SPAGHETTI, SOUTHERN STYLE

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It may seem like a contradiction in terms, but there is nothing more Southern than Italian-inspired Americanized spaghetti and meat sauce.  The version of spaghetti we eat in the South is about as authentic Italian as Chef Boyardee, but that doesn’t mean it’s not very good – if done correctly.  In the South we like big plates of spaghetti noodles with a thick, rich meat sauce on top, and probably copious amounts of sprinkled-on parmesan cheese.  All too often, however, we take the easy route when making spaghetti and meat sauce, to detrimental effect both in terms of flavor and healthfulness.

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THE ROAD

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Read The Road, by Cormac McCarthy.  Cormac McCarthy is one of the greatest living writers, and probably my favorite modern writer.  Some have called him a modern-day Faulkner, but I believe his work is substantial enough to stand alone without comparison.  Even if you are not familiar with McCarthy’s writing, you are probably tangentially aware of his work due to various film adaptations, such as All the Pretty Horses (from his “Border Trilogy” – also highly recommended) and No Country For Old Men, which recently won the Academy Award for Best Picture.  The Road was also adapted to film in 2009, though I have very purposely chosen not to see the movie, because I am afraid it will not compare favorably to the book.

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MORE THAN A FISH STORY

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I teach a high school class at my church on Wednesday nights, and as you can imagine it’s challenging getting a group of teenagers motivated to study the Bible after a long day at school.  To their credit, and although they’re tired and a little bit cranky, they show up with a good attitude and ready to learn.  What they probably don’t understand is that it’s equally challenging for me after a long day at work!  As a result – for their benefit and for mine – I have tried to keep the classes somewhat informal and discussion-based, with unique and thought-provoking topics.

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GAMEDAY CHILI

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It’s Saturday in the South, and we all know what that means.  Gameday.  Rivalries run deep, team colors abound, and tempers flare (especially if your team is having a terrible season).  However, whether you’re a Tiger, a Bulldog or a Volunteer, all football fans should simmer down, take a breath, and focus on what is really most important.  Sportsmanship?  Nah.  Team spirit?  Come on.  The halftime show?  You’ve got to be kidding.  In my mind, it’s all about the food.

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LET’S EAT!

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Life is too short to eat bad food, and it astounds me to see some of the bad food decisions people make when there are so many good options readily available. In this essay I will attempt to lead you out of the darkness of food awfulness and into the light of food awesomeness. The journey is surprisingly easy, and you will be glad that you made the trip.

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PASS THE CORNBREAD

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I mentioned cornbread in my beef stew post, so I thought it would be beneficial to tell you how to make it. Making good cornbread is not hard, but there’s a fine line between good and bad, so there are a few steps and fundamental rules that you must follow. For Southerners, cornbread is as traditional as college football and sweet tea, so we should all know how to make it well. Bear in mind: this post is about basic Southern round cornbread. There are other varieties (e.g. Mexican cornbread, cornbread fritters, corn cakes, etc.) to which the rules do not necessarily apply.

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IDENTITY

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Whenever I draft correspondence at work, whether in a formal letter, email, or memorandum, I always identify myself as “Grant H. Wilson, Assistant City Attorney.”  Identification of name and title is important in a professional environment, primarily as a courtesy to the recipient, who should have no question as to the author and purpose of the correspondence.  This signature identifies me as the author, and signifies that the correspondence has been written in my professional capacity as an attorney for the City of Tuscaloosa.  It is not a personal or otherwise informal correspondence; rather, it is correspondence made in the course of conducting City business.

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