Faulkner at the P.O.

Given his connections with the University of Mississippi, William Faulkner found periodic employment at the institution when he was a young. His job at the physical plant allowed him to write, but his tenure at the University post office was taxing both on his time and his nerves, which he clearly expresses in one of his most famous utterances: “As long as I live under the capitalistic system I expect to have my life influenced by the demands of moneyed people. But I will be damned if I propose to be at the beck and call of every itinerant scoundrel who has two cents to invest in a postage stamp. This, sir, is my resignation.”

Faulkner was honored in the most ironic fashion possible by the release of a 22-cent United States commemorative stamp in Oxford, Miss in August, 1987. Designed by Bradbury Thompson of Riverside, Conn. and based on a well-known portrait by Murray L. Goldsborough, the stamp, part of the Literary Arts series, went on sale at local post offices Tuesday, Aug. 4. Ceremonies observing the release were held in conjunction with the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference.

If I was him and hadn’t resigned already I’d throw a fit and fall in it.

Glazed Chicken

Marinate leg quarters of chicken overnight in a solution of water, sugar and soy. Drain, pat dry and brush with a very light barbecue sauce. Bake in a moderate oven until skin is crisp and the legs move easily. Serve with potato pancakes, field peas and sour cream.

Tomato Canapés from Mont Helena

This wonderful recipe comes from Feeding the Flock: A Collection of Recipes from the Rolling Fork Methodist Church (2003) and was contributed by Marilyn Tilghman, a member of the church who is also a caterer. Melissa Thomas, assistant coordinator of the Lower Delta Organization tells me that Marilyn prepares these for the reception at the annual presentation of the play A Dream Revisited at historic Mont Helena, a Colonial revival home built atop a mound in the Mississippi Delta near Rolling Fork, God help us all.

For forty canapés, fry to a crisp and crumble 1 pound bacon. Add to 2 cups (or more if needed) mayonnaise and 2 bunches of green onions; make sure to cut off about 1/2 of the green since it tends to be rather tough, then chop up the remaining onion in a small chop/dice. If that seems to be too much onion for your taste just reduce the amount. Season with a teaspoon dill leaves, a teaspoon Tony Cachere’s Seasoning (original; more if you like) and black pepper to taste. Spread on 2 inch rounds of bread (I use soft white), top with tomato slices (Roma is recommended) that have been lightly salted and drained between layers of paper towels. Top with dill.

Twelve Dishes Every Southerner Should Know How to Cook

When I submitted a list of twelve kitchen essentials for a Southerner to my friends, it was like throwing a June bug down into a flock of ducks. The pot roast was devastated by a barrage of detractors who claimed that it’s just got Yankee written all over it, the red velvet cake was gunned down as a Waldorf recipe, and the pecan pie was mined by a sweet potato. I substituted a pound cake and sweet potato pie for the red velvet and pecan, stewed greens, which almost lost out to butter beans, for the roast, and achieved some degree of consensus.

Buttermilk biscuits
Pimento cheese
Fried chicken
Barbecued ribs
Pound cake
Fruit cobbler
Cornbread dressing
Chicken and dumplings
Sweet potato pie
Banana pudding
Stewed greens

True Love and Home-grown Tomatoes

What pass for home-grown tomatoes are most often in the strictest sense of the word not; some are grown on farms, but while farms are certainly homes, the tomatoes likely come from a field. You’ll also find local hothouse tomatoes sold as home grown, but they’re just a cut above those you’re going to see in a produce section in December. Garden tomatoes, those tended in a patch of ground by someone who keeps a garden not for commerce but for care and consideration, however imperfect, are not only the best tomatoes you will ever eat, but they are also hard to come by. You must know someone who tends a garden well because they were taught how by someone who tended for them, and you must live where people share the bounty of their lives, and if your character is judged worthy, they will share with you.