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The Southern Side of Vermont

I made my first trip to Vermont because Howard Dean was running for president and I was writing about him for Vogue. It was fall 2003, and Dean was not only still Vermont’s governor, he was also—astonishingly—the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. I’d already followed him all around Iowa …

Food

First Listen: Forty Years Later, a Blues Legend Finally Gets His Due

“You may never have heard of Spooner Oldham, but you’ve definitely heard his music. His keyboard buoyed Percy Sledge’s plaintive “When A Man Loves a Woman,” kept tempo for Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally,” and lent churchy soul to countless other hits by stars such as Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, even …

Rhythm & Blues

The High & The Low: Bizarre Foods

Two years ago, the intrepid food writer, journalist, novelist, poet, memoirist, and (whew) much-lauded humorist Calvin Trillin journeyed to my hometown of Greenville, Mississippi, to do a piece for the New Yorker on the second annual Delta Hot Tamale Festival. I’d implored him and he’d relented, but …

Weird

Why Duke's Mayonnaise Matters

In many of the most popular restaurants below the Mason-Dixon line today, diners can practically trace the sprigs of parsley garnishing their plates to the wholesome hands of local farmers. So it’s surprising when the same chefs who preach about heirloom seeds and heritage animals embrace a

Food

Ask G&G: Football Loyalties Divided

Q. As football season approaches, we were wondering what happens to the people who went to the wrong school—say, the people from Georgia who went to the University of Florida, or the Tennesseeans who went to Ole Miss. Do they have difficulty later in life?

I don’t believe there have been any …

University of Alabama

A 90-Year Chincoteague Tradition—and a New Legacy

You might remember Misty, but what about Surfer Dude? “Misty was probably the most famous pony of all,” says Chincoteague Island firefighter Denise Bowden of the mare who was immortalized in Marguerite Henry’s 1947 classic children’s novel and 1961 film. “But Surfer Dude comes in a real close …

Chamber of Commerce

Perfect Porch Ceiling Colors

You don’t have to look far in the South to see that porches—and porch sitting—are a cultural mainstay. So is the tradition of painting a porch ceiling blue. Some say the idea stems from the notion that blue porch ceilings prevented insects and birds from nesting. But more often than not, the color …

Interior Design

A Music Festival Like No Other

More of an old-fashioned backyard barbecue or laid-back house party than a sprawling, sweaty Coachella-style rager, Wildwood Revival (August 29-30), offers a boutique music festival experience. “It’s a festival for people who don’t like festivals,” says founder Libby Rose. “It’s an …

Soul Music

A Perfect Southern Match: Tomatoes & Biscuits

Leave it to Willie Foster of Biscuit King’s Fun Barn in Fairhope, Alabama, to make the tomato sandwich on our cover into a why-didn’t-we-think-of-that breakfast treat. The self-taught baker’s signature Ugly Biscuit is an all-in-one meal of sausage, bacon, egg, and cheese tucked into a …

Biscuits

What's in Season: Red Burgundy Okra

Ask a Southern chef about okra, and you can expect a nostalgic answer. For Steven Greene of Herons restaurant at the Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, North Carolina, it evokes memories of youthful visits to his grandmother’s house in Abbeville, South Carolina. She would sear the vegetable in a hot …

Okra

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The Southern Agenda: August/September 2015

Reap What Jefferson Sowed
Charlottesville, Virginia
September 11-12

“But tho’ an old man, I am but a young gardener,” wrote Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the artist and naturalist Charles Willson Peale in 1811. In the gardens at Monticello, the ever-curious statesman planted more than 330 varieties …

Gardening

The Caladium Capital of the World

Holland has its tulips. Japan has its blooming cherry trees. And Florida has its caladiums.

Sometimes called Angel Wings or Heart of Jesus, caladiums are spade-shaped, multi-colored perennials that can be grown inside or out throughout much of the country. They thrive in shade, although some …

Gardening

Southern Shops: Tabor in Charlotte, NC

Laura Vinroot Poole has always done things differently. When she opened her Charlotte, North Carolina, women’s boutique, Capitol, in 1997, she combined hip high fashion—including many labels that had never come near the state before—with a shopping experience so warm and personal, women felt like …

North Carolina

An 84-Year-Old Jewel Thief Strikes Again?

Doris Payne is more than a jewel thief. She’s a magician. At 84 years old, the convicted cat burglar has six decades of criminal activity under her Burberry trench coat belt, having pilfered gems from high-end department and jewelry stores in the United States and abroad, armed with nothing but her …

Cary Grant

Southern Food in 50 Dishes

This spring, over lunch in Charleston, South Carolina, at Minero—the Mexican canteen from Sean Brock, the chef who dismissed non-Southern products from his pantry at Husk—I chased a dab of benne salsa with a tortilla chip and unwrapped a Carolina Gold rice tamal that had the texture of congee. In …

Recipes

Pilgrimage Playlist

Pilgrimage

Five Southern Tree House Getaways

There’s something magical about spending the night high up in the treetops. This summer tap into your inner twelve-year-old and indulge latent Swiss Family Robinson fantasies at one of these five arboreal retreats that range from rustic riverside hideouts to refined mountain top escapes.

Cypress

Cypress

Summer Beer Pairings

In recent years, craft breweries have blossomed from the rolling hills of Texas to the salty coast of North Carolina. It’s a blessing. With so many creative brews on the shelves these days, savvy drinkers can now treat beer like wine, choosing suds that complement what they’re washing down. But it …

Brewing

The Wild Southern Belle You’ve Never Heard Of… Til Now

Every family has its secrets—a recipe or fishing spot, perhaps. But for the storied Bingham family, of Louisville, Kentucky, the secrets could fill volumes. And, for more than a century, they have. In the 1980s, the power struggle that resulted in the dismantling of the family’s media empire, which …

Jazz

Back Porch Session: Warren Haynes

New Music From Warren Haynes

Forget Kevin Bacon. Let's play Six Degrees of Warren Haynes. Here’s the résumé: Twenty-five years with the Allman Brothers Band. Playing with the likes of the Grateful Dead, Dave Matthews Band, and the Dickey Betts Band. Writing a chart-topping hit for Garth Brooks. Not to mention twenty years and …

New Music

Why Traveling Musicians Love Asheville

For the past twenty years, a musical movement has been growing in Asheville, North Carolina. While famous cities like Nashville, Tennessee, and Muscle Shoals, Alabama, are known for their legendary recording studios, Asheville has emphasized something more pedestrian—quite literally. Traveling …

North Carolina

Anatomy of a Classic: Italian-Style Shrimp and Grits

The South really is the Italy of America. The cuisines of both are deeply regional and close to the farm. They share ingredients and a love for playing out life, the best and the worst of it, at the table. Those similarities weren’t on Jacques Larson’s mind when he first moved to Charleston, South …

Recipes

In Memoriam: Remembering B. B. King

It all began at breakfast in Franklin, Tennessee, when Tommy Peters asked if I would like to have dinner with B. B. King. Tommy had started B. B. King’s Blues Club in Memphis and was beginning to envision opening other clubs across the country. I had been in the music business for twenty-plus …

B.B. King

Delivering 'Deliverance'

James Dickey was the kind of man who made Ernest Hemingway look like a florist from the Midwest, says his former student the writer Pat Conroy. And forty-five years ago this summer, Dickey’s book Deliverance was one of the hottest things on the stands, a literary triumph. The novel tells the story …

Literature

The Tastemaker Ten: Southern Summer Essentials

Georgia native Thomas Wages opened his Atlanta menswear shop, Tweeds, in 2013, and he’s attracted a loyal following for his down-to-earth style. From his curated collection of American-made goods to the bespoke suits, shirts, belts, and more that he designs for the shop’s house label, the …

Rangefinder

A Busy Day in Monroeville

Monroeville, Alabama, population 6,300 and the hometown of Nelle Harper Lee, is today basking in one of literature’s biggest bombshells—the release of Go Set a Watchman, Lee’s first novel in 55 years.

A book release at midnight at Ol’ Curiosities & Book Shoppe, just off the square, attracted some 400 …

Atticus Finch

Any Way You Slice It

From a salad piled high with heirlooms to a melty grilled cheese to a fresh island spin on a Bloody Mary, tomatoes are the taste of summer in the South.

The Condiment: Green Tomato Chowchow

Bloody Mary

Tomatoes: The Taste of the South

For such a boon companion in the food chain down through the centuries, the tomato had a fairly rough go, batted between cuisines across the Atlantic like an ancient court-tennis ball. Its many detours are not without irony. We consider the plant aboriginally American—as in Mesoamerican and South …

Vegetables