Archive | September, 2009

Paula Deen’s Boys Come to Fairhope

25 Sep

deens bobby

The Deen boys were in town yesterday evening to promote their new book titled “Take It Easy.” Paula’s sons have been doing quite well on their own – thanks to their uber-famous Southern Mama. The guys turned out to be friendly and very down to earth. Bobby was kind enough to pose for a photo and chat a bit with my son Travis. Travis wants to be a Food Network chef when he grows up, so it was a thrill for him. Thanks, Bobby!

deen book

The above is one of 3 Deen Boys cookbooks now in release

deens distant

Taking some questions from the audience

Last night’s appearance took place in the scenic French Quarter courtyard in downtown Fairhope. The event was hosted by the wonderful Page & Palette bookstore here in town. Panini Pete’s, perhaps our favorite Fairhope eatery, provided some culinary assistance. They prepared a couple recipes from the Deen’s latest book including a Three Bean Ham Salad and some little Grilled Cheese and Tomato Sandwiches. The guys fielded questions from a rather large crowd on hand. Most of the audience was female and in the 45-65 age group. They asked a lot of questions about Paula … as you might imagine. “Is she as sweet as she seems?” YES. “Does she have a cholesterol problem?” NO. “Where is she today?” PHILLY. “When did you last talk to her?” THIS MORNING.  

deens with Panini

The Deens with a hard-working Panini Pete’s employee

The Deen’s had been on the PR trail for about a week now and were looking forward to returning home to Savannah. It was a fun evening but quite sticky in the Lower Alabama humidity. No, Fall has not reached us yet!

To order the Deen Brothers latest book, go to:

A Mixed Bag of Bird at Danny’s Fried Chicken

22 Sep


After driving past it many times, we finally ducked into Danny’s Fried Chicken in Fairhope for a taste of bird. What we found was a mixed bag of offerings – some good, some not so good. Can we strongly endorse it? No. Will we be back? Probably not. Read ahead & decide your own course of action.

First of all, the sign reads GREAT fried chicken. Not good … or delicious. GREAT! In reality, it’s average at best. Nothing the least bit unique about it. I liked the baked chicken on the lunch buffet far more than I enjoyed the fried variety. It was moist with a nicely seasoned skin and a few sliced sweet onions on top. Even looked homemade! 


As you can see from the above image, it’s sort of a dingy little place from the outside. It was actually bordering on dirty on the interior. The trays they provide for transporting the chow to your table were, well, pretty darn nasty. Nothing special about the place on the inside either. Sort of depressing, honestly.

The chunky potato salad at Danny’s was pretty good, while the cole slaw was thick and heavy with way too much mayo. Yuck! The biscuits (I would call them rolls) were also nothing to write home about. The fried okra was straight from the freezer and the fries were the crinkle cut, SYSCO style that you find everywhere. Not a lot of TLC shown around here.

On the bright side, the green beans were nice & smoky and the peach cobbler really hit the spot for dessert (although finding the canned sliced peaches inside the cobbler was like playing a game of “Where’s Waldo?”) 

Danny’s has several locations along the Central Gulf Coast, but why bother, folks? You can get better fried chicken and fixins at Popeye’s or KFC. 

OK, so there I have said it. Been there, done that. Turn the page.

We’re Nuts for Mamie’s Cheese Wafers

20 Sep


Baked some of these babies up earlier today. Really, really good.

It’s the nutty little pecan chunks that make these wafers special.

The product comes in a frozen tube – much like cookie dough. Cut off just what you need (slice ’em about 1/8″ thick) and save the rest for later. Can’t beat that right out of the oven freshness. And don’t worry about them sticking to the cookie sheet. The wafers are made with at least 35% cheese and slide right off like a much tastier version on an air hockey puck.

I hope to tour the facility in the not too distant future. Stay tuned!

Susan Thompson and Barkley Shreve began producing Mamie’s Famous Cheese Wafers in Mobile, Alabama in November, 2003. These two good friends are thrilled to share this old family recipe for cheese wafers with you! Busy cooks will appreciate the convenience of these frozen slice-and-bake hors d’oeuvres, which are baked at home to guarantee a delicious homemade taste and aroma. Keep several rolls in the freezer for surprise guests, holiday gatherings, hostess gifts, football parties or any occasion when you want to serve a home-baked treat. We hope you enjoy eating your cheese wafers as much as we enjoyed making them!


Mamie’s Famous Cheese Wafers are frozen ready-to-bake cheese flavored snacks with not less than 35 percent real cheddar cheese by weight. The cheese wafers are packaged as a 14 ounce roll of frozen dough wrapped in FDA-approved polyethylene. There are no preservatives. The dough must be kept frozen until used. This delicious hors d’oeuvre is perfect for entertaining or snacking. The tantalizing aroma of cheese wafers instantly creates a festive atmosphere. Keep several rolls in the freezer for surprise guests, holiday gatherings, hostess gifts, football parties or any occasion when you want to serve a home-baked treat. We hope you enjoy eating your cheese wafers as much as we enjoyed making them.

A Few Variations of Jezebel Sauce

19 Sep


Manci’s Antique Club in Daphne, AL serves up a spicy Jezebel sauce on one of it’s burger specials. It adds a blend of sweetness and bite – thanks to a mix of mustard, fruit preserves, and horseradish. Folks who love the more readily available Red Pepper Jelly should dig it .

Here’s some history on the sauce and a few recipe variations …

Jezebel sauce is a spicy sauce (like Jezebel herself) that contains pineapple preserves, apple jelly, horseradish, and mustard. The Jezebel sauce (or glaze) is often served over ham. A Southern origin of this dish seems certain, with Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida all putting in claims.

Jezebel Sauce

You find it in cookbooks from Louisiana back to the 1950s at least, and it probably goes back farther than that. Jezebel sauce can be served as a side to pork, beef, or chicken, or it can be poured over cream cheese and eaten like a dip with crackers.

1 (10 oz ) jar pineapple or apricot preserves
1 (10 oz ) jar apple jelly
1/3 cup prepared horseradish
1/4 cup dry mustard,
2 teaspoons finely ground black pepper

Place ingredients in food processor and pulse until smooth. Spoon into clean glass jars. Cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Here’s another one …

26 October 1958, Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard, “‘Mrs. Kansas’ Is a Cooking Whiz: Treats from the Sunflower State,” This Week magazine, pg. 34:
Jezebel Sauce
1 cup apple jelly
1/2 cup pineapple preserves
1/4 cup prepared mustard
1 to 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
Salt and freshly ground pepper

And another …

21 November 1967, Pontiac (IL) Daily Leader, pg. 19, col. 1:
Jezebel Sauce

1 jar pineapple preserves
1 jar apple jelly
1 jar Bahama or Coleman mustard
1 bottle fresh horseradish (or less to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix well in electric mixer.
Blend first 4 ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with baked ham or meat loaf. Yield: about 2 cups sauce.

8 March 1989, Elyria (OH) Chronicle-Telegram, pg. F2, cols. 4-5:
Jezebel Sauce is the wonderful name for an hors d’oeuvre recipe combining pineapple, horseradish and other ingredients served over cream cheese, requested by a Miami Beach reader. Quite a few readers wrote to praise the recipe—and while I was dubious about the combination of flavors, I have to agree that this is an addicting cracker spread.

“I first tried it many years ago,” wrote Joan Lang. “The recipe is from ‘Sunny Side Up,’ the excellent cookbook published by the Junior League of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The recipe is always a hit, and people wonder what’s in it. It’s so fast and easy and keep in the refrigerator for a long time. I like to keep some on hand to serve with ham.”

1 10-ounce jar pineapple preserves
1 10-ounce jar apple jelly
1 1.12-ounce tin dry mustard
1 5-ounce jar horseradish, drained
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
Combine the preserves, jelly, mustard and horseradish, mixing thoroughly. Pour over the block of cream cheese and serve with crackers. Makes about 2 cups.

24 August 2005, Biloxi (MS) Sun Herald, “On the Trail of Jezebel Sauce” by Andrea Yeager, pg. C11:
Is Jezebel Sauce a Mississippi creation? Rodney Simmons of Bell Buckle Country Store in Tennessee wants to know. His company recently began producing Jezebel Sauce, and he would like to know the origin of the sauce. He has traced the recipe’s history to the Gulf Coast. “I thought it was Creole or Cajun, but after a recent conversation with Paul Prudhomme, we think that it originated on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, around Gulfport,” Simmons said.

Why the name Jezebel? Well, this spicy video may hold the answer …

Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 73542408
Filing Date June 11, 1985
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition November 5, 1985
Registration Number 1380667
Registration Date January 28, 1986
Attorney of Record JORDAN S. KELLER
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20060609.
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 20060609
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Small Town Vanilla Extract

18 Sep


I just found this interesting little nugget on the web …

Bakers who live in the small Virginia town of Warrenton (pop. 8,877) have an especially sweet life. They can walk into Rhodes Gift and Fly Shop on Main Street and pick up a bottle of freshly made, secret-recipe vanilla extract.

The story of how this came to be starts with pharmacist J.W. Rhodes, who devised the formula and began selling his own extract in 1938, at his Rhodes Drug Store. It was only available during the late fall and winter holidays, when the need to make cakes and cookies was at its peak. It was packaged in medicinal bottles that made it seem like a tonic for whatever might ail a pudding or eggnog. Rhodes kept the recipe to himself, and started a tradition that has lasted more than 70 years.

After he died, a man named Russell Herring owned the store (from the mid-1960s to mid-’70s); he inherited the recipe and kept making the extract. Warrenton resident Duane Thompson worked at the drug store as a pharmacist for a few of those years, moved away and returned to buy it in 1976. The extract has been solely his to produce since then. One other person knows the recipe, he says, but that person’s promised not to tell.


Due to demand, Thompson began making it year-round, but always in small batches. When visitors came through and bought bottles of extract to use at home, a small mail-order business was born. He remembers when “a lady from Seattle called me and asked, ‘Can you send me six bottles?’ ” He did. A short time later, she called and ordered six more; she was giving them to her friends as gifts. “Then she sent me the check and a nice box of chocolates,” he says.

Thompson “semi-retired” in 2005; the Rhodes Drug Store ceased to be. The gift shop that had been upstairs moved downstairs and store manager Amy Leach bought the place in January 2009. “People walked in with checkbooks when they found out I was closing,” he says. “They were ready to buy every bottle I had left.”

The gift shop offered to sell the extract for him, so Thompson agreed to keep making it, maintaining his exclusive, one-man operation. Customers have asked for other flavors (non-negotiable) and for clear vanilla extract to make white wedding cakes and confections (he will leave out the caramel coloring, upon request). He reckons his annual production was more than 80 gallons, and slightly more than half that now.

The bottles are plastic, still medicinal-looking, and can be found in a homey basket at the store’s front counter with a sign that says, “Rhodes Drug Store Famous Vanilla Extract.” Google doesn’t know much about it.

Thompson lists five ingredients on the label: vanilla, glycerin, caramel, water, alcohol. (In comparison, a bottle of Nielsen-Massey’s Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract lists water, alcohol, sugar and vanilla bean extractives.) “Dusty’s original recipe card had ‘cumadin’ [a drug used to thin the blood] written on it,” he says. “It might have been a flavor enhancer. But I guess that ingredient was dropped long ago.” The ex-pharmacist will be 62 in December, but sounds like a politely stubborn kid when pressed about the main ingredient. Is it the scrapings from vanilla beans grown in Tahiti? Common chemicals?

“I have a supplier,” is all he’ll say about that. “I had to get a special permit from Virginia to get the grain alcohol, though. And this stuff is nasty to taste all by itself.” Kept in a cool dark place, Thompson says his extract can remain potent for half a decade.

Leach is a devoted fan. She uses his vanilla extract in cooking and baking, to flavor her coffee and in oatmeal. “It’s really good, and the price makes it a deal,” she says. “It tastes genuine to me.” Thompson has stuck a small list of suggested uses in the gift shop basket that include placing a drop of extract on top of a light bulb; the heat from the bulb will “send out” the fragrance. A dash added to a can of paint will take away the paint’s strong smell. And so on.

Unscrew the cap and the aroma is instantly there — not as insistent or harsh as imitation vanilla, not as complex and deep as pricey imported extract. The color’s a soft brown, and the consistency seems soft, too; the extract clings ever so slightly to the lip of a measuring spoon. It flavors a pound cake and panna cotta admirably. Sold at relatively bargain price for vanilla extract, it’s easy to see why people want Thompson to continue making it. Plus, a bit of Virginia-grown, locally made pride is always in style.

Rhodes Drug Store Compound Extract Vanilla, $7 for eight ounces, available at Rhodes Gift and Fly Shop, 77 Main St., Warrenton, 540-347-4162. (It is sold at the store on consignment.) To order by mail, call 540-270-7412; also available at Remington Drug Store (540-439-3247) in Remington, Va.

Eat Bacon and Live to 115!

11 Sep

Obit Oldest Person

LOS ANGELES – Gertrude Baines, who lived to be the world’s oldest person on a steady diet of crispy bacon, fried chicken and ice cream, died Friday at a nursing home. She was 115.

Baines, who remarked last year that she enjoyed life so much she wouldn’t mind living another 100 years, died in her sleep, said Emma Camanag, administrator at Western Convalescent Hospital.

The centenarian likely suffered a heart attack, said her longtime physician, Dr. Charles Witt. An autopsy was scheduled to determine the cause of death.

“I saw her two days ago, and she was just doing fine,” Witt told The Associated Press. “She was in excellent shape. She was mentally alert. She smiled frequently.”

Born in 1894 in Shellman, Ga., Baines claimed the title of the world’s oldest living person when a 115-year-old woman, Maria de Jesus, died in Portugal in January.

“I’m glad I’m here. I don’t care if I live a hundred more,” Baines said in November after casting her vote for Barack Obama in the presidential election. “I enjoy nothing but eating and sleeping.”

The oldest person in the world is now Kama Chinen, 114, who lives in Japan, according to Dr. L. Stephen Coles of the Gerontology Research Group, which tracks claims of extreme old age. Chinen was born May 10, 1895, Coles said.

The oldest person who has ever lived is Jeanne-Louise Calment, according to Coles. She was 122 when she died Aug. 4, 1997, in Arles, France.

Baines outlived her entire family, including her only daughter, who died of typhoid.

Baines worked as a maid in Ohio State University dormitories until her retirement and has lived at the Western Convalescent Hospital in Los Angeles for more than 10 years.

“Living that long is like winning the genetic lottery,” Robert Young, a scientist and senior consultant with Guinness World Records, said at her birthday party in April.

Staff at Baines’ nursing home described her as a modest woman who liked to watch the “Jerry Springer Show” and eat fried chicken, bacon and ice cream. She refused to use dentures.

“I don’t know how she does it. She only has her gums, no teeth,” said Susie Exconde, the nursing director who found Baines dead in her bed at about 7:25 a.m.

Witt, Baines’ physician, said that when he visited her earlier this week, she only complained that her bacon was soggy and arthritis was causing pain in her right knee.

Baines celebrated her birthday at the nursing home April 6 with music, two cakes and a letter from Obama.

Featured on local television newscasts when she voted last year, Baines, who is black, said she backed Obama “because he’s for the colored.” She said she never thought she would live to see a black man become president.

“We were hoping to have her until the next election,” Exconde said. “We’ll miss her.”

Our First Trip to Felix’s Fish Camp

10 Sep


We finally made our first, long-overdue trip to Felix’s Fish Camp on the Mobile Bay Causeway. It is one cool looking joint — reminds me a little of the House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach, SC from the outside.


“Rustic” is almost an understatement when describing the exterior. It’s rusty, weathered, and, well, almost unsightly when viewed from the outside. The palm trees and blue skies do help to brighten things up a bit!


The neon sign is sweet – especially when the letters light up one at a time!


After some debate, I opted for the massive Crab Cakes made with local Gulf crab meat and perched atop two fried green tomato slices. They were also accompanied with a couple of corn-laden hush puppies and some amazing dipping sauce. To our delight, it was “Comeback Sauce” – a concoction we first became familiar with when we resided in the great state of Mississippi. It’s rich, just a bit tart, and a tad chunky. How to describe it? Maybe a kicked up tartar sauce? It’s damn good … I CAN tell ya that!


My side dish was a Baby Lima and Cream Corn Succotash. Not too bad.  


Apparently the crab cakes aren’t the only big thangs in L.A. (Lower AL).

Keep Those Tasty Products Coming, Folks!

7 Sep


“Country Bob” Edson

One of the best things about being the CEO (Chief Eating Officer) at is receiving delicious new products to review from all over the South — and sometimes beyond. This column will spotlight a few items we have sampled over the last couple weeks.

Country Bob’s Steak Sauce is actually made in Centralia, Illinois … not exactly the Heart of Dixie. But Bob is a good man and a master marketer as well. He emailed me and convinced us to give his famous steak sauce a try. I am glad he did – it is mighty dine! Imagine a slightly sweet combination of A-1 and Pickapeppa Sauce. Nicely done, Bob! Your sauce has earned a place in our home pantry.  

In 1968 Country Bob perfected the sauce of his dreams. After years of giving the sauce to friends and family he began to sell it in 1977. The reaction was overwhelming just as it is today. Almost everyone who tries Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce becomes a lifelong user. And why not, it is the perfect complement to practically any meal set on your table.

It was actually October of 1982 when Country Bob, Inc. became the company, which remains today. Bob Edson,Terry Edson, Al Malekovic and Reed Malekovic formed a corporation with equal ownership. Since that time Country Bob’s distribution has magnified regionally in all directions from our corporate office located in Centralia, Illinois. Even with the tremendous growth we have not forgotten where we came from, continuing in our relentless pursuit of product excellence.

Along with our All Purpose Sauce we have expanded our product line to include BBQ Sauce, Seasoning Salt and Spicy All Purpose Sauce.With our fully automated bottling line we also have the capability of producing Private Label products for stores or restaurants.

It would be nice if we could claim responsibility for the success of the company, however, credit must be given where credit is due. Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” We have placed true ownership of Country Bob, Inc. in the hands of God. “Christ is our CEO” and  He is an Awesome Boss!

country bob


Olde South Gumbo is an authentic recipe of the Gulf Coast of Alabama. While living on the banks of Mobile Bay, Margaret Rainey caught her own seafood to create her gumbo, bursting with fresh, rich flavor. She knew that the fresher the seafood, the better the gumbo. Her gumbo featured a brown roux that took hours to concoct. With Olde South Gumbo Base, customers can now have that same fresh taste in only 30 minutes!


Margaret’s gumbo is easy to prepare and much better than those boxed gumbo mixes you find on the shelves of your local mega mart. Just add seafood, chicken and/or sausage to the pre-made base (seen above) and you’re ready to go. It’s the next best thing to homemade.



Callie’s Country Ham Biscuits

Carrie Bailey-Morey had an early introduction to the food world courtesy of her mother, caterer extraordinaire, Callie White. So when Carrie partnered with her mother to launch Callie’s Charleston Biscuits in 2005 it was natural fit.


Carrie (left) & Callie doing their thing

She was able to strike a balance between her new role as a first time mom and a fulfilling career in the family business. Carrie resides in Charleston, South Carolina, with her husband John and their three daughters Caroline and Cate and Sarah.

By keeping the company small and family-operated, these two women craft the biscuits in their own company kitchen with the finest ingredients. This approach allows both Carrie and Callie to focus on what matters most to them – creating a top-quality biscuit time and time again.

After only one year in business, Callie’s Charleston Biscuits receive rave reviews from markets across the Southeast as well as continued support from Charleston locals who for years have coveted Callie’s secret recipe.

callie cheese & chive

Cheddar and Chive – My Personal Fave

Callie’s Charleston Biscuits have been featured on OPRAH and NBC’s Today Show. We sampled several varieties including Cinnamon, Shortbread, Country Ham, Buttermilk, and Cheddar & Chive. I think I like the latter the best. They are super cheesy and would make an excellent crowd pleaser at your next dinner party or social event.

If you would like us to feature your products in this forum, please contact me at I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

“Sputnik, Masked Men and Midgets”

7 Sep


My good friend Sherman Wilmott is at it again. This time his company (Shangri-La Projects) has produced a killer coffee table book on the early days of Pro Wrestling in Memphis. The pictures are a treat and the accompanying bonus CD is a hoot.

Great work, Sherman — you are still the man!

After four years of research, Shangri-la Projects is thrilled to announce the release of the greatest book on  wrestling ever!  We give you Ron Hall’s Sputnik, Masked Men, & Midgets:  The Early Days of Memphis Wrestling to be released September, 2009!!!

Memphis music historian Ron Hall created a whole audience for the over-the-top Memphis garage rock scene of the ‘60s & early ‘70s with his two books: Playing for a Piece of the Door: A History of Garage & Frat Bands, 1960-1975 and The Memphis Garage Rock Yearbook as well as two compendium CD’s. The compilation CD’s gathered unbelievably rare lost 45 gems from many of the bands featured in the books. Not only did the books break all garage rock book sales records, they also revitalized the historic Memphis garage rock scene and helped many of the bands re-form 35 or 40 years later!

Now Hall has turned his attention to the also-amazing Memphis wrassling world — pre-cable, bleached hair, and steroids–with a new book Sputnik, Masked Men, & Midgets: The Early Days of Memphis Wrestling to be published by Shangri-La Projects in September, 2009.  Memphis wrassling WAS the roots and forerunner of the WWF and the WWE.  Many of the giants of the corporate cable wrestling world first wrestled in Memphis–including Jerry Lawler, Jimmy Hart, Lance “Banana Nose” Russell, and many others.  But before Lawler, in Memphis, there was Sputnik Monroe, Jackie Fargo, Don and Al Greene, Tojo Yamamoto, and Plowboy Frazier. Why do you think Andy Kaufman put his multi-million dollar career as a comedian and actor on hold? To come be a part of the greatest wrassling territory in the U.S., of course (and to wrestle Memphis women as well!)

Hall’s book captures the insanity of the ring and the outrageous costumes and get-ups of the wildest and most original wrestling era. The book contains over 400 images of wrestlers, programs, advertisements, and other Memphis wrassling ephemera. Any professional wrestling fan must own this book!

If that is not enough, the King of Memphis, Jerry “The King” Lawler adds his thoughts about early Memphis wrestling in the book’s introduction!  But, wait, there’s more…

Additionally, Hall’s book includes some of the most amazing early 1950s never-before-published live action Memphis wrestling photos from the Robert Dye, Sr. collection.

And, like all crazy releases from Shangri-la Projects, this book comes with still even more:  a cd of rare recorded gems from Sputnik Monroe, Handsome Jimmy Valiant, & Len Rossi–among others!!!!

This book is a must-have for any & all wrestling fans.  Read more about it at Ron Hall’s Early Memphis Wrestling Blog.

Available September, 2009!  Order yours now & it will ship before your neighbors get it!