A Classic Cake, a New Book, and Southern Olympians

They’re all in this week’s roundup of happenings around the South

There’s just one week left before Mardi Gras, which means you’ve got to get your fun in while the getting’s good. Our official motto until Fat Tuesday: Eat it, drink it, dunk it, do it. Your official motto: When do I start? So glad you asked. How about now, with a sampling of Southern sustenance in the latest edition of The Shot:

Red Velvet Valentine

Next week brings Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day, so what better way to say we love you, dear readers, than by giving you the original recipe for the red velvet cake at Nashville’s one-and-only Loveless Cafe? Decadent, devilish, and dreamy, this creation of Loveless’ original pastry chef, Alisa Huntsman, is the perfect way to say MWAH. Get the recipe here.

Carolina Cuties

Photo: Courtesy of Lindsay Collins

Ada and her pups.

We always love hearing from G&G readers, and one of our favorite emails lately came from Lindsay Collins, who shared her story of finding a dog roaming near Williston, South Carolina, in the fall. Lindsay brought Ada home to North Charleston, researched to find out she’s a Carolina Dog, and quickly realized the pooch had puppies on the way.

Lindsay now has seven puppies that are at least half Carolina Dog (it’s not known who sired them) and one of the most addictive and beautifully photographed Instagram odes to a dog’s life you’re ever going to see. Prepare to sit and stay.

Photo: Courtesy of Lindsay Collins

The puppies gathered for a ride.

Tayari Time

Photo: Nina Subin

Tayari Jones.

It’s already been quite a year for Atlanta-born author Tayari Jones (Leaving Atlanta, Silver Sparrow), who was chosen in January to join the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame and is out this week with her fourth novel, An American Marriage.

Along with rave reviews, the book is being introduced with the kind of book tour you’d only expect for an author who is at the top of her game. Look for Jones this week at Atlanta’s Alliance Theater, next week at Washington, D.C.’s Politics & Prose and the Savannah Book Festival, and later at various stops around the South.

Southern-Fried Olympic Rings

Most kids growing up in the South have never seen a luge, a lutz, an ollie, or a nollie (go ahead, Google ’em). And if anyone’s curling in the South, it’s probably on a Saturday at the salon. So you have to give the group of Southern athletes competing in the Winter Olympics, which start this week in South Korea, a medal just for being there against the odds.

Among the Americans competing, look for Georgia native Elana Meyers Taylor driving for the American bobsled team, an entire pack of curlers (the ones sweeping the ice) from Tampa going for gold, three speed skaters from Ocala, Florida, hoping to medal, and Homewood, Alabama, native John Zimmerman IV coaching the French pairs figure skating champions (as one does). Cold-weather Southerners: We salute you.

Krewes Moves

Weeks of parties, dozens of parades, and hundreds of thousands of throws are all part of Carnival season across the Bayou. One of our favorite moments so far this year came out of Slidell, Louisiana, this past weekend as the Krewe of Titans prepared to roll through for the town’s Mardi Gras parade. Watch as Slidell Police Department officer Eric Calvin shows us how to keep the beat while he keeps the peace. Only in Louisiana:

Parting Shots

This week, the team at The Shot is: Paging Dr Pepper after news that the unofficial state drink of Texas will merge with Massachusetts-based Keurig Green Mountain. Please do no harm, Keurig. … Posting “HBD, girl!” on Lisa Marie Presley’s wall. Elvis’ baby just turned 50.  … Pulling some strings to get into Chef Edward Lee’s newest hot spot, Whiskey Dry, which opens in Louisville this weekend. … Re-readingThe Search for Jackie Wallace,” the heartbreaking story of the former NFL standout, written and photographed by the Times-Picayune’s Ted Jackson, who first encountered Wallace sleeping under an I-10 overpass in New Orleans more than 25 years ago. It’s a reminder that life isn’t always what it seems and, at some point, even the strongest among us need help to stand again.