When I was growing up, my parents never took down our Christmas tree. It was a synthetic tree from the 1960s, its faded green branches plasticine and matted, imbued with the soot, tobacco, and laughter of the dozens of Christmases it had presided over, making no pretense of being an actual tree. It was bejeweled/smothered with a cacophany of lights- indoor and outdoor, colored and clear, blinking, non-blinking, and chasing. It was frenetic and tacky, more Jackson Pollack than Norman Rockwell, but we wouldn't have changed a thing about it.
This past September, British Folksong Archivist, Amanda Boyd, brought her show highlighting the musical connection between Southwest England and Southwest Virginia here for a special series of programs.
After her performance at the Lincoln Theater in Marion, Virginia, she traveled around the region for two weeks. She retraced the steps of early twentieth century British Folklorist, Cecil Sharp, collected slightly different versions of the same folk songs, from people in Virginia and in Britain.
Recently, I had the pleasure of going to a concert at the Fillmore in Charlotte. The wildly energetic and eclectic violinist Lindsey Stirling was performing and my friend Claire and I were anticipating magical riffs from her flying fiddle bow.
It starts with some stale white bread. Then a little butter, onion, chicken broth, celery, and salt are added. But for Waynesboro writer and essayist Mollie Cox Bryan, Thanksgiving Day stuffing features another key ingredient.
Mollie Cox Bryan has a new book out, A Crafty Christmas: A Cumberland Creek Mystery. She's also the author of Mrs. Rowe's Little Book of Southern Pies and Scrapbook of Secrets, among other books. For more information, visit her website.
Every morning, I eat a banana for breakfast. My banana is not a gluten free-range banana. Nor is it a banana with a sticker that proclaims, “No tarantulas were harmed in the picking of this fruit.” It is a plain old banana.
When did eating become so complicated?
My paternal grandparents, Santa and Sebastiano, cooked simple dishes based on recipes straight from the Old Country. Some of my earliest and most traumatic food-related memories are based on meals served in their apartment.