Autumn 2008: Alumni Ink

Barbeque Sauce for the Soul

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By Franchesca Winters 10C

Long before the advent of corporate barbeque chains like Smokey Bones and Shane’s Rib Shack, Southerners enjoyed the succulent taste of slow-cooked pork at Colonial-era hog slaughtering parties, pre–Civil War church picnics and nineteenth-century political rallies. Now, in an age where nearly every street corner is decked with McDonald’s golden arches, this icon of Southern charm and tradition is kept alive by the mom-and-pop-owned, hole-in-the-wall barbeque spots explored by David Gelin 87C in BBQ Joints: Stories and Secret Recipes from the Barbeque Belt (Gibbs Smith, 2008).

BBQ Joints cover

“This book is not just about the joints,” Gelin writes, “but about the good folks who are the heart and soul of them. . . . Many are born into it; many are called to it, and many, many more just sort of fell into it, but they are all interesting stories that will inspire you to do your best in whatever you do . . . or at least inspire you to go out and get some ’cue.” This entertaining and heartwarming book is part travel companion, part cookbook, delivering both the family recipes and life advice of each barbeque master as it treks through thirteen states and discovers sixty back-road barbeque joints.

The guide begins with helpful tips for seeking out traditional joints. Gelin warns, “Moist towelettes—pulleese! That’s what sleeves and paper towels are for. People in animal suits? Just wave as you drive by.” Each barbeque joint is introduced with a quote from its owner. While some of their recipes are just plain wild, like Steve Connor of Oinker’s Barbequed Bear (yes, bear), others, like Gertie Williams’s Recipe for Life, are inspirational and call for ingredients like “1/2 cup of patience for the most difficult customers.” As for the cooks who were reluctant to divulge every detail of the ol’ family secret? Gelin offers up recipes like “Not Exactly their Coleslaw (but Close).”

Misadventures in Hollywood

Some people are thrown into Hollywood fame; others fight for their place among the stars. Brad Catherman 79C was among the latter. For eighteen years, he struggled to achieve his dream of selling a screenplay. In Open-Field Running: The Adventure of Selling a Screenplay (Seaboard Press, 2007), Catherman shares the ups and downs of his career in Tinseltown—including pitching movie ideas to monks, shaking hands with Pat Boone, and spotting George Clooney while strolling through the set of 1997’s Batman and Robin. Along with the humorous moments, Catherman documents the difficulties of maintaining a day job, his life as a single father, and his passionate dedication to screenwriting despite years of rejection.

Land Laws Examined

The Zoning of America cover

In The Zoning of America: Euclid v. Ambler (University Press of Kansas, 2008), Michael Allan Wolf 74C recreates the 1926 Supreme Court decision that shaped America’s modern land use laws and questions its effects on the real estate market and the spread of suburbia. Wolf is chair of local government law at the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law.

Submarine Study

In 1864, the Confederacy’s H. L. Hunley sank to the depths of Charleston Harbor on the very night it made history as the first submarine ever to sink an enemy warship. That feat would not be accomplished again until World War I, and the Hunley itself would not be recovered for more than 130 years. Tom Chaffin 95PhD studied firsthand documents and interviewed the archeologist in charge of Hunley’s excavation in order to write The H. L. Hunley: The Secret Hope of the Confederacy (Hill and Wang, 2008). The book chronicles the Civil War submarine’s complete history from before its construction to its retrieval in 2000.

Personality Profile

Being Kipling cover

Every literary work contains a piece of its author. William B. Dillingham 55C 56G explores this concept in Being Kipling (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), an analysis of Rudyard Kipling’s personality and beliefs as revealed through his often underrated 1923 work Land and Sea Tales for Scouts and Guides. Dillingham is Charles Howard Candler Professor of English emeritus at Emory.

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Autumn 2008

Of Note