Monday, May 16, 2011

Well, I Do Declare: A Memorial Day Supper Inspired by Scarlett O’Hara


Between Mother’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and Memorial Day weekend finishing off May, this month’s got it goin’ on! In celebration of the upcoming holiday weekend, my entertaining blog was all about the family cookout, but for my Nanas I thought I’d bring things indoors, with a book club party that revolves around another huge event: the 75th Anniversary of Gone With the Wind.

Reading the New York Times, I discovered an article about a nifty little group of people called “The Windies”. They are a devoted fan base of Margaret Mitchell’s great book, have been on pilgrimages to the author’s home and GWTW museum in Marietta, and collect all sorts of star paraphernalia from the 1939 movie. 5/14/11was the official 75th anniversary of the book’s publication, but GWTW celebrations are happening on the peach tree-lined streets of Georgia throughout June.

Inspired by the resurgence of interest in the book (I admit to my own dog-eared copy), I thumbed through my down home favorites—the ones so easy to make, you merely flick on the slow cooker and go off to prop up your feet…perhaps even read Gone With The Wind. This month, in honor of Scarlett and everyone who has ever said, “frankly I don’t give a damn, I’m making Slow Cooked Barbecued Beef, Crisp Coleslaw with Mustard Dressing and for dessert, Down Home Peach & Cinnamon Shortcake Biscuits—I swear I heard a drawl at the end of that menu recitation!

Wanting to be a purist about cooking things up the Southern way, I went so far as to contact a curator at the official Gone With the Wind museum. They were as sweet as a Georgia peach to me and shot back an email immediately, telling me, quote:

“What we know about the kind of food served at the Twelve Oaks barbeque is based on, well… common Southern knowledge - BBQ hasn’t changed much in the South over the years. The meal Scarlett most likely enjoyed that Spring day would most likely have consisted of barbecued pork and or chicken, biscuits, corn on the cob, Brunswick stew, and a decadent cake for dessert.”

Again I would like to thank the GWTW museum for their support—looks like it’d make a gal-pal trip you’d never forget. They’ve got Scarlett’s original Bengaline honeymoon gown (the one worn by Vivien Leigh), some of Belle Watling’s effects and so much more that appeals to hopeless romantics and historians alike. And don’t forget that in nearby Atlanta, GA at 990 Peach Street, fans of the book can tour the very place it was written: The Margaret Mitchell House. In 1925, Ms. Mitchell lived in apartment No.1 with her husband. I wonder if she would have appreciated a slow cooker BBQ meal, that would have allowed her, while it cooked, to let her husband rub her feet as she poured over drafts and perhaps alternate endings to GWTW.

Before I go, I’ll add just one thing: Nana’s new favorite thing this week: the GWTW apron! I’ll save you a click and just tell you what it says. Remember when a ravaged-by- the-starvation-of Civil War-Scarlett, shook her fist and said, “As God as my Witness I will never be hungry again?” Well…tie this on, get cookin’ and see what she meant. Tomorrow is another day!

And you know what? I’ll be hungry!

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