Fork in the Road on the Road: Biscuits, Boiled Peanuts, Fried Chicken, and Swine
The view inside the aptly-named Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken in Memphis.
This past weekend, one-fourth of FiTR journeyed to Oxford, MS, for the twelfth annual Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium. The three-day conference was dedicated to the topic of Southern food and music, which meant lots of discussions about everything from the symbolism of chickens in song to the connection between hip hop and grits, as well as a chitlin ballet and, of course, impressive displays of caloric consumption.
Much of the consumption took place at the conference itself, which featured, among other things, red beans and rice from Bayona's Susan Spicer, goat and spoonbread from Cochon's Stephen Stryjewski, and a whopping catfish fry at the vaunted Taylor Grocery. But there were plenty of memorable meals on the road between Memphis and Oxford, in places both well-known and unexpected.
Just outside of Oxford's downtown, Honest Abe's sells doughnuts, Czech kolaches, and beef tamales against a backdrop of wood-paneled walls decorated with taxidermied hogs, pheasants, and moose. The doughnuts and tamales are superlative, but it's the boiled peanuts, sold for $1.39 a bag, that are a regional food nerd's wildest and sweatiest dream come true. Wet, salty, and edible right down to the crunchy yet pliant shell, they've got the addictive properties of a Schedule I controlled substance. Best of all, they're perfect car food, easily consumed by the fistful and leaving no waste.