Just a Pinch of South

For those of us who grew up in the South but have moved elsewhere, we love our roots and all they have provided. There's a lot that I've come to appreciate about the South. But let's be honest, most of us don't want to go back to "full Southern." We're happy with just a pinch here and there to add flavor to the life we live now. If you are not a Southerner, perhaps you'll come to better appreciate the little gifts the American South has given and continues to give our culture. This blog is written by Elizabeth Bloodworth. Find out more about me at elizabethbloodworth.com. Photos are not mine unless specified. Email me at justapinchofsouth @ gmail dot com. I tweet at @apinchofsouth and my other tumblr is called "everythingthatdoesntfitelsewhere" which is just what it sounds like.

Let me recommend to you the documentary Muscle Shoals (now on Netflix).
Who knew that a bunch of country boys from a tiny town in Alabama could have such a sweeping impact on funk, soul, pop, R&B, and rock music.
From Aretha to the Allman Brothers. Pretty impressive.

Let me recommend to you the documentary Muscle Shoals (now on Netflix).

Who knew that a bunch of country boys from a tiny town in Alabama could have such a sweeping impact on funk, soul, pop, R&B, and rock music.

From Aretha to the Allman Brothers. Pretty impressive.

(Source: vinylrecordgroove)

If you just so happen to be traveling down I-95 between North and South Carolina this summer and see the signs for South of the Border, you need to go. 
At least once in your life. 
It is a spectacle. It is, in many ways awful. Awful both in the negative sense and in the “full of awe” sense. 
Make a pit stop. Take some pictures. Buy a souvenir. It is 15 minutes out of your life, and totally worth it.
another great pic from:bryanreganphotography:

If you just so happen to be traveling down I-95 between North and South Carolina this summer and see the signs for South of the Border, you need to go.

At least once in your life.

It is a spectacle. It is, in many ways awful. Awful both in the negative sense and in the “full of awe” sense.

Make a pit stop. Take some pictures. Buy a souvenir. It is 15 minutes out of your life, and totally worth it.

another great pic from:bryanreganphotography:

I spent this past Saturday at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party in Madison Square Park in Manhattan. It was as delicious as it sounds.
The lines were long, but the food was great. There was Old Rip Van Winkle bourbon to drink, and there were many sights, like the one above, to see.
As I ponder ‘cue, I’m not curious as to why the South developed a barbecue tradition. I’m more curious why the North did NOT develop one. Were they purposely depriving themselves of joy? What were they doing with their pigs instead? Did they lack a sense of humor? What were they thinking?
I’m glad we can import this goodness to them now. You’re welcome, Yankees.

I spent this past Saturday at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party in Madison Square Park in Manhattan. It was as delicious as it sounds.

The lines were long, but the food was great. There was Old Rip Van Winkle bourbon to drink, and there were many sights, like the one above, to see.

As I ponder ‘cue, I’m not curious as to why the South developed a barbecue tradition. I’m more curious why the North did NOT develop one. Were they purposely depriving themselves of joy? What were they doing with their pigs instead? Did they lack a sense of humor? What were they thinking?

I’m glad we can import this goodness to them now. You’re welcome, Yankees.

I’m dying to know what sorts of gifts they carry at the auto salvage. 

My friend Rebekah’s mom, Jacki, insisted they pull over to capture this gem somewhere deep in the heart of Texas.

I’m dying to know what sorts of gifts they carry at the auto salvage.

My friend Rebekah’s mom, Jacki, insisted they pull over to capture this gem somewhere deep in the heart of Texas.

I spent last weekend with college friends in North Carolina. I took the long way back to Atlanta and drove through parts of rural South Carolina I had never seen before. My observations:
1. Country folk still go to church. The parking lots were full on Sunday morning. That makes me feel good.
2. A lot of towns still have a picturesque main street full of storefronts. These storefronts are empty. That makes me feel sad.
3. South Carolina style barbecue is actually tasty. Perhaps it is a loyalty to my North Carolina vinegar roots, but I always thought I didn’t like it. I know I had a run-in with some bad SC ‘cue a long time ago, so I was certain that my perspective wouldn’t change. Well, I’m here to retract my previous condemnation of the mustard-based sauce. I wasn’t event at a special artisanal hole in the wall. It was Maurice’s. A chain. I know, I know. But if I liked the chain stuff, I’m sure I’d like the “real thing.” And I dug the hushpuppies, too. You don’t tend to get those at Georgia BBQ joints.
4. Man, South Carolina is FLAT.
So - to sum up. Successful trip through rural South Carolina brings new insights to ex-pat Southerner. The end.

I spent last weekend with college friends in North Carolina. I took the long way back to Atlanta and drove through parts of rural South Carolina I had never seen before. My observations:

1. Country folk still go to church. The parking lots were full on Sunday morning. That makes me feel good.

2. A lot of towns still have a picturesque main street full of storefronts. These storefronts are empty. That makes me feel sad.

3. South Carolina style barbecue is actually tasty. Perhaps it is a loyalty to my North Carolina vinegar roots, but I always thought I didn’t like it. I know I had a run-in with some bad SC ‘cue a long time ago, so I was certain that my perspective wouldn’t change. Well, I’m here to retract my previous condemnation of the mustard-based sauce. I wasn’t event at a special artisanal hole in the wall. It was Maurice’s. A chain. I know, I know. But if I liked the chain stuff, I’m sure I’d like the “real thing.” And I dug the hushpuppies, too. You don’t tend to get those at Georgia BBQ joints.

4. Man, South Carolina is FLAT.

So - to sum up. Successful trip through rural South Carolina brings new insights to ex-pat Southerner. The end.

Last night a dreamt that an unnamed celebrity and I sang every verse to the 1980s Coca-cola jingle. Apparently the entire song resides in my subconscious. And upon awakening I still remember every word. Is this what happens when you grow up in Atlanta?

Last night a dreamt that an unnamed celebrity and I sang every verse to the 1980s Coca-cola jingle. Apparently the entire song resides in my subconscious. And upon awakening I still remember every word. Is this what happens when you grow up in Atlanta?

Today is Cinco de Mayo. After cheese (yeah, just cheese by itself), Mexican dishes (tacos, salsa, street corn, etc) are probably my favorite food. I’m sure it is not the most culturally sensitive thing to reduce a people and a nation to their food, but when it comes to learning about the world around me, I think that is where I started. With food.
Growing up in Atlanta I did enjoy lunch at Jalisco’s in the Peachtree Battle Shopping Center in Buckhead (still do, in fact), but that was the beginning and end of my exposure to Mexican anything. I didn’t have guacamole until high school; I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a fish taco until I was in college. And it was even later that I learned about what a Quinceañera was. There just weren’t that many immigrants period in the Georgia of my youth. It’s not true now, and while there are growing pains for sure, I’m glad for the diversity in Atlanta these days. I love stopping by the markets on Buford Highway that carry all kinds of obscure dishes from all over the world. It’s almost like being in New York. ;)
Did you know the Atlanta metropolitan area has the 10th largest population of Mexican immigrants in the US? Between 1990 and 2000 the Mexican immigrant population grew over 233% in Georgia. It’s not that different in surrounding states. That’s a huge shift in a short amount of time, and the Southeast is still adjusting to it, and the Anglos are not always so ready to embrace the change, even if they will down a Margarita tonight. Like I will. And also guac, pico de gallo, some chips and some salsa and… see ya later… I’m too hungry to type…

Today is Cinco de Mayo. After cheese (yeah, just cheese by itself), Mexican dishes (tacos, salsa, street corn, etc) are probably my favorite food. I’m sure it is not the most culturally sensitive thing to reduce a people and a nation to their food, but when it comes to learning about the world around me, I think that is where I started. With food.

Growing up in Atlanta I did enjoy lunch at Jalisco’s in the Peachtree Battle Shopping Center in Buckhead (still do, in fact), but that was the beginning and end of my exposure to Mexican anything. I didn’t have guacamole until high school; I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a fish taco until I was in college. And it was even later that I learned about what a Quinceañera was. There just weren’t that many immigrants period in the Georgia of my youth. It’s not true now, and while there are growing pains for sure, I’m glad for the diversity in Atlanta these days. I love stopping by the markets on Buford Highway that carry all kinds of obscure dishes from all over the world. It’s almost like being in New York. ;)

Did you know the Atlanta metropolitan area has the 10th largest population of Mexican immigrants in the US? Between 1990 and 2000 the Mexican immigrant population grew over 233% in Georgia. It’s not that different in surrounding states. That’s a huge shift in a short amount of time, and the Southeast is still adjusting to it, and the Anglos are not always so ready to embrace the change, even if they will down a Margarita tonight. Like I will. And also guac, pico de gallo, some chips and some salsa and… see ya later… I’m too hungry to type…

Here’s a very Just a Pinch of South scenario: Georgia girl and Jersey girl meet in an improv class in NYC. Comedy magic ensues.
Let me explain…
Lennon Parham grew up in Lilburn, Georgia. Jessica St. Clair is from New Jersey. This dynamically hilarious duo met at the UCB theatre in NYC and bonded over a love of sweater sets and improv comedy. Their first TV show, Best Friends Forever, was hilarious, memorable, but sadly short lived. No worries. The ladies are back with their latest venture Playing House on USA. It’s a “mom-com” (I’m like 99% sure I coined that phrase) with the Len and Jess playing best friends who are raising Lennon’s baby together. Between the funny these ladies create and the cast they’ve assembled like Zach Woods (!) and Keegan-Michael Key (!!) you need to set your DVR to stun immediately. And Lennon didn’t even slip me 20 bucks to say that.
As an expat Southerner like myself, Lennon kindly agreed to answer 5 Questions (well, okay, 6) just for me and the readers of JaPoS. I’m glad to hear we share the same perspective on collard greens and Michael Jackson (my 1st concert, by the way). Read on…
1. What is something y’all learned from doing Best Friends Forever that you are putting into practice with the new show, Playing House?
Well BFF was our first go at it and we learned so much about everything that goes into making a TV show. So this time around, it’s just like we know more, you know? We’ve done it before, so everything can be better because of that. We put a pound of our flesh into BFF and it was really a labor of love, and on Playing House we have that same love but also make sure that we have sane hours and get home for bath time with our babies every night, which is really good for the whole crew in terms of seeing your family and being a happy person. 

2. Is Jessica St Clair the chocolate to your peanut butter? Or what substances are the two of you together, comedically/creatively?
Jess and I combine forces to make a nice surf n’ turf buffet. She’s the seafood and I’m the land meat. Throw a shrimp cocktail and a bratwurst together and you’re taking a meal somewhere special. That’s how I feel about Jessica. She’s the tartar sauce to my ketchup. You can tell her I said that. 


3. Do you think growing up in the South has influenced your sense of humor and what you find funny? If so, how?
Oh sure. On the show we have an episode where I dress up as a Hank Williams, Jr. type, kind of a deep Southern long-haired man named Bosephus who wears a trucker hat and is always talking about craw-daddies and ladies’ top bits. Everyone thought I was crazy for wanting Bosephus to happen so badly but I would not relent, and now it’s a lot of people’s favorite episode that they’ve seen. I would have never thought of that character if I hadn’t grown up in the South and been exposed to that kind of person. 


4. As an expat Southerner, what is currently the most Southern thing about you or your life in Los Angeles, if anything?
Probably the number of Indigo Girls songs on my iPod… Those ladies really understand the human spirit. That and my love for a good plate of collard greens. And how often I say the phrase “Dang dang diggy diggy.” Everyone in the South says that all the time, right? 


5. If you could carve images of anyone into the side of Stone Mountain, who would they be and why?
Michael Jackson through the decades and I don’t think ANY explanation is necessary. 


BONUS – did you set Playing House in Connecticut just so that you could wear lots and lots of sweater sets with no shame? Be honest.

It was originally set in Miami but you can’t wear a sweater set in that kind of humidity, and we’re not huge fans of the sleeve on a lady’s polo. Now you know our secret!!!

Here’s a very Just a Pinch of South scenario: Georgia girl and Jersey girl meet in an improv class in NYC. Comedy magic ensues.

Let me explain…

Lennon Parham grew up in Lilburn, Georgia. Jessica St. Clair is from New Jersey. This dynamically hilarious duo met at the UCB theatre in NYC and bonded over a love of sweater sets and improv comedy. Their first TV show, Best Friends Forever, was hilarious, memorable, but sadly short lived. No worries. The ladies are back with their latest venture Playing House on USA. It’s a “mom-com” (I’m like 99% sure I coined that phrase) with the Len and Jess playing best friends who are raising Lennon’s baby together. Between the funny these ladies create and the cast they’ve assembled like Zach Woods (!) and Keegan-Michael Key (!!) you need to set your DVR to stun immediately. And Lennon didn’t even slip me 20 bucks to say that.

As an expat Southerner like myself, Lennon kindly agreed to answer 5 Questions (well, okay, 6) just for me and the readers of JaPoS. I’m glad to hear we share the same perspective on collard greens and Michael Jackson (my 1st concert, by the way). Read on…

1. What is something y’all learned from doing Best Friends Forever that you are putting into practice with the new show, Playing House?

Well BFF was our first go at it and we learned so much about everything that goes into making a TV show. So this time around, it’s just like we know more, you know? We’ve done it before, so everything can be better because of that. We put a pound of our flesh into BFF and it was really a labor of love, and on Playing House we have that same love but also make sure that we have sane hours and get home for bath time with our babies every night, which is really good for the whole crew in terms of seeing your family and being a happy person. 

2. Is Jessica St Clair the chocolate to your peanut butter? Or what substances are the two of you together, comedically/creatively?

Jess and I combine forces to make a nice surf n’ turf buffet. She’s the seafood and I’m the land meat. Throw a shrimp cocktail and a bratwurst together and you’re taking a meal somewhere special. That’s how I feel about Jessica. She’s the tartar sauce to my ketchup. You can tell her I said that. 

3. Do you think growing up in the South has influenced your sense of humor and what you find funny? If so, how?

Oh sure. On the show we have an episode where I dress up as a Hank Williams, Jr. type, kind of a deep Southern long-haired man named Bosephus who wears a trucker hat and is always talking about craw-daddies and ladies’ top bits. Everyone thought I was crazy for wanting Bosephus to happen so badly but I would not relent, and now it’s a lot of people’s favorite episode that they’ve seen. I would have never thought of that character if I hadn’t grown up in the South and been exposed to that kind of person. 

4. As an expat Southerner, what is currently the most Southern thing about you or your life in Los Angeles, if anything?

Probably the number of Indigo Girls songs on my iPod… Those ladies really understand the human spirit. That and my love for a good plate of collard greens. And how often I say the phrase “Dang dang diggy diggy.” Everyone in the South says that all the time, right? 

5. If you could carve images of anyone into the side of Stone Mountain, who would they be and why?

Michael Jackson through the decades and I don’t think ANY explanation is necessary. 

BONUS – did you set Playing House in Connecticut just so that you could wear lots and lots of sweater sets with no shame? Be honest.

It was originally set in Miami but you can’t wear a sweater set in that kind of humidity, and we’re not huge fans of the sleeve on a lady’s polo. Now you know our secret!!!