Tag Archives: South

Food pusher

I was raised in the South by amazing home cooks.

The food may not have been the best for us, but it tasted better than anything I’ve found in my travels.

We used to call my mother and her sisters “food pushers” because they were always encouraging us to eat more.

Another taste. Another serving.  Heck, in some cases, another meal.

I had a flashback to those food pushers this morning when I was sitting on the floor, trying to get my dog Rory to eat.


When he rejected his wet food, I added chicken. When he tired of the chicken, I gave him treats. When he finished the treats, I handed him the wet food again.

Anything to get him to eat a decent-sized meal.

Old dogs are the best, but they’re not the best eaters. — Mama Dog food pusher

Bless your heart

A friend in the education biz recently developed a course on customer service for his company.

I provided some general communication tips, but realized today that I didn’t mention a personal perspective that I have gained from years on the phone with customer service representatives:

southern accentIf the customer service representative speaks with a Southern accent, I:

a) believe they want to help me;

b) have found that they do help me; and

c) am in a better mood when I hang up because they are friendly — regardless of how I felt when started the call.

Now, I tend to believe that the people on the call on true Southerners. You can’t fake that hospitality…

Or can you?

It’s something the companies who depend on customer service — and, really, what company these days doesn’t — need to consider.  We can teach people how to lose an accent…

Why not teach customer service folks to have one?

Fried, not grilled

Everyone’s had a cheesy grin on their face today cause it’s National Grilled Cheese Day.


But some critics are accusing our fav sandwich of being a fraud.

It’s true — most folks cook grilled cheese sandwiches in a skillet, which technically makes it a fried cheese sandwich.

Is this supposed to make us feel bad? Or the ‘grilled’ cheese sandwich taste less amazing?

No and no.

As we say in the South, get over your fine self.


Happy National Puppy Day!



Only my friends from the South are gonna get this.


Somewhere, a monkey is smiling

A good friend of mine — a Chicagoland native — recently moved to the South, and relayed an experience on Facebook that made me smile.

He was looking for a banana and asked a woman at a fast food counter if they had any. Her reply?

banana pudding doughnut “We have a banana pudding flavored doughnut.”

Now, it took my friend’s non-Southern brain a while to process this bit of information, but the banana pudding lover in me was PSYCHED.

Banana pudding is one of the greatest desserts on the planet.  (They attempt to make it where I live now, but you have to go to the deep South to get the real thing.)

While I’m not the biggest fan of doughnuts as a rule, COME ON —

Ya gotta appreciate their ingenuity!!

Butt, Mr. President…

Happy President’s Day!


I grew up and lived most of my life in the South and Midwest, where President’s Day isn’t really celebrated.  I mean — the banks close, and there’s no mail…but businesses stay open, and school kids never reap any benefit from the big day.

Now that I live in the Northeast — where President’s Day gets more attention — I find that I haven’t figured out exactly how to ‘get into it.’

I’m just sad there’s no mail.

In fact, when I think of President’s Day, Kansas City cartoonist Bill Whitehead comes to mind.  We worked together during my days at Hallmark Cards.

No one did a butt joke better than Bill.  One of my favorite cartoons of Bill’s was “The Other Side of Mount Rushmore”…which featured the presidents bending over, their butts prominently displayed.


Bill still pens a cartoon called “Free Range” that you can enjoy online.  Here’s today’s entry which is, appropriately enough,  President’s Day-themed.

Thanks, Bill.

Good gravy

The South is often stereotyped as being a bit backwards — deservedly so, I’ll admit.

So when there is a glimmer of forward thinking taking place there, I feel like I have to shine a big ol’ light on it.

In this case, an environmentally-responsible one.

Cracker Barrel, a chain of homestyle restaurants known for their yummy, artery-hardening Southern-style cooking, country stores, and rockers on the front porch, are adding electric car charging stations to 24 of their 50 restaurants in April.

The program is part of a $230-million EV project to provide infrastructure and encourage a market for electric cars.  The stations, which require about 30 minutes to complete a charge, send a cellphone signal to owners when their car is ready.  So diners can enjoy another biscuit until their Chevy Volt is amp’ed.

The CEO of Cracker Barrel said he didn’t initially expect a lot of traffic at the stations, but he wanted to offer “a bit of future with their old-fashioned cooking.”

He’s right to wonder.  Are people environmentally-conscious enough to buy a hybrid or electric car going to want to eat at a Cracker Barrel?  Are the two things just too inherently different to co-exist?  I for one hope the electric car owners are willing to meet Cracker Barrel halfway.

Because it’s GOOD.

Toot toot

Looking for the perfect 4th of July family holiday destination?

This one’s a GAS.

Only in the South — land of my birth — would folks erect a museum dedicated to beans.  That’s right.  Bush Brothers & Co., the baked bean guys, are opening a museum and visitors’ center this weekend in Chestnut Hill, Tennessee, at the site of the company’s original general store.

Cool beans.

Granted, the television commercials for Bush’s Baked Beans — you know, the ones featuring Jay Bush and his sneaky yet  lovable dog Duke — are pretty funny.  That alone may spark some curiosity about the place.

But the museum doesn’t sound like it has as much of a sense of humor about beans as Jay and his dog do.  The attractions sound fairly standard — a theater showing the TV ads; a display of the original canning tools; a kiosk where you can put yourself in a photo with Duke; and a giant replica of a bean’s journey from field to can.

That’s it?  A bean museum that doesn’t poke even a little fun at itself?  No innuendo — implied or overt — about the bean and its relationship to the more, well, smelly aspects of our person?  Heck, they could have at the very least had Beano sponsor the visitors’ center.

Let’s face it, the movie studios have made several small fortunes laughing at pee, poop and farts.  I hate to see the first bean museum lose out due to good manners.

Southern comforts

I’ve said it before — I’m no foodie.

Many of my friends bemoan the fact.  Here I am, living in New York City, a bazillion wonderful restaurants literally steps from my apartment, and I go out to eat rather infrequently.

I’m an embarrassment to my ‘hood, no doubt.

But send me back to the South for no more than 24 hours, and every Facebook post I make…is about food.  Not the delicacies you would find at the five-star restaurants lining the streets of Manhattan.

Oh, no.

I wax poetic about the Southern-style veggies served for lunch at Cracker Barrel. (Sweet potato casserole — I mean, come on!)

Shed a tear at how much bacon they put on a breakfast platter at the airport diner.  (Nine strips.  That’s just wrong, but oh, so right.)

Smile nostalgically when asked if I’d like “sweet or un-sweet tea.”  (I always choose un-sweet and add my own Sweet ‘n’ Low, but you know you’re in the South when you hear those words.)

I guess you can take the girl out of Fancy Farm, and tempt her with ‘fancy foods,’ but I’ll always have more simple tastes.

Or, as my friend Denny Keller would say…

“You’re so simple.”