Oh Blogger Where Art Thou?

I have seemingly less and less time now to blog lately. Especially since we added a furry friend to the mix, my almost 14yr old black lab Frasier. He's very demanding, this canine. Food and attention at 5:30 in the morning, walks in the mornings and evenings. Baths when his funky self is just a little too odorriffic for words. It's a rough life, but it's good that he's now a Nashville doggie. North Carolina will miss him!

This weekend I worked the Southern Festival of Books, hosting a booth for my workplace. I managed to catch a few festival sessions - my fave being Sherman Alexie, a Spokane Indian author - and also walked in on the tail-end of a NC BBQ session. Who knew the best of southern BBQ could best be laid out with a map detailing the "Balkans of BBQ" with variations of red sauce covering the better portions of NC and then a streak of yellow indicating the lesser-than regions of South Carolina that just doesn't know any better and uses the tainted mustard-based sauce. Yeah, I know I have some SC natives reading this blog, but I just can't fake my enthusiasm for mustard sauce 'cue. You know it's just wrong. (Example: Maurice's, a longtime SC chain of restaurants. Maurice has a fondness for Confederate Flag sundries sold at his counters. Hence when I see his signs on the interstates in SC, I can't bite my tongue without calling out "Mo-racists!" Because I can.)

I really loved this session, especially since it made my mouth water for some Gary's BBQ from China Grove, NC. I told the authors to please check this place out. It was the vinegar and pepper-based BBQ I was raised on, since I lived in Charlotte, Kannapolis, and Statesville and frequented Salisbury with visits to Grandmother's house. Gary's was always worth the drive. One pulled pork sandwich and a Cheerwine with crushed ice (if you don't know what a Cheerwine is, deduct five points from your foodie intelligence score.) made life just easy and divine.

So thanks to the festival organizers for an awesome event. It combines my favorite things: Southernicity, books, food and the communal excellence that festivals bring about.

Only last year was a highlight I can't forget: The Miss Mary Bobo's owner Lynne Talley (great-great niece of Jack Daniel's) making her way through a demonstration of chocolate Bourbon truffles in sweltering heat. Scott does the best impression of Lynne after she made her way behind the scenes to grab some reinforcements and forgetting her headset mic was still on, declared in the best southern drawl, "My Gawd, it is sooooo damn hawt out heah. I am just meltin'!" Her festival coordinator said "Oh, your mic is still on. They can hear you!" It was humorous, at least to us.

Hope all is well with everyone - despite the unfortunate heat wave we're experiencing. I've heard of an Indian Summer, but I think this one is of the subcontinent nature. Take care!