I’m a native Southerner and until a few months ago, I had never heard (or don’t remember hearing) the term hoop cheese. One slightly hungover Sunday morning, my fiance Ryan, myself, and a couple other friends were heading back to Athens after a friend’s wedding (having camped at the reception site..another story entirely). Thankfully we found a roadside country market to get to satisfy our need for rations- aka egg and cheese biscuits. As I finished my order, the counter woman asked which cheese I wanted because hoop cheese was extra. Having no idea what she was saying at the time (accent as thick as molasses), I just smiled and pointed at the one that looked like cheddar. Ryan later filled me in on what she said.
If you’ve never heard of hoop cheese, here’s some back story…Similar to farmer’s cheese, hoop cheese used to be something you could buy in any Southern grocery or general store, often sold in the same town it was made in, never traveling too far from it’s birthplace. This is because it’s not aged very long and keeps for a week or two. The ‘hoop’ refers to the shaping molds used in the cheese making process. The mild, slightly salty taste of hoop cheese makes it ideal for flavoring, finishing cooked dishes or just snacking.
On a survey trip today, my partner and I saw a bright white sign advertising hoop cheese among other enticing advertisements, so we had to stop.
Aptly named the Highway 36 Grocery, this quaint family owned business has been a staple in Barnesville, Georgia for years. It’s definitely THE breakfast spot; we know now that to guarantee yourself one of their biscuits, you better be there well before 9:30am. They sell a variety of local meats, prepared meals and sides, sandwiches made to order, even birdhouses made by one of the granddaughters. I scored some classic Southern chicken salad- loaded with mayo, S&P, grapes, and walnuts, brunswick stew, a mini-pecan pie, and a wedge of the hoop. Can’t wait to go back and get a biscuit!
ps check out this fellow blogger’s post on hoop cheese
I’m desperately trying to maintain productivity today…class in about 2 hours..time to bust out some çay- Turkish tea don’t mess around. Here is one of my favorite pics from my trip to Turkey in May 2011.
I was so taken with this woman at the periodic market in Mugla, Turkey. The market as a whole was so busy and loud; this woman stood out to me as she sat quietly on the ground of her booth surrounded by other women, probably daughters and or sisters, methodically separating her veggie loot to sell… Watching her process immediately transported back to the summers of my childhood, sitting in my grandmother’s living room, as she taught me to snap beans (after a long day of pickin’ of course) to get them ready for canning. Somehow I communicated to the Turkish woman my want to photograph her and she graciously obliged.
Valentine’s Day is around the corner so I’m sending some love to my original hometown. Just saw this article in Birmingham Magazine and had to share… There’s even a section about Birmingham’s preservationists.
No. 13: We love our protectors.
Historic preservationists will tell you that the 1969 demolition of the Terminal Station to make way for the Red Mountain Expressway was one of architecture’s darkest hours in the Magic City. But while the Terminal Station is long gone, others have stepped forward to ensure that similar mistakes don’t happen in the future. From the mountains to the rivers, we celebrate a few of our “protectors”:
- Though Cecil Whitmire died in 2010, the work he championed with Birmingham Landmarks Inc. lives on. Whitmire and his volunteers were the force behind renovation of the historic Alabama Theatre on Third Avenue North. Now, led by Whitmire’s successor Brant Beene, there are grand plans for the Lyric Theatre, a vaudeville house across the street from the Alabama. It will be a fitting tribute to Whitmire’s legacy if that proposed renovation becomes a reality.
- It’s hard to believe now, but from 1999-2003, the statue of Vulcan didn’t overlook the city. That’s because a $14 million renovation was underway to save the statue that was in danger of collapsing. With the renovation, spearheaded by the Vulcan Park Foundation, came new landscaping, a new observation deck, a new museum and more. A newly reinvigorated Vulcan celebrated his 100th birthday in 2004, and the restoration project received a National Preservation Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
- Flowing from the Birmingham area southwest to Cahaba in Dallas County, the Cahaba River is Alabama’s longest free-flowing river, home to more than 100 species of fish and the endangered Cahaba lily. Birmingham’s Cahaba River Society is dedicated to preserving the flora, fauna and water that flows through the Cahaba. Likewise, Black Warrior Riverkeeper is a group determined to do the same thing for the Black Warrior River in Jefferson and Walker counties. Both groups hold fundraisers, tours and festivals to preserve two of the beautiful waterways in the Birmingham area. —Alec Harvey
Anybody else out there love the Magic City?
As some of you may know, there is an enormous development project proposed at the old Armstrong and Dobbs site on Oconee St. in downtown Athens, Georgia and the suggested anchor store is Walmart.
Opposition to the project is strong and growing- just last night a video was released by Patterson Hood (Drive by Truckers) & The Downtown 13, speaking out against the project.
Below are links to sites providing more info about the situation, resources, and ideas for what we can do to help…so check them out, sign the petition, and spread the word!
courtesy of Protect Downtown Athens
People for a Better Athens
“The world regards Athens as a vibrant, creative community. Publications from Southern Living to Forbes to Rolling Stone to GQ cite our hometown as one of the best places to live, work, retire and play.” -by Blake Aued Athens Banner-Herald
Let’s keep it that way.