABOUT What’s happening around the South


Committed to the long grind in Virginia


The Dexateens embrace an Alabama rock-n-roll collective

Miniature buildings await in Cullman, AL

SOUTHERN SNAPSHOTS PG 96: ALONG THE ROAD A Virginia town built on lies

PG 102: SOUTHERN C HARACTER The unforgettable Duck Man

PG 104: L AY OF THE L AND Readers share photos of their South


STAFF Scott Speakes Publisher Genie Gaither Jones Editor-in-Chief Ellen Rogers Howle Managing Editor Rebecca Cashwell Design Director Lynae Bryant Visual Communication Artist Allen Ransom Digital Imaging Specialist Matthew Magee Editorial Ellen Rogers Howle Genie Gaither Jones Julia L. Haynes Elizabeth Tate Copy Writers Richard L. Jones Copy Editor Scott Speakes Photography Director Gordon Lynch Scott Speakes Lena Seaborn Photography Advertising Panaprint, Inc. Printing Sappi Papers, Inc. Special Thanks

Published by Southbound Publishing, Inc. P O Box 4107 Cleveland, MS 38732

7040 Concourse Pkwy. Douglasville, GA 30135 770-949-5058

1600 Marietta Hwy. Canton, GA 30114 (770) 345-9067

1425 Roswell Road Marietta, GA 30062 (770) 971-3201


Growing up in the South,

it seemed every important event was centered on the gathering of family and friends around food. At family reunions, we kids would circle like vultures as we waited impatiently for the adults to place food on the tables. Would our favorites be there? Did Aunt Rosa make her chicken and dumplings? Was that Aunt Jane’s coconut cake? Were those Aunt Sara’s green beans we loved so much? What was Aunt Grace taking out of her picnic basket? Was it fried chicken and chocolate pie? Where were Aunt Carolyn’s deviled eggs? Were those Aunt Julia’s yeast rolls next to Aunt Sue’s pear relish? And please let that be Grandmother’s pound cake sitting there on the table, crusty on the outside and tender on the inside. All those foods are burned into my memories, yet none are as dear as watching our grandmothers make biscuits. After all, a biscuit may be the most Southern of foods and no two cooks make them alike. And as one who lost the art of biscuit making for several years, let me tell you, there is a real art to making good ones. At Memaw’s, the big yellow Pyrex mixing bowl resided in the top kitchen cabinet. There was always self-rising flour and a sifter sitting in it. Memaw would pull it down, sift, make a well in the flour, add buttermilk and Crisco. Then she would fold it over and over with her hands until it was just the right texture. Next she would roll a small amount into a ball and press it slightly into a cast iron skillet, which, I think, made the perfect biscuit – slightly brown top, fluffy inside, and crisp on the bottom. All you had to do was add butter and syrup. I can still smell those biscuits baking. Grandma’s biscuits were equally good but the process was somewhat different. In the corner of her kitchen sat a Hoosier cabinet, the kind with the flour bin and sifter built in. As a child, I stood mesmerized as she opened that small door and sifted a little flour into the waiting mixing bowl. Lard was added to the bowl and then worked into the flour with her hands. I would get the buttermilk out of the refrigerator and pour it in while she skillfully worked it into the flour and lard mixture. She would mix it just until combined then pinch off small portions of dough and roll them into balls then pat them into her blackened aluminum baking pan, crowding them. When they came out of the oven, they had risen to a rounded top, were soft on the inside and crusty on the bottom – just like Memaw’s – yet as different as they could possibly be. But we loved them equally. If we could make biscuits like either grandmother, we wouldn’t need a recipe each time. Sadly, we just don’t make them often enough. The way we cook today is very different from how our grandmothers, even our mothers, cooked, yet we don’t want to lose those ways. We love our Southern foods. Sometimes we don’t like to admit it, as so much of it is cooked in ways and with ingredients we are told are bad for us, but when we have the opportunity to indulge in good Southern cooking it’s like going home. The memories come flooding back and life is good. We, never want to lose that feeling – or those memories.

Scott Speakes // Publisher



Genie Gaither Jones // Editor-in-Chief

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MATHEW JAY MAGEE is from Magee! Magee, Mississippi that is. A natural storyteller, musician and photographer, his newly found interest in gardening has led to the creation of The Mississippi Sound Garden – a raised vegetable bed that responds to all kinds of sounds and musical shenanigans! He currently resides in Ridgeland, Mississippi with three furry critters and a darling, loving wife.


RICHARD GRANT is an author, journalist, and television host. He currently writes for Smithsonian magazine, New York Times, Garden and Gun, and several other publications. He grew up in London, England, and now lives in Jackson, Mississippi. His latest book Dispatches From Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta has been the #1 best-selling book in Mississippi for the last eight months. In Dispatches From Pluto, Grant finally puts down some roots. He and his girlfriend move from New York City to a remote farmhouse near Pluto, Mississippi, and immerse themselves in the rich, troubling, often bizarre culture of the Mississippi Delta. “His empathetic manner, reportorial talent and eye for the unexpected detail make this a chigger-trip trip that entertains as much as it informs,” said the New York Times.


RORY DOYLE works as a university photojournalist and freelance photographer based in Cleveland, Mississippi. Doyle’s client and publication list includes: The Wall Street Journal, Getty Images, U.S. News, The Atlantic, CNN, Forbes, Reebok, Men’s Journal, The Marshall Project, Bitter Southerner, Teach for America, Spartan Race and more. With a passion for travel, he has also had assignments in Southeast Asia, Central and South America, Poland, Russia and more.





TOM RAMSEY Tom is a chef, sommelier, writer and reluctant goatherd. He lives in a temperamental old house in Jackson, Mississippi with his wife Kitty, some kids, a bunch of cats and three very naughty goats. He’s terrible about answering his phone but he’ll return your emails.

MARK PETKO 14 years a Southerner, having traded “yinz” for “y’all”, yet still not used to the summer heat. Lately, can’t get enough of Honey Crisp apple slices with peanut butter. Don’t feel right unless I get a good 6-7 hours of daily snuggle-time with the wife. Bored with hipster beards. I spend a good amount of effort avoiding crowds. Therefore, brunch is for suckers. Real men eat breakfast at 7am and dinner out is usually 5pm, with the elderly. I like to read books that will soon be movies and compare what I imagined versus someone else’s vision. I’m a photographer by choice and sometimes I like to write.


GROWL BROS. Justin & Chris are both from Atlanta, and based there, near the oldest mountains in the world, the Appalachians, where they hike and ride as much as possible. But they’ve been influenced by exploring New Zealand, skiing the Canadian Rockies, shooting photographs in India, talking to a Georgia taxidermist they found on Craigslist, and enjoying a slice of brisket that smoked all night in a rural Texas pit before arriving on their plates. They like grit and grace, the hills over yonder, merriment right here, and being married—though not to each other, except in a business sense. They make photographs—portraits, product shots, adventure and documentary narratives—that make people smile and wonder.


VIEW MORE ART @ C ASHWELLFINEART.COM S T U D I O N O . 7 7 0 - 312 - 5 5 3 2


HEL PIN G SHOW US YOUR SOUTH In every issue of okra. we feature images from ACROSS THE SOUTH, submitted by OUR READERS of what the South means to them. Our editors select the photographs we feel best showcase our DIVERSE SOUTHERN CULTURE. If your photograph is chosen we will send you a REAL SOUTHERN CULTURE t-shirt. So go to our website and submit your images. Just tell us WHO YOU ARE and WHERE IT IS so we can GIVE YOU CREDIT.

SHOW US YOUR SOUTH submit your photo to submissions @

RECIPE SWAP WITH CHEF TOM RAMSEY My Grandmother used to hold polite little parties at her house where recipes and gossip were freely exchanged, mid-day. They were called “Recipe Swap Socials.” The “recipe” portion of the party had a specific format and the “social” part was well, more free-form. Each gathering would have a new theme – “One Pot Meals” or “Casseroles” or “Gelatin Salads.” The hostess would prepare a couple of items in accordance with the theme and the ladies would exchange recipe cards with each guest bringing enough printed cards to distribute their recipe with each and every guest. The ladies would arrive with one recipe and leave with ten or more. And of course, there was always some punch on hand. The internet may have its flaws with fake news and way too many selfies and pictures of cats, but it does allow for our communities to reach beyond their former geographical limits. Let’s use this technology to make our worlds a little more delicious. We’ll post a theme and a recipe each month and you, our readers can submit your recipes, along with pictures, in the comments. We’ll pick our favorites and give the recipes a test-run. If they live up to their promise, we’ll hold them out as our favorites and perhaps even feature one of them in the print publication. Feel free to consume a good punch while reading and interacting. Photo submitted by Ceci Snyder, Deer Island Paddle, Mississippi Gulf Coast

KNOW SOME OUT OF THE WAY PLACE YOU THINK WE WOULD LIKE TO GO? What about a curious little museum or place we

might enjoy? Or that person you heard about with a really interesting story? Share them with us and we’ll let our readers know. Write it and if we like it we will use it on our website.

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H S U B S C R I B E T O D AY & S AV E 4 5 % O F F T H E C O V E R P R I C E ! H In every issue, you’ll discover Real Southern Culture. Along the way, you’ll meet our wonderful people, enjoy Southern foods and visit unique and interesting places. Subscribe and receive 1 year for $22.95 at a 45% savings!


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I grew up in Bermuda where people are friendly and everybody helps each other. It just makes sense to me to do the same when you see people who need help.



Inspiring theWorld ONE L AWN AT A TIME Written by Julia L. Haynes / Photography by Lena Seaborn It’s been said that generosity of spirit is most often found in the greatest of leaders.

black for 50 lawns cut. “It’s sort of based on the karate belt system of achievement.”

Rodney Smith, Jr. embodies this spirit. “I want to show our children (our future) that they

Once they have attained the black t-shirt, they help Smith with teaching and leading

too will receive a sense of accomplishment, self-esteem, moral values and find a purpose

the others.

in themselves. No matter how small or tall, young or old, or what cultural background they come from, they are capable of whatever they put their minds to.” Back-up to last fall when Smith, 27, drove past a home where an elderly man was

Briggs & Stratton® heard about Smith and came calling. They have been instrumental in helping to keep them supplied with lawn equipment. A short video was even produced for their You.Powered. series and garnered a lot of attention.

struggling to cut his lawn. The sight haunted

Smith graduated in May 2016 from University

him. “It came to me, that I should do some-

of Alabama A&M in Huntsville with a degree in

thing about it. I’m young. I’m able.” So in

computer sciences but realized before graduation

September 2015, he decided to cut lawns

that he would be pursuing his masters. “I feel I’ve

for the elderly, single mothers, disabled and

found my calling and I started back in September

veterans free of charge. “I was in school and

to get my masters in Social Work.”

cutting lawns between classes and on week-

Asked what the recipients of his generous spirit

ends, so I set a personal goal to cut 100 lawns

think about all of this, “They can’t believe it. Peo-

by winter.” But by November he had already

ple cry. Some of them have citations because they

cut 100 lawns and in December Raising Men

can’t care for their lawns, then they get ripped off

Lawn Care Service was born.

by companies charging them $200 or more to cut

As the founder of RMLCS, Smith is passion-

their lawns. They can’t afford that. They need

ate about giving back. “I grew up in Bermuda

medicines and food. It feels good to see how much

where people are friendly and everybody helps

we help them.”

each other. It just makes sense to me to do the

This past Fall, Rodney and his team of young

same when you see people who need help.”

men extended their helping hands to the homeless.

With his friend, Terrence Stroy, they enlist the

They began handing out blankets, sleeping bags,

help of young people who need something to

tents, gloves and scarves to the homeless. Over

do. “We have 40 boys and 5 girls aged 7-17,

the Christmas holidays so many donations came

who cut lawns with us.” Smith acknowledg-

in they were able to deliver gifts, bottled water and

es that when some of the kids first start, they

meals to the homeless in the Huntsville area.

aren’t thrilled with the hard work. “But when

Raising Men Lawn Care performs a free service,

they see how grateful the people are whose

but the cost to purchase gas, oil, parts and pro-

lawns we’ve just cut, their whole attitude

vide general maintenance can add up. You can

changes. They WANT to get back out there

donate to help on their GoFundMe page. They

and do more. It just makes you feel good.”

travel across the Huntsville metro area, but will

Smith speculates that during the summer

also cover North Alabama as needed. There are

the group cuts, on average, 100 lawns a month. “We rotate the kids so they don’t get

6 other chapters in as many states and in Bermuda to help support, also. The word is

burned out. I mean, they’re still kids and need to have fun.” Don’t let those words fool

spreading. “They see the video and want to get involved. My hope is that one day we

you though, Smith makes sure there is fun to be had along with hard work while on the

would have chapters in every state and maybe even around the world.” Rodney Smith Jr:

job– random water gun battles top the list. There are also donut drops to the local fire-

dreamer, doer and yes, a great leader.

men and police officers to show support. Besides the good feeling that comes from helping others, the youngsters are rewarded

with t-shirts to mark their achievements. Starting with white, they move up to orange

when they reach 10 lawns, then on to green for 20, blue for 30, red for 40 and finally



with a


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This page: A section of cypress log is cleaned and polished to showcase its beauty for a decorative piece. Opposite page: Flournoy, flanked by 2 of her beloved dogs, carries a 4-tiered pedestal from her workshop in preparation for a show


SMALL BUT MIGHTY Written by Julia L. Haynes / Photography by Gordon Lynch

Air is thick in the Deep South during late summer making it hard to breathe in the best of circumstances. It’s especially thick today at ninety-seven degrees, even in the shade of this tree-lined street. Opening the wide cypress gate to admit me to the yard of her home I am struck by the thought that this woman doesn’t look like she could handle the logs she uses for building, especially in this heat. Slight of frame with long blond hair pulled back into a ponytail, she is jovial and friendly, but there’s an easy confidence about her that lets you know not much gets in her way, even the heat of summer. She may be small, but she is mighty. Lisa Flournoy builds furniture – furniture made from reclaimed cypress logs pulled from the swamp. Following her to the workshop, three small dogs run ahead of us with the same easy confidence of their owner. Layer upon layer of boards lean against the outside walls of the building – their varied weathered hues the only indication of where they were pulled from. Materials are strewn everywhere. It’s easy to see this is a busy place. Inside, on a shelf under a bank of windows that runs along the back of the workshop, are multiple pieces ready to pack up for a show – sections of cypress logs polished to a lovely matte patina, some turned into mirrors, birdhouses of all sizes, a bookcase, a table waiting for assembly. On the workbench pieces of cypress wood planks of differing tones wait to dry, destined for a kitchen island. It’s obvious Flournoy is passionate about what she does. “I get up really early every day and spend almost all day out here working. The light is always good inside the shop and I just love being out here.” Located only three short blocks from the small historic downtown of Prattville, Alabama, the workshop began life as a bait and tackle shop behind the circa 1860 house Flournoy is currently restoring. Its location was ideally suited for the people fishing the nearby Autauga Creek that runs through the town. “It’s a work in progress.” She apologizes indicating her house. “It was the worst house on the block. My older brother and I spent months leveling the floors throughout.” However it’s easy to see how beautiful it will be when she is finished.

Daniel Pratt, a Northern industrialist who moved to the South, to take advantage of the booming cotton business, founded Prattville in 1839. After settling in Alabama, Pratt purchased over 1,800 acres along the Autauga Creek to build his cotton gin manufacturing operation. Originally from New Hampshire, he modeled the new town after the villages of his home state with the cotton gin anchoring one end of the downtown main street. Today, Prattville is a small yet beautiful historic gem for those looking to escape the capital city of Montgomery and for those from the nearby Maxwell Air Force Base. It’s a far cry from the swamp where most of Flournoy building materials come from. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Flournoy’s family relocated to Prattville from Cape Canaveral, Florida in 1962 where her father was a cartographer. She was three. The family hunted, fished and mostly lived off the land. “We were almost survivalists, but not quite.” Flournoy says. “If we wanted or needed something we just built it.“ With three brothers, there was a lot of competition, but they were also very close. She is especially close to her younger brother, Jim, owner and operator of Old River Sawmill. The two of them work together often. Jim Flournoy finds and retrieves old logs from swamps and rivers. Most of the cypress logs he reclaims from the swamps are from North Florida. He pulls only old logs that were most likely lost when they floated away from piles of logs being moved down the river in the 18th and 19th century. These found their way to the swamps. When the water level is low he searches the swamp for the good logs, marks them, and then patiently waits for the water to rise so he can pull them out. Flournoy often accompanies her brother into the swamp to help with the retrieval. “It’s dangerous work and he’s diving into the swamp, so someone has to look out for alligators, snakes and swamp people with guns. The swamp people are the most dangerous thing, though.” she says. “They really don’t want you there.” Continued >


Flournoy never imagined she would be building furniture for a living. After moving to Orlando, Florida to enter the corporate world, she found herself in an apartment without ample storage, after having lived in a house for so many years. Suddenly she had to think about finding multi-functional furniture. Unable to find furniture she liked, she started making her own. Friends liked it and she began making a little here and there. After a drunk driver left her with a broken neck Flournoy felt she had to leave the corporate life. “After a couple of years, I just couldn’t take being boxed in anymore. And being the only girl, I felt the responsibility of taking care of my mother, who had been in the accident with me. She was hurt far worse than me.” So Flournoy returned to Prattville in 2009. It wasn’t easy when she first moved back. “There’s not a lot of work in small towns”, and she took whatever jobs she could just to make ends meet. But she found herself repeatedly helping her brother, Jim, at the sawmill. “When I first started going out there, I kept seeing this big pile of scrap that he would burn. It was what was cut off the logs and he couldn’t use it so he was just burning it. I asked if I could have some of it and that’s what I started using to create some small furniture and décor pieces.”

“I TRY TO BUILD THINGS I CAN HANDLE BY MYSELF.” She has been building furniture for about 15 years but only in the past six years has it grown to support her. While she still utilizes some of that scrap, she also uses cypress boards that the sawmill produces as well as timber from old homes or rivers that she and her brother reclaim. But cypress is her favorite. “It’s light, so I can move it around easily. I try to build things that I can handle by myself. And the colors from the North Florida swamp are so much prettier than the wood pulled from our swamps around here,” she explains. “The minerals in the mud and water give the wood beautiful color – blues, green, reds. Our swamps tend to give it a pinkish hue – more watered down.” She likes to say that her job has required her to be a chemist, scientist and artist, but with a dash of fairy dust. One of their biggest projects was the dismantling of the historic wooden Eagle & Phenix Dam on the Chattahoochee River in Columbus, Georgia. Begun in 2012, the project took over two years to complete. The dam, started in 1828, was added to several times over the years until 1885. It was built of heart pine beams and logs with a lot of wrought iron. Lisa is especially proud of the wall in her house she covered with some of those same heart pine boards and oversized wrought iron hinges salvaged from the project. Now she is traveling to Atlanta, Georgia once a month for the Scott Antique Market, where she sells her ready-made pieces. This show has been good to her. “I get a lot of work from it. “ she says. “I sell a lot of the pieces I bring to the show, but most of my work these days is custom.” It seems her customers love the cypress as much as she does. She supplies picture frames and mirrors and other small items to a florist in Prattville, limbs to a taxidermist in Auburn, and currently there is paneling being supplied for a new restaurant in the Atlanta area. People are taking notice. Her newest acquisition is an old RV that allows her to stay on the show grounds. “I love my RV. It’s like being in a home and I can bring the dogs with me, “she laughs. “And I can take a nap if I get too tired.” Somehow, I don’t think anyone is going to find her napping. She is enjoying her busy life.



Left Top: Daniel Pratt founded his cotton gin mill in 1840 along the Autauga Creek Left Bottom: Flournoy used salvaged boards and hardware from the Eagle & Phenix Dam demolition project to cover the walls in her 1860’s home Right page: Flournoy working with cypress and other reclaimed woods in the workshop behind her home


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Photography by Heather Anne Thomas



Photography by Natalie Watson

LeAnne McQueen loves a pretty table. “I always had an obsession with setting the table since I was a little girl. My grandma and mother always had the china hutches full of cups, saucers, plates, serving pieces and I loved to riffle through them and find my favorites.” Her inspiration is the South all around her. “Food is the center of family and fellowship here. From attention to the centerpieces, the hours put into food preparation, and the elaborate table settings – a Southern dinner party is an experience that is hard to match.” After graduating from college in 2009, she was working at her pottery in an old building in downtown Maryville, TN. After three years in the old shop, she had made the decision to go back to graduate school when an opportunity came along that she couldn’t pass up – the printing shop next door was closing its doors. She turned her small pottery shop of 750 square feet into a 3750 square feet studio. “I thought I would pour everything into it for five years and then reevaluate after that. In 2012 I opened up the teaching school of Studio 212 and founded McQueen Pottery in 2014. I am never looking back.” McQueen strives for her work to be clean, classic, and timeless. The hand formed pieces are simple with a modern shape and a fresh look. All the work is handmade either on the pottery wheel or by hand. “Handmade is special. Don’t get me wrong – I love china and mass-produced dinnerware for accent pieces on my table. But I prefer the warmth of handmade and “the touch of the maker” gives it an organic feel that highlights the food and the table.” The line and her philosophy is perfect for any home “I want the meal that you took hours to prepare plated on dishware that has the same amount of thought and love put into it.” McQueen Pottery can be purchased through their website @ and at many galleries throughout the Southeast. There is also a line exclusive for Blackberry Farms that can be purchased through their website @



Photography by Gordon Lynch


H I Y’A LL ”Hi Y’all.” It’s a phrase heard everyday in the South – greeting our friends, family, even people we are meeting for the first time. What a perfect name for a company whose artwork represents those things we hold dear. Hi Y’all creates artwork inspired by the people, places and traditions that shape our lives, here in the South. And it’s made in the South. In Starkville, Mississippi, to be exact. Catherine Ann Herrington was born in the South and grew up in New Albany, Mississippi. Her small town childhood shaped the style of her artwork. She always knew she wanted to do something artistic. At four years old she was caught drawing on her family’s walls. Thankfully, her parents understood she needed an outlet for her creativity. The next day they enrolled her in art classes. “I could never decide what kind of art I love best. I am a painter, a photographer, a graphic designer and a silkscreen printer.” She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Mississippi in 2010. In 2012 Hi Y’all was born. What started as a kitchen table project has grown into a full time family business with her husband, Parker. Hi Y’all offers a collection of caps, t-shirts, tote bags, pillows, silkscreen posters and paintings. There is also a line of sorority and collegiate pillows, decorated with graphic block lettering and mixed media. A line of images inspired by women’s fashions from the ‘50’s and ‘60’s hold a special place for her. The women of the South are a great inspiration for her. “The women in my paintings are the real women in my life. Southern women are confident and they know how to have a good time.” We love the Hi Y’all tote. It’s perfect as a gift filled with goodies or even just to use to carry your groceries. Herrington also offers custom artwork upon request. Products are available through their website @



Photography by Tammy Erwin Photography


HOMEGROWN COTTON In 2012 Atwood McIntosh was touring Cotton, Inc. in Cary, North Carolina and realized not one person there was wearing a shirt they could say without doubt was made using cotton grown in the South. He started thinking about what he could do with his cotton to be assured where it was used. In the summer of 2014 he decided to produce polo style shirts with the cotton grown on his family farm and to have them made as as local as possible. At Homegrown Cotton, each polo is born at McIntosh Farms in Williamsburg County, South Carolina. From there, it travels the Carolinas as it is ginned, spun, knitted, dyed, cut and sewn by local businesses. The final shirt is completed just 40 miles from the fields where it was grown. It’s a shirt for the country gentleman that appreciates where the cotton was grown and manufactured. By being produced locally there are hundreds of of jobs that benefit along the way. “What makes it special is that it is very unique. I can tell you what field it came from. We can get in my truck and ride to the mill where it is sewn 30 minutes from the farm. I grew up with the grandchildren of the owner of the cut and sew factory. When we all work together we can produce a product that showcases the pride we have in our work in America.” Shirts are available in eight colors. “We use all natural, environmental friendly dyes and our Natural shirt has no dye or bleach, just raw cotton.” Photography by Michaele Duke, They are working on a new color that will be hand dyed with indigo grown in South Carolina. The News Atwood is an eighth generation cotton farmer that has been working on his family’s farm since the age of 6. “We have been farming in the same area since around the Revolutionary War. The first generation was William McIntosh who fought for independence from Britain at age 16 and was a founder of Midway Presbyterian Church in 1801 where I attend today. I also farm peanuts and corn but consider myself a cotton farmer first because I love the crop and it is in my blood.” Purchase your polo shirts from Homegrown Cotton online at and at 15 or so retailers in South Carolina.



Photography by Gordon Lynch


CHARLESTON ARTISAN CHEESEHOUSE Started in 2010, Chef Greg Tatis was brought on board, to help with the start up of CAC. However, in late 2014 Greg, along with his wife Monica and partners Pete and Heather Holmes, purchased the company. Charleston Artisan Cheesehouse is a true artisan cheese producer – cultured, mixed, molded, salted, aged, wrapped, labeled and stamped by hand. The difference between handmade cheese and mass produced, other than the obvious cheese stabilizers and food coloring to name just two, would be the extra attention each cheese is given. Chef Tatis explains, “From the beginning of finding a great milk source to hand flipping and rotation of our Camembert – this hands-on approach lets me assess each cheese for perfect rind development and taste.” Milk comes from the cows of Hickory Hill, a family owned and operated farm in Edgefield, South Carolina, on the same land for over 20 generations. Their cows graze freely on pasture 18 hours every day, exceeding even most organic dairies’ grazing times, and antibiotics are never added. Cheese flavors are created by the availability of locally sourced ingredients. “I am often inspired by our community as well as the Southeast region. I find our local movement of quality handmade products from cheese to picture frames, spices, olive oil just to name a few is met with a consumer that is not only proud but committed to supporting local artisans.” CAC is currently working on adding two new lines – a raw milk wash rind and a one-year farm cheddar. “We would also like to add in the near future, ricotta and a whole cows milk feta. We’re also going to be offering a baked Brie for holiday seasons – take and bake style.” CAC won the first annual Columbia. SC, MacOff this year in the “Best Local Ingredient” category, with an Andouille sausage Mac & Cheese. CAC is perfect for everybody especially the discerning foodie and cheese enthusiasts. Their products can be purchased from their website, as well as a few select retailers around the South. Visit their website for information.








okra. had the great pleasure to chat with Deborah Malone, author of the Trixie Montgomery Cozy Mystery books set in towns around the South. With the recent introduction of a new series and heroine, Skye Southerland, she now takes on Atlanta. We’re certain you will love her as much as we do. Q : Deborah, We know you are busy so we just want to say thank you so much for your time. Tell us about Deborah Malone. Were you born in the South? Did you read a lot growing up? How did you become who you are today? Did you always want to be an author? A : Oh, boy! I could write a book on these questions alone. Yes, I was born in the South (Floyd County, Rome, GA), but just barely. If my dad hadn’t been transferred to Rome to work at the newly opened General Electric plant I would have been a Yankee. Dad was from Opelika, AL. He moved to Cincinnati, OH where his brother was living and went to work for General Electric where Uncle Don worked. He met and married my mother while he lived there. My two brothers were born in Cincinnati then my dad was transferred and I was born a year later. I always believed my dad asked for the transfer and that he longed for the farm. I remember having chickens, a pig and a donkey while growing up. I always say I believed I came out of the womb reading. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to read. Mother had rheumatoid arthritis and I had a lot of responsibility growing up so reading took me away from that responsibility for a while. My life hasn’t always been easy – I’ve had many challenges along the way, but the one thing that kept me going was holding on to my dreams. I returned to college as an adult and graduated with a BS in Human Services at the age of 45. While I was in college I took a creative writing class that sparked a flame in me to write. I bought an old computer (DOS operating system) which I named Dino, and began to write short stories and poems. It would be years later before my first book was published, but what I like for people or other aspiring authors to know is that you can work on your dreams while you are amid life’s challenges. Even if it’s baby steps – those steps will take you in the right direction. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a step.” I remember as a child thinking about writing stories. I think my love of reading paved the way for me to write. Q : What led up to this series of books? What were you writing before breaking out with them? A : Great question. I had already been writing short stories when I started dating my now husband, Travis. We hadn’t been dating long when we visited a restaurant in a neighboring town. It was in an old tavern – Riegeldale Tavern in Trion Georgia. The architecture was beautiful and we also discovered it held historical significance. I suggested to Travis that someone should write a story for a historical magazine that Travis and I both enjoyed reading. He said, “Why don’t you?” And I said, “Okay, I will.” To make a long story short I wrote the article and the editor of the then “North Georgia Journal,” and now “Georgia Backroads,” accepted the article. I was on cloud nine.

That was until I went back to get more information from the owner at the time and her husband told me she had run off with the cook over the weekend. And yes, this did happen. The article wasn’t published, but I went on to write my first published magazine article, “Chasing the General,” which was published in 2001. I’ve been writing for them since. I had been writing for “Georgia Backroads,” a while when I decided I wanted to write a novel. I chose Dahlonega, GA a gold mining town in the NW Georgia mountains because I had fallen in love with the quaint town while working on an article. I wanted to make the setting as real as possible and because of my love for history I wove local facts throughout the book. I finished this book and part of the second book in the series, but then life got in the way and I wouldn’t work on the novels again until 2009. I took out the manuscripts, blew off the dust and worked on them for a couple of years. During this time, I had joined an on-line writer’s group and was learning everything I could about the craft of writing. I submitted my book to several publishers and Lamp Post Publishing of California offered me a contract and my first book in the Trixie Montgomery Cozy Mystery Series, “Death in Dahlonega,” was published in 2011. Q : Can you briefly describe your cozy mystery books? A : First, let me describe what a cozy mystery is. A cozy mystery is usually light and has some humor. The murder happens off stage so it isn’t gory (maybe just a little blood). The sleuth is an amateur – someone just like you or me and is usually set in a small town or village. My books are set in historical/tourist towns of Georgia/ Tennessee. The settings are real so the reader will be able to identify the roads, buildings, landmarks and especially the restaurants if they are familiar with the area. And if they aren’t then they can go and visit these places – which I’ve had my readers tell me they loaded up in the car and took off to visit a location/restaurant in the book. In the Trixie Montgomery series, Trixie works for a Georgia magazine and her boss, Harry, sends her on assignments that usually turn into more than just another story. In the Skye Southerland Series, Skye, is an interior decorator and her husband is an antiques dealer. This series follows the pattern of having real settings. Q : What kind of research do you do for your books? A : Oh, the research is the fun part. I will visit the locations and take hundreds of pictures, talk to local people and collect information from visitor centers. I have also discovered that information online is also very helpful.







You’ve received positive feedback about your books being set in the South, which is also where you live. How important is it for your stories to take place there? A : Very important! I love all things Southern. Being that I was raised in the South – that is what I know. Most authors write what they know and what they are familiar with. Q : Do you use moments from your life to spark book ideas? A : Isn’t that kind of personal? Just kidding. I sure do! Especially in the Trixie Montgomery series. Anyone who knows me will see some of me in Trixie. Dee Dee, her friend, is fashioned after a couple of my friends, that is, with their permission. Some of the scenes in the books actually happened. Not so much in the Skye Southerland series. Q : Trixie is both funny and inspiring. Can you tell me about your inspiration for her? A : That’s exactly how I wanted to portray Trixie. I love her humor because we all need to laugh. I hope that my books will bring some out loud laughter from my readers after a hard or challenging day. I’m glad you found her inspiring. I gave Trixie flaws because I wanted my readers to be able to relate to her - and we all have flaws. I heard a quote one time, “Life is too serious to be taken seriously.” Q : Your latest book features a new heroine, Skye Southerland? What can you tell us about her? And can we look forward to more Skye books? A : I guess you could say Skye is a little more sophisticated than Trixie. Skye is married and owns her own business and lives in the heart of Atlanta. It was hard leaving behind Trixie and Dee Dee and moving on to Skye and Honey. The characters become your friends so it felt like I was deserting them. I wanted Skye to be different from Trixie so I had to develop a whole new character. I’m now as close to Skye and Honey as I was to Trixie and Dee Dee. And yes, the second book in the Skye Southerland series, Decatur Dead, came out a few weeks ago. Q : You also speak on writing and marketing as a writer. Best piece(s) of writing advice we haven’t discussed yet? A : As far as writing: attend conferences, writing workshops, and read books on writing as well as books in the genre you want to write. Then get it down on paper. Remember, if you write one page a day you will have a book in a year or less. As Stephen King says, “Write, write, write!”

The one piece of advice I like to give on marketing is to market with confidence. Most people don’t feel comfortable putting themselves in the limelight. But what I try to get across to authors is that you are not selling yourself, you are not selling your name, you are selling a product that you’ve worked long and hard on and that will enhance someone’s life. Q : Something personal about you people may be surprised to know? A : My first book was published when I was 57. I tell this because I want other aspiring authors to know that it’s never too late. Don’t give up your dream because it didn’t happen when you were in your 20’s or 30’s. Hey, I’m 62 now and I’m just warming up! Q : What are you working on now? A : I’m working on the third book in the Skye Southerland Cozy Mystery Series, “Suwanne Dead.” And yes, there is a Suwanne, GA. After I finish this book, the last in the series, I want to finish a book I started about strong Southern women in historical times. Q : Do you have any interesting writing habits? A : I don’t think I have any interesting writing habits, but my favorite time to write is in the afternoon. I did think of something – I guess it could be called a habit, and probably not a good one. I write a little, eat a little, write a little, eat a little, you get the picture. Q : Who are your favorite authors? And what have you read this year that inspired you or brought you just pure joy? A : I don’t think I have any favorite authors, but Anne George, from Birmingham, AL was an inspiration to me. She was a great cozy mystery author. I’ve read so many books I’ve kind of lost track of them, but I recently met an author at a writer’s conference who had written a book about the archaeological discoveries that line up with the Bible. She set out to research these discoveries and write the book in a format that a young adult could understand. Turns out I could understand it, too. It is chock full of interesting facts and full of color photos. Her name is Jan Sessions and her book is, “Fables Don’t Leave Footprints.”

Malone’s books can be found on and at


the s n e e t a x de



Delivered With A Southern Drawl Written by MonkOnTheRadio

Formed in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in the late 90’s, The Dexateens have since been redefining the sound of Southern rock n’ roll. They’re one of a handful of bands in the Southeast currently coupling the mix of country and rock, made famous by originators like Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Marshall Tucker Band, with punk rock influence and a DIY attitude. Vocalist and guitarist Elliott McPherson and original bassist, Matt Patton, were bellied up to the bar playing video trivia one night in the now non-existent, once famous Tuscaloosa bar, The Chukker. A conversation ensued about infusing country, gospel and rock music with their punk rock upbringing, and with that, The Dexateens were born. They quickly recruited mutual friend Sweet Dog for drums and John Smith filled the role of second guitarist. McPherson says of the early sound, “In the late 90’s, early 2000’s, we hadn’t really discovered finesse and dynamic. It was super raw and we all sort of played like cavemen. We acted like cavemen, too –

Photo courtesy of The Dexateens

except for John Smith. He knew how to play country guitar like Chet Atkins and he also knew how to throw flames like Ace Frehley. He came in only a few weeks after we started the band and without him we wouldn’t have discovered the twang thing. He brought that country bend into what we were doing and now that’s a go to bend for anyone that has ever played guitar in the band.” In October of 2016 The Dexateens released their sixth full-length album “Teenage Hallelujah” on their own Cornelius Chapel Records. Produced and engineered by Bronson Tew (Jimbo Mathus, Water Liars), the latest offering sees the departure of long time guitarist Lee Bains (Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires) and the introduction of longtime friend and guitar whiz, Taylor Hollingsworth (Conor Oberst, Dead Fingers). The original lineup saw people that drifted in and out of the 3rd guitar slot, but this helped to set and form the elements of their signature Dexateens sound. Hollingsworth’s inclusion now brings a slightly more intricate, jangly blues guitar sound to the band.



Sharing bassist Matt Patton with the Drive-By Truckers has been a challenge. “It’s tough playing with Matt right now.” McPherson surmises. “Partly because he is rarely available, but also because when we do get to play with him, I’m always wondering if he is having a good time. He is used to playing in front of big crowds in big rooms. He has never said a cross word, but I just wonder what it must be like for him. He has people setting up his gear and tending to his needs when he is with them (the Drive-By Truckers) and then when it’s time for The Dexateens he pays his own bar tab and is responsible for loading his own gear.” Most of the songwriting duties fall on McPherson, Photograph: Don Naman but he welcomes any and all input from his band mates. “I feel like a good band keeps the main guy from making stupid mistakes. I’m pretty prone to stupidity”, he concludes. “We always try to push the sound to new places. That’s part of the joy in doing it for all these years, seeing what we can come up with next,” McPherson explains. “We have always felt comfortable doing stuff that doesn’t always make sense, and even though we have a formula, it’s pretty loose and forgiving. So when people come into the band, there is a lot of room for freedom and creativity.” Their newest release, “Teenage Hallelujah”, sees the culmination of years of hard work, and lineup changes, colliding in what could be their best record to date. Songs like ‘Eat Cornbread, Raise Hell’ and ‘Old Rebel’ put a focus on a tight, triple guitar threat while more mellow acoustic, almost country tracks, like ‘Red Bird Road’ and ‘Treat Me Right’ showcase the musical talent of each of the players separately. On ‘Alabama Redneck,’ The Dexateens take a crack at rapper Kid Rock and his recent jump into the realm of commercial “bro” country coupled with his inclusion of lines from the Skynyrd song ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ in the #1 hit ‘All Summer Long.’ The character in the song is a staunch supporter of the Southern rock classic. McPherson says, “I’m really poking fun at the guy because he has clearly tapped into the Southern modern country music CMT audience and it appears to be a ploy for a corner of the market as opposed to being a sincere work of art. I realize this is just an industry tactic and it works, and you can’t fault anyone for selling records and making money. I am just saying he isn’t a Southerner, although he pretends to be one because it’s an easy sell to the same people who love to hear their modern country mashed up with rap music or metal. It’s all just a terrible travesty, and it’s also hilarious at the same time.” McPherson has also promised a tonguein-cheek Ray Stevens style video to follow shortly. Another standout track on the record is the bouncy ‘Jimmy Johns,’ telling the story of former Crimson Tide linebacker Jimmy Johns and his run in with law enforcement, cocaine use and eventual incarceration.

“I don’t know if Jimmy has heard the song,” McPherson says, “I wrote this at the time that he was still in prison. I’m really happy that the bridge of the song played itself out in real life. The bridge is about his mother, and she is praying that prison will give him a new voice and that he will be a different Jimmy once he comes back home. Indeed that is what happened. Most of the song is just descriptive of his antics with the pit bulls and selling narcotics, but the moral of the story and the reason I think the story is compelling is in the bridge. We all do really stupid stuff when we are young. Some of us ruin our lives during that time, and some of us get a second chance to correct ourselves.” Future plans for The Dexateens include putting the finishing touches on a new record titled “Struggler” along with a collaboration with Robert Kimbrough, son of blues legend Junior Kimbrough. Would The Dexateens ever consider signing with a major label? “If we had a major label that would let us be ourselves and would invest bags and bags of money towards promoting our careers then we would consider this.” McPherson responds, “I think rock and roll is tons of fun and makes even older people feel like they are young again. Maybe it will come back around and we will find ourselves in the right place at the right time. If not then we can handle that, too.” Ever since the release of their first record in 2004, this group of Alabama boys have made the music they love and taken great care in making sure their future is written through hard work and a clear understanding of their youthful spirit. Regardless of a sudden spike in popularity, nothing will calm The Dexateens’ fire to make sure the spirit of rock n’ roll stays true and is always delivered with a Southern drawl.

ABOUT MONKONTHERADIO: Monk is a Tuscaloosa radio personality with a love of music and fundraising. When he’s not on-air or discovering new music, he spends his time nurturing a love for craft beer. A love so great that a brewery in Tuscaloosa has named their Belgian Blonde, Monk on the Radio after him. Traveling, taking in live shows, creating t-shirt designs and running fill any spare time he may have left. Music is his first love with Lucero, 16 Horsepower and Jason Isbell among some of his favorite artists.







GREAT Q Written & Photographed by Matthew Magee

I had a chance to sit down with legendary Jackson, Mississippi musician, Tim Avalon, and chat about his music career as a teacher and performer. It’s important to understand that Avalon is a highly respected Jackson musical institution. At 60 years old, the self-taught master has made a life long career as a gigging musician and music teacher, teaching just about everyone I know in the metro area, including myself, at one time or other. He can play anything with a string and can tear it up! I’ve heard it said he could even play a shoestring. Avalon got his first guitar, a Silvertone, as a gift from his aunt, in the 8th grade. Asked if playing just came naturally to him, “Well, some of it does but I’ve worked really hard learning to play the way I wanted to. I put in the time to get it in my hands.” By the ninth grade he was playing rock gigs and private parties. Avalon says a lot of the repertoire was ZZ Top and bands like Grand Funk Railroad. The first band he played in was called Southern Star and he was playing lead guitar. When asked if he remembered his second band, he stopped and leaned in, then laughingly said “Southern Star. But it was a different line up”. Guitarists who had a profound influence on his style range from Duane Allman of the legendary The Allman Brothers Band, Eric Clapton and the late Lowell George of Little Feet. Now, I’ve seen Avalon play Dixie Chicken countless times and it always puts a smile on my face. Just as he was about to tell me about his first 1978 Fender Stratocaster, the one he still has and plays on gigs, musician and friend, Robert Gray, walked up and struck up a music theory conversation. Avalon’s eyes lit up as he launched into all the different tunings fiddle players use. “Cajun fiddlers tune their fiddles a whole step down so they can play in the squeeze box player’s key”. It’s just like talking to a music encyclopedia and his love for teaching is evident!



Thirty years ago Avalon created The Avalon School for stringed instruments where he teaches everything from guitar and fiddle, to banjo and mandolin. Avalon stays busy. “I play at a church in Canton every Sunday, then I play a strolling jazz gig at a local restaurant for their Sunday jazz brunch. I also host fiddle workshops for the Mississippi Old Time Music Society that meets a few times a month at the Mississippi Craft Center in Ridgeland.” He plays in so many different outfits that it’s hard to keep up with them all. For years he played in a Celtic band called Bound Street that performed at Fenian’s Pub, an Irish bar on Fortification Street, in Jackson. One of the bands he started and still plays with regularly is a gypsy jazz group that features the beautiful and phenomenal vocalist Allison Jenkins (she just happens to be my wife). The band, “Swing de Paris”, plays the very technical jazz music of Django Reinhardt. Avalon has in my opinion mastered the style, transporting the listener from the heat of the South to the streets of Paris. Beyond music, Avalon has a great love for movies, especially the classics like the James Bond films and the Indiana Jones series. When I tell him I have never seen The Blues Brothers film, he can’t believe it. He then proceeds to act out the opening scene and at times was drumming on the table, all the while laughing. Now I have to see it! It is exhilarating to sit down and talk music with Avalon - his knowledge is endless. As we near the end of our interview, his phone rings. “Time to go to a rehearsal.” He is a musician always on the go. When you find yourself in the Jackson, area and are looking for great entertainment, chances are Tim Avalon will be playing somewhere. Do yourself a favor and go hear his music. You won’t regret it.



Tree House Macarons Est. 2015



“C’est magnifique, y’all.







southern TA B L E

Memories of Po Written by Allison Jenkins / Photography by Scott Speakes

I was somewhere between child and teenager when I asked

My Po’s baking style was a plethora of influences – histor-

my Po to show me his beloved recipe for Smolaning. In my

ical, scientific, personal taste, and “just for the heck of it

family these were the way to many a loved one’s heart and

let’s try this.” So with the only written copy of this sought

I wanted the secret to them. It seemed that I alone wanted

after family recipe and a tummy full of rye I walked into the

to hold in my hands the power of this biscuit/cookie/edible

future equipped with pure culinary magic.

magic. So I asked.

Fast forward many years later and my brother’s birthday

My grandfather was Swedish by birth, Nebraska raised, and

was on the horizon. I wanted to give him the perfect gift

a Mississippi transplant. Po was my hero, my inspiration, and

and I thought of the Smolaning. Po had passed many years

my biggest champion. He was also a gardener, a pilot, an

back and the recipe I had so lovingly coveted was lost after

artist and a baker, employing equal parts creativity, knowledge

much time and many moves. I decided to make it my mis-

and mad scientist to all his endeavors. None reflected this

sion to recreate the recipe my grandfather had shared with

more than his approach to cooking. Smolaning were the epit-

me so many years before.

ome of this genius.

I researched Scandinavian pastries on the internet, find-

In my grandfather’s kitchen, these delicious Swedish hand

ing nothing with that name, nor what I recalled of the rec-

me downs had evolved into a ribbon shaped half pretzel.

ipe’s magic. After much frustration I decided it was time

Slightly sweet, this rye flour concoction was the perfect bite

to take matters into my own hands and get in the kitchen

with anything. They were good with jam, or without, the per-

to begin my own discovery. I took what I remembered, rye

fect bite with ice cream, and delightful just by themselves.

flour, sugar and sour cream and explored similar recipes

We spent the day making sheet pan after sheet pan of them.

for Swedish Kringla. Continued >





I made batch after batch, none quite the way I

Almost a year later, my father found that hand-

remembered, but I got closer each and every time.

written recipe I had saved all those years ago. It

Finally I arrived at my nearest representation just

was written on a piece of torn cardboard from

in time for the birthday dinner. They were softer for

a discarded box. There were also countless

sure, but the taste was very much like those of my

napkins, scrap papers and cereal boxes with

memory. I had traveled through time all the way

the jewels of my culinary heritage written in my

back to that wide open kitchen with its grand farm

grandparent’s hands. Were my Smolaning ex-

table covered in tray upon tray of cooling Smolan-

actly the same? No. Was the journey worth it?

ing, hands deep in that sticky dough with my Po

Most definitely. What had been missing from

proudly watching as I rolled and shaped his legacy

my version of Po’s Smolaning? I’ll never tell.

with my hands.

SMOLANING INGREDIENTS: / cup of butter room temp

1 2

1 1/4 cups sour cream 1 egg / cup sugar

1 2

/ tsp nutmeg (generous amount, 1/2 the

1 2

nutmeg shaved) 1 tsp molasses (generous), optional 2 1/2 cups rye flour / tsp baking soda

1 2

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350º F. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Stir in sour cream. Add sugar, nutmeg and molasses and mix till combined. Combine rye flour, baking soda and baking powder in separate bowl. Mix into wet ingredients. Dough will be sticky. Form a ball, pinch off a bit and roll it into a pencil and shape into half pretzel shapes, like ribbons. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes.


C ASHWELLFINEART.COM S T U D I O N O . 7 7 0 - 312 - 5 5 3 2

ABOUT ALLISON JENKINS: Allison M. Jenkins is a musician, writer and lover of food. She lives in Mississippi where she is inspired by family and friends to create and have adventures.  She hangs her hat at Cats Cottage with her husband and three pets.

Handcrafted in Tennessee. Quality, handmade items designed for everyday use on the homestead or in the field. We combine recycled materials with modern technology to create one-of-a-kind, handmade items that appeal to the eye, while being functional in any setting.

Small batch, locally sourced fruit preser ves. Hecho a mano in Austin, Texas


celebrating a cajun heritage


Mint Ju leps

on the Half S hell Lagnia ppe Ro ll s with S teen’s Butter Shrimp Okra G umbo Maxin e’s Frie d Shrim p Boulett es Cucum bers, To matoe Purple s& Hulled Peas Garlic Crabs & Cou ntr y Bre ad Blackb err y D umplin Pop Ro gs with uge Ic e Crea m

In the last throws of a hot and humid New Orleans summer, Melissa Martin is busy in a

the meal being prepared in front of us, Melissa explains that the entire menu of the Mosqui-

sweltering kitchen with the final preparations for the supper we are here to enjoy later this

to Supper Club consists of the foods from her childhood. “We only serve recipes from my

evening. Upon entering the house we are met with the intoxicating aromas of garlic mixed

family. It’s the same things my mom or grandma would cook – Cajun food, cooked exactly

with the Holy Trinity of Cajun cooking – onions, bell peppers and celery. Around the kitchen,

the way I was taught. I think that’s really important. I wanted it to feel like a Sunday supper

tubs of fresh crabs and shrimp await their fate. A large pot of pureed okra, cooked slowly for

where you come in and sit down at a big table, family style. We really wanted to create an

12 hours, sits on the table waiting to be mixed with shrimp for the gumbo. In anticipation of

atmosphere of slow, easy eating, where people could get to know each other.”

Written by Brian Varner / Photography by Scott Speakes



Before starting the supper club Melissa was looking to change her

their way to the back patio, where the evening began with mint juleps

hectic career as a restaurant chef to one that cooked for smaller groups.

made with Steen’s cane syrup, bourbon, mint, and crushed ice. An oys-

It was important to her to be able to showcase her culinary skills while

ter bar was set up with fresh shucked oysters waiting to be dressed with

cooking the foods of Louisiana. Cajun, not Creole was the first distinc-

traditional condiments – horseradish, lemon, cocktail sauce and saltines.

tion she made. Her cuisine is country Cajun, unlike the Creole (tomato

Moving inside for the first course, we were seated on benches at one

based) cuisine also popular in the NOLA area. Being born and raised in a

of three long tables that stretched through the rooms of the house. Hot

poor area of south Louisiana – Chauvin – she was brought up respecting

baked rolls made from locally milled heritage grain flour served with butter

the fishermen bringing their harvest from the gulf. “We were raised poor,

sweetened with Louisiana made Steen’s syrup waited for us on the tables.

but we ate like kings,” she remembers. “Our family fished, hunted and

Delicious shrimp boulettes were passed in black cast iron skillets. Don’t

gardened everything.”

confuse these fried boulettes with hushpuppies. Ground shrimp is used

With time to kill before dinner we left, allowing Melissa to make final preparations. We quickly walked the two blocks to St. Charles Ave., to

instead of cornmeal to hold their shape. They were also one of Melissa’s favorites growing up.

the beautiful Columns Hotel, for a cocktail before dinner. Supper club

Bowls of steaming okra and shrimp gumbo with rice were placed in

is BYOB so as we walked back to the house we stopped in to one of

front of us. The taste attained by slow cooking the okra for 12 hours was

the premier liquor stores in NOLA, Martin’s, where a huge selection of

deep and smoky while maintaining a simple rustic flavor. Then came the

wines is offered. Purchases in hand, we headed back for a truly unfor-

crabs in a pot of garlic butter – boiled, pan fried, then roasted. It goes

gettable evening.

without saying, “Fresh is always best.” Bottles of wine kept the conver-

Guests began arriving at 7:30 from as far away as Chicago, New York, Austin, TX, Murfreesboro, TN, Oxford, MS, as well as NOLA. They made



sation between strangers moving while Billie Holiday serenaded us from the turntable.

Belts were loosened as the beautiful tray of dessert arrived at our table – blackberry dumplings with Pop Rouge ice cream. This recipe holds a special memory for Melissa. Growing up, her family sold boulettes and blackberry dumplings at an annual fall festival that raised money for Chauvin’s St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Her family was known for these offerings at the fair, but in particular their Pop Rouge ice cream that got its name from the bright red strawberry soda that was made in Abbeville, Louisiana. The soda is no longer available and sadly, neither is the festival – a bishop felt the event had gotten out of hand and put an end to it. These days Melissa uses strawberry cream soda to make her family’s signature ice cream. With Mosquito Supper Club, Melissa Martin has successfully created the dining experience she longed for – an old-fashioned family style meal cel-

FOR THE CRABS: 6 live blue crabs 6 onions, halved 6 celery stalks 1 garlic head, halved 4 lemons, halved 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper 2 tbsps. Louisiana hot sauce 2 tbsps. salt 1 bay leaf

Add the onions, celery, garlic, lemons, cayenne, hot sauce, salt and bay leaf to a large stockpot. Fill the pot halfway with cold water and bring to a boil. Simmer for an hour, bring back to a boil then add crabs. Cook the crabs for 8 minutes, remove and shock in an ice bath. Clean crabs and halve, then start the sauce.

ebrating the local seafood and produce of southern Louisiana and respect for the traditions of her Cajun cuisine and of her ancestors. Each of her dishes allows you to taste the history of that Cajun food.


Supper is offered Thursdays, September-May. Reservations for each supper are limited to 24 in a lovely old neighborhood home at 3824 Dryades Street, New Orleans. Visit their web site for more details.

12 garlic cloves 1 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley zest and juice of 1 lemon 2 tbsps. Louisiana hot sauce 1 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper 1/4 tsp. cayenne 3 bay leaves 1/2 cup olive oil 1 stick unsalted butter, divided Preheat the oven to 450º F.

Finely chop together parsley leaves and 6 of the garlic cloves. Combine in a bowl with the zest of 1 lemon and set aside. In a bowl toss the halved crabs with salt, pepper, cayenne, hot sauce and bay leaves. Heat a large cast iron skillet or sauté pan over medium high heat. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil and 6 whole pieces of garlic. When garlic becomes fragrant add crabs and sauté on each side for about 3 minutes flipping only once. Add 2 T of the butter and coat crabs evenly. Place the pan in preheated oven for 6 minutes flipping crabs only once. Remove from the oven, add remaining butter and the parsley, garlic & lemon zest mixture to the skillet and toss. Finish with lemon juice to taste. Serve with rice or crusty bread.








W I N T E R P O R K & P O TAT O E S BY TOM RAMSEY In cooler months a hearty pork roast is the perfect centerpiece to any dinner table. This recipe combines the earthy, herbal aroma of rosemary with the deep bass notes of garlic and a sauce that reminds us why we set aside some of the sweets of summer so they can be enjoyed year-round. Pork loin is a lean cut with only a thin fat cap so overcooking it will result in a dryness that no amount of gravy can redeem. Modern pork production techniques have eliminated the necessity to cook pork “all the way through” and large-muscle cuts such as loins should retain a little pinkness in the center. New guidelines suggest an internal temperature of 145 degrees for safely serving pork. The sauce for this recipe calls for apricot preserves, but any sweet, summer fruit preserve will do nicely. I’ve used fig, peach, plum and even huckleberry preserves with great success. As great as these potatoes are, I sadly can’t claim provenance for them. They are my go-to way of cooking red and fingerling potatoes, but I got the recipe from J. Kenji López-Alt of Food Lab fame and his website It should be noted that he got the recipe from José Pizarro who got it from the oral tradition of Colombian peasant cooking so my borrowing of the recipe is in keeping with the custom of making great recipes available to the largest possible audience of serious cooks. Despite several failed attempts to modify the recipe to make it “my version” or “better” I have found no way of improvement. Classics are classics for a reason.

PORK LOIN ROAST Ingredients 2 lbs. boneless pork loin roast Kosher salt Fresh-ground black pepper 2 tbsps. olive oil 2 tbsps. fresh rosemary leaves, chopped fine 5 cloves fresh garlic, minced ½ cup chicken stock 2 tbsps. dry white wine 4 tbsps. apricot preserves 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar 2 tbsps. unsalted butter

Directions Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large black iron skillet with 2 Tbsp. olive oil until oil is very hot and nearly smoking. Generously season pork on all sides with salt and pepper and sear until lightly browned on all sides. After searing, turn the loin so that the fat side is on top and season with chopped rosemary and garlic. Roast in the oven, uncovered for about one hour or until the center of the pork is 140 degrees, as measured with an instant-read thermometer. (The internal temperature of the pork will rise to 145 while resting.) Transfer the pork to a cutting board, tent with foil and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes while you make the sauce. Transfer the skillet to the stovetop and deglaze the pan with the chicken stock and wine over medium high heat. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release any fond (the brown bits) from the pan. When the liquid has reduced by one third, add preserves and vinegar and continue reducing until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Reduce the heat to very low and add the butter, stirring quickly until fully incorporated. Just before serving, slice the roast, transfer to a platter and drizzle with the pan sauce.



SALT CRUSTED POTATOES Ingredients 2 lbs. small, red potatoes 3 tbsps. kosher salt

Directions Arrange the potatoes in the bottom of a wide saucepan so that they are in a single layer. Add just enough water to cover the potatoes by ½ inch. Add the kosher salt evenly around the pan and bring to a boil. Continue boiling over high/medium high heat until ALL of the water has cooked out of the pan and only the dry salt and potatoes remain. Remove from heat and give the pan a good shake. Allow the potatoes to rest in the pan for two additional minutes. Serve immediately. I like to serve this with a little roasted garlic aioli. If you don’t have time to make an aioli from scratch, just combine 1 cup of mayonnaise with 2 Tbsp. of olive oil and three cloves or roasted garlic in a food processor and pulse until the garlic is fully incorporated in the mayo. If you don’t have roasted garlic you can use 2 tsp. garlic powder.

*Adapted from J. Kenji López-Alt and José Pizarro, Food Lab and Serious Eats.



Photo by : Rory Doyle




s H


ur gla s



Hurry Up Summer With cold winter days comes the inevitable impatience for warmer weather. We find ourselves longing to sit on the porch with friends, chatting and enjoying the abundance of fruits summer brings or even walking on a beach enjoying the soft sea breeze. In many parts of the Deep South, we are fortunate to be able to enjoy the outdoors year round. But for those of us who can only dream about those warmer days, Thirteenth Colony Distilleries out of Americus, Georgia has offered a couple of drinks to transport us to that not too distant future. Thirteenth Colony is a small batch distillery committed to producing only the highest quality handcrafted spirits. Offering libations in the Southern tradition of pride in their products, they bring great quality to every bottle by using local ingredients and add a personal and friendly touch to all they do. Their Southern Bourbon is crafted from hand-selected barrels. This traditional Bourbon is produced from a mash bill of predominantly Corn along with Rye and Malted Barley; then meticulously aged for 4 years in custom charred American Oak Barrels for a smooth, rich, and slightly sweet finish. The Southern Rye Whiskey is an American classic with a distinctive spicy flavor and a slightly sweet finish. Southern Rye is derived from a mash bill high in Rye grain and aged in new charred oak barrels. The distinctively flavored Rye Whiskey is finished with French oak spirals and bottled at 95 proof. Both the Southern Bourbon Whiskey and Southern Rye Whiskey flavors are versatile enough to be used for mixing your favorite drinks but you’ll find them great for sipping neat, too.

BLOOD ORANGE OLD FASHIONED The Old Fashioned is an icon, but even an icon could use a facelift. This modern take on an old friend adds a hint of citrus in the form of Blood Oranges. Available only in the winter months, the sweet and slightly tart Blood Orange with its beautiful aroma of fresh citrus will have you walking on the beach in no time. Ingredients 2 ounces Thirteenth Colony Southern Rye Whiskey or Southern Bourbon Whiskey 1 teaspoon sugar Few dashes bitters 1 blood orange, half for the juice and the other half cut into wedges for serving 2-3 good maraschino cherries Ice Cubes for serving

Directions: In a whiskey glass, muddle together a few drops of bitters with the teaspoon of sugar. Add a splash of blood orange juice and muddle to combine. Top with bourbon and ice. Add cherries and stir to combine. Allow to sit a few minutes to allow the flavors mellow before drinking. Enjoy!

PEACH JAM BOURBON COBBLER COCKTAIL Oh, the joys of a juicy cobbler loaded with summer’s fresh peaches. Is there anything better? This cocktail will have you sitting on your winter porch wrapped in a soft warm blanket imagining those warm summer days filled with peaches. Adding peach jam to your cocktail creates a smoother longer lasting flavor. Ingredients: Ice Cubes for your cocktail shaker and serving 2 heaping tablespoons of peach jam Juice of half a lemon 4 shots Thirteenth Colony Southern Bourbon Whiskey 2 mint sprigs



Directions: In a cocktail shaker, add enough ice to come up almost to the top. Add the jam, lemon juice and Bourbon. Secure the lid. Shake, shake, shake, making sure the jam doesn’t sit on the bottom of the glass. Strain into two glasses with ice, garnish with a mint sprig, and serve.

unique, small batch spirits, handcrafted for a great taste.

...made by friends for friends. T H I RT E E N T H C O L O N Y D I S T I L L E R I E S 3 0 5 N . D U D L E Y S T R E E T A M E R I C U S , G E O R G I A

Serenbe is nestled in the beautiful countryside 30-miles southwest of Atlanta. Experience our Saturday farmers market and farm tours, boutique shops, art galleries, three farm-to-table restaurants, 29-bedroom inn and wellness programming. Our event calendar is full of wine dinners and tastings, outdoor theatre, live music, film screenings, artist residencies, cooking classes and more. Plan your visit at Plan the rest of your life at








LET’S NOT FORGET WHAT GOT US HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE.” Written by Tom Ramsey / Photography by Growl Bros.

I didn’t get the chance to cook with Kevin Gillespie. There just wasn’t time. For the past few years he has been one of the most in-demand chefs anywhere in the country, but particularly in the South. Being Owner / Chef of Atlanta’s Gunshow and


Decatur’s Revival restaurants would be time

If we had been able to wrangle the free time to cook together, I think we would have cooked chicken and dumplings. Simple, hearty, straightforward and delicious – that’s the kind of thing I think he would appreciate. That’s also the style of food that makes it onto the tables of

consuming enough. Combine those duties with cookbook writ-

his newest project, Revival. While so many bold-name

ing, television appearances and promotional travel and Kevin’s

chefs are opening tasting menu restaurants with lots of

days quickly run out of hours and the hours quickly run out of

quotation marks in the item descriptions, Kevin is serv-

minutes. Since his fan-favorite showing on 2009’s sixth season

ing Meat & Three plates for lunch and unapologetically

of Bravo’s Top Chef, his star has risen to dizzying heights but

direct dinner items such as Fried Chicken and Pot Pie

he managed to squeeze

alongside Cabbage with

in the time to visit with

Ham, Mac n’ Cheese and

me about Southern food

Green Tomato Casserole.

and the life of a chef.

Continued >

l is Worth Eating Food that has heart &sou



Top left: Gillespie’s tattoos were inspired by his love of family and the South. The family crest of his Scottish ancestors covers his right arm while a wild boar inspired by a camping trip at age 13 covers his left arm. “Everyone thinks it’s a pig, because I love them so much, but it’s actually a boar.” Center and Bottom left: Tomatoes fresh from Serenbe Farm at their Saturday Farmer’s Market.



Center: Gillespie tasting a tomato fresh from the vine while visiting Serenbe Farms. Right: Enjoying a meal at a Gunshow special event by â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hired Gunâ&#x20AC;? Chef Brian Baxter from Husk Nashville.


Gillespie is all business while he lends a hand prepping for dinner service with Gunshow Executive Chef Joey Ward.

The driving theme of his Revival menu is presenting the authentic dishes of his family and birthplace, prepared with the skill of great chefs and using the finest, seasonal ingredients available. Sourcing ingredients and hiring kitchen talent aren’t the things that present the biggest challenges for him. The true struggle is keeping the pricing appropriate to the style of cooking. The Appalachian dishes of his grandparents were born of economy, availability of ingredients and the need to stretch a dollar from meal to meal. This usually meant using proteins as seasonings for larger portions of vegetables and starches. A little ham to season the beans; a little chicken in the pot pie; a little beef in a hearty vegetable stew; that was the old way and it kept the food budget low and the family full. But the demands and desires of the high-end diner don’t align with budget-conscious ethos of Appalachian cuisine and to be realistic, Kevin’s customer base isn’t made up of folks on a tight budget. People come to his restaurants to be wowed and they don’t mind paying for it. This dichotomy of luxury and economy is the tightrope Kevin and his crew must walk. As he put it, “We always want to price our menu at the place where we can comfortably make a little money, but still be available to as many diners as possible. Unfortunately, the lack of availability of product does often drive up the menu price, but we believe that it’s worth that price to be able to do things the ‘right way.’” The fairly strict adhesion to classic Southern dishes at Revival is perfect foil to the high-wire act on display every night at his first solo restaurant, Gunshow. It’s part medicine-show theater, part pop-up restaurant and part dim sum parlor tucked into a cozy, corner space in East Atlanta’s Glenwood Park neighborhood. Each night, the culinary team of three chefs make small plate dishes and personally hawk them to guests. The chefs concept, prep and cook their own menus, make about ten portions at a time and roll their creations on carts through the dining room where guests can select their dinner, one delicious dish at a time. To add even more drama, guest chefs (like Oxford, Mississippi’s John Currence) are occasionally invited to participate as “Hired Guns” and given carte blanche to let their imaginations run as fast as their knives and pans can take them. In a crowded field of gourmet restaurants, Kevin has found a niche that no one has been able to replicate. Continued >



Photograph by Brendan Amato

Gillespie and Guest Chef John Currence put the muscle to it during a Hired Gun event at Gunshow.


Gillespie (far right) shares in the staff dinner before meal service at Gunshow

LUCKY FOR US IN THE SOUTH, GILLESPIE ISN’T THE ONLY BARRISTER AT THE DEFENSE’S TABLE. OTHER CHEFS AGREE THAT OUR FOOD IS A WORTHY DEFENDANT: “I often tell people, when the Heart Association started giving out hearts next to menu items they gave me skull and cross bones just because I’m a southern chef. There have been Thanksgivings where I spent more on butter than the turkeys. But that’s once a year. The reality is, with true Southern cooking, it’s farm to table. It’s seasonal and it’s about the best ingredients available right out our back doors. Why do people in NY and California think they learned about health risks such as trans-fat before us? We get NBC in Natchez.” ~Regina Charboneau (Cookbook Author and Executive Chef for French America Cruise Lines) “Southern food was made to represent a way of survival and celebration. To defend it is to defend our way of living and our progression of gastronomy, regardless of where you are from.” ~Tristen Epps (Executive Sous Chef at Red Rooster, Harlem) “Southern food is more than cathead biscuits and fried chicken, two southern dishes that have been maligned and manipulated into fast food dollar doesn’t belong in a museum or only in the berry-stained hands of grandmothers. It’s a living, evolving entity that celebrates great ingredients, many cultures, and various cooking techniques.” ~Virginia Willis (Cookbook Author)



Mr. Gillespie for the Defense: When you see Kevin on television or

At a dinner of his mother’s ancestors, fried, young chickens might fea-

read his earlier interviews, the same phrase seems to come up, “De-

ture prominently at the center of the table, but that’s an expensive way to

fending Southern Food.” It reminds me of the oath our soldiers take

serve a lot of meat to just a few people. Plus, those chickens, fresh from

when they enter the military, they vow to protect us from “enemies both

the grease and beautifully battered, surely had a few more good egg-lay-

foreign and domestic.” That’s a good way to think about the defense

ing years ahead of them and eating them while they are young and ten-

of Southern Food. Our regional cuisines have been under attack for

der would be considered wasteful, if not downright extravagant in the

quite some time. They have been described as un-healthy because we

hills. A whole hen might find her way to an Appalachian table, but she

use lard and fatback or because we are fond of batter and hot grease.

would be beyond her laying prime and in need of slow braising to make

But there are other threats. Southern cooking is all the rage right now

her tender enough to eat. Instead of feeding four or so people, that hen

across the country and around the world. The troubling cousin of pop-

would be stewed with lots of vegetables and served over plenty of rice so

ularity is homogeny. Remember when it seemed you couldn’t go into

she could feed an easy dozen. Both fried chicken and stewed hen are

any restaurant in middle-America and not be greeted with someone’s

“Southern” dishes, but in reality they come from different worlds.

idea of “Cajun” cooking? Remember when there was no escaping

Beyond Georgia, the breadth of Southern fare continues – salted, dry-

“blackened” items on nearly every menu? Without chefs like Kevin,

cured hams in Virginia; pit-cooked steer in West Texas; boiled crawfish

Southern fare might face a similar, grim fate.

in Louisiana; deep-fried catfish in Arkansas; “Country Captain” chick-

“We started using that term

en with curry and raisins in

[Defending Southern Food]

South Carolina’s Low Coun-

a few years ago mostly to instill a sense a pride for this place that we feel is worth “defending”. In our minds the food and the people of the South are one and the same. We have always been identified by outsiders mostly by the foods we are famous


try; Delta tamales and fried “Pan Trout” (which is neither trout, nor cooked in a pan) in Mississippi; dry-rubbed ribs in Memphis; oyster stew or “Coon and Collards” in Alabama – these dishes wouldn’t have any relation to each other if they weren’t all lumped

for, some of them good and

into the catch all category of

some of them not so good.

“Southern” food. What influ-

That being said, forgetting our roots, culinarily-speaking, seemed like a

ences have the 20th and 21st centuries had on Southern cuisine? In the

terrible possibility given the new exposure we in the South have gotten.

Mississippi Delta you’re likely to hear nothing but southern accents in a

Defending Southern Food is another way of saying ‘just because we

kitchen full of women making Lebanese kibbeh. Texas is as unapologet-

now get our moment in the sun, let’s not forget what got us here in the

ically “southern” as any place I know and their jalapeño cornbread fits

first place.’”

nicely alongside a pot of greens, but the influence from Mexico couldn’t

When you listen to Kevin for a while you start to realize just how

be more apparent. Have you had a Vietnamese Banh Mi in Biloxi? It’s

far down this rabbit hole he is willing to chase this notion of defense.

a nearly perfect modernization of the classic Po-boy. So this poses the

Kevin sees Southern food as a vast palate of very different cuisines.

question, “Are these ‘exotic’ influences a threat to Southern food, or are

Even within his own family and home state there are two very different

they just the natural progression of it?”

food traditions. His Dad’s side of the family is from the Appalachian hill

After all, the South has been a melting pot from the beginning. The cu-

country where money is tight and meat is a luxury while his Mom’s folks

linary traditions of Spain, France, West-Africa, the British and Caribbean

come from Coastal Georgia where plantation culture rules the kitchens

Islands melded around the available ingredients to create the core of

and dining tables are monuments to plenty.

what we identify as classic Southern cuisine today. Continued >


Fried Chicken and all the fixings: lima beans, macâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;n cheese, fried potatoes in duck fat, cornbread and sweet tea at Revival.

The Trip to the Top: Having a bully-pulpit to expound on food philosophy is a new luxury for Kevin. Prior to his rocket-like rise to magazine covers and discussion panels at food and wine festivals, he put in the requisite hours to pay his dues. Between culinary school graduation day and his near-victory on the sixth season of Bravo Network’s Top Chef, Kevin worked the stoves at places both funky (TWO Urban Licks) and formal (Atlanta Grill at the Ritz Carlton) in Atlanta and even took a sabbatical from his job at Woodfire Grill to experience the West Coast where he helmed Fife Restaurant in Portland, Oregon. But Atlanta was always “home” and in 2009 he returned to familiar faces and places and took up the spot he had left at Woodfire. Shortly after his return, he was promoted to Executive Chef. It was there he found his groove, garnering accolades from local and national organizations including a Semi-finalist nod as “Rising Star Chef of the Year” from the James Beard Foundation. It was also as leader of the Woodfire kitchen where he caught the eye of the casting crew at Bravo Network’s Top Chef. On the show, his smile and southern charm delighted audiences who cheered him on through the most victories in quick-fire and elimination challenges in the history of the show. Although brothers Michael and Bryan Voltaggio took the two top spots, audiences and diners couldn’t get enough of Kevin. His apparent ease in the spotlight led to even more opportunities like delivering the keynote address at the conference of Les Dames d’Escoffier, a worldwide philanthropic society of professional women leaders in the fields of food, fine beverage and hospitality and his appearance on Top Chef Duels where he took on perennial favorite ambassador of Southern cooking, Art Smith. I asked Art about his experience cooking with (and losing to) Kevin and he responded in the most Art Smith way possible. “Among the Southern family of Chefs and cooks there is a young, red-headed man that always has a smirk on his big, red-bearded face and he’s always up to something delicious (and it’s got lard in it). Kevin is a Southern force to be reckoned with. He might challenge you to a p***ing contest to who’s more Southern and he probably will win. I got beat but I gained a dear sweet Southern friend.” Kevin’s time on the celebrity circuit cuts deeply into his time at the stove in his restaurants, but he’s pretty OK with that...sort-of. Continued >

he t it o y” a “we d w n r southe

“I miss the camaraderie more than anything. Truth is, I never liked the

me for more of an authority than I actually am. I have been very fortunate in

idea of work yourself to death then go get tore up afterward, and start all over

my career, and I appreciate the attention people have paid to my pursuits. In

tomorrow. I miss cooking, but I get a chance to do that more at home now

my eyes I am no different than I was 10 years ago, I just have an easier time

and when we are working on new menus. The thing that I cannot replace is

paying my bills. I want people to serve me whatever they are most proud of.

that feeling of brotherhood that you get when you stand next to someone day

If that is modern American fine dining, great, but even if it’s a casserole your

in and day out. Nowadays I am just the boss, and maybe not even that to

Mom taught you how to make I still want to try it. I believe food that has heart

some people. To them I am just the owner. There are so many people in our

and soul behind it is worth eating, regardless of what form it may take.”

company now, and I don’t have the personal relationship that I used to have with everyone. They say it’s lonely at the top. I can attest to that.” There’s another downside to all the notoriety. People act differently around

Like I said when I started this story, I didn’t get to cook with Kevin. Maybe I will someday: and if I do, I know there will be three things involved: a casserole, some war stories from the back-of-the-house and some deep reverence

him, particularly in restaurants and social gatherings around the dinner table.

for the South that produced us both.

“Honestly most people are terrified to serve me anything! They certainly take



CURRENCE DISHES [ ON KEVIN ] John Currence is a James Beard award-winning chef who operates several restaurants in Oxford, MS under his City Grocery Restaurant Group.

W I T H H I S F I R ST B O O K ,


KEVIN KINDA’ CATCHES YOU OFF GUARD. He at once can appear to be one of the “chefs” with such an overly affected appearance/character that I normally keep my distance from – but looks are oh-so deceiving. On first blush, Kevin is a stoic. He keeps very much to himself and is a man of few words but when watching him cook and listening to him speak about

Chef Kevin Gillespie approaches each recipe with an explanation on why he does things a certain way, in an attempt to help home cooks to think like a chef and become better cooks. “Cooking is figuring out the great qualities of any food and making those qualities shine.”

his passion for cooking, he is an entirely different person. It took me spending a couple of years getting close enough to him before he opened up. We danced around each other at events. We exchanged niceties. Eventually, the more I was around him the more I admired him, but he was still an elusive cat. Perhaps he was as adept at recognizing my catastrophic shortcomings as I was at spotting his passion and obvious talent. In spite of whatever it was, Kevin invited me down to Gunshow for a run as guest chef, or “Hired Gun” as they call it. Observing a man in his kitchen, even for the briefest time, tells you a ton about him. How clean is the space? How organized is it? How ergonomic, efficient and thoughtful is it? How does the chef relate with his crew and they with him? These are all questions that a trained chef will surmise to measure a fellow cook. Kevin struck me as a giant from the moment I entered his domain. Quite simply put, he is the gold standard. While he is clearly in charge, his manner is democratic and he is very much as one with his cooks. There isn’t a tremendous amount of hot air wasted with a chorus of “yes, chef” and “no, chef.” Heads are down; the work is tight and tidy resembling the organization of a beehive. But it’s far from sterile and silent. Interesting and spirited discussion takes place with Kevin frequently breaking to ask an opinion on doneness, acid-balance, seasoning, etc. Working alongside him those few days, he remained ascetic. Post service he would dispatch me off with a couple cooks and disappear into the night. I went away not knowing if he liked me or my food any more than


he had before I got there, but I knew I wouldn’t let up until I got my answer. Kevin inspires me as a chef and


a man. Now we can talk with ease about more than cooking. We’ve had interesting debates and discussions

Kevin shares his unbridled love for all things pork. He guides you in the versatility of pork and all the ways to choose, cook, and enjoy it. “I have a million ways to cook pork because I love it so much. If I had only one animal to eat forevermore, I would eat pigs.” ---from the introduction, Kiss a Pig.

ranging from the death penalty to the peace process in Israel - from NASCAR to Nashville. We still occasionally talk about food. That we can’t help...we’re still both cooks at heart. He is still a stoic, but he is also like an oyster, do the work to get him open and you’ll find a giant pearl.

www.r edbear dr estaur 61


, Being a woman farmer isn t about proving men wrong, ,, but rather, proving women right.

Written by Elizabeth Tate / Photography by Growl Bros.

,, ,

It s what happens when ,, you work in the dirt,

she says, proudly looking at her hands.

Back in 1942, during WWII, Rosie the Riveter showed American women they were capable of performing the same jobs as men. Today in 2017, that message is still going strong. Samantha Lamb, a 32 year old Tennessee farmer, could be the poster child for strength of women and wants the world to know that “being a woman farmer isn’t about proving men wrong, but rather, proving women right.” And she means it. Hard work and persistence has made her a champion in the movement for women farmers nationwide and for building a successful Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) business in Santa Fe, Tennessee. Women farmers are the fastest growing segment of farmers nationwide. Those who are the primary operator of a farm, represent about 30 percent of all farmers. As a rule, these women work less land and have less availability of money to hire much needed labor. Because of this, more women are opting for organic and sustainable farming, allowing them to work smarter on smaller pieces of land. The degree that these women are willing to help each other out with what worked and what didn’t is inspiring. Lamb has persisted in being a role model of how hard work pays off. She works from sunup to sundown and is known for not staying out past nine at night. “I wish I could stay out late, but when you have to get up before dawn for the animals, you just can’t.” But, as a woman farmer, she is also known as someone who can hold her own and works her farm every day, mostly alone. “If I’m lucky, sometimes I’ll have help.” Noticeable are the bug bites on her legs, the dirt on her skirt and under her fingernails – all badges of honor. “It’s what happens when you work in the dirt,” she says, proudly looking at her hands.



“You have to have a sense of humor when you

work a farm by yourself, because there’s always going to be something going wrong, or some horrible accident happening and it’s going to be entirely your fault. But, you have to learn from it and move on. I mean, you can either laugh at it or get upset.” Lamb’s love for her 20 acres, and the animals that inhabit it, is obvious as she guides you through the multitude of chickens, ducks and geese filling the barnyard. Goats, sheep, cows and Ruby, the donkey are settled in the pasture. Someday she is hoping for horses, but at the moment there are fencing issues to be resolved. “All I have is Ruby, my donkey,” she laments jokingly as she walks by and runs her fingers down Ruby’s back. It’s clear that Ruby and Samantha have a mutual respect for one another. Samantha feeds and loves on her and Ruby, in return, “helps out”, following her all around the pasture. Lamb can frequently be found wearing a carrot to hold up her blonde hair but around Ruby or the cows it can be tricky. “They’ll chomp on the carrot and cut your hair at the same time, but I still do it because I’m ornery and I never learn.” Ornery or not, her friends love her quirky sense of humor and frequently tell her she looks like a milkmaid from a fairytale, so that’s what she has become. Wearing work boots with her feminine cotton print dresses, while she works the farm, she has created her own storybook brand. To those who would question why she wears dresses to work on a farm, Lamb suggests that her dresses allow for a huge range of movement – something she needs as she works a vegetable garden and all those animals. “I tried going back to pants once or twice, but it was like ‘no, it’s not going to happen’. There’s something wonderful about twirling around in a dress,” she says. And twirl, she does. As she’s feeding her animals, she throws the feed out with the grace of a ballerina that just might also be a fairy princess. Continued >

Top, Left to Right: Early morning coffee demands cream from Lamb’s own cows. A vintage apron makes a great container for gathering heirloom tomatoes. Thistle, the Dwarf Nigerian goat with dwarfism, was the ring bearer at Lamb’s wedding to Foulks. Heirloom carrots fresh from the soil.


“I just try to make sure the sheep don‘t get out and the dogs don‘t eat the chickens.”

So, armed with her two Maremma sheepdogs, Chekov, age 16 and Weeza, age

player for Parker Millsap, at an album release party. “I literally ran into him – I ran

4, Lamb works her acreage producing a large variety of vegetables in the garden

right into him at the venue,” she says, laughing. “After we got to know one another,

and caring for her menagerie of farm animals. Her loyal dogs are huge, yet gentle,

I thought to myself, ‘This guy is great.’” She says it was one of those things where

and always on alert. Weeza, the youngster, will even try to eat a chicken roaming

they didn’t want to stop talking. “He invited me to a party at his house and said he

the farmyard every now and then, but Lamb forgives her, because, she says this

was a fiddle player. I thought, ‘oh sure you are’. I thought, maybe he “dabbles.” She

sweet dog is “just a farm girl…just like me.” Such is life on her “beautiful mess” of a

soon found out that he was “really good – fantastic even.”

working farm. “I just try to make sure the sheep don’t get out and the dogs don’t eat the chickens.”

They decided to leave Oklahoma for Tennessee, so Foulks could be closer to Nashville. Lamb began looking at farms 24/7 and “this farm was the second

Born in Oklahoma, Lamb has

one I looked at and I didn’t look

almost always loved the idea of

anymore.” She says she “just

farming. Her parents didn’t real-

knew it” when she saw the

ly farm, but they did keep cows

big red barn sitting amid the

on their land. She credits her

rolling hills. After packing up all

grandfather with inspiring her to

her animals in a semi-truck and

become a farmer. “He lived in an

leaving Oklahoma, Lamb arrived

age when it was ‘do or die.’ He

at the Tennessee farm in March

wanted to be self-sufficient and

of 2015. She brought her dog,

rallied to help the small farmers.”

Chekov, cows, ten sheep, chick-

She was struck by how he cared

ens, ducks and geese with her

for the land and his animals. “He

and never looked back.

was always talking about nature,”

Cows, sheep and foul ambled

she added. “I realized I wanted to

among the guests sitting inside

be like that, too.”

that old red barn the day Foulks

Lamb started out farming

and Lamb married, around two

on her grandparent’s farm that

years ago. Thistle, a Dwarf Ni-

had been neglected by renters

gerian goat with dwarfism, was

for years. With hard work, she

the ring bearer.

turned it back into a working

wooden ladder strung with the

farm and kept it going for about

lights from the ceremony still

five years.

hangs above it all. Suspended

While in Oklahoma, she be-

across the opening on the front

came inspired to take photo-

of the barn, below the hayloft

graphs of the land and animals

door, are the remnants of large

she was raising. “I started do-

letters that once read, “I love

ing photography because even

you forever and heifer”, further

though I loved agriculture, I

proof of Lamb’s quirky sense

wasn’t sure I could make a living

of humor.

An antique

by just farming,” Lamb explains. “I thought I could live the country life that I love,

A musician – not a farmer – Foulks is still finding his way working on the farm,

and take photographs for a living.” Passionate about her art, she beautifully captured

but she feels lucky to have him. When asked what her fiddle-playing husband

her love of the farm in her images. But, the more time spent on her art – teaching

does at the farm, Lamb laughs, “He does the cooking and cleaning and I grow

classes and traveling to shows – she found that it wasn’t conducive to living the life

the vegetables. He’s the famous one, I’m just a farmer.” He has also become the

of a farmer. “At one point I realized I just wanted to be home with my animals.” So

builder in the family. “He would have never been on the farm if it weren’t for me.

she threw herself into farming full time and photography became a hobby.

But I told him from the very start that it was a package deal – me AND the farm.”

It was during this time that she met her soon-to-be husband, Daniel Foulks, fiddle



Continued >

Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Homemade â&#x20AC;&#x153;stained glassâ&#x20AC;? pasta Lamb makes with sage and parsley to sell at market. Free range chickens Basket of heirloom tomatoes ready to take to market Lamb standing in the pasture with Miss Ohio, the cow. One of the beautiful purple cabbage Lamb grows.

And, it’s in her hardworking garden where you will find her

offerings on a weekly basis. “I’m a huge fan of Samantha and

most days tending a variety of seasonal produce for her cus-

her products!” says Cotter. “She sets up a weekly farm stand

tomers. During today’s visit, she is gathering tomatoes, Italian

outside our shop and since we primarily sell meat, cheese

and French varieties, in addition to several heirloom types.

and related products inside the shop, we love to have local

Among her cucumbers are miniature Mexican sour gherkins.

farmers (like her) offering produce to round out the shopping

“It’s a tiny little cucumber that is really popular with restau-


rants. They look like little watermelons,” says Lamb holding one out for inspection.

Lamb loves antiques and uses several old German harvesting baskets to collect her vegetables in for market. Pulling up

When a rooster gets over the fence into the garden, she

rainbow carrots, she exudes a joy that only someone who truly

doesn’t bat an eye. Instead, Lamb walks right over to him,

loves what they do can show. Her hands are dirty, her apron

reaches down, picks up the errant bird and calmly throws

is stained, but she is in her happy place, reaping what’s she’s

it back over the 4-foot tall fencing. Brushing off her hands,

sown. “I like to grow rainbows.” And, it shows. There are rain-

she gets right back to business, pulling carrots to be sold at

bow carrots in yellow, orange, purple, and red, multi-colored

market later this week.

rainbow chard, and multiple types and colors of potatoes.

“As a farmer, I have to work every single second of my life,

Lamb says the reality is that some of her animals will be-

but I get to grow beautiful things and I appreciate those beau-

come dinner on people’s tables at some point. “I work to give

tiful things…so do my customers.” On Thursdays she makes

them all good lives, whether it’s duck, goose or lamb. I want

the short drive to Nashville and on Saturdays she sets up in

to combat the whole controlled feeding units and mass pro-

nearby Columbia, at a local market, making it easier for her

duction of cheap meats.” Even though she is giving people

CSA members to pick up their baskets of farm goods.

the chance to eat “happy meat,” it can still be tough to say

Market days are always a little crazy. “I end up running

goodbye to the animals that will go to slaughter. However, she

around like a chicken with its head cut off,” says Lamb. “I’m

knows that the lucky people who get that chicken are going

loading up the ‘72 Ford and looking forward to seeing my cus-

to love it, because it was raised with love. “It’s all part of the

tomers and selling lovely produce.” There are eggs to gather:

agricultural life,” she says.

duck, chicken and goose. Homemade pastas, jams, jellies

Her goal is to become a diverse holistic farmer that raises

and tomato sauces, all made by Lamb, to pack up. She also

happy animals on happy land. “It’s mostly quality over quan-

produces soft cheeses and other items from the dairy pro-

tity for us.” For Lamb it’s an honor to be able to raise these

duced on her farm.

animals and give them a great life.

At The Bloomy Rind in Nashville, Kathleen Cotter, owner of the artisan cheese shop, says she looks forward to Lamb’s

“I take care of my farm like my own heartbeat – you do what’s necessary to get the job done.”

Top left: Lamb’s tattoo includes a lamb, of course, and a key and keyhole. Bottom left: Keeping the ducks and geese cooled off in the heat This page: Checking on a noise from the cool darkness of the barn that won her heart


“I take care of my farm like my own heartbeat... you do what’s necessary to get the job done.”

a night at DOEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S Written by Richard Grant / Photography by Rory Doyle

“the Mississippi Delta is probably the biggest culture shock you can experience in this country. ”

Hank Burdine is a writer, raconteur and bon vivant, a big-hearted, loud-drawling, whiskey-loving son of Greenville, Mississippi. I met him soon after I moved to the Mississippi Delta from New York City, in a sudden rash decision that seemed like madness to almost everyone I knew. I had gone to the Delta for a picnic with a friend — Martha Foose, the cookbook writer —and fallen in love with her father’s house. It was a stately old plantation home with some land on the Yazoo River, and he was selling it for next to nothing, in New York terms, so I took the plunge and persuaded my girlfriend to move there with me. To leave downtown Manhattan for the mosquito-infested swamps, fields, decaying towns, tangled race relations and deep eccentricity of the Mississippi Delta is probably the biggest culture shock you can experience in this country. For me, it was doubly intense, because I grew up in London, England. Hank Burdine was tickled to have an “Anglishman” on his home ground. He took it on himself to school me in the lifeways of the Delta, a vast alluvial plain stretching from Memphis to Vicksburg where Mississippi has achieved a kind of barrel-strength distillation. Continued >


Top left page: Hank Burdine chooses a giant bone-in ribeye This page, Bottom left: Hank’s “cousin”, Joe, stands watch over Doe’s parking area Bottom Center: Hand-cut bone-in ribeye steaks Bottom Right: Perfectly cooked filet and hand-cut fries

Coming into Greenville, we pass the elegant old Washington County courthouse with its cupola on the roof. Back in the old days, says Hank, they just took you directly upstairs when you were sentenced to hang, put a noose around your neck, and threw you out of the cupola. “They had no need of a gallows,” he clarifies. From a rough river town, Greenville developed into the artistic and intellectual capital of the Mississippi Delta, and once boasted more published writers per head of population than any town in America. Shelby Foote, William Alexander Percy, Walker Percy and Ellen Douglas were the jewels in that crown.


Hank taught me how to hunt ducks, and stab wild hogs with a huge knife,

Now parts of Greenville — like many towns in the Delta — have an ailing,

and marinate bullfrogs in champagne before frying them. He loaned me es-

crumbling, blighted look. Nelson Street, which used to be a famous strip of

sential books on the Delta from his library, and told me about a hundred of

bars, restaurants, blues clubs and nightspots on the black side of town, is

the wildest, funniest stories I’d ever heard. He gave me an Italian shotgun,

now mostly shuttered. “It’s a pretty tough street,” says Hank, cruising along

poured a lot of good whiskey, and perhaps best of all, he introduced me to

it and parking in the weeds outside 502 Nelson Street, also known as Doe’s

Doe’s Eat Place.

Eat Place. A long line of mostly white people is waiting outside the old sagging

I’ve spent most of my adult life traveling, and I love red meat. I’ve eaten in-

building, sipping on beers and other drinks.

credible steaks on the pampas of Argentina, grilled over fragrant quebracho

Hank points to what looks like a police officer lounging in the back of an

blanco wood. I’ve gorged on the famous butter-seared steaks at Peter Lugers

old Ford pick-up, and keeping an eye on things. “He’s got a badge and a

in Brooklyn. Mexican cowboys, African river runners, and a Michelin-starred

gun, but he’s no cop,” says Hank. “That’s Joe. He’s my cousin.” This remark

chef in Paris have also cooked me memorable steaks. But there’s nowhere in

puzzles me, because Joe is African American, and Hank is white. “His uncle

the world I’d rather eat a steak than Doe’s in Greenville, Mississippi.

worked for my mama for 50 years, and called himself Charlie Sykes Burdine,

We ride up there on a hot summer night in Hank’s farm truck, with iced bev-

so that makes us cousins,” Hank explains. In a deep Delta dialect that’s hard

erages in Styrofoam cups. Like so many people in the Delta, Hank swears by

to decipher, the two men start bantering and roaring with laughter about

‘Styro’, because your drink won’t sweat through it. But he’s more concerned

old times and little blue pills, and a man who calls his favorite whiskey John

than most about its 10,000-year half-life in the environment, so he washes

Daniels, not Jack Daniels, for the following reason: “When you know him as

and reuses his 16-ounce Styrofoam cups until they get good and worn.

well as I do, you call him by his real name.” Continued >



Signa, c i n i m o D f andson o r g , r they a e n t g f i a S s k a e Paul t er the s v o " s ler in u i j o r u b a " e s c r a u n po blast fur e h t f o t at Doe's come ou m o o r t n o the fr


steaks lined up -cut porterhouse Top: Huge hand le ready for the tab p Large fried shrim ft: le om , Bott h the memorabilia wit in xed Mi t: Bottom righ Award ard Be es Jam the ll, is hanging on the wa



There are times in the Mississippi Delta when everything feels slightly

cently that she’d made 1,400,850 salads, and since she hugs every customer

askew and twisted and off to the side, when contradictions hang in the thick

when they arrive, and again when they leave, and often several more times, that

humid air like mist over a swamp, and eccentricity feels as normal as rain

means that Aunt Flo has given out at least three million of her lovely, tender,

or madness. Coming here as an outsider is like stepping into an alternate

heartfelt hugs.

reality, where the normal rules of cause and effect don’t apply, and things

There are tables in the kitchen with red-checked plastic tablecloths, and more

have been this way for so long that they continue unquestioned. It’s one of

tables in the “new room” in the back (it was added in the 1960s). Hank takes

the things I love about the Delta, and it’s writ large at Doe’s Eat Place.

me to a table in the side room off the kitchen, where the window air conditioner

You walk in through a battered screen door into what used to be the

unit doesn’t struggle as badly as some of the others.

front room of an Italian-owned grocery store. The owner Dominic Signa, “Big

“This was the kids’ bedroom,” he says, unscrewing the cap on a bottle of

Doe,” served hot tamales and bootlegged beer to his black customers in this

Johnny Walker Black, and pouring a long measure in his Styro cup. “You had to

room, while his white friends came in the back to eat steaks in the kitchen.

come through here to use the bathroom, but nobody wanted to wake the kids

The steaks got so popular that in 1941 he closed down the beer joint in the

up, so you’d go to the bathroom before you came to Doe’s. Mama would always

“the steaks got so popular he closed down the beer joint in the front room...” front room, and reconfigured the building into a restaurant called Doe’s Eat

go at Joe Bordelon’s Gulf station which had the only heated toilet seat in town.”

Place, serving steaks, hot tamales, spaghetti, salad and chili. He installed a

Uncle Jughead would sit in the bathroom opening oysters, and passing them

blast-furnace broiler in the front room, where his grandson, Paul Signa, is

through a hatch in the wall into the kitchen. “You had to watch Uncle Jug,”

grilling gigantic hand-cut steaks and pouring with sweat.

says Hank. “A Mississippi Power and Light cable gave him 10 million volts and

The temperature in the room is well over a hundred degrees. The walls

cut a groove in his head. He wore a big wrap bandage around it, so we called

are covered in scraps of memorabilia. There’s a statue of a dog wearing a

him Jughead. The first time Aunt Flo was supposed to go on a date with him,

crown, and fridge full of cold beer. Customers wander in and out, helping

he was working, so he got her frying French fries in the kitchen, and she’s been

themselves to beers on the honor system. From the hot-as-hell front room,

here ever since.”

you walk back into the hot kitchen, where people are frying French fries,

I look around, struggling to take it all in: the ancient taxidermied ducks, the

stirring pots of tomato sauce known as “red gravy” for spaghetti, and wash-

signed celebrity photographs, the James Beard award in the far corner, the

ing dishes in the sink.

olive oil stored in washed-out Heinz ketchup bottles, an old knife holding a

90-year-old Aunt Flo has been making salads here since 1944, when she started dating Big Doe’s brother Uncle Jughead. Hank calculated re-

broken door shut, the worn linoleum floor with the wood underneath showing through. Continued >


“oh damn, that’s good.” A tourist at the next table makes the mistake of asking the waitress for a menu. “We don’t have menus,” she says. “What kind of steak do

“Aunt Mattie was upset, and we love Aunt Mattie. So we got on Liza Minelli and that man. We gave them unmitigated hell. They left through the back door.”

you want?” He’s not sure so she comes back with four huge slabs of raw

Hank stands up and fetches the dusty old dog-eared visitor’s book. He

beef, and invites him to pick one. The porterhouse is a full three pounds.

points out Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Red Foxx and other celebrities who

The mighty sirloin is five pounds. There’s also a monster T-bone, and a

have signed it. Morgan Freeman, who lives in the Delta, is a regular customer

two-inch-thick filet, which Hank and I order with hot tamales and a salad.

here. Julia Reed, like Hank, practically grew up in Doe’s. Julia’s father Clarke

When his drink runs out, Hank says, “I better make a patch,” and

Reed is a big Republican honcho, and he brought William F. Buckley, Bob No-

fills up his cup with ice and whiskey. “Better patch mine too,” I say,

vak, and the former British ambassador here. More recently, George Clooney

using the Delta term for repairing an empty drink. The hot tamales

was here, and tried to pay with a credit card that wasn’t activated yet.

arrive, not wrapped in corn husks like they used to be, but in white parch-

Unless you act rude like Liza Minelli and her date, Doe’s is probably the most

ment paper. The ground

friendly and welcoming steak

beef and corn mixture is

house on the planet. Conver-

loaded with beef fat and

sation flows back and forth

hot spices, and thoroughly

across the tables, because


it feels like everyone is eat-

In her 72 years of making

ing together in a Delta-Italian

salads here, Aunt Flo has

family kitchen. Hank puts

never washed one of the

another patch on his drink

big wooden salad bowls

and goes circulating to see

that she rubs with garlic,

old friends and make new

loads up with iceberg let-

ones. He meets a woman

tuce, red onion and toma-

from North Mississippi who

to, sprinkles with salt, and

turns out to be related to

then douses with olive oil

his late friend Trader John

and lemon juice. Washing

Weathersby, who used to go

the bowls would spoil the

squirrel hunting in Delta Na-

seasoning in the wood. Nor has she ever come to work wearing anything but a dress. “When Big Doe was here, all the women had to be part of the fami-

s are le a m a t s u o m Doe’s fa nd spices a t a f f e e b h loaded wit cious li e d ly h g u o r o and th

ly, and they all had to wear

tional Forest on the back of an elephant named Suzy. Then a waitress holding a big tray of steaks calls us back to the table, and the main event gets underway. My filet is perfectly seared

dresses,” say Hank. “They would sit at the front table smoking cigarettes.”

with a char on the outside, and rare in the middle. It’s tender but not mushy,

Then he remembers the time that Liza Minelli and a gentleman

and as deeply richly flavored as you always hope a steak will be. “Oh damn,

friend came here. They made fun of Aunt Mattie, one of the Signa clan,

that’s good,” says Hank, who has eaten here a thousand times. “That’s slap-

when she asked for an autograph. “Me and Catfish Rich were there,”

your-mama good.” It comes with perfectly cooked French fries, and that’s it.

says Hank.

No vegetables, no dessert. Just a truly great steak in a place like no other.



Top: Two ladies enjoy a conversation over their meal while the air conditioner struggles to cool the room Bottom Left: Aunt Floâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wooden salad bowl and a surprising perfectly seasoned salad Bottom Center: Cutting the giant 5 lb. Sirloin into sections to be served Bottom Right: Ribeye with fries

David Bauer, founder of Farm & Sparrow Bakery, prepping freshly ground flour for their twice weekly bake.



WhollyTrinity DAVID BAUER : MILLER. BAKER. SEED COLLECTOR. Written and Photographed by Mark Petko

â&#x20AC;&#x153;the ground is filled with rye lying root alongside cover crops, such as nitro radish and field peas. all taking to the earth and nourishing the land for this coming fallâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s seeding.â&#x20AC;?

A light, overnight rain spatters the broad, green leaves of the Cherokee

With that in mind, he relocated to Asheville, North Carolina in 2006.

White cornstalks, lined up in formation like soldiers, ready for battle

Bauer is constantly covered in flour. At no moment does he seem

in the heat of the coming day’s summer sun. To their side are the

to be free of its grasp. It flecks in his hair. It covers his arms, shoes,

blooms of heirloom Japanese Buckwheat – dazzling white speckles

and legs. At any time he’ll appear with powdery white finger streaks

spread across the grayed morning twilight. As clouds break over yonder

running through his crop of facial hair. It has influenced his lungs and brain

peaks ridged blue, Warren Creek gurgles nearby, and the Hominy Valley

so much that there is no longer room for nicotine and smoke. Flour dust

awakens with aroma in its fields.

takes precedence.

David Bauer has honed his palate over the years, developing an ability

Even after a quick clean up from the day’s dough production and a change

to take a grain plucked from the field and intuitively know, just by smell,

into fresh clothes as he prepares to depart for his evening shift as co-own-

how it will transform from harvest, to flour, and finally to extraordinary

er of All Souls Pizza, he remembers that he needs to start grinding another

dough. “Everything we do here is not about whole grains versus white.

batch in the mill. He disappears shiny, spiffed, and dapper only to return

It’s not even necessarily about old grains versus new grains. It’s about

moments later, completely dusted in white, then into his truck and off to

constantly finding grains that have beautiful smells to them and milling

the restaurant. He was free of it for maybe two minutes

them in a way that preserves those native smells. If you do that, you are

As the hub and founding father to Farm & Sparrow Bakery, Bauer has

going to stay focused on the flavor.” Bauer’s earlier years were spent in

become a savant of ‘everything-bread’ and has accepted his lifestyle in full,

Minnesota working on farms, building brick ovens, teaching, and baking

floured coatings and all. “By taking all the aspects of production under one

for chefs, getting his first real jobs in farm to table kitchens where ingredi-

roof, getting involved in growing varieties, being involved in the farming side

ents mattered. But, he says “there was this big contradiction in that the

with the farmers, doing all the milling and processing right here, baking, sell-

restaurants were using interesting cuts of meats and heirloom vegeta-

ing…what we are trying to do is to experience that dynamic interplay between

bles, all with stories behind them, but as a baker it was ‘here is your dead

all aspects of a traditional bread community – the miller, the baker, the farmer,

industrial flour’. It was jarring for me so I wanted to get in the country and

the seeds person – all those things…I’m trying to have a little bit of all of that

get closer to raw materials. I wanted to figure out something with bread.”

in our process,” he says as the white dust swirls around him like falling snow.


Their process begins in the two acres of seed plots that Farm & Sparrow

the whirring of the millworks or the laughter of the bakers, thoughtful

Bakery tends just south of Candler, North Carolina. Here, Bauer and his

discussions of local swimming holes, punk v. E-street, baking schedules

team build a foundation of seeds to disperse, focusing more on heirloom

or experimental test batches of flour combinations. You would certainly

and landrace grains and some of the more dynamic “figuring out’” stuff.

become entranced by the smells of fresh baked bread, stewing active

“A lot of the idea here is NOT to say ‘this is the bread’ and we’re going

culture, and fresh spun, ground, and sifted grains. You may realize that

to get these farms to grow the grain for us. That’s just a contracting ap-

something deeply seeded and thoughtfully harvested is taking place

proach. The idea is to set ourselves up to evolve towards something in a

within, and that the legitimacy of this heartened-craft bakery is more

way that people might have done spontaneously given their conditions.

than meets the eye.

So…we don’t farm…we grow seeds. We take old varieties, which still have

A full day before a twice-weekly bake, Farm and Sparrow’s oven is fired

a lot of wildness to them, still have a lot of adaptability to them, and we

up and fed a continuous diet of poplar, black walnut, oak and locust to

grow those out and try to get those on farms and then try to see what

burn slow and hot. The intense heat seeps deep into the oven to satu-

comes back from the different places. So every year the breads change,

rate the masonry in full. By the following morning, after the flames have

the pastries change, because the grains are changing.”

passed away, a naturally flowing vacuum of heat waits to bake the shaped

The seeds collected and grown by Farm & Sparrow are given to farmers

and scored dollops of raw dough. Baker Tony Scalia, fills his dance card

throughout the region, taking advantage of the bakery’s unique centralized

with the task of feeding the oven’s appetite during a day’s bake. Sliding

location to multiple options of terrain. “It’s

the peel, shifting the loader, filling pans

been as much as thirteen farms in five

with water, acrobatically dipping below


states with us at the crossroads. If you go East you start hitting intense heat, sandy soil, and tropical storms toward the coast. Here you have the mountains. Head north and you’re in the lower Midwest with clay


pic event – always aware of the timing


breads, he works. “We used to say that


kind of have to tame it, or more like, can

soils, bogs, and all that different stuff. In Tennessee there is a whole other set up. North Georgia has a weird mix of red clay

the holding bar as if it all were an Olym-


soils and really intense heat. They are all


and always watching and checking the

every oven has a dragon within it, that you

we just compromise, and work together?” He grabs a loaf of Market Bread off the cooling rack and admires it. The corners

different. We’ve kind of put ourselves in

of his mouth turn up as he raises the loaf

the middle of this little spiral of activity and

to show the other bakers working across

then we roll with it and see what we can do each year.” The wood fired bakery and stone mill operation of Farm & Sparrow

the room. They all quietly raise their eyebrows and beam with content – collectively satisfied with the results.

are tucked into the hills around Morgan’s Cove, just a few minutes

David Bauer’s ability to incubate a thriving culture is not only evident in

drive from its sister fields. The homestead is slung low to the ground

the results of the glutinous structures developed in his breads, but also

and bears no indication that inside, some of the most thoughtful baking

to those with which he chooses to envelope into the bakery’s own fold.

and agri-artisanal approaches are being tested and successfully carried

He has gathered a devout, motivated, and La Croix addicted team, all of

out. At first glance the house may seem questionable. It’s the kind of

which seem to have been drawn to the true heirloom grit of Bauer and to

outland digs that if you were on a Sunday drive and had car problems,

the bakery’s bohemian approach. Together they seek out deeper mean-

you may pass it up looking for help. With items strewn about, house-

ing and a more grounded experience. Baker Sarah Hinkes transplanted

hold appliances crowding the front patio, clothes drying on the fence,

from Miami only 5 months previous, “basically because of this job,” she

a camper, a shipping container, a truck bed cover, and a couple of

says, being drawn to the lifestyle Bauer has achieved so far. Moque

dirty, beat t’Hell vans lining the gravel driveway, it may appear to be in

Krape, found her way back to the Blue Ridge after moving about from

a state of disarray. But should you lion-up the courage and approach

Chicago to Seattle, mostly to provide a desirable surrounding for her and

to unearth the mystery behind the curtain, you’d be more likely to hear

her husband to raise a son. Continued>



Top Left: The homestead housing the wood fired bakery and the stone ground operations for Farm & Sparrow. Top Right: Bauer standing in the grinding room amongst the flours waiting to be used Bottom: Jam filled Pinwheels ready for the wood fired oven.


“We are kind of like his big brothers and big sisters…” says Scalia, referring to the team’s ability to carry out many of the processes of production, baking, and selling at markets on their own, buffering Bauer from at least some of the day to day stresses “…you know, running two businesses and all.” There are times when Bauer does seem to be scattered about, spinning plates and keeping his flour covered nose to the grindstone. Whether it is dealing with a faulty water well, running to the market for carrots and Miller High Life, attending business meetings, accounting for chickens missing from the coop, or just with maintaining the constant spin and shimmy of the millworks, most of which is running to provide dough for his restaurant, All Souls Pizza.

“SEED TO STALK TO FLOUR TO DOUGH TO BREAD.” Located in the River Arts District of nearby Asheville, NC, All Souls Pizza is a venture shared by Bauer with co-owner, Chef Brendan Reusing. Bauer not only uses the restaurant as a retail outlet for some of Farm & Sparrow’s breads, but also takes advantage to use it as yet another venue to share his farm - to -(seed-to-stalk-to-flour-to-dough-to-bread-) table ideology. Bauer takes the lead on the dough/pizza program while Reusing oversees the remaining menu items. Both place great importance on using the freshest local ingredients they can find. Bauer uses the Farm & Sparrow milling operation to supply All Souls with it’s standard pizza dough as well as milling other grains for the restaurant, such as bulgur, buckwheat, and polenta which is used by Reusing in many entrees but also used to make a polenta pizza crust, providing a gluten-free option for those looking for a suitable, fresh pizza experience. Since opening the restaurant in 2013, Bauer has definitely felt the pressure of the additional workload to the millworks portion of Farm & Sparrow. There are times where the mill is running all day and night just to keep up with the demand of both the bakery and the restaurant, keeping Bauer somewhat bungeed to the mill, continuously having to be pulled back for another bag to be dumped, ground, sifted, sorted or filled. But, with the promise of another stone mill soon to arrive and plans in motion to move to a larger, better accommodating facility, there seems to be some light poking through the cloud of flour dust, and who knows, there may even be an opportunity for David Bauer to be able to be free from the blanket of flour that coats him, although I’m not sure he would want that, nor am I sure he would be recognizable without it.

Left Page Top: Sarah Hinkes and Moque Krape baking for the local market Center: I’ll have two, please. Bottom: Feed the dragon. Right Page Top left: Weighing the dough to get it right. Top Right: Baker Tony Scalia removes a loaf of bread from the wood fired oven. Bottom: One of the hand crafted pizzas from All Souls.




TO BE! Photography by Scott Speakes




GRAIN BOWLS Want to get maximum flavor from your grains? Prepare them with vegetable, chicken or beef stock in addition to water. Adding or replacing water with coconut milk will also give you a sweeter and creamier dish. Prepare your grains according to package directions and use your imagination to substitute the liquids as desired. SOULFUL BULGER BOWL Barley cooked in chicken broth Topped with sauteed spinach, baked chicken, baked ham, caramelized onions, soft boiled egg and cilantro SAVORY OATMEAL BOWL Steel cut Oatmeal cooked in water Topped with: soft poached egg, hollandaise sauce, sliced tomatoes and fresh thyme HOLLANDAISE SAUCE 14 tablespoons of butter 3 egg yolks 1/2 tablespoon salt 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 pinch cayenne pepper Melt butter just until melted – don’t let it separate. Whisk all of the other ingredients in a bowl until the mixture becomes lighter in color. Very slowly add the butter to this mixture and whisk until everything is well combined. FRESH FARRO BREAKFAST BOWL Farro cooked in beef broth Topped with: soft poached egg, ham, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber slices and fresh basil OAT ‘N HONEY NUT BOWL Steel cut oats cooked in coconut milk Topped with mixed toasted nuts (Pecans, almonds, pistachios & hazlenuts) fresh shredded coconut and honey


the new



SOUTHERN BREAKFAST BISCUIT Biscuits are a great vehicle for any sandwich. But why not combine three of our favorite Southern ingredients for the ultimate Southern taste â&#x20AC;&#x201C; collards, fried egg and crispy prosciutto.



Italian Baked Eggs Served with a crusty country loaf topped with melted mozzarella cheese

ITALIAN BAKED EGGS 1 pound sweet Italian sausage 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 clove minced garlic 1 small yellow onion diced 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon parsley 1/2 teaspoon basil salt and pepper to taste 1 16 oz can crushed tomatoes 4 eggs Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a 9â&#x20AC;? skillet, brown sausage in olive oil. Remove from pan. Drain off excess grease, reserving 2 tablespoons. Add onion and garlic, stirring until translucent. Add reserved sausage back to pan. Stir in tomatoes and herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. At this point you can decide to make 1 large pan or divide mixture into 4 individual pans. With a spoon create 4 wells in the 9â&#x20AC;? skillet. Crack and carefully pour the egg into one of the wells. Place the skillet in the oven and let cook until the eggs are just set or cooked to your desired doneness. Remove skillet from oven and add fresh basil leaves to the top. Serve with a loaf of good crusty rustic bread. Optional, serve bread topped with melted mozzarella. Serves 4.

MEXICAN OPEN FACED TORTILLA We all love Mexican food. And it is especially satisfying for breakfast. And nothing could be easier than this quick and flavorful tortilla. 4 white corn tortillas 4 eggs, fried or scrambled 1 can black beans, cooking liquid rinsed off 1 jar tomatillo salsa (or salsa of your choice) 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Mexican Tortillas Topped with over easy eggs and queso fresco

Moroccan Pancakes Spread with butter and dip in honey right from the pan

Wrap tortillas in foil and heat in oven just until soft. Heat black beans in a skillet with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Just until heated through. Remove beans and set aside. In the same skillet add 1 tablespoon of butter and cook eggs of your choice. Set each tortilla on a separate plate and top each with 1 tablespoon salsa of your choice, 2 tablespoons of black beans and your egg. Crumble cheese on top and finish off with cilantro.

MOROCCAN PANCAKES (MSEMEN) Crispy and reminiscent of a crepe but with more texture, these are great spread with butter and dipped in honey or spread with your favorite jam. / cup semolina flour, for mixture 3 / cups AP flour 1 tablespoon salt 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast 1 1/2 cups warm water 1/2 cup melted butter 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup semolina flour, for dough 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon softened butter, for spreading honey, for dipping Continued > 1 2 1 2



In a large bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of the semolina flour, AP flour, and salt. Stir in the warm water. Knead the mixture to obtain smooth dough. Form a ball and let rest for 15 minutes. Divide the dough into 8 pieces – each 1 1/2 inches in diameter – and coat each ball with vegetable oil. Let them rest for 15 minutes. On an oiled surface, use your hands to flatten each ball of dough to about 1/8” thin layer. Stir together the melted butter and vegetable oil. Brush each with the oil mixture and sprinkle with the remaining semolina flour. Fold one side of the dough 2/3 in across the dough. Then, fold the other side over the overlapping dough. This should make a long strip of 3 layers of thin dough. Fold the two ends of the dough 1/3 of the way in so that they meet in the middle. You should now have a rectangle of dough. Fold it one last time across the middle to make an uneven square approximately 4 inches wide. Repeat with each ball of dough. Use a rolling pin to gently flatten the squares into larger, thinner uneven squares, about 6 inches wide. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Place the flattened dough onto a preheated medium heat pan and cook on each side until golden brown. Spread pancake with softened butter and serve hot. Roll and dip it into honey. Makes approx 20 thin pancakes.

VIETNAMESE EGG SANDWICH Bánh Mì is typically a meat filled Vietnamese sandwich. Usually made with French bread, our version substitutes English Muffins and our good Southern bacon made extra spicy with Sriracha for a great twist on this Vietnamese staple. 4 toasted English muffins 8 pieces Honey Sriracha Bacon (see below) 4 large eggs Salt and pepper to taste Pickled veggies (see below) 1 bunch chopped cilantro 4 tablespoons Duke’s mayonnaise 4 teaspoons Sriracha Mix together the Duke’s mayonnaise and Sriracha in a small bowl and set aside. Fry or scramble the eggs in butter or oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spread each half of the toasted muffins with the Sriracha mayo. Place 2 pieces of bacon on the bottom half of muffin. Top the bacon with fried egg. Add pickled veggies. Top with cilantro. Makes 4 breakfast sandwiches. PICKLED VEGETABLES 1 cup rice vinegar 4 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon sea salt 2 carrots, peeled and julienned 1 English cucumber, julienned 3 small radishes, julienned Place the julienned carrots, cucumber, and radishes into a glass bowl. In a small saucepan combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt. Over medium heat stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. As soon as it comes to a boil, take it off the heat and pour over the vegetables. Toss the vegetables before placing in refrigerator. Wait 30 minutes before using. Will keep for 2 weeks in an airtight container. Continued >



Vietnamese Egg Sandwich Tangy and spicy topped with sriracha bacon, crunchy pickled veggies and a spicy mayo

Thai Grilled Pork Skewers Basting the pork with coconut milk gives the pork a sweet silky taste


HONEY SRIRACHA BACON 1 pound of thick-cut bacon 3 tablespoons of honey 3 teaspoons of Sriracha (or more if you want hotter) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lay the bacon out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Stir together the honey and Sriracha (taste for heat). Brush each piece of bacon with the honey mixture. Bake the bacon about 25 minutes. Brush the bacon during baking with more honey mixture until done.


THAI GRILLED PORK SKEWERS (MU PING) These are a popular street food in Thailand most often served for breakfast. Serve with jasmine or sticky rice cooked in coconut milk for a hearty meal. PORK SKEWERS 1 pound pork shoulder 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns 1 tablespoon minced cilantro with stems 1 tablespoon fish sauce 1 tablespoon oyster sauce 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 teaspoon sugar 1/4 cup coconut milk, for basting Approximately 20 small bamboo skewers

raw, unpasteurized and just like the bees made it, capturing the taste of a single region and season

Combine the garlic, cilantro, and whole peppercorns. Add the fish sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sugar then mix until all ingredients are combined. Cut the pork shoulder into small, 1/2 inch pieces. Place the pork into a plastic bag and pour the marinade over it. Massage into the meat. Seal, refrigerate, and allow it to marinate for at least 2 hours. Soak the bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling. When the pork is ready, thread the pork pieces onto the skewers, use four to six pieces per skewer. Coat the skewers with any remaining marinade. Prepare the grill and place the skewers over medium low heat. Cook slowly until cooked through, basting them often with the coconut milk. DIPPING SAUCE 2 tablespoons diced shallots 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves 2 tablespoons tamarind paste 1 tablespoon fish sauce 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes 1 tablespoon water Prepare the tamarind paste by mixing 1/4 cup wet tamarind block with 1/2 cup water. Mash with your fingers until a thick paste is formed, then strain to remove the seeds and veins. Mix the tamarind paste, water, fish sauce, and sugar in a bowl. Mix until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the rest of the ingredients. FOR MORE RECIPES VISIT OUR WEBSITE.

T R U B E E H O N E Y. C O M



Century Harvest Farm.indd 1

1/4/17 12:15 AM









LIES WHITE HALL-VIRGINIA Written and Photographed by Mark Petko


Driving the road out of Crozet, my truck seemed to pick up an energy

The store has always been a place for the residents of White Hall

stored in the winding pavement layered atop the rolling hills. Yet, being

to gather. Wyant recalls visiting as a child when his grandfather ran it,

from out-of-town and unfamiliar with every degree that I was to turn my

watching the ole timers play Setback by the charcoal stove with two single

steering wheel to navigate the oncoming curves, I traveled cautiously.

light bulbs that lit the entire store. Most of the time his grandfather would

There always seemed to be some impatient local looming in my rear-view,

only keep one powered on, to conserve resources. As it was in the past,

frustrated with my pace and probably cursing the Carolinas once they

Wyant’s Store still remains an important figure in keeping the community

noticed my plates. With them in tow, I coasted past barns, orchards,

of White Hall held together and should you happen to find yourself there

pastures and vineyards en route to my destination. I continued north on

early in the mornings, you may have the opportunity to witness, and be a

VA-Route 810 and smack-dabbed right into Wyant’s Store dotting the i as

part of, one of the unique features this close knit community has to offer,

Garth Road crossed the T. This was my landmark indication that I had

the daily meeting of ‘The Liars Club’.

arrived in White Hall. Had I continued roughly a mile in either direction

“I’ve never told a lie in my life!” Neil Clark says to me from across the

on Garth Road, I would have toured the entire town. Two churches help

table wearing a half-smile across his face. The group chuckles a bit as

to set the parameters of this community – towards the west is Mt. Olivet

Elbert Dale chimes in, “That’s the start…that’s the start now.” Meeting

Baptist and to the east Mt. Moriah United Methodist. In-between these

daily in the little side section of Wyant’s at a couple of tables pushed

are the town’s central char-

together with enough seating

acters – Piedmont Store, the

for about a dozen, The Liars

White Hall Community Center and Wyant’s Store. Larry Wyant’s family has owned this crossroads-post since the late 1880’s beginning with his great-grandfather, Adam Wyant.


across the street from the White Hall Community Cen-

“I’VE NEVER TOLD A LIE IN MY LIFE!” Neil Clark says to me from across the table wearing a half-smile across his face.

ter, together both buildings

Club is an unofficial, unaffiliated, non-sanctioned, and self-sustained group of some of White Hall’s most interesting citizens, all primed and ready for a fresh set of ears with a fresh set of tales. There is no official charter, no dues to enter, the only rules are general politeness, and any

make up the hub of the community and serve as an axis point for the

and all are welcome to participate. They get together daily over coffee

people of this Western Albemarle County town. The store is constantly

and sandwiches to tell tales, talk about current events, or discuss what is

active with those stopping by for a few refreshments, necessities, or just

happening around town.

to perch on the bench that sits on the front porch to chat with a neighbor

Even though it is mostly unofficial, The Liars Club does seem to have a

and watch the traffic pass by. The bench was acquired from the histor-

master of ceremonies and general spokesperson in 85 year-old retired Air

ic Civilian Conservation Corps Camp that previously had been located

Force veteran, Elbert ‘Dale’ Dale. Having spent most of his life in the area,

in White Hall. Larry is surprised that it has lasted so many years with-

other than his 20 years of military service, Dale presides over the club as

out breaking, although he has “seen it bend a good bit.” Wyant usually

well as being regarded as a central figure within the community. As local

arrives at the store early to set up the day’s offerings. Staples like: BBQ,

farmer, Larry Abel, enters Wyant’s declaring to Dale, “Im’a bring your hy-

sloppy-joes, vegetable soup, and pinto beans are lined up on the counter

draulic pump back”, Liars Club member Bob Tullmann leans to me and

in crock pots next to the coffee station, which seems to be endlessly

says of White Hall, “Tractors are the common denominator” and contin-

drawn upon, filling bottomless cups without a fee. It’s a place that still

ues to explain that Dale is the town’s engineer and being so mechanically

serves fried baloney sandwiches and Wyant makes special mention of the

inclined that without him, the town would probably fall apart. Dale, in his

fresh chicken salad as something not to be missed.

deep voice, simply confirms, “I solve a lot of their problems.” Continued >



Larry Wyant on front porch of Wyant’s Store with morning coffee, after opening.

Brenda Knight (L) & Thomas Shiftlett (R) sip morning coffee at Wyant’s Store front window.

Greg Herring (L) talks to Larry Wyant (R) during early morning stop at Wyant’s Store.



That particular day’s attending members of The Liars Club alongside Elbert Dale, Neil Clark and Bob Tullmann were Al Francis, Bobby Graves, Eddie Shifflet and Jay Ragsdale. When asked about the group’s usual topics of discussion, Dale answers, “Everybody comes up with whatever they want to, come up with a subject, start talking on it, and we give our opinion.” But, due to the interested (and slow-driving) outof-towner, they shared some of White Hall’s history; beginning with the time the Nazis invaded. Well…invaded may be a stretch. During World War II the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp in White Hall was converted into a holding camp for German prisoners.

Liars Club: (L to R) Elbert Dale, Neil Clark, Al Francis, Larry Wyant, Eddie Shiftlett, Bobby Graves, Bob Tullman

Dale explains, “and the farmers would check ’em out and work ’em on the farms. I worked with some of them. I got my permit when I was 14 and I’d drive ’em up here and bring ’em home. Mr. Woodson hired a couple of them, cost $5 a day. They give ’em a jar ’a apple butter and a loaf of bread. They thought this was luxury compared to combat and a lot of them wanted to stay. Some of them fell in love with daughters of families they were working for.” Neil Clark adds, “The original camp only had a fence around three sides, the west side never had a fence built on it.” Dale continues, “When I was going to school, at the White Hall School, one of the dads was a guard up there and he told about one that was an SS member, he refused to work and one day climbed up in a tree and wouldn’t get down so they got the head guard and he said “well, we’ll get him out…”, went down there and shot him out.”




The extent of truth you apply to this version of the Liars Club rendition is totally up to you but other sources indicate that indeed, there was an official German prisoner camp located in White Hall. While hearing the tales being told that day, it becomes clear, the importance of the tradition of handing these stories down through the generations of townsfolk. It is one of the ways this town stays connected to the past and “currently”, to each other. There were multiple tales and stories from all members that flew around the table in Wyant’s Store that day: There was the one about the baboon that fell in love with Dale on a movie set, insisting he hold hands with her during lunch breaks. The one about coffins on the porch

Elbert Dale, turing wood on a lathe in his shop.

of the store, dripping blood into the streets and one about the club being called ‘The Buzzard Roost’ instead of Liars Club. Another story tells of compiling a book of ‘One-Liners’, being called ‘Mouth’, and winning hearts with Johnny Cash songs. Stories of stone sculpting, working for the Atomic Energy Commission, hiking the Alps, cowboys teaching cattle ranching to the Russians, raising hawks, and a school-house pissing contest that was won by a girl, much to the chagrin of all the young lads involved. Heck, I even walked away from the experience being able to tell my own tale: one of meeting a man who led me to his shop tucked into the hills of Albemarle County. He gifted me a hand turned piece of poplar felled from land at Jefferson’s Monticello, after which he showed me the finer points of homemade cannon production, using a welding rig and some paper towels…but that’s a tale I’ll save for further down the road. View of Maupin Farm from Mount Moriah United Methodist Church on the east side of White Hall, VA






The Unbelievable Duck Man Written & Photographed by Matthew Magee

I first met Gayden Ward one night at a jazz bar in Jackson, Mississippi. I was there to hear a group my wife sings in. We struck up a conversation about music but I was immediately struck with the realization I was talking to a man with great knowledge not only about music, but also with all kinds of brilliant ideas. Ward is never at a loss for words and a lot of times starts his sentences with “I know you probably won’t believe this” and then launches into his very unbelievable stories. However, they are backed up by facts. Like the time he was going down the Amazon River and talked an Indian out of his homemade canoe paddle. Sure enough when you walk into his home there it is hanging over his fireplace. He has traveled the world over and has experienced life to its absolute fullest and is “full up” with amazing stories. I went to visit Ward at the lake house he and his wife, Jamie, designed and built, to hear about his bee keeping, that changed quickly when he started telling me about his ducks. Ducks? Chinese Mandarin Wood Ducks to be

exact. They are rare to North America, but unbelievably, Ward has them. With a degree in behavioral science he started studying their living and mating habits by chance. He put up a birdhouse “just for decoration” one day and in a few weeks he happened to see a female Wood Duck fly into it. “It was amazing”, he says. Ward has been watching them ever since and sharing his findings. He has even been on rescue missions to try to save baby ducks. A duck blind was built on the lagoon’s pier, and along with the largest lens made he is able to observe and photograph them flying into the houses he has built for them. As I watched him look for and talk about “his” ducks you can see how much he loves them. It left me feeling kind of awe struck. But true to form, as we were walking back to the house, he said to me “I want to tell you something. I know you probably won’t believe it.” And he told me another incredible story that I was sworn to secrecy about. The only thing I can say is that it involves Willie Nelson’s sister Bobbie and the piano she plays.

IN MEMORIAM : I will miss you brother. You saw the world in a different light. You supported the arts with dignity and grace. You were my friend and maybe my biggest musical fan. You showed me that nothing is perfect and that is the beauty of life, “that some people can’t see it like this.” Thanks for all the true and unbelievably crazy stories. Gayden Ward you were indeed remarkable and I am thankful for all the times we shared. Much love and light to you, Jamie Ward, whom he absolutely adored, and everyone who cared about Gayden. He will be greatly missed by many. Matthew



There’s something different about the Geechie Boy Farm. It feels homegrown,

historic and special, after all it’s a family operation without all the commercial bells and whistles. Greg and Betsy Johnsman use antique mills, grinding the heirloom grains the way it’s been done for generations. Their expertise is evident in every bag of grits and cornmeal. You’ll taste the goodness.

Antique Milled Heirloom Grits & Cornmeal EDISTO I SLAND, SC GEECHIEBOYMILL.COM


lay of the


land Photo submitted by Greg McWilliams, Shrimp boats at Gayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Seafood, Beaufort, South Carolina


Top left: Photo submitted by Steve Minor, cotton field near Vernon, Alabama Bottom left: Photo submitted by Mandi Burgess, Canton, Madison County, Mississippi Right page: Photo submitted by Drew Senter, tunnel at Fort Morgan, near Gulf Shores, Alabama





Top left: Photo submitted by Louise Jones, Railroad Depot in Coolidge, Georgia Bottom left: Photo submitted by Christopher Schepis, Jackson County, Georgia


SHOW US YOUR SOUTH submit your photo to submissions@

Top right: Photo submitted by David Martinez, South Texas Bottom right: Photo submitted by Mark Macintosh, skyline view of Atlanta, Georgia



Top left center: Photo submitted by Lizzie Macintosh, celebrating the Blues, Mississippi Bottom left: Photo submitted by Ronnie Williams, Northeast Georgia Sunflowers, Hall County, Georgia Bottom center: Photo submitted by Lori Kay Walden, waterfall near Blountsville, Alabama Bottom right: Photo submitted by Ceci Snyder, Tri-colored Heron, Ocean Springs, MS Right page: Drew Senter, heron at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge near Gulf Shores, Alabama





Left: Photo submitted by Bradley Harp, Summer chess game, Downtown Columbus, Georgia Top right: Photo submitted by Richard Littleton, New Orleans balcony Bottom right: Photo submitted by Bonnie Bratton, Beloved dog Huckleberry with baskets of fresh picked turnip greens, Tennessee





Left: Photo submitted by Justin Hoard, Coastal South, Amelia Island, South Carolina Center: Photo submitted by Biz Wilson Harris, Mess of Greens Blog, MS Crawfish birthday supper, Laurel, Mississippi Right: Photo submitted by Kent Rowell, South Carolina Mountains from the Fred W. Symmes Chapel at YMCA Camp Greenville, Cleveland, South Carolina



SHOW US YOUR SOUTH submit your photo to submissions@




Hospitality will never go out of style, and Mamie’s Famous Cheese Wafers let today’s busy entertainers uphold that tradition with flair. Mamie’s Famous Cheese Wafers are a super-quick, convenient and delicious appetizer. These popular Southern favorites are great for pulling out of the freezer for last-minute entertaining. “Let them think it’s homemade...We won’t tell!”


W W W. M A M I E S W A F E R S . C O M









WA S H I N G T O N , G E O R G I A

Written by Ellen Rogers Howle / Photography by Lena Seaborn



SMALL TALK... “Where You Can Power Broke over Pimento Cheese & Bicker over Blackberry Jam” It’s been said that there are no secrets in small towns, but neither are there strang-

create a boutique that brings the community together through a shared expe-

ers, and in Washington, GA, both of these things are true. In this myriad of both small

rience of shopping, gift-giving, and relationship-building.” Owner Kelli Eisler,

town values and new school thinking, Washington’s history and its bright future run

says she is happy to be located in a building with a long history. “I just love that

neck and neck in the race to see which will outlast the other.

this building was built so long ago!” Eisler exclaims. “I used to teach history and

Founded in 1780, Washington was the biggest city in Georgia. Forty percent of

there is so much to love about the history of this town.”

the state’s population lived there. Chief among them was Robert Toombs, a former

Just across the street and down the block sits Tena’s Fine Diamonds & Jewelry,

U.S. politician from Georgia, general and Confederate secretary of state. Toombs

a small family-owned chain of jewelry stores with four locations, but that started

was a Wilkes County native who lived out his years after the war in his majestic white

here in Washington. Tena’s three daughters all went away to college but once

columned home, which started life as a log cabin in 1794.

they returned home, went to work for the family business. The oldest daughter,

A mere eight miles outside of town is the Kettle Creek Battlefield, home to a his-

Debbie Jackson, says she loves having her shop in this small town. “It’s just

tory-making Revolutionary War battle. Washington is also home to the only known

such a sense of community and the people are so supportive, that it makes you

Black Patriots Monument in the country, dedicated in 2012. The monument, cre-

want to take care of them,” Jackson says. “You really try to take care of all their

ated by sculptor Kinzey Branham, sits in the middle of town and represents Austin

needs, because that’s what living in a small town is all about.”

Dabney, the best-known black patriot of Georgia and one of 5,000 black patriots who

Just around the corner is where Kathryn Filipiak holds court at Southern

served in the Continental Army. Though efforts have been made to place a similar

Scratch Bakery, with her sandwiches and pastries, while getting the updates

remembrance in Washington, D.C., it’s Washington, GA, which holds the honor.

on the city’s residents and finding out all the other news that there is to hear in

The local Mary Willis Library boasts a three-paneled Tiffany glass window, com-

small town Washington. At Filipiak’s popular spot on the square, located near

memorating its namesake. Founded in 1888, the library houses many of the original

the Wilkes County Courthouse, built in 1904 and the 1898 Fitzgerald Hotel,

furnishings as well as one of the chests filled with gold that were brought to Wash-

everyone is a neighbor once they walk through the door.

ington by the Confederate Treasury in 1865. Though many theories exist about the

Filipiak is a former nutritionist who wanted to do more with her knowledge than

missing gold, none have proved valid. One involves the Robert Toombs house. It is

plan hospital meals. Originally from Birmingham, AL, she married a local boy

said that in the dirt basement a wooden false floor was found. Was it a secret room?

from Washington and set up house on a farm outside of town. She started her

Well, maybe, but no gold was found there.

bakery partly out of boredom and partly from a desire to become more involved

Holly Court, where President Jefferson Davis and his family stayed during the

with the community. From that Southern Scratch was born.

flight from Richmond is now a bed and breakfast inn, and just outside of town, the

Her passion for local, sustainable ingredients makes her cookies, breads

Callaway Plantation, built in 1785 as a log cabin, offers a glimpse into the long gone

and lunch items increasingly desirable, and she often sells out. “Out here in

days of the agricultural South.

Washington, we power broke over pimento cheese and bicker over blackberry

Every October, Resthaven Revisited, is performed onsite at the historic Resthaven

jam,” she laughs. The love she has for her town shows in everything she bakes.

Cemetery and brings to life several historical characters actually buried in this beau-

Her best friend, Jenny Brown Reville, a local real estate agent who is also

tiful place. Talented locals portray people who were all important in the history of

a Georgia Registered Forester, can also be called upon to weigh the cattle at

Washington and Wilkes County.

the local livestock auctions. “I was pregnant and the guy who usually did it at

However, the magic of Washington isn’t just in historical landmarks and beautiful buildings; the magic of this city is in its people and in their histories. One of the small businesses on the square, located in a building that was established in 1898, is Bee Southern, a charming shop that proclaims: “It is our aim to



the livestock auction couldn’t be there, so they asked me if I would do it,” says Reville. “I thought, ‘Why not?’” She says that she ended up keeping that job at live cattle auctions. Moving an average of 170 beasts an hour, she now says she loves it.

Top left: Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Robert Toombs House started life as a log cabin. Wilkes County Courthouse anchors one end of the historic square Jenny Brown Reville, realtor, registered forester, also works live cattle auctions weighing the cattle Old Post office slot in a side door on the square Crepe Myrtles drape the shingles of the Episcopal Church of the Mediator, built in 1896 Kathryn Filipiak holds court at Southern Scratch on the square Thomas Mcfie telling tales over coffee Flags lining the streets and square of downtown Washington Narrow stairwells are hidden behind doors like this lovely Victorian on the square in Washington


Photo by Kip Burke


Reville and Filipiak met at the local Ingles Market and

She is smiling as she tells everyone about how she woke up to find the

hit it off right away, as both are business owners and

donkeys that he keeps, all in her front yard. “Someone called the sheriff

have a true ambition for the community and its peo-

and he called Thomas,” she continues. “I knew they were his donkeys.”

ple. Their goal is to show others that there are many dedicated people

She knew, because he often lets them loose in folks’ front yards. Macfie

in Washington – those willing to do what it takes to help the area grow.

says his phone rang and it was the sheriff, who simply told him, “Your

“The best thing about Jenny is that she is always making me better,’” says

donkeys are loose.” Everyone laughs but Macfie smiles contently at the

Filipiak. For her part, Reville says her baker friend helps hold her up at times,

good-natured ribbing.

“even when I am at my rope’s end.” That is the very feeling of Washington – a whole town being there for one another.

Debbie Danner, the city clerk, enters in a wheelchair and makes a place for herself at the community table. Her bright smile gets even

Recently, Evelyn Bennett, a native of Washington and former owner of a

brighter when she hears her chance come up to speak. Talking as if

much-loved eating spot, Another Thyme Café, returned home. Knowing she

she’s been there all morning she details a trip she took the previous

would be in that day for lunch, Filipiak wanted to make Mrs. Bennett’s return

weekend. And, when someone happens to order a cinnamon bun, Deb-

special, so she made a sign that read: “Welcome home, Miss Evelyn,” and

bie calls out “they are so good”. It’s simply a given, that when you

put it on the large community table inside her shop. Her daughter, Katherine

talk at Southern Scratch, it’s for everyone to hear, because that’s what

Bennett, a lecturer in Landscape Architecture at UGA, says that her mother

community is.

could not wait to return to her beautiful town and its people. “My mother was

Bambi Arnold, another dear friend and Filipiak’s accountant, says that

a culinary artist with a deep commitment to the cultural meaning and integrity

sense of community is the element that makes Washington so special.

of her work,” says the younger Ms. Bennett. “Her café was one that brought

Arnold says that Saturday mornings are extra special, after everyone has

the town together, crossing the boundaries of race and class.”

been to the local farmer’s market, set up behind city hall. “It’s always a

Today, Thomas Macfie, another lifelong Washingtonian, is telling tales. Macfie takes up all the oxygen when he enters a room, yet manages to lighten the mood. As he is spinning yet another yarn, Filipiak cuts in with her own story about the donkeys he owns being let loose in someone’s front yard.

party feeling when two or more regulars get together, so we can share all the news that there is to tell.” Washington is truly a jewel of the South. Full of history and small town charm, one visit will have you convinced you need to live here.

Photo by Kip Burke



Top Left to Right: Little Patriots marching on the square in the Battle of Kettle Creek Anniversary Black Patriots Monument proudly anchors one end of the park on the square Picket fences add charm to this beautiful little town Calloway Plantation on the outskirts of Washington Bottom Left to Right: Robert Toombs gravesite at Resthaven Cemetery Old gravesites hold many stories to discover Visitors enjoying the annual historical drama, Resthaven Revisited This Page: Light pouring in through the Tiffany stained glass windows of the Mary Willis Library makes for a great place to relax with a periodical


Robert Toombs House 216 E. Robert Toombs Ave. Tues-Sat 9AM–5PM Washington-Wilkes Historical Museum 308 E. Robert Toombs Ave. Tues-Sat 10AM-5PM


Southern Scratch 22 West Square Tues-Fri 8AM-6PM Sat close @ 3PM Washington Jockey Club 5 E. Public Square Sun-Sat 11AM-2PM, 5PM-9PM


Bee Southern 10 E. Robert Toombs Ave. Tena’s Jewelry & Gifts 13 W. Robert Toombs Ave. Kettle Creek Arms & Sporting Goods 10 West Square



Babe’s House 415R East Robert Toombs Ave. 706.678.2083

Tour of Homes & Spring Festival Saturday, April 1st 10AM-5PM

Fitzpatrick Hotel 16 West Square 706.678.5900

Mule Day Southern Heritage Festival Calloway Plantation 2nd Saturday in October

YallSome.indd 1

11/21/16 8:33 PM


GROVE STREET PRESS made in New Orleans

American Heritage. Southern Traditions. - @thegrovestreetpress

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Bonne Terre Cottage A R T I S T S ’ R E T R E A T WA Y D O W N IN LOUISIANA.

Nurture the art of life. Discover, Create, Be at Bonne Terre Cottage! Main House • Studio • Cottage Breaux Bridge, LA 126



Written by Julia L. Haynes / Photography by Lena Seaborn


AVE MARIA GROTTO located on the grounds of St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman, Alabama, is a beautifully landscaped hill of miniature cement and stone structures. They are the creation of Brother Joseph Zoetl, who was one of the monks of the Abbey for almost 70 years. Originally begun around 1912, these wonderful replicas are of buildings Brother Joseph read about or saw in photographs. Built of stone, concrete, seashells, tiles, crushed glass and other donated materials, the beautiful structures line a winding pathway through a woodland garden that was once the stone quarry for the Abbey.



Built of stone, concrete, seashells, tiles, crushed glass and other donated materials, the beautiful structures line a winding pathway through a woodland garden that was once the stone quarry for the Abbey.

Sitting in the center of Brother Josephâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s landscape is the magnificent Grotto, standing 27 feet high, with the Virgin Mary holding the Child Jesus in her arms. The gardens were opened to the public in 1934 and continue to attract visitors from all over the world. Open Daily 9 am - 5 pm, but closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day. ST. BERNARD ABBEY, 1600 St. Bernard Drive SE, Cullman, AL 35055 256.734.4110



what’s happening in the south ALABAMA •Elberta German Sausage Festival The best German Sausage you have ever tasted! Made from a secret recipe developed by the founding fathers of Elberta, AL. This is the only place you can get the real thing! Arts and crafts, live music, carnival rides, baked goods and more. Visit the Bier Garten for a large selection of imported beers. March 25 ARKANSAS • Mountain View Bluegrass Festival Packed with first-rate acts. You won’t be disappointed. Thursday is Gospel night. March 9-11 FLORIDA • LaBelle Swamp Cabbage Festival Celebrating its 51st Anniversary. Participate in all of the events, such as the car show, Rodeo, 5K Run and Fishing Tournament. There will be Live Music all weekend. February 25-26 GEORGIA • Blakely Peanut Proud Festival An annual celebration that honors the peanut industry and what it means to the community. The all-day festival is held on the Blakely Courthouse Square. Music, fun, food and dance brings together visitors and locals. Free concerts throughout the day, the Peanut Proud Parade, a kid zone full of activities for the youngsters, a 5k Run and Fun Run, arts and craft vendors with one of a kind items and the much loved Street Dance to close out the night. March 25 KENTUCKY • Ft. Boonesborough Fireside Chats Each Saturday evening in February experience “A Taste of the Frontier” – an evening meal followed by a first person historical character presentation. Admission is $15 per person, $5 children under 12. Reservations required and seating is limited. Call (859) 527-3131. February 4, 11, 18 & 25



LOUISIANA • Iowa Rabbit Festival Celebrating the economic and culinary impact rabbits have in Southwest Louisiana, the annual Rabbit Festival is a one-of-a-kind event, from the rabbit gumbo to crowning the new Miss Bunny. The family-friendly event has some of the best music in the area from the Iowa High School Marching band to local Cajun favorites. March 17-18

TENNESSEE • Mule Day, Columbia, TN Mule Day is an annual celebration of all things related to mules and is held in Columbia, Tennessee, the “Mule Capital” of the world. Begun in 1840 as “Breeder’s Day”, a meeting for mule breeders, it now attracts over 200,000 people and takes place over four days. In addition to mules, traditional Appalachian food, music, dancing, and crafts are featured. March 27 - April 2

MISSISSIPPI • Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade & Festival, Jackson Wacky, funny, and extremely original. An entire culture has sprung up around it. The parade gives people an opportunity to express themselves in ways they can’t otherwise, and over the years, folks have taken advantage of it in outlandish, creative and wonderful ways. Mississippi blues artists and New Orleans-inspired brass bands converge on Downtown Jackson every year, for both the parade and a slew of post-parade parties that carry on long into the night. Benefits Batson’s Children’s Hospital. March 18

TEXAS • The Best Little Cowboy Gathering in Texas Promoting Cowboy Culture with a variety of music emphasizing western swing, country and old cowboy classics but above all, to have a good time. Family style entertainment is served up with true western flavor for a fantastic weekend at the Fayette County Fairgrounds. This is a weekend of great music & dancing day and night, BBQ cookers, children’s events, historical events, and Texas sized hospitality! March 9-12

NORTH CAROLINA • Sapphire Valley Outhouse Races Looking for a bit of excitement? Watch outhouses race on skis down a hill! Crazy? Maybe. Dangerous? Perhaps. Fun? Without a doubt! And all for a good cause! This event raises funds to sponsor ski scholarships for children that don’t have the opportunity to attend their after school ski programs. February 11 SOUTH CAROLINA • Deep Country Blues Hear the old music that made upstate South Carolina a famous “roots environment” for the Piedmont Blues…some tunes primitive in nature and others coming from the sweet soul of the South Carolina bluesmen of long ago. Visitors are encouraged to bring their favorite old time instruments and join in on the “open jam” which takes place throughout the day under the ancient cedar beside a 1791 log cabin. There will be lots of other things to see as Hagood Mill hosts a variety of folk life and traditional arts demonstrations. February 20 deep-winter-blues/

VIRGINIA • Billy’s Flea Market Music Jamboree A weekly “Music Jamboree” that consists of a jam session and dance that takes place in a country atmosphere. This event is the perfect way for visitors to mix with locals. Show up early enough to enjoy a homemade sausage biscuit or some other local fare before the music starts. While music is being played inside‚ other musicians gather outside in the yard to jam and joke around. Every Sunday afternoon @ 2:00 PM WEST VIRGINIA • Maple Syrup Festival Pickens offers a full weekend of activities celebrating the tradition of maple syrup collecting and making with pancakes, quilt shows, square dancing, crafts, music and more. March 18-19 http://pickenswv.squarespace

“Grant takes a fillet knife and lays us open to the bone, like you might a catfish.” Mississippi State Senator John Horhn Author, Richard Gra







{ SOUTHERN ACCENT } Written & Photographed by Matthew Magee

My mama would always say, “instead of raising hell, you ought to

In this basketball court there were two old goals with peeling paint

lower some Heaven”. It was a saying that would stick with me for life. I

and a cross painted on the backboards. No one was around so I just

say it sometimes now just for a laugh.

sat on a picnic bench and stared at them. I sat there in silence and

I grew up in the Bible Belt of Mississippi where it seems there was

watched as the evening sunlight faded away from the backboards.

a church on every corner, kind of like the Walgreens pharmacy chain.

I felt so alone for a moment as I thought about all the times in the

It was a small hometown where if a kid were injured on the football

recent years I have made fun of or just disregarded someone for their

field on a Friday night, both teams would usually take a knee, clasp

beliefs because they were nowhere close to mine. It was an ugly feel-

their hands and bow their heads as the sports announcer would pray

ing – one that I never wanted to feel again. I was suddenly aware of

over the P.A. system. Religion was everywhere. It was in every sport,

my own hypocrisy and realized we are all just humans trying to make

school subject and just about every t-shirt. I even learned to play guitar

sense of this crazy world we live in.

and was in a Christian rock group called

As I drove off, it occurred to me

GROOVE. It stood for God Reigns Over

that my life and path, no matter what

Our Very Existence. I mean I was “eat

I think or believe, has been surround-

up” with the perfect fire for the Lord. Looking back I can see where having to be at my church, Magee First Baptist, every time the doors opened probably kept me out of a lot of trouble. And for that I am truly grateful. But after college I was so burned out on all the Christian culture and seriously turned off by the


fire and brimstone preaching that I just

ed by a greatness and that greatness is all the multitude of people past and present that have cared for me, believed in me, been there for me and even prayed for me, for no other reason than my just being alive. It’s called love.

It was overwhelming to grasp

that my life has been “full up” with joy, wonder and love. Coming to this

stopped believing all together. It was all the hypocrisy or ‘hypocrazy”,

understanding has given me new hope, a kind of soul revival where

that’s what I called it anyway, that drove me away. I was fed up.

I want to embrace our crazy Southern culture and be more under-

Earlier this year I was out driving down an old country back road and I

standing and not so judgmental.

pulled over to a small church called Damascus Baptist Church. I noticed

Everyone is fighting a battle. I believe again and I want to be a person

there was a basketball court in the back yard. I have a fascination with old

that tries as best as I can to love people and “lower some Heaven” if you

basketball goals and like to photograph them.

will, when at all possible. So Peace on Y’all!

ABOUT MATHEW MAGEE : Matthew Jay Magee is from Magee! Magee, Mississippi that is. A natural storyteller, musician and photographer, his newly found interest in gardening has led to the creation of The Mississippi Sound Garden – a raised vegetable bed that responds to all kinds of sounds and musical shenanigans! He currently resides in Ridgeland, Mississippi with three furry critters and a darling, loving wife.





Founded in 1794, Woodson’s Mill is still a busy place and its building is a historic landmark. Their grains are stone-ground slowly to produce all-natural grits, flours and meals.

Created in small batches by hand, they use the best local ingredients available. Stop by and you just may find David Woodson, Jr., (above)

the grandson of one of the past owners of the mill. He can be found most days telling visitors about his childhood and the workings of the mill. Shop their grains online @



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