Wednesday, June 13, 2007
the magic of the sleepy South
Saturday was one of those lazy days, the kind where you start to drink early on in the day. That’s one of the things which always reminded me of living in the South. I know people up North drink during the day, but in the South it almost seems more acceptable, a way of life. I remember reading Truman Capote books as a kid and his descriptions of New Orleans’ Garden District, and it evoked images of women getting sloshed in their backyards while wearing big floppy hats against a backdrop of overgrown lush greenery.
Well, at least that’s how i always thought of the South. That coupled with the trip I made to New Orleans with my dad in the August heat of 1999. it was so damn hot that we had no choice but to cool off with drink. That was one of the best trips i ever took with my Dad. He loves New Orleans, and used to go there several times a year.
This image (of Southern women getting bombed mid-afternoon) was solidified when i moved to Savannah. It’s hard to describe how life in the South is to people who’ve never been (and I don’t mean life in the thrivin’ metropolis of Atlanta either, because it’s just a bustling big city like other big cities). I remember my first week in Savannah and suddenly having a complete understanding of all those descriptions i’d read of the South. Life is much slower here, and i don’t mean slow as in brain-dead. It’s maybe that people here understand not to take life too seriously. Or maybe it’s because they do take life seriously and their seriousness means that one ought to slow everything down and enjoy and embrace it. The pace, people walking down the street, no one in a hurry. That was what life was like in Savannah, before it got hit with the ridiculousness of that damn movie being filmed there. I always liked Clint Eastwood, until he came to Savannah and would block off squares and streets and make me run late for class. A couple of times we’d just get on our bicycles and speed through whatever lot they were filming just because there was no other way around. Get yelled at. Give them the finger. Peddle to class. You know. Funtimes.
So anyway, yeah. This past Saturday is when i started to really notice how hot it’s getting down here.
The boy was working; J was visiting; and Mr. and Mrs. B invited us over for dinner. J and i strolled over there around 5 or 6 pm. I’m not quite sure what time exactly, but that’s the whole point about sleepy Southern-ness that i love. We eventually ambled over, with J holding his bottle of Seagrams VO tightly around the neck.
There was a bustle of activity coming out of Mrs B’s kitchen, so i helped out (or got in the way, or got giggly and took pictures, whichever way you want to see it). Mr and Mrs B were inspired by our last two cookouts, and on the menu was the Rum Glazed Shrimp, barbecued chicken (with a barbecue sauce that Mrs B concocted as she went along – turned out to be most excellent), warm potato salad with bacon, coleslaw. Mrs B, i hope you wrote down what you put in your barbecue sauce recipe. I forget things if i don't write them down; and then the next time i try to make it i have no previous notes. All of my cookbooks have notes jotted down in the margins – what works, what doesn't work, what i omitted or added to a certain recipe. I got that from my mom.
We ended dinner with Bananas Foster and some of the salted butter caramel ice cream i made last weekend (recipe snagged from Dave Lebovitz’ website), and it was insanely good. The ice cream alone is good, but is better when coupled with something else (in my pea brained opinion).
Bananas Foster (honestly, you don’t need a recipe for this. Use this as a guideline and vary it to your taste. It’s that simple).
Couple of bananas that are on the verge of being dumped in the trash
Couple of tablespoons of brown sugar
Couple of tablespoons of butter
Dash of cinnamon
Nice slug of rum. I prefer a dark or spiced rum, but any will do just fine.
Put brown sugar and butter in a sauté pan on medium-highish and let the sugar melt. Keep stirring and stirring until it’s all nice and melted together and happy. You’ll know what i’m talking about when you get to this stage.
Add dash of cinnamon.
Add cut up bananas. You can half them or cut them up into little pieces. It doesn’t matter.
Remove pan from the heat (this part is important or you run the risk of causing a massive rum explosion in your kitchen and you don’t want that, trust me) and add the rum. Put pan back on the heat. See if you can catch some of the rum ablaze, but that’s not necessary as it will burn off anyway.
Plate up. Add ice cream if you want to.
The boy makes me this when i’m angry with him. I’m immediately not angry with him anymore. This shit is just that damn good.
Not that i’m ever angry with him. :)
a nice dinner to end an equally nice day.