Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Emancipation Proclamation – Tennessee State Museum

Posted on:

Few events in history can still stir up controversy like the American Civil War. A devastating, bloody time in our nation’s past, the scars can still be found – on our landscape, in our memory. But the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, which is a fancy way of saying the 150th anniversary, has become a platform to encourage healing and diversity. This is especially true in Tennessee, where the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and partner organizations across the state are working together to offer inclusive, accurate, and fascinating commemorations of the Civil War to the public.

Soon after the Civil War ended, veterans groups held reunions in both the North and South in an effort to bridge the bitter divide that had separated our nation. But the era of Jim Crow and the Lost Cause soon followed. The Civil War Centennial coincided with the passionate fight for civil rights, and few would remember it as a time of inclusion or, let’s face it, an honest evaluation of the war. But fifty years later, so much has changed. In Tennessee, an attitude of inclusiveness and a celebration of diversity highlight many events commemorating the Civil War, including a stellar one this month in Nashville.

One hundred and fifty years ago this January, a determined, courageous President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. In doing so, he laid a foundation for citizenship and equality that has shaped the country ever since. What an incredible document it was, and still is. And this month, there is an unprecedented opportunity to see this national treasure at the Tennessee State Museum.

The Emancipation Proclamation makes it way to Tennessee (the only state to host it in the Southeast) due to the amazing efforts of the museum staff, which worked tirelessly with many partners to bring the document here. The Emancipation Proclamation will be on view in conjunction with the Discovering the Civil War exhibit from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Fragile and delicate, the document will be on display for just 72 hours from February 12 through February 18. (After that date, a facsimile will be in the exhibit, which will remain at the museum through September).

Although there is no charge to see the Proclamation, reservations are recommended due to the incredible level of interest in viewing it. Visitors may obtain a reservation at the windows; going online to; or by calling (615) 782-4040. There will be a handling charge of $1.00 paid to TPAC Ticketing for each reservation. Walk-ins will be given a walk-in timed pass.

The document itself is delicate, but what it stands for is enduring and eternal. Freedom, equality, and the limitless possibilities of a nation that survived the very worst tragedy possible, and emerged better and stronger for the struggle. Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to see a piece of history that changed our country forever.

Interested in learning more or making reservations? Visit the Tennessee State Museum website.


– Laura Stewart Holder

The New `Cue Review: Comin’ Right at You

Posted on:

As we kick off 2013, it’s an excellent time to reflect on the sorts of things that made 2012 special. Personally, one of the most gratifying and downright fun things I did was to write a series for which they entitled “A Year of Barbecue.” Fortunately, the series ended in December, so I have a few months to get my lipid counts down from the Mr. Creosote range before my annual visit to my internist.

During the course of the year, I made many new friends on the bbq circuit, visited restaurants and smokehouses around the South and spent several nights watching whole hogs render while merry bands of derelict pitmasters did some pretty wacky things to keep themselves entertained and awake overnight.

But the details of my exploration that I can share are gathered below. I’m very proud of this series, and my editors say that they are looking to nominate it for some journalistic awards around the country. “Journalist,” heh. That’s just because I didn’t write about watching a man pee over a truck to win a $5.00 bet. More than once…

So here are the highlights of the series, conveniently gathered in one spot for your reading pleasure:

In January, I kicked the year off with some bold proclamations and promises of what I hoped to achieve in 2012. I think we accomplished most of them.

Later in January, I was fortunate enough to be invited to Mike and Amy Mills’ BBQ IQ Whole Hog Cooking Seminar at 17th Street Bar and Grill in Murphysboro, IL. Not only did I witness whole hogs being cooked by masters of the trade and learn a great deal about the business of barbecue from legends like Sweet Baby Ray and Famous Dave, but I also developed relationships with some really exceptional people. At the very top of that list is Sam Jones from The Skylight Inn in Ayden, NC. Not only is Sam a great guy, he’s also a hilarious quote machine, and my profile of him pretty much wrote itself. I’ll take the credit for writing down his best bon mots, though.

March came in like a lion but went out like a lamb, mutton that is. I joined my good friend Thomas Williams for a mutton-fueled trip to Owensboro, KY where we sampled some of the best old sheep on earth at Old Hickory BBQ and Moonlite Bar-B-Que. While the gamey mutton meat isn’t for everyone, anyone who calls himself a barbecue aficionado needs to make this pilgrimage at least once in their life.

April’s installment focused on the ultra-competitive sauce industry, where I discovered that Sweet Baby Ray is actually a friendly middle-aged white guy from the suburbs of Chicago, not the Cosby Kid caricature I had imagined. He’s also an extremely shrewd businessman whose best advice about entering the retail sauce business is…don’t do it.

As the weather warms up, more amateur pitmasters want to get outside and start to show off their talents competitively. With Memphis in May approaching, I published a fun little competition calendar to help plan your culinary road trips.

In June, I went a little wacky. Or rather Waikiki as I explored Hawaiian barbecue. You probably don’t think of `cue when you see a pig coming out of the ground at a luau, but pork cooked over indirect heat from smoky indigenous wood sounds a lot like barbecue to me.

If you are a fan of barbecue, I cannot emphasize enough how much fun you can have at the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party held each June in Madison Square Park. Expert smokers from around the country descend on the park to feed some of the best food that yankees will ever have the pleasure to enjoy. Y’know, like we can get just by driving to Nolensville any day of the week. My recap of the event and of the drive from Tennessee to NYC was one of my favorite pieces to write all year. Look for another version of the story to appear in A Taste of the South magazine this coming spring.

The heat of the summer pointed me to Texas where I took on a significant task trying to identify the best barbecue in the Lone Star State. In the end, I narrowed it to around ten joints, and I’m certain I left out some of the best. Barbecue is a cruel mistress that way.

Finding the best barbecue in Manhattan was a lot easier, since there aren’t nearly as many choices. Because my editors at Food Republic all live there, the pressure was on for me to make those sort of choices remotely. As FR’s “Southern correspondent,” they count on me to pretty much cover anything that isn’t in Manhattan or Brooklyn, but fortunately they concurred with my recommendations.

This success left me cocky enough to tackle one of the barbecue capitals of the universe, Memphis. I made no bold proclamations about the best of the Bluff City, but even bad Memphis barbecue is probably better than what passes for `cue in your hometown. The exploration of ten famous spots in one day was an experience I’ll never forget, but also probably never attempt again.

As if gorging myself in Memphis wasn’t enough, in November I described what it’s like to judge at the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitation Barbecue competition. Consider that taking just a small bite of everything offered for your deliberation adds up to over two pounds of food consumed and you’ll get an idea of what it’s like. Which is to say…awesome!

I finished off the year by sharing the wisdom and talents of three different masters of the whole hog, Sam Jones, Rodney Scott of Scott’s BBQ and Food Network’s culinary Mr. Wizard, Alton Brown. While their techniques and advice were very different, all three certainly know their way around a pig. (Which is really not that far considering that you have already cut the pig in half.)

So there it is in a nutshell. Would I do it again? Absolutely! But luckily I’m certain that the relationships I made this year will ensure that the study of great barbecue will be a lifelong pursuit.


©2022 Buttermilk Trace