It’s a beautiful day in Memphis with clear blue skies and I’m sitting at my computer. Everything I speak against. (well, at least I have my doors open and great music playing) I’m in this state because I stayed up until 5 am watching Downton Abbey and now am pausing the play button long enough to blog about the fantastic series.
It’s as good as you’ve heard. I’m so thrilled that money was spent to create such a beautiful show full of amazing homes. The large house (above) and smaller brick cottages (my favorite). The furniture is a true joy to focus on during the scenes.
I’ll explain how good it is. I’m watching the show all at once thanks to my Amazon Prime membership, but the only non Apple computer I have in the house is a small mini laptop. VERY SMALL. So I stayed up all night in bed with that little screen up to my eyes taking in this addictive story of war time England. Bridget, my cat, was sprawled across my neck. I still didn’t budge until the wee hours of the morning when my eyes were burning so I couldn’t see any longer. Of course the show comes on every Sunday night on PBS, free for cable-less folks like me, but I had to watch all at once which required turning to the web. You can watch the season 2 shows you’ve missed at the PBS site.
It tells a story that combines two families of sorts. The family upstairs and the “family” of servants downstairs. Yes, it has a soap opera quality about it, but the moody well crafted scenes and superb acting take it beyond that description.
I’m as hesitant as anyone to jump on board the latest fad that promises to take us out of our lives and put us in front of a screen watching others live, but on this one, I’m giving myself approval.
I’ve been extra lazy this week. Well, in truth I’ve been fairly productive in terms of waking up early, exercising and making it to the gym, but I just can’t seem to take my sheets out of the dryer.
They are clean, but I don’t feel like walking into my laundry room and putting them on my bed. So, I’m doing what most people would do. I’m sleeping in my guest room. (making it up would be asking way too much)
I’ve done this two nights in a row. It feels a bit like I’m visiting someone. When I shut my eyes I could be in any city :: any country. Reading feels a little more luxurious because it feels like vacation reading. My normal bedroom clutter isn’t there :: no old books, no chap stick, no notes written to myself. It’s very peaceful.
What makes it even better is that I adore the beds in my 2nd room. They belonged to my grand-dad’s parents. My Mom and Dad remember seeing them in my great grand-parent’s house in York, Alabama (West Alabama) when they would go and visit.
Mom and I cleaned them up a couple months back. These beds are really the reason I wanted a 2nd room. Of course I wanted all my loving friends to visit, but I also wanted to get these beds out of my grandparent’s house where they were gathering dust in a back room.
I bought my couch for 75 dollars at a garage sale in Oxford during my senior year. I’ve had countless people tell me it is ugly. It isn’t. It is the best item I’ve ever bought. It’s from New Orleans. I bought it a year before Katrina and had I not bought it, it would have been returned to NOLA and ruined by the flood waters.
Ok. I know I take furniture too seriously considering I’ve created this very dramatic story.
Anyhow, the tallest of men can sleep on it comfortably. Worth it, right? It looks very similar to this one.
The truth is the couch will have to be re-covered in coming years. Currently it’s a a shiny beige. I’m thinking it needs to be a bright color. I’m not a huge pink person, but I love this pop. I have a while to think. The cost to recover will cost me much more than I would pay for a new couch.
I love Anthony Bordain.
I’ve always loved Anthony Bordain.
In fact, I like Anthony Bordain MUCH more than Paula Dean, but I wish my favorite drinking, smokin chef would lay off Paula.
I don’t mind it so much when he attacks some of the other “model-like” chefs, but Paula is one of us. I never watch her, but when I flip by I feel a sense of familiarity with her crazy southern accent and beaming smile. Despite her relatively recent wealth and fame, she could easily be a neighbor, aunt or boyfriend’s momma.
Though, Anthony isn’t the only one. This week Paula was attacked for cooking the way she does and having type 2 diabetes. A fact she has apparently known for the last 2 or 3 years, but continued soaking her biscuits in butter and frying her chicken extra dark. It’s not that I don’t take diabetes seriously. I do. My sweet grandmother (mom’s mom) has had it as long as I’ve known her.
I’ve been told Granny enjoyed a donut (or 2 dozen) in her younger days and chugged down some real coke to help get them down. Now, she has diabetes and it’s tough on the whole family. I’ve watched my mom worry over Granny’s sugar levels or rush her to the ER with serious diabetic episodes.
Still, with all of this said, I’m incredibly thankful Paula does what she does and isn’t making healthy alterations. She isn’t telling you to eat the whole pan of cornbread. ( I could :: with butter all over it :: can you tell I’m hungry)
The ALL healthy mentality has taken over in such a way that even my Mom has totally changed how she cooks. She doesn’t play when it comes to special meals, but I don’t think she’s fried chicken in 5 years. Ridiculous.
So, I’m sticking up for the tradition. It’s not that all our traditional southern food is bad. Some of is, ok a lot of it is. It’s those tastes and scents, though, that fill me full of nostalgia and home sickness. Heck, I’m only a couple hours from home, still living in the deep south, and I still feel that way.
I don’t care what people say. The homestyle boxed macaroni and cheese is nowhere close to as good as my mother’s. My sorority house made a no-fry fried chicken. Please. I took once look at that mushy looking piece of meat and just loaded up on mashed potatoes instead.
If you plan to eat these foods all the time, sure, make healthy changes, but if I’m having a Sunday family lunch/dinner or holiday meal there best not be any changes. I want to eat the same foods my mom ate as a girl and that her “big granny” made in her little South Alabama kitchen.
I like how Southern Living Magazine does it. In every issue they have a page showing a traditional “momma” style dish and making it healthier. I’ve never clipped out the new version, but almost always cut out the original. I appreciate what Paula is doing, because most people out there are just unwrapping processed foods and mirowave meals. At least she’s usually using fresh ingredients.
I hope Paula is eating better, and that we have all been reminded just how important healthy eating is, but at times, the real deal is what you really want.
A while back I borrowed the British tv series Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy from my friend’s grandfather. I like it for the British 70′s styling, but the pace is always a little too slow for me on late nights when I choose movie over reading. Espionage is my favorite subject any way you tell it.
Though, there is something about the main character, George Smiley, that I think is just charming. It’s the man who played him. Alec Guiness. I just want to hug his scarf wrapped neck.
I was eager to see who the new version of the story chose to cast as my favorite ex-Circus leader. Gary Oldman did a fantastic job even though he didn’t have the big cheeks I loved in the British version.
My favorite George Smiley is below. Such a sweet old man. I thought the movie was excellent. The novel is difficult to follow, so I applaud the director’s ability to tell a tough story through flashbacks that often didn’t make sense during the tv series.