Southern Foodways Alliance, Day One

So, things are not going as expected.

I head to Greenwood, Mississippi, early this morning for the Delta Divertissement, the prelude to the Southern Foodways Alliance annual symposium. We will be eating our way through the Global South, specifically how Lebanese immigrants have informed the Southern foodways through integrating their food into our culture. I am tremendously excited about this.

I decide to drive down the Natchez Trace because I have time and I’ve never done it. It turns out to be a good idea. The trace is beautiful. I take photos of lovely nature scenes. I drive the approved 50 miles an hour for about ten minutes before I speed it up to 65 and hope against hope that I don’t hit a deer or a wild turkey. I note an alarming signal on my new Volkswagen CC dashboard, something called DRL. I drive for 110 miles hoping my car does not blow up. I pull into a convenience store and spend approximately 45 minutes reviewing the 1,324 pages of my driver’s manual. It turns out DRL just denotes that my daytime running lights are on.

On to Greenwood. I check into a hotel chain that I love. I made this reservation months in advance for a smoking room. The confirmation notes that I will have a smoking room. The desk clerk earnestly informs me that there are no smoking rooms left. Great.

I am writing this as I am puffing away in my non-smoking room. But I had a plan. I decide to go to a local supermarket and get some air spray plus a few snacks. I ask the earnest desk clerk as to the whereabouts of the nearest grocery store. He happily tells me there is a Wal Mart across the street. Not allowed. I don’t do Wal Mart. I drive around aimlessly for a half an hour looking for a grocery store. Apparently, Greenwood does not have readily accessible grocery stores. I sadly head back to the Wal Mart. The lethargic greeter greets me. I am immediately saddened. But I pick up some Lysol neutra air sanitizing spray, some string cheese, olives, peanuts and a box of what turns out to be surprisingly good “cornbread square” crackers.

Oh, and I forgot to tell you the worst part of my day. My friend who is to take delivery of my illicit lard in Lynchburg on Saturday leaves me a message that she is having a medical procedure on Friday and will not attend the Jack. I am, of course, concerned for her for a few seconds until I realize the enormity of this problem. I do not need this kind of drama on a day when I was forced into a non-smoking room and endured going to Wal Mart.

However, as I frantically spray my neutra air after every cigarette, I am contemplating tomorrow. I will sample Lebanese Mississippi cuisine including barbeque, chocolate pie, tamales, kibbe and cabbage rolls.

This deprivation will be worth it. It will be worth it. Now I just have to figure out my lard conundrum. It’s been a long day.

1 Comment

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One response to “Southern Foodways Alliance, Day One

  1. howard

    Lucky you and I know you’ll enjoy it!
    I love the Trce and many years ago did several weekend trips to do the trace all the way from Natchez to the end. It’s such a beautiful drive! Very romantic in a southern way.
    Have fun and say hello to Ole Miss for me.

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