THOUGHTS FROM THE PUBLISHER
Ann Rice wrote a good book, but I never interviewed a vampire yet, as interesting as that would be as a writer.
I did have the pleasure of grabbing a quick interview on the run with Birmingham author Gin Phillips between relieving babysitters and running off on a book tour, and I promise a thoughtful review of her book, Come in and Cover Me, that just came out, as soon as I have time. But at least you are on notice. You can go out and buy it before then and she will not mind. It is not about vampires, and I am pretty sure Gin is not one either, but her book is about communing with the dead in ways that are both dream-like and perfectly natural.
I was kind of busy, though, while I was trying to get all my reading done, running to Asheville, Raleigh, and Charlotte for wine business. That is not all bad. I get to drink a lot of Torreon de Paredes Carménère. Even Wendy Watts loves it. She is taking a little break this week as the wine department at Whole Foods is slammed, as it should be. You should be drinking wine right now while you are reading, in fact. One of these days I am going to interview her about working with Kermit Lynch and her other career distinctions. I mean Wendy, but she is not a vampire either, just to be clear.
But meanwhile we are keeping on top of it with the best food and wine writing you can find anywhere. Last week Chris Hastings talked about the people who kept the flame of great cuisine alive in a remote corner of Birmingham till it could burn brighter, sort of like Western civilization was saved by Ireland.
Consistent with these efforts, we hear this week from Jones Valley Urban Farm about creating a healthier food environment, which fits right in with the living, breathing ecology Kathryn Bouma reports on for Forever Wild and Peter Mock-Jordan recounts in a fishing adventure. Well, he calls it work if you believe him. Ann Rose tells more personal stories about the loss of flora in Alabama. I didn’t have to interview anyone for that—I just have to keep track of all those people and their stories. Some are easier than others.
I did interview Southern Living’s Senior Travel Editor Paula Disbrowe about that magazine’s contest among the cities they selected from their experience on their travels as the South’s top ten tastiest towns. And they are encouraging us to vote for the best ones, and Chris Hastings also urged everyone last week in the Birmingham Weekly to vote for— Houston? Charleston? Decatur?—no— are you crazy?—Birmingham, silly!
According to Senior Editor Disbrowe, “We kept coming back to certain spots based on their concentration of talented chefs, forward thinking concepts, vibrant farmer’s markets and more. When it comes to Birmingham, we marvel at the way that Frank Stitt (and his restaurants Highland’s Bar and Grill, Chez Fon Fon, and Bottega) changed the South’s culinary landscape and showed us that in the right hands, a humble staple like grits can become a downright tourist destination. The talent that Stitt groomed in his kitchens (that lead to Trattoria Centrale, Brick & Tin, among other favorites) along with a second wave of ambitious restaurants like Hot & Hot, Little Savannah, and Ollie and Irene. They are rubbing elbows with industry game changers like the great guys behind Jim ‘N Nicks, and great local brews from Good People Brewing keep our hearts and bellies full.”
I will tell you a little more about what she had to say next week—I know, I know: Gin Phillips is waiting, too.
But make time to come see us this Thursday afternoon at J Clyde’s and next Thursday at Ocean to promote voting for Birmingham (because let’s be honest, everyone is going to vote for their home town, unless we have some kind of Nashville defector like Tom Sheffer). You can go to www.southernliving.com to vote, and go to www.bhamweekly.com just for fun—though I am sure you can find something worthwhile there, too, as well as on the Birmingham Weekly Facebook page where I was busy late at night fielding correspondence, as you can see in Letters to the Editor.
And, while we are on the subject of food, our Anonymous reviewer had to go out to Trussville, braving the evil presence of the country girl. But, as you will see in Now Eat This, his blessed companion Bunny took right over and made everything come out OK at Rock -n- Roll Sushi. And we know Trussville is full of good people, one rotten apple notwithstanding.
I did not have to mediate any domestic disputes although the country girl has been known to administer a beating, albeit harmless, in the middle of the night upon the Anonymous reviewer. It was a good thing that didn’t happen in Trussville again last Friday because I had some legal wrangling of my own going on involving federal investigations of fraud in the wine industry and corruption and conspiracy in state government in Georgia. A whole kaboodle of good old boys could come crashing down, as well as some tortfeasing wine-chiselers, and they know it. After interviewing some of the material witnesses, I was told by respected law enforcement authorities to check my car before starting it, but that is what I get for going to law school and being a publisher and wine importer, too.
In the middle of it all, that lovely girl Mallie Ireland texted me, “When do you sleep?” Oh, now I get it, I’m doing the interviews, but the vampire must be me. I had better go take a look in the mirror, quick. I hope I see something.