Labor Day Spiritual Thoughts

September 7, 2009

One of the most attention-getting posts on this blog is this one about buying your own moonshine still. The lead article in today’s is titled “Moonshine Returns,” and a trip to my local liquor store revealed a display from Leopold Bros, a craft distiller in Denver. I feel like the spirit world is compelling me to opine.

Leopold whiskey

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Kingsport: sushi on Broad Street

January 18, 2009


I went back to Kingsport for Christmas and went down to Broad Street, which in my boyhood was the main commercial street of the city, stretching from the train station to Church Circle, a monument to Protestant diversity. On that street I did something I never thought I would do in my hometown: eating sushi.

In Kingsport, Tennessee. The place was Stir Fry Cafe, a small chain with locations in Knoxville, Johnson City, and Asheville. The restaurant was in the old Baylor Nelms Furniture location, where my family used to shop. The sushi was fresh and it was good. Stir Fry is a bright spot in a rejuvenating downtown, and I hope it thrives.

This blog is part of a much larger website, also entitled Tennessee Guy, that contains travel and cultural information about Tennessee. Visit it here.

Cleaning an iron skillet

January 17, 2009

Probably the quickest way to get thrown out of my kitchen is to to “help clean up” by pouring soap into one of my cast iron skillets. I have worked hard to maintain a good seasoning on all of them, and I clean them out with water and a paper towel. If something has burned on, I might gently attack it with a green scratcher, but I never, and I mean never, use soap.

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Lay’s “Three Little Pigs” ride again

October 31, 2008

Here’s a new commercial containing segments of older ads from Lay’s Meats, a fixture on the East Tennessee food scene for 80 years. According to an article in the Knoxville News Sentinel, Lays was founded in 1921 and sold to various investors, who went bankrupt in 2001.  For kids growing up in the days of black and white television, Lay’s ads, with their singing three little pigs, were a ubiquitous presence.

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Old Tennessee Pride Sausage TV ad

October 31, 2008

Sixty-second television ads seem so long in this age of nano-attention spans, but here’s one from the 1960s:

This blog is part of a much larger website, also entitled Tennessee Guy, that contains travel and cultural information about Tennessee. Visit it here.

Craft distillers not so numerous in the South

October 28, 2008

The spirit world is booming in these parlous times. According to an article in the Rocky Mountain News, craft distillers–small-time producers of whiskey, vodka, rum, and other spirits–are increasing in number across the country. “Foodies” are fueling this movement, which follows the craft brewing wave, and there’s one more factor as well: as people get older, they drink less but they drink better.

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White Lily Flour leaves Knoxville in the dust

June 26, 2008

A staple of Southern kitchens since 1883, White Lily Flour is said to be the only flour in the United States milled from soft winter wheat, making it perfect for biscuits and pastries. It was created in Knoxville and milled there continuously for 125 years. Alas, the flour that made Knoxville famous is closing down operations in K-Town and will be moving to a couple of mills somewhere in the Midwest. Jack Neely tells the sad story in Metro Pulse this week, and even The New York Times weighed in with a story last week.

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Bush Brother’s Beans 100 years old

May 13, 2008

Barbecue is one of the signature foods of Tennessee, and the side dish most likely to be served with ribs or pulled pork is beans. The Bush family–no, not those Bushes–of East Tennessee have been serving canned beans for 100 years. Here are some cans from the 1920s.

Bush Brothers has its corporate office in Knoxville and factories in Augusta, Wisconsin and Chestnut Hill, Tennessee. The latter is in Jefferson County just east of Newport. This article in the Mountain Press states that the Tennessee plant ships 25 million cases of canned beans and other vegies every year.

This blog is part of a much larger website, also entitled Tennessee Guy, that contains travel and cultural information about Tennessee. Visit it here.

Mini-menus great for visitors

April 25, 2008

Ever come to a new town and want to find a restaurant? If you go to a hotel, you sometimes get a notebook with menus in “Do not remove from room” notebooks or an unwieldy stack of laminated menus and take-out sheets at the front desk–not much help at all. While spending the weekend in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, TennesseeWife and I ran across a great idea called “Mountain Menus.” We saw them in the Amtrak Station in this display:

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Return to Big Ed’s Pizza

February 25, 2008

The best pizza joint in East Tennessee is a dark, dimly lit place on Jackson Square in Oak Ridge. I was introduced to Big Ed’s when I went to UT in the early 70s by a couple of Oak Ridgers. The photo below, taken with a time exposure, makes Big Ed’s look much brighter than it really is.


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