Any Way You Slice It

Five new tomato recipes from some of the South's most inventive young chefs

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The Southern Agenda: August/September 2015

Goings-on in the South and beyond »

Welcoming Front Doors

By Haskell HarrisBelle DecorAugust 2, 2015

A few weeks ago, we asked readers to tag their favorite Southern front doors on Instagram using #southernfrontdoors. We’ve enjoyed every post and have compiled a gallery of thirty images that reflect the wide variety of architectural styles, exterior paint colors, and regions submitted. From the melancholy beauty of a time-worn antebellum front door in Georgia to the cheerful riot of color on a door in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans, inspiration (and eye candy) abound.

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Secret Smokies: An Insider's Guide to Quiet, Back-Road Spots

By Elizabeth HutchisonBelow the LineJuly 31, 2015

It used to be said that a squirrel could go from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River without ever touching the ground. Today, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the few places in the country left with forests that dense. Chartered in 1934, the park, which straddles the North Carolina-Tennessee border, covers roughly 522,419 acres and attracts nearly ten million visitors each year. That’s two times as many as the Grand Canyon. So it can get plenty crowded, as anyone who’s ever sat in a 20-car-deep traffic jam on the Cades Cove Loop can attest. But even in the high-summer months, there are still places where you can enjoy the scenery in relative solitude. We talked to the folks at the National Park Service to point us in the right direction—away from where everyone else is.

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First Listen: Forty Years Later, a Blues Legend Finally Gets His Due

By Jessica MischnerSouthern SoundsJuly 30, 2015

“You may never have heard of Spooner Oldham, but you’ve definitely heard his music. His keyboard buoyed Percy Sledge’s plaintive “When A Man Loves a Woman,” kept tempo for Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally,” and lent churchy soul to countless other hits by stars such as Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, even the Drive-By Truckers. Though the Alabama musician gained industry acclaim in the 1960s as a rhythm and blues pioneer while recording in Muscle Shoals and later in Memphis, his fame has been largely limited to a cult fan following. That’s about to change.

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Why Duke's Mayonnaise Matters

By Jed PortmanGood EatsJuly 29, 2015

In many of the most popular restaurants below the Mason-Dixon line today, diners can practically trace the sprigs of parsley garnishing their plates to the wholesome hands of local farmers. So it’s surprising when the same chefs who preach about heirloom seeds and heritage animals embrace a factory-made food. But one variety of mayonnaise still arrives at upscale kitchens from Texas to Tennessee in decidedly non-artisan plastic tubs.

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A 90-Year Chincoteague Tradition—and a New Legacy

By CJ LotzBelow the LineJuly 27, 2015

You might remember Misty, but what about Surfer Dude? “Misty was probably the most famous pony of all,” says Chincoteague Island firefighter Denise Bowden of the mare who was immortalized in Marguerite Henry’s 1947 classic children’s novel and 1961 film. “But Surfer Dude comes in a real close second. He was that iconic stallion. He was a handsome thing.”

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Perfect Porch Ceiling Colors

By Haskell HarrisBelle DecorJuly 25, 2015

You don’t have to look far in the South to see that porches—and porch sitting—are a cultural mainstay. So is the tradition of painting a porch ceiling blue. Some say the idea stems from the notion that blue porch ceilings prevented insects and birds from nesting. But more often than not, the color is attributed to the story surrounding the Gullah/Geechee shade known as “haint blue” and its influence on American design over the centuries. “The ‘haint blue’ color that is found on homes and buildings throughout the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor is a visual representation of the power and legacy of Gullah Culture,” says Michael Allen, Community Specialist for the National Park Service. “We know through research that people of African descent brought that tradition surrounding the color with them to the United States. It is a color they believed defended the home from troubled spirits: a bright, Caribbean blue.”

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A Music Festival Like No Other

By Elizabeth HutchisonSouthern SoundsJuly 24, 2015

More of an old-fashioned backyard barbecue or laid-back house party than a sprawling, sweaty Coachella-style rager, Wildwood Revival (August 29-30), offers a boutique music festival experience. “It’s a festival for people who don’t like festivals,” says founder Libby Rose. “It’s an anti-festival.”

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A Perfect Southern Match: Tomatoes & Biscuits

By Jed PortmanGood EatsJuly 24, 2015

Leave it to Willie Foster of Biscuit King’s Fun Barn in Fairhope, Alabama, to make the tomato sandwich on our cover into a why-didn’t-we-think-of-that breakfast treat. The self-taught baker’s signature Ugly Biscuit is an all-in-one meal of sausage, bacon, egg, and cheese tucked into a football-shaped lump of dough that appeared in our 2014 roundup of the best breakfast joints in the South. But while visiting family in the Holy City earlier this week, he treated the Garden & Gun staff to an off-menu special.

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The Caladium Capital of the World

By CJ LotzBelow the LineJuly 22, 2015

Holland has its tulips. Japan has its blooming cherry trees. And Florida has its caladiums.

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An 84-Year-Old Jewel Thief Strikes Again?

By Jessica MischnerBelow the LineJuly 21, 2015

Doris Payne is more than a jewel thief. She’s a magician. At 84 years old, the convicted cat burglar has six decades of criminal activity under her Burberry trench coat belt, having pilfered gems from high-end department and jewelry stores in the United States and abroad, armed with nothing but her nerve and her sticky fingers. Her estimated haul as of 2014: roughly $2 million. And now, according to the Charlotte Observer, there's cause to believe she’s up to her old tricks.

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