Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Southern Quotables - Fannie Flagg

"Remember if people talk behind your back, it only means you're two steps ahead!"
-Fannie Flagg

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Monday, June 21, 2010

My South - Wade Kwon

East meets South: The Korean-redneck dinner table

By Wade Kwon

Most of you did not grow up as I did. Asian. American. Southern. Non-Baptist.

Perhaps the best way to show a glimpse of my unique childhood is to have you sit at our dinner table at our suburban home in Hoover, Ala. One night, we'd have American food. The next night, Korean food. This is how I thought other families ate, until I noticed a distinct lack of kimchi at friends' dinner tables.

So we'd have spaghetti, with sauce from a jar. Or tacos, from the kit. Or roast beef, scalloped potatoes (from the box, which I loved) and green beans (from a can).

Other nights, we'd have bulgogi (marinated barbecued beef) and rice. Or mandoo (which you probably call wonton), or ttok kuk (rice cake soup).

We ate in the kitchen, almost never the dining room. And the TV set would be on.

Keep in mind that my mom prepared just about all the meals, and that was after a long day of work and sometimes a 2-hour round-trip commute. Dad was not in charge of the grill; we didn't have one, save for a small hibachi that was never used. We didn't cook out.

And sometimes, we'd have both Korean and American at the same meal. I thought nothing of it, just enjoyed eating and eating and eating. Saturday nights, we'd go out to eat, and every so often, we'd bring home two Little Caesar's pizzas.

I didn't eat kimchi as a child, nor did I ever learn to speak or read Korean. A friend's mother insisted I must have picked up some by linguistic osmosis, until I pointed out that I didn't speak dog either despite having our family pet bark at me enthusiastically for years.

Sometimes, my friend Kenn (who blogs at Dairy of a Madman) would join us for dinner. He was game, despite the odd sights and smells on the table (and the occasional surprise tub of tiny dried fish heads in the fridge). He best recalls what I took as normal.

When he and I go out for hot pots and rice (sadly, I don't know how to reproduce the dishes of my youth), the experience takes him back to our Korean-redneck dinner table decades ago. It is a needed reminder that Southern hospitality extended across ethnicities for a shared experience.

Wade Kwon is a communications consultant and writer. He shares news and features about his hometown on his site, Wade on Birmingham.

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

My South

My South is a series I've invited a few bloggers to take part in.  (So I stole the name from Turner South, but it doesn't exist anymore so I'm gonna use it.)  Many people in the South have a normal Southern heritage.  Many have Native American blood, others are just generically German or English.  But there are a few that grow up with a very unique heritage.  I am one of those Southerners and I wanted to hear about everyone else with an interesting background that grew up in the South or have spent a great deal of time here.

Next week, Okra Cola is proud to have Wade Kwon as the first guest post!  This is big for me because it was an idea I pitched and somebody dug it as much as I did and actually wrote it! 

If you are interested in telling the world about your heritage and growing up in the South drop me a line at drew [at] okra cola [dot] com and we'll see what happens.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Southern Word of the Week - All over hell and half of Georgia

"Boy where have you been?  We've been worried and looked all over hell and half of Georgia for you!"
"Where are my car keys?  I've been all over hell and half of Georgia looking for 'em!"

There are many different ways to say it but it often involves hell and not more than half of the state of Georgia.  I honestly haven't heard it much, and have only really seen it in print, but I did use it honestly this morning.  It obviously means what it says, just in a Southern storyteller kinda way. 

Have you used this phrase or have one similar?  Lemme know in the comments.

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Sorry y'all!

Hey everybody!  I really appreciate you all supporting the blog this year and I apologize for not keeping it up that much since around March.  I've been busy at work, with playing music in smokey bars and dealing with my Mom being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.  Her last chemo treatment for her first round is today so prayers would be appreciated. 

I'm going to at least try to do one post per week and your comments and suggestions are most welcome.  I'm down for guest posters too, just pitch an idea to drew [at] okracola [dot] com or on Twitter @OkraCola.

I'll have a new word of the week up shortly!

Thanks again for your patience and prayers.

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