Photo | facebook.com/MarcosPizzaMobileAL
It was pretty hard to put down. “The Story of Alabama in Fourteen Foods” by Emily Blejwas (2019, The University of Alabama Press) is a tale of the significance behind certain Southern foods and the recipes that feature them. It’s not what you’d call a cookbook, with only 15 recipes in the nearly 300 pages of text and photographs. It is, however, a look into the racial and socioeconomic forces that shaped, or were shaped by, our food culture.
Beginning with the Creek Nation in Alabama’s roasted corn and finishing with the Vietnamese influence on the seafood market of Bayou La Batre, the book gradually crescendos to a bang with the effects of Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill. Each chapter features a timeline making it easier to look back for quick referencing.
Hailing from Bayou La Batre, Blejwas leans heavily on the Southern part of the state, but who could blame her? With Alabama wild-caught shrimp and oyster beds in our backyard, we are sitting on a gold mine of local flavor. Add to that Mardi Gras gumbo and all the things you can do to a moon pie and I’ll make a case we are the more important region. But she did not neglect the famed foods that plant their flags in other parts of the state. Barbecue, sweet tea from Milo’s and George Washington Carver’s sweet potato pie recipe all get their due. Fried green tomatoes even got their own book and movie.
I found the book broadened my interests and narrowed my focus at the same time. It’s much more of a reference guide than a quick cover-to-cover read you pass to your neighbor. Alabamans, especially Mobilians, will enjoy the insight, but Southern food knows no state line. It only knows the Mason–Dixon Line.
Marco’s opening new restaurants in Saraland and Mobile
In 2018, Marco’s Pizza was ranked No. 5 in Forbes’ “Best Franchises to Buy” list, and someone is paying attention. This fast-growing chain is averaging one store opening every third day. The latest is the Saraland location at 35 Shell St., owned and operated by Alabama local pizza veteran Adam Waldrop.
Not only is Saraland benefitting from Marco’s rise, but Mobile is getting another restaurant, too. Their website has a “Coming Soon” location that reads 100 North Florida St. Until that one opens, Mobilians should hit the Cottage Hill or Dawes Road stores.
Bourbon By The Bay
The Third Annual Bourbon by the Bay is Sunday, Nov. 10, from 3 to 7 p.m. Sample more than 25 premium bourbons and whiskeys with hors d’oeuvres, craft cocktails, wine and local brews amid a silent auction and the not-so-silent music of Fat Man Squeeze.
The event will be held at Crown Hall by Bay Gourmet Catering at 853 Dauphin St., Suite 1, so you know the food will be amazing. Visit bourbonbythebay.com for tasting tickets ($125) or the VIP experience ($175). Bring a date. There is a discount for two. See you there!
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