Honestly, I never thought of barbecue as political food. It’s sure enough regional, the proud sauces put on the same pork shoulder or pork butt vary greatly from place to place, one region to another throughout the South. A favorite, which I still have one or two unopened bottles, has been a vinegar and pepper sauce I bought while with son Joe in North Carolina, or Joe brought me later. It also makes good salad dressing, I did that for years of weight control instead of creamy blue cheese dressing I sometimes make. And I’ve liked the yellow mustard based sauce from South Carolina, including at times've had a bottle with Confederate flag on the label, though I never realized, it didn’t occur to me, that it deliberately signified.
From yesterday's online The New Yorker, below’s a link to an article that I read and I value. Raised in fried mullet country not barbecue country, I don’t, probably can’t, appreciate the barbecue tastes, secrets and rivalries, some bitter, apparently especially intrafamily tensions, which until yesterday I never knew about. But if we were still driving back and forth between Harrisburg and Panama City, or especially between Washington DC and Panama City as was the case for long years, after reading this article I’d not resist stopping at various barbecue shacks or cafes to feast.
Looking at the menu in a barbecue restaurant, I could never choose. So an extra large sampler barbecue plate and unsweetened ice tea or a beer. The article is intriguing on several levels that stirred my memories of growing up in the South, and brought to mind beloved family members long gone, and stirred my salivary glands. I’m glad I read the article, I learned something.
What about the political issue(s) though, racism, the racists? They come from a region of absolute certitude, knowing not and knowing not that they know not. Believing truth that is false and evil, they've made it back to the top of the federal executive. Concerned, I’m worried, especially in national law enforcement, certitudinous white supremacy crawling out from under its rock. Having also grown up there, I see and recognize. Yet one from my background must be vigilant about self as well: what am I covering up that I don’t realize, or repress, suppress, that I am not ever willing to uncover and face again as part of who I am, where I’ve come from, whom I grew up with as role models, respected and loved. Is this persona me, or is the Other still under there. As the author of the article quoted from one of her sources, “.. being Southern always involves that complicated dance.” I know that, danced it so long, danced it so far, and danced so far away out of my past into the distance that I hardly remember the boy, mind, attitudes, worldview, who grew up behind these blue eyes, not realizing that what he was being raised to know was irredeemably wrong on every level of fact, righteousness and morality. Hardly remember. Hardly, but enough to be leery of self. Guarded lest who-knows-what break out. I don’t trust me. "We are what we eat" means not only barbecue.
Earlier everything looked white. Fog? World to the south of me was bathed in the light of a half moon above a white navigation light and the flashing, summoning light of my green channel marker on a calm, still Bay.