The Shot

Make Your Own Goo Goo Clusters

Plus: A country music send off for “The Gambler”; the Jersey Shore comes South; and scheduling your nuptials around football

Boo, y’all. It’s Halloween week, oyster season, harvest season, football season, and the official start of Thanksgiving prep go-time, the time of year when serious cooks start planning their menus and the rest of us start planning our Instagram homages to those people’s menus. Some people call that a lot going on, but we call it “November,” and we suggest pairing it with the warm and earthy notes in this week’s Shot:  

Candy Land, South


The Goo Goo Cluster, created in 1912 by Howell Campbell and the Standard Candy Company in Nashville, Tennessee.

Whether you’re checking out your kids’ trick-or-treating haul, or just eating fun-sized candy bars because you can, ponder the made-in-the-South contributions of the innovators at the Standard Candy Company of Nashville, Tennessee. On the corner of Clark and First Avenue, the miraculous Goo Goo Cluster was born in 1912, making it the first candy bar to contain more than one main ingredient. The Goo Goo Cluster is still a perennial favorite in Music City, as is a visit to the Goo Goo Shop. For the truly Goo Goo obsessed, you can now take a candy making class on site Thursdays or Fridays in November. And then every day can be Halloween.

Goodbye, Gambler

A fabulous group of people came out for Kenny’s farewell. Such a special evening!

A post shared by Dolly Parton (@dollyparton) on

Kenny Rogers, the original Gambler and a man so cool he rocked a white beard and bedazzled denim for most of the ’70s, played his final Nashville concert last week. The Houston native got a send off fit for a king of country music, with Chris Stapleton on “The Gambler,” Jamey Johnson singing “Sweet Music Man,” Don Henley doing “Desperado,” and Dolly Parton joining her longtime duet partner for one last, sweet round of “Islands in the Stream.” Rogers said he doesn’t have a bucket list for himself, but he has a long list of things he wants to do with his 11-year-old sons, and that’s why he’s dropping his mic. You can’t argue with that, but you can say thank you to one of the best singer-songwriters out there. You decorated our lives, Mr. Kenny.


Flora-Bama Slamma

For the Southern Charm-style rubber-necking files: The creative geniuses at MTV who unleashed Snookie, the Situation, and The Jersey Shore announced this week they are moving a new collection of hot-tub high-jinks to the only place in the South that could possibly handle it: the Florida-Alabama state line, home to one of the South’s most famous dives, the Flora-Bama. This beautiful slice of the Gulf Coast is where you’ll find equal parts white-sand beaches, clear blue water, and misbehavior. Think Spring Break with a Southern accent and an arrest record. MTV promises Floribama Shore will be a “coming of age story,” but all we really need is to see what happens when “Gym, Tan, Laundry” meets the Redneck Riviera in the Snapchat era. Set your DVRs for the Nov. 27 debut to find out.

Bye-Week Bliss

There are few real rules in life, but one of them is this: If you’re saying “I do” in Alabama, do not plan on getting married on a college football weekend. “It’s simply not done,” says the Birmingham News, whose investigation into verboten Yellowhammer Game Day nuptials found a spike in local marriage applications on bye-weeks, multiple brides and grooms who know better, and an Alabama pastor who says wedding and church attendance both take a hit when Auburn or Alabama games are on.

If you must get married on a football weekend in Alabama, consider this helpful advice from brides who have gone before: plan the ceremony for the Friday before the game, at 10 in the morning on the day of the game, or do it any time you like if you don’t mind doing it mostly alone. It’s not that your friends and family don’t love you, it’s just that they love the Tide and Tigers more.

Cool Kids Camp

The West Texas town of Marfa may be six hours from a major city, but this weekend, it will be the site of “Big City Camp Cooking,” a culinary and camping weekend we’d happily drive two days to get to. Austin restauranteur and chef Lou Lambert, who grew up ranching in West Texas before going to culinary school in New York, will take campers through Texas’ food evolution, from “cowboy cooking to haute cuisine.” The itinerary calls for cook-outs, teepees, yurts, workshopping with Lambert, and exploring the art and culture of Marfa, the coolest little art town in Texas. Like all of the best camps, this one’s sold out for this year, but it’s never too early to plan ahead. Early bird gets the yurt.

Saints Salute Fats

The passing of New Orleans music legend Antoine “Fats” Domino did not go unmarked by the New Orleans Saints, who played the Chicago Bears this week with helmets adorned with “Fats” decals. Coach Sean Payton also played Domino’s music during practice throughout the week and had a “Fats” patch sewn onto his own team jacket to pay tribute to the icon, who has influenced jazz, rock, and R&B musicians for generations.

Domino was a lifelong resident of the Lower Ninth Ward and narrowly escaped with his life after being airlifted by the Coast Guard following Hurricane Katrina. He lived the rest of his days in rural Louisiana and wrote a song telling his fans who often came looking for him, “I’m alive and kickin’, I’m alive and kickin’, I’m alive and kickin’ and I’m where I want to be.” Godspeed, Fats.

Parting Shots

This week, the team at The Shot is: Dialing 9-1-1 to talk to Tami Taylor, also known as Connie Britton, who will next be seen as an emergency operator on Fox’s “911.” The trailer for the show debuted during the World Series and has us all ready to pick up the phone just to hear our beloved Mrs. Coach ask, “What’s your emergency?” … Listening to George Strait in honor of the 25th anniversary of Pure Country, the movie that taught us all where the sidewalk ends and the road begins. … Pulling for the Houston Astros in the World Series. Winning the Series won’t rebuild the city faster, but it would definitely rebuild some spirits. And since sometimes you just need a “W” in your column, go Astros!

Until next week, friends….