September 03, 2019

An installment in John T. Edge’s column, Local Fare.

She was a genius, I’ve come to recognize, at recasting defeats as glorious spectacles. Faced with small-town ignorance, fearful of what small-town boredom might wrest from her, she did her best to divert and subvert. Looking back, I see my best self in her flagrancy. And I glimpse what my worst self might have nurtured, had the darker times in Clinton defined my life.

September 04, 2018

An installment in John T. Edge’s Points South column, Local Fare.

Time at Helen’s raises questions, small and large. Other than great barbecue, and my respect and affection for the woman who owns the restaurant, what calls me to Brownsville? And, more broadly, what drives middle-class Southerners to seek pleasure and solace in places often referred to as joints and shacks?

January 07, 2019

A video supplement to “Folk Witness” by John T. Edge, published in the Fall 2018 issue.

“Joints and shacks offer witness to the environments where design and operation incongruities . . . often bespeak honesty. The creative responses of that grocery store manager and that breakfast joint operator confirm that humans are at the helm in such spaces, singular and complicated souls capable of responding to circumstance and necessity with brilliance.”

—John T. Edge, “Folk Witness”

March 17, 2020

An installment in John T. Edge’s column, Local Fare.

Eating fried snapper filets and white bread, arrayed with stylish precision on tissue paper–lined red cafeteria trays, I watched Crasta reduce two fried bream to four glistening bones in less than ten minutes. And I learned that he plans to remodel the market, using the Evans photograph as a prompt. “Do you think it was like this?” he asked, holding out his cell phone to display a picture of a craftsman house, painted a color on the blue side of teal. “I want to get the look right.”

August 14, 2018

A video supplement to “Dixie Vodka” by John T. Edge, published in the Summer 2018 issue.

“General Beauregard Dixie Vodka Set to March Across South” announced a September 25, 2013, press release. One hundred and fifty years prior, when P. G. T. Beauregard marched toward Charleston, he fought to preserve the economic system that shackled black Southerners and made possible extraordinary white Lowcountry wealth. This press release raised the question: Why march now?

—John T. Edge, “Dixie Vodka”

April 21, 2019

A video supplement to “Oaxaca Wreck” by John T. Edge, published in the Spring 2019 issue.

“When I moved to Mississippi in 1995, I became a quick regular at Bottletree Bakery, just off the square, across from the church that my family would subsequently join. At that low counter, with a thick china mug in hand, I ate scones pocked with crystallized nuggets of ginger and pored over grad school texts. I befriended the charming misfits and dreamers who poured refills and stared at their shoes and beamed guileless smiles. And then I quit the place. Because I got jaded. Because I got busy.”

—John T. Edge, “Oaxaca Wreck”

July 15, 2019

A video supplement to “Social Engineering” by John T. Edge, published in the Summer 2019 issue.

“Written in tight script on one of those green-and-white guest check pads, her words account a surrealist barnyard: ‘gecko elastic, cookie armpit, giraffe crotch, zebra elastic.’ I had noticed Rachael working on the far end of the bar, pulling costumes from cubbies and then carefully refolding and restacking each one. But I hadn’t realized that she was doing triage, making note of which of the thirty or so costumes they stock needed repair.”

—John T. Edge, “Social Engineering”

June 13, 2017

Immigrants are active Southerners. They choose to live here, to raise families, to grow businesses. Despite unfavorable odds that may, in this new age of American isolation, temporarily thwart innovation, active Southerners are reinventing the region. In the process, as an already complicated region embraces new people, and cultural nuances accrete, much is gained. Especially for eaters.

 

June 12, 2018

An installment in John T. Edge's Points South column, Local Fare.

When I began reading and thinking about Dixie Vodka, I didn’t want to gallop toward a conclusion. I aimed to plod, to listen, to map the paper trail of the brand since its 2013 inception. That proved tough, for the affronts came quickly.

October 01, 2019

A video supplement to “My Mother’s Catfish Stew” by John T. Edge, published in the fall 2019 issue.

“She was a genius, I’ve come to recognize, at recasting defeats as glorious spectacles. Faced with small-town ignorance, fearful of what small-town boredom might wrest from her, she did her best to divert and subvert. Looking back, I see my best self in her flagrancy. And I glimpse what my worst self might have nurtured, had the darker times in Clinton defined my life.”

—John T. Edge, “My Mother’s Catfish Stew”

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