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Songs of the South
by Beverly Carol Lucey

Chain, Chain, Chain: Chain of Fools

Sometimes a Southern Girl who likes to eat well can get down right depressed. So much, after all, is forbidden. You know . . . the Good Stuff. Demon Starch and Devil Fat. Oh, that just reminds me how much I would dearly love to slide a half dozen deviled eggs down my gullet. Right now. I could bake a ham in Coca Cola. Where's my recipe for Red Devil Cake?

Sorry. I got distracted. Besides which, our pantry, fridge and freezer are bereft of anything with high fructose corn syrup, enriched flour, processed meats, anything that could remotely be kin to a potato, and all sugars (brown, granulated, confectioner's, raw, and Demarrara).

But all bets are off if we're heading out to eat. If Wonderful Husband is going to pay for a good time, then we want good food, great food, forbidden food. Food we can't or won't make at home anymore. Custards, sauces, gravies. BBQ ribs, fried this and that, banana pudding, haunches of beasts. You know what I'm talking about. Tell your server to toss the real bacon bits on your salad, bring extra butter to the table, and fill up the basket of homemade bread. Again. You are having yourself a treat and you deserve the best. Restaurants across the South are happy to accommodate you in your quest to OD on biscuits, homemade sausage, and she-crab soup.

Something's Happening Here; What It Is Ain't Exactly Clear

Is it me? Is it Arkansas? Is it the South--Central, Coastal, or Deep?

An Arkansas business newspaper published the highest grossing restaurants in area cities from Little Rock on out. Topping every list was Red Lobster. A chain. On every list was McDonalds, including three different franchises in the same town. Appearing with great regularity was Olive Garden, Outback, Macaroni Grill: chain, chain, chain.

Highest grossing? Gross.

No wonder it's difficult for Aunt Patty-Sue's Grub & Glug to make a profit. Caroline's Camellia Magnolia Mansion Tea Room could be doomed.

Granted, many people don't like surprises, and they're in a hurry, plus they've got those gift certificates to use up.

However, Fritz' Grits Galore, and Yummy Yammy's Yellow Dog Democrat Diner can offer something that Chilis and Applebees (the other repeating choices on the list) can't.

Count them: delightful surprises, career waitstaff, unpredictable portions and a vision of the Real South. Don't let it disappear. Support your local entrepreneurs who work horrible hours to make their family restaurant comfortable, unique, and a place you can count on for home made pie.

If your cupboard is bare, your healthy diet frustrating, and you deserve a Big Fat Break, head out to someplace that is not duplicated in Omaha, Bakersfield, and Butte.


Want to read more of Beverly's stories at USADEEPSOUTH? Try these:
Blue Willow Inn
Christmas Tea at Mrs. Jewel Armistead's House

A college prof, Beverly Carol Lucey presently resides in Arkansas. Lucey has published short stories and essays in literary journals and e-zines. She's also written guest columns for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She gives readers permission to "google" her.

For more of Lucey's wonderful writing, visit her web site: Tulip Tree Road

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