potatoes, not prozac

A good friend had this book in the back seat of her rental convertible as we sped up and down the back country hills near charlottesville, Virginia. I know I asked her what it was about – expecting a chick-lit description of some single girl who’s turned to potatoes as she laments the lack of a suitable suitor or the perfect pair of blahniks – and was surprised that it is actually non-ficiton – something about our addiction to sugar if I recall, which ordinarily would turn me on as something to actually read. (I love books about food a la Michael Pollan (who is a genius by the way), nutrition, holistic health …if you do to you should read healthy at 100 by john robbins. Though I suspect I’m a little bit of a freak about this stuff so it’s ok if you don’t bother. At some point I’ll wax philosophical for you about it). ANYway…

After our Charlottesville ride, a friend came back to obx to check it out – a miswestern boy he hadn’t spent much time in the Carolinas.. BUT, he had gone to art school in savannah. one muggy evening he made me a low-country boil dinner …a single boiling pot of old bay seasoning, potatoes, onion, shrimp and at the very end a few minutes for the corn on the cob (and I got those funny little corn shaped holders for the ends of the corn!). It was so delicious – so simple, and so satisfying. And rekindled my fascination with all things southern…southern stories, southern families, southern living, porches with swings, hydrangea bushes, and ceiling fans…

One of the reasons I’m drawn to Carolina is this lifestyle…though the outer banks doesn’t live the lifestyle in the way I had hoped, there are hints, traces… An unfortunate side effect of our unusual geography is that we are a small town that is 200 miles long, so somehow that cohesive -it’s all family – neighborly quality gets lost…but it’s there, in pockets.

One of the regrets of my life is that I wasn’t raised by a large, strong, buxom black woman…a woman with strong ideas, and a sense of fairness, hard-working, stern when necessary, and affectionate in huge, messy, lumbering doses…an amalgamation of characters from to kill a mockingbird, and the secret life of bees. The kind of woman who raised a woman like sally mann – If I can find this woman to help me raise my (yet to be conceived) children, I will beg her to come live with me, and clutch me to her breast and tell me I did a good job but I better watch out those taters don’t boil over.