February 9, 2004

save yer Confederate $$$

2/9/04

Jasper, GA

One thing I learned during the last and only time I saw Tessa's dad Blakey, it was this: a man may have $63 million dollars in the bank, but when push comes to shove, all he really wants is a buffet line. On that frail February in 2001 when I met the old man, he could have had a vat of Beluga caviar flown in on the Concorde, but instead, he chose a Luby's in suburban Houston. Thus I have surmised that Man's natural rest state is the all-you-can-eat rack with a sneeze guard and every kind of meat and fixin possible, all drowned in delicious butter sauce.

We used to go to a place called Bishop's in Cedar Rapids when we were kids, but now I will gladly drive two days to the mountains of Georgia to partake in Salem's Jasper Family Steakhouse, which I consider the pinnacle of the buffet art form. It is, in all seriousness, better than most catered weddings I've attended in Manhattan.

I think the all-you-can-eat buffet line brings up primal qualities in the homo erectus. There is the whiff of Infinite Choice and the reality of Infinite Consumption. Since we are all omnivorous hunters and gatherers by ancestry, a key part of us, deep down, is afraid that we'll never get to eat again. The Jasper Family Steakhouse takes that fear and says, "no, my child. You shall have anything you want, for as long as you want." It is the perfect salve for an ancient longing.

JasperSteakBuffet2(bl).jpg

Salem, because he's Salem, was not content just to run the best steakhouse in the South; he was also going to broaden the horizons of the patrons whether they liked it or not. Even though nobody really knows it, the place has an 802.11b/g wifi connection running through its gentle air at all times. And the fireplace and mantle is full of original works by the Reverend Howard Finster and the like, and will soon have a adjective-defying mural created by one of the local artist savants named Billy. Just to rub it in, I've called Tessa twice while sitting by the fire, enjoying Brunswick Stew and banana pudding.

JasperSteakFireplace(bl).jpg

Back home, Salem's stepson McColl had a school project tonight. They drew names out of a hat and create a "puppet" of that historical character. I know it sounds like a clich, but he wound up with Jefferson Davis.

So we sliced open a tennis ball, shoved it on top of a water bottle, and made hair out of strings of Play-Doh. McColl smeared some big 1863 sideburns on him, I fashioned a gray Confederate coat out of some old sweatpants, and presto! I mean, you have to admit it looks exactly like Jefferson Davis. You just have to.

IanMcCollJeffDavisDoll(bl).jpg
I, however, look like I've had maxillofacial surgery

Posted by irw at February 9, 2004 10:35 PM
Comments
Posted by: The Mom at February 9, 2004 10:44 PM

Actually, Ian, you look as if you have given your cast off hair to the lovely young lady in the picture.

Posted by: Ian at February 9, 2004 11:50 PM


Um, Mom? That's McColl. He is what most doctors refer to as a "boy."

Doesn't matter. Everyone thought I was a girl for years. It has abated somewhat:

http://www.xtcian.com/KarmenIanHalloween02(bl).jpg

Posted by: kent at February 10, 2004 6:31 AM

damn you ugly, girl!

I have every sympathy for the existential plight of the trans-gendered. I think it's sad that 99% of male trans-genders can hope at best to look like a kinda homely woman.

Posted by: cullen at February 10, 2004 6:52 AM

Incidentally and on behalf of your readers not privy to your personal itinerary, how long are you down south? Are you going to the game in Atlanta tonight you dog? Kiss the ground for me and mine. Bring home some biscuits.

Posted by: Alan at February 10, 2004 8:32 AM

Your buffet tale reminds me of an early adult introduction to the USA. Travelling from the Maritimes to Ontario, we are cutting the corner through New England and find ourselves after a 13 hour drive at a hotel near Berlin, Vt. [home of the Berlin Mall, the joke no one gets under 35]. We go into an all you can eat place nearby and we say "buffet" and I say "...and a beer". I was told "Sir, this is a family restaurant." My look may the voice-breaking teen dash away which made him miss the opportunity to hear a diatribe on the fact that in Canada beer time is family time. The error of that particular corporate policy was overcome by the batches of broiled sole that was being replenished bin by bin as soon as I could eat the stuff. Again, I was met with queer stares (the Maritime, 16th century usage of "queer", if you please) which again was met with the visage which is the middle finger.One question. Is there any place that the particular southern dish of biscuits and gravy is actually edible? I had it a couple of time hoping to find the romance and have only had the experice of eating wallpaper balled up covered in paste.

Posted by: Greg at February 10, 2004 3:54 PM

Alan,

I can attest that Biscuits & Gravy can be edible, and indeed, delicious. There's a restaurant in Carrboro (Chapel Hill's younger, less attractive cousin) called Crook's corner that prepares them quite well.

Hardees also used to have very good Biscuits & gravy, but I wouldn't count on a positive experience there unless stoned or drunk.

Posted by: Alan at February 10, 2004 6:47 PM

For you own well being, then, just avoid the biscuits and gravy of Irving Big Stops in Northern Maine.

Posted by: Julianna at February 10, 2004 6:48 PM

When are you going to call me back?

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