Goners

The other week, we were having dinner with a long-time friend of ours and we were talking about movies.  Specifically, we were discussing our tendency to judge people (we’re judgers, you see) by what movies they’ve seen and liked.  We started discussing some of the classics, when our friend said:

“I don’t know if I should say this, but I’ve never seen Gone With The Wind…”

I was surprised, because even I’ve seen GWTW a bunch of times and it’s not really a genre that I’d normally seek out.  The Beloved, raised in the Capital of the Confederacy, was nearly apoplectic, “What!? What?!!? WHAT!?!?! <splutter> WHAT!?!?” might capture her initial reaction.  This was quickly followed up with fanning herself and saying, “Well, I do declare! This is something we have to rectify right away!”

Gone With The Wind

And so, the other night, courtesy of Netflix streaming, we had our friend over for dinner so that she could watch the film.  Of course, striving for some semblance of Southern hospitality, we had to have an Old South sort of evening.

Now, even though I went to UNC for grad school, in the Beloved’s family I have zero Old South cred (born in New Jersey, you see) and when I try on a Southern Gentlemen’s accent I always sound more like Foghorn Leghorn than Rhett Butler.  Fortunately, I can still pour some pretty good Dixie-oriented drinks.

Pimento Cheese and Derby Cocktail

We started off with pimento cheese dip and a Derby Cocktail*.  I didn’t know pimento cheese dip was southern, but now that I think about it, I only have had it at the Beloved-In-Law’s house.

Juleps

We followed that up with a bourbon tasting and a mint julep or two.  Fully fortified, we were ready to embrace the antebellum South.  It’s always fascinating to watch Gone With The Wind – it really is a cultural touchstone and I think probably was the first truly epic film and even though it’s cliché you really can say “they don’t make ‘em like that anymore”.  From a historical perspective, it’s a little sobering (though not so much after a couple of juleps) to realize that the making of Gone With The Wind is about as close to the Civil War as we are today from the making of Gone With The Wind.

Bourbon Tasting

At intermission, we dined on pork, greens and grit-cakes and then returned to watch the ugly days of Reconstruction and rise and fall of Rhett and Scarlett. Bonnie Blue has always sort of bugged me, so her you-know-what didn’t really bother me, and if I’m completely honest I probably would have enjoyed a whole movie about Mammy.

It was a long afternoon and evening of good food, good drinks and a great movie.  Fortunately, we did it on Saturday because maybe I wasn’t quite a daisy the following morning and I might have been hard-pressed if that particular tomorrow had have been another (work)day.

*muddle some peach slices with mint, add a couple dashes of peach bitters and 1.5 oz of gin.  Add ice and shake vigorously – fine strain into a coupe’ and garnish with a mint sprig.

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39 thoughts on “Goners

  1. What an absolutely perfect day!

    I only saw GwtW once in college. We had about 30 girls hanging from every surface, bed, loft in the dorm room watching it on a little tiny black and white tv. Yes, college was a long time ago.

    Your comment about not being bothered by Bonnie Blue’s “you-know-what” made me laugh out loud. HIlarious. And I agree. Annoying kid!

    What great food, friends and fun!

  2. haven’t seen it either, shhhh. Don’t tell anyone. I have seen parts of it but have never sat down and watched it. What, pray tell, is a grit cake? I don’t think I have had one of those before.

    • Budd — GWTW is certainly worth a viewing, if only as a piece of cinematic history. There’d be no Han Solo without Rhett Butler.

      The grit cakes were made from a mixture of corn-meal grits (cooked), an egg and a little cream (or half-n-half I think). The mix is allowed to set up overnight and then sections are pan-fried. Yum.

  3. Half of my family is from Italy the other is Southern U.S. We watched Gone With the Wind and wished it had gone somewhere. Yet, you know that Hollywood always portrays things factually right? Mammy played by Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar for her performance in it and I believe was the first black person to win an Oscar. In our house we avoided pimento cheese spread, except my mother who loved it and after marrying my father began to put olives in it. YUK. Though there was salt cured hams and of course Bourbon. We enjoyed small batch ones and my favourite Bakers 7 year old and 107 proof. It is amazingly smooth and has a deep rich flavour and finish that is sweet. http://www.internetwines.com/mb311544.html. There is nothing worse than those trying to do a Southern accent, listen to Val Kilmer (a favorite of mine) trying to be Mark Twain. Imagine my accent!! Actually it switches easily but lets go less so.
    If you want a Southern Treat try spoon bread. It’s pretty awesome.

    • Paolo — yes, we’re planning on a good salt-cured ham for Easter, don’t worry. Bookers is a very good bourbon, though I think Bulleit is the favorite in our house right now.

      • Those hams are very salty and you’ll be thirsty even the day after. In my family’s home in Italy we ate Prosciutto too. It is much different than the cured hams in the US. In Italy Prosciutto is cured in salt and garlic and nothing else. In the US nitrates and nitrites are used as well as salt. The water you drink will also help flush those out of your system.
        Have a good time.
        Paolo

  4. I’ve never seen it either. Mom and a friend were going to see it once when I was a teenager, and I think we were intended to go along, but mom decided it wasn’t appropriate for us.

    So I’ve seen more of Carol Burnett’s GWTW than the real one. Heh!

      • My avatar was actually created on a website promoting the TV series Madmen, which I’ve never watched. I just thought the toons people were creating looked cool and funny, so I made one for me. :)

        The zoomed out version is wearing a plain, sleeveless sheath with pearls (for clutching!) and pumps, and holding a cup of coffee.

        My mom is from Alabama, and all of her family (or what’s left of it) still lives there, so I have Southern roots, but I’m Colorado-born and raised, so I don’t think I qualify as a true “Southerner.”

  5. It’s funny, but my introduction to Southern cuisine came through African American friends from the deep South. The food struck me as being born of poverty—collard greens, grits, red beans and rice, cornbread, and lots of pig products, ham, ribs, and pork chops, along with the requisite fried chicken: but it was delicious. I also realized later that it was comfort food for many a Southerner languishing in the Midwest, land of the casserole (hot dish in Minnesota). And mint juleps—oh, what a blissful way to a hangover.

    I didn’t see GOWTW until I was in my 20s, after everyone told me what a great movie it was. As a result, it was an unavoidable letdown: I thought Vivien Leigh chewed up the scenery and Atlanta couldn’t burn fast enough. Clark Gable was cute, but he was cute in all of his movies, and too smart for Scarlett. And Hattie McDaniel should have gotten not just an Oscar but a medal for playing Scarlett’s Mammy.

    • HG — when I was in NC, there was a great old school soul-food restaurant that was very much like you described. I loved it!

      GWTW is interesting — is it a great movie? — or is it a great movie because it was made in 1939? I can’t imagine something made like that today — where the dialog is so reserved, though I suppose it’s like any of the Jane Austen adaptations in that regard. Scarlett must have been quite the shock for audiences 70 years ago — imagine a woman being so headstrong! I agree though — I sort of wanted Rhett and Melanie to be together, Scarlett could have had Ashley the wuss.

  6. I am a Southerner (not so happy about it). I’ve always wished to be from some other place. Born and raised in the South. Luckily, I don’t have a southern accent b/c my mom is a Northerner and dad is from Florida.

    Anyway…I…uh…have never seen GWTW, nor have I read the book. Does this make me a let down to my southern folk? haha!

    And actually…if I may add to your noting that the majority of Southerners have seen GWTW…I think that you can also add ROOTS to this category. I think the majority of Southern African Americans have seen ROOTS and not so much GWTW. I’m guessing, though.

    Love the idea of the drinks and snack! :) *cheers*

    • Jenna — wow, I hadn’t thought about “Roots” in a long time. It was SUCH a phenomenon when I was growing up — I don’t think I knew anyone that didn’t watch it. I wonder how it would stand up today?

      And yes, I love putting those little captions in! :)

  7. Those (stainless steel?) glasses with the julep are quite pretty. I can see how a Southern-themed movie get-together would fit in with your cuisine and decor at the Aerie. I never saw GWTW either, but I did fall in love with the food down South, and it’s fantastic as hangover food (I don’t drink too often but the sleeping pills on the airplane give the exact same effect). Although I think it would work better in the New England winters seeing as how it’s heavy and hard to handle when it’s 90 plus degrees out.

    • Em — there were greasy fried chicken places in NC that I think did most of their business in the midnight to 8 a.m. run of drunks or people coming off a drunk. Pretty funny.

      The julep glasses are stainless, and I love them. Because of using so much crushed ice, juleps get really cold — so much so that a couple of times we’ve cracked a glass.

  8. Thoroughly floored by your mad “bartending with a theme” skilz! (and how do you get those captions to pop up?)

    As you know, I just watched it this weekend for the first time. Thanks to my silly rule of needing to read a book before watching a movie. Which in a way made me a little disappointed in the movie just because the skip so much that is in the book. But some part of me is quite relieved that I’ve reached that next level of “culture” by FINALLY watching it. I agree – the history in the movie isn’t easy to watch….the book describes the history in MUCH greater detail btw.

    • Thanks Kelly! We’ve built up a pretty good bar at The Aerie over the past several years — and with some good bar books — and the internet — it’s pretty easy to do some cocktail research… :)

      When you edit an image in your media library, there’s a box for Title and a box for Caption. The caption will go under your picture, the title is what comes up in the mouse-over. :)

      Our friend had read the books and even at a ~4h, she was amazed at how much of the book had had to be edited out of the movie…

  9. GWTW, ahhhhhh. This was the Main Event in junior high for my klatch of friends. We devoured the book to shreds and went to the movie when it came to town *every year*. My best friend still believes all you need to know about life comes from GWTW, at least all the best tag lines.

    I remember a bit from Clark Gable’s bio that said how embarrassed he was about crying in the scene with Melanie when Scarlett miscarries. He fought doing it, but the director insisted. How much our manly men have changed over the decades.

    • SS — yes, it has to be one of the best “quotable” movies! That’s an interesting tidbit about Gable and not wanting to be seen crying on screen — today, I think we see that as humanizing Rhett, back then?

  10. I think it’s a decent movie that has stood the test of time. As you said, though, I think a lot of the acclaim is because it was made in 1939 and was a technological marvel for its day.

    As for “Best Ever?” I see a lot of critical lists that rate ‘Citizen Kane’ as the best movie ever made … and I didn’t think it was all that great. Okay, maybe. Maybe.

    • GOM — I also think a lot of it is also how much of a phenomenon that it was. Apparently, it’s “run” in theaters lasted for years! Adjusted for inflation, it’s the highest grossing film of all time. And I agree about “Kane” — clearly I’m not a film student.

  11. Sounds like a lovely evening, schooling an as yet non-believer!
    I LOVE GWTW–I bought it for the family, but alas, can’t bribe anyone to watch it with me!
    my hubby is from Louisiana, and we lived in the South for years (he was in the military and asked for an overseas assignment….and they sent us to ARKANSAS!) (Same dif, right?)

    In any case…looks like a lovely evening.
    delighted to be getting to know you and your Beloved.
    blessings and best
    jane

    • PJ — When I was growing up, it seemed like every Easter season we had to watch “The Ten Commandments”. I also think “The Wizard of Oz” was on a lot, but my mom didn’t like it, so we rarely saw it. I think GWTW ought to be required viewing every couple of years, too!

  12. It is so funny that you posted this because I was just quoting (not more than an hour ago) in an exaggerated accent with a co-worker from this movie. And that’s not something we do typically. :) Since I grew up down South, I certainly have seen this movie, although it has been years. The accompanying food was perfect also. It makes me want to go out and get some shrimp and grits with collards. And of course a biscuit to sop up the pot liquor. Mmm mmm!

  13. At the risk of having my Man-Card suspended, I actually dig GWTW. It’s got everything that “Hollywood Epics” were made of, and like you said Steve, “they don’t make ‘em like that anymore”.

    However, I’ve never tried watching it with the help of some fermented stimulants. I do declare this will come to pass. Great blog, sir!

  14. I don’t know how I missed this post till now.

    I’ve seen GWTW once straight through, and several times in bits and pieces. It is an amazing piece of filmmaking, and you’re dead right about Rhett Butler paving the way for various Harrison Ford characters.

    A group of work people and I discussing GWTW, and I was roundly scolded for not loving it more than life itself. (When I mentioned i’d seen Fanny & Alexander, which is 3.5 hrs in Swedish, more times than GWTW, the scolding intensified).

    I think the total Southern immersion plan was wise. GWTW is a true classic, but even a mediocre movie would be entertaining with bourbon, mint juleps, and greens.

    • Tom — pretty sure you were deep into Casablanca at the time… :)

      I don’t know that it has to be loved, but I can appreciate the sheer spectacle of it and it was really interesting to watch it with someone that had never seen it before.

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