kalexander's blog

Boudin: A Taste of Cajun Country

By David ThierGood EatsNovember 18, 2014

Whether eaten sitting on the hood or sucked out of its casing while searching for some easy-to-miss dirt road, the best accessory for boudin is a car. Often purchased from a convenience store, an over-air conditioned family-run butcher shop, or gas station, the French-named seasoned pork and rice sausage occasionally makes its way to upscale restaurants all over the country, but it’s still rare to see it outside of Louisiana, and preeminent American food writer Calvin Trillin has a notion why:

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First Listen: Robert Earl Keen’s Bluegrass Debut

By Jed PortmanSouthern SoundsNovember 18, 2014

If you know anything about Robert Earl Keen, you probably know that the man is a seasoned storyteller. His biggest hits have been meandering, sing-along narratives such as “The Road Goes On Forever” and “Merry Christmas from the Family.” On his next album, though, he doesn’t have a single songwriting credit to his name. Happy Prisoner is a collection of classic bluegrass tunes first performed by the likes of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. It won’t be out until February 10, but you can listen to the first song, “Hot Corn, Cold Corn,” right here. It’s a Flatt & Scruggs tune, and—well, without further ado, here are Robert Earl Keen’s thoughts on the song, and on the project as a whole.

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The Global South: Courtney Barton of Mela & Roam

By Haskell HarrisBelle DecorNovember 17, 2014

Designer Courtney Barton didn’t expect to find herself chatting about her home state of Louisiana during a visit to the castle of the Maharaja in Udaipur, India, in the middle of the Holi Festival. “I struck up a conversation with the Maharaja’s daughter, the Princess, who was my age, and she was peppering me with questions about whether or not I was in shock from all the colors, people, food, and smells in India,” Barton remembers. “And I laughed and told her I was right at home because I grew up in Louisiana and India is like the Louisiana of the East—it’s also a culture based on food, family, and celebration. She laughed and told me she couldn’t agree with me more because she went to school at Tulane! It’s a small, small world when you make connections like that.”

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Holiday Prep: Southern Centerpieces 3 Ways

By Haskell HarrisBelle DecorNovember 10, 2014

With Thanksgiving just a few short weeks away (and menu planning already well underway), we asked a few of the South’s best event and floral designers to dream up fall centerpieces that were distinctly Dixie, from the containers used to the ingredients selected for each.

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Party Season Prep: The Perfect Hostess Gift

By Haskell HarrisBelle DecorOctober 20, 2014

Nine years ago, Robbie and Angie Cook launched Hester & Cook, a collection of tabletop, kitchen, and home goods out of Nashville, Tennessee. Their products take cues from Southern epicurean accoutrement of the past, from sets of salvaged silver-plate serving utensils—much of it sourced from estate sales across the United States—to paper placemats emblazoned with vintage botanical drawings and custom-commissioned illustrations that double as art for the table.

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Historical Harvest: Thomas Jefferson’s Sesame Seed

By CJ LotzBelow the LineOctober 17, 2014

In the rolling hills of central Virginia not far from Thomas Jefferson's Monticello Estate, horticulturists are harvesting one special seed that traces back to the third president’s own collection: a tiny sesame seed that packs a punch of legacy.

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My Town: John Fleer’s Asheville, NC

By Elizabeth HutchisonBelow the LineSeptember 25, 2014

After fifteen years in Tennessee as the head chef at Blackberry Farm, John Fleer and his wife Katy, both North Carolina natives, were eager to return to the Tar Heel State. “We’d had our eye on Asheville for a long time,” Fleer says of the Blue Ridge boomtown. “When we lived in Tennessee, we’d always stop on the way home to Winston-Salem. And over the years we watched it change and grow into this really vibrant community.”

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Video Premiere: Lera Lynn's "Out to Sea"

By Jed PortmanSouthern SoundsAugust 25, 2014

The intimate, quivering twang in Lera Lynn’s vocals might bring to mind another, better known Lynn. But the Nashville-based singer-songwriter is not necessarily a country musician, she says, at least not according to the modern-day definition. “Out to Sea,” from her upcoming album, The Avenues (out September 9), is a track that bears some resemblance to her adopted hometown’s famous honky-tonk laments, carried along by airy harmonies and slide guitar, but it's also kin to the independent sounds of Athens, Georgia, where she cut her teeth.

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Get On Up: The James Brown Story

By Jessica MischnerSouthern SoundsAugust 1, 2014

It’s one thing to try to be like James Brown. Everyone from Bootsy Collins to Michael Jackson to Justin Timberlake has cited the Godfather of Soul’s enduring creative influence. But actually stepping into those patent leather shoes to try to be James Brown—well, that’s a different measure of daunting altogether. Fortunately, Chadwick Boseman loves a challenge. Under the direction of filmmaker Tate Taylor (The Help), the actor embodies the unshakeable ambition and charisma of the Hardest Working Man in Showbusiness as the breakout star of Get On Up, the James Brown biopic that hits theaters nationwide today. 

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5 Reasons to Enter the Made in the South Awards

By Jessica MischnerBelow the LineJuly 25, 2014

Looking for a reason to enter the Made in the South Awards? We’ve got five good ones right here.

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