I was watching Jeopardy last week when my dream category came up. Yes, it was an entire category devoted to the great state of Alabama. And to beat all, it contained a Daily Double. My memory is failing me on the details, but I remember that the person had a decent amount of money. I told my husband that I would have sent the world into a panic. I would have called for a true Daily Double even if I had $20,000. The question was about the Saturn V rocket and the person missed it. For those of you who do not know, you can thank the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL for the Saturn V rocket. Yes, Alabamians sent man to the moon. Okay, Wernher Von Braun wasn't exactly from Dogtown, AL but we are claiming it. The next time you get the urge to ask if we wear shoes or have cars, please refrain. Southerners sent folks to the moon. Beat that Jersey.
If you have a baby in the South, you will be told at some point that you need to put that baby on a pallet so that he or she can learn to roll over. Jusy lay out a pallet on the floor, they will say. That's all fine and good, unless your husband is from Buffalo. Put a baby on a pallet up there, and someone is calling the authorities. Forklifts are not involved with this kind of pallet. Just get a quilt and lay it in the floor. Place baby on the quilt in the floor. Now, the baby is officially on a pallet. Why don't we just say "put the baby on a quilt?" I have no idea. If someone knows, tell me. Google couldn't seem to answer the question for me. Hopefully, someone made a quilt for your little one. Use caution if using a handmade gift for the pallet, especially when scheduling tummy time directly after a meal. You live and learn...and wash.
I've seen signs around with "Happy Fall, Y'all." People always associate "y'all" with Southerners. I say it all the time, but it is not the only way that Southerners refer to a bunch of folks. One of my favorites is "you'uns." I had friends this week who had never really heard people use that term in a sentence seriously. I would like to thank my friends from Sparta, TN for doing just that. They also have their own word. Yert. I have been informed that it is some sort of greeting that they all use there. I really didn't believe the person who told me that, until I saw it on The Today Show. Yes, out in the crowd, was a sign as big as the world. It said "Yert - Sparta, TN." By the way, if you didn't know it, you haven't done anything in the South until you have traveled to wave in the crowd at The Today Show. Trust me, I've done it several times and it is awesome. Matt Lauer told me that I was a nice person. I took my gloves off in 17 degree weather to take a photo of another Southern who was living the dream. So, yert to Sparta and yert to Matt Lauer. You'uns have a good day up there.
I may have mentioned this before, but I do not use a shopping cart at the grocery store. Any Proper Southern Woman will tell you the same thing. I use a buggy. My sister gave high marks to the movie "Radio" because they called it a buggy. Hollywood doesn't think we notice these things. We know when actors in a movie set in Alabama speak with a Georgia accent. I am making a plea for Southern movies that don't involve lawyers in seersucker suits or that are set in the 1950's. We have other clothes and other decades. Not all older Southern ladies wear hats and pearls. I do insist on correct terminology however. They are buggies. It is supper. And, that lady who raised you is Momma.
I recently realized that my 5 year old nephew is officially a city boy. We were riding to one of the barbeque places in our hometown to show off the new baby. He was chattering about Jedis and such in the backseat, when he stopped to exclaim "What is that pig store?" Really, pig store. My sister is a excellent mom, but pig store. I'm beside myself. It's the Piggly Wiggly and put your hand across your heart when you say it. That pig's name is Mr. Pig, and he revolutionized the grocery industry. He's the reason you get your own groceries from the shelf instead of clerks getting them for you. Actually, if we could bring back the clerks and have them bring the groceries to my house and cook the meals, that would be revolutionary. Anyway, my nephew did make up for failure to pay proper respect to "the Pig." As we pulled into the restaurant, I read the sign "Whole Butts $25." From the back I hear "buhuhuhuhuhuhuhutts." Butts are always funny.
I just flipped through my July 2011 issue of Southern Living. I mostly look at pictures and plan trips as I peruse the pages. Today, the very last article caught my eye. Rick Bragg paid tribute to a place I spent so many Saturdays of my life, Trade Day in Collinsville, AL. For those of you not familiar, Trade Day is a flea market. Actually, it's not just a flea market; it's a slice of Southern culture. I took my husband last year. At first he found it simply entertaining. Then, he became one of the guys carrying lawn mower blades and a Motley Crue album (yes, album). I lost him to Trade Day. If you visit, I recommend the roasted peanuts and the corn dogs for breakfast. Do not arrive after 9am or you will look like city folk. Read the article in Southern Living and then plan your visit. http://www.southernliving.com/community/rick-bragg-southern-journal-trade-day-00417000073961/
Being as I am somewhere near 15 months pregnant with a 30 pound baby girl, my husband took on the task of seasoning the iron skillet. His way worked fairly well. Best I can tell, he covered it in Crisco and put it in the oven on 400 degrees. He then completely forgot about it. I found it in the oven the next morning. It was nice and toasty black. Any time that I wake up starving, I can guarantee that one of us has left something in the oven overnight that should not be in the oven overnight. The smell gets me. Many things are surprisingly edible after cooking for 8 hours or so. Anyway, I'm not certain that I would recommend his method for safety reasons, but it did work.
Recently, my family and friends threw a baby shower for me and the little Proper Southern Woman to be. It was so fun to be around the folks I seldom see, but who have greatly influenced my life. My aunt made one of my new favorite things for the shower. They are called Lemon Blossoms, and they are heaven. It is a Paula Deen recipe and not a family original. My aunt and momma can both make some good desserts. My aunt is known far and wide for her coconut cake. She fears that when she passes, she will only be remembered for that cake. Yes, the coconut cake is that good. However, these lemon blossoms make for a nice shower food. I could eat hundreds. They are tart and sweet and light and cute as can be...or cute as a bug (I usually reserve that saying for small children and not food, as food and bugs are best kept apart). I don't think it is my pregnancy craving for lemon-flavored anything; I watched my husband clean out a Tupperware container in record time. Go to Paula Deen's website immediately and get this recipe.
I've found a new website that has some interesting items. Deb and Cindy find treasures in the Middle Tennessee area and want to share what they have found. Their website is www.auntsisterspicks.com, and they sell on Etsy. They remind me of the grand Southern tradition of re-use and re-purposing. If you had a grandmother with a drawer full of bread ties, then you know what I mean. You probably had a nice jewelry collection made of bread ties, as long as Grandma, Granny, MeMaw, Mawmaw or whoever didn't catch you. If you have washed red solo cups like they were a part of your good china, you know where I'm coming from. I have also heard of people washing aluminum foil for reuse. I do love aluminum foil and cannot cook without it, but I can't bring myself to wash it and use it again. I use it specifically so that I don't have to wash. Southerners have been "green" for decades. Next time you need that special piece of furniture or anything interesting for the house, hit the flea market or yard sales. You will probably find items with more character and will save them from the dump.
When anything exciting or traumatic happens, Southerners like to bring food. Have a baby? Have a nice pound cake. Graduate from somewhere? Have some pigs in a blanket. Have a death in the family? We'll bring fried chicken. Recently, I did something every Proper Southern Woman should do. I've join the circle of people at church who bring food when someone passes away. I am on the meat committee. It is pretty exciting. If someone is in need on a Monday or Tuesday, then I get to take them fried chicken. I'm allowed to purchase it, so this is well within my skill set. Southerners do not expect you to cater meals for anything of the sort. If you have to buy so much as a scrap of bread, then we have failed as a community. If you are a displaced Southerner, make sure that you work to start this tradition in your community. Nothing says love like a pound cake in a time of need. If you're in Buffalo, I believe that sour kraut equates to love so work with that. I am hoping that having a baby results in a casserole or two. I don't really care to cook now, muchless once a baby comes. This week, take somebody some food if you find the right occasion. You don't have to cook it yourself. There are plenty of professionals to assist with that. Wait until you see the look on their faces - gratitude...confusion for people who know me.