Sweet Farewell to Short Sugar’s #2

More bad news from the barbeconomy.  Just a few weeks after Lexington institution John Wayne’s Barbecue rode into the sunset, we learn that Short Sugar’s has closed their downtown Reidsville location.  Short Sugar’s has been in business since way back in 1949 on the outskirts of Reidsville and had operated a second, downtown location since ’58.  It’s always sad to see an old time BBQ restaurant close, and in this case doubly sad to lose a restaurant in the heart of a downtown.  The good news is that Short Sugar’s original Scales Street location is still going strong.

Porky’s Pulpit: Barbecue Sauce and Mental Health

A slew of articles, including this one, have reported the results of a recent study out of Canada that shows certain barbecue sauces are rich in antioxidants.  Leaving aside Canadians’ questionable credentials when it comes to barbecue (moose jaw anyone?), as well as the considerable waste of taxpayer money (not mine in this case, thankfully) inherent in funding such useless research, the study does lead to an interesting question.  The question is not, “Isn’t it wonderful that barbecue sauce may have some health benefits?”, but rather, “Who cares if it does?” 

Who cares whether the sauce on an unabashedly not-that-healthy food has some health benefits?  Our culture has grown increasingly obsessed with whether foods–from flax seed to chocolate to beer to steak–contribute to our physical health.  This trend bothers me for a few reasons:

  • It distracts from the obvious fact that as a culture we eat too much and exercise too little.  Until we resolve those issues, everything else is fairly irrelevant.
  • It implies that the pure enjoyment of food is suspect, that there must be some practical benefit in every bite we eat.  This is antithetical to the enjoyment of food and, at the risk of being overly dramatic, to human nature.
  • It puts an emphasis on “health” over quality.  Are we supposed to eat lousy, lazy oven-cooked ribs with a mass produced, highly processed yet antioxidant-rich sauce and feel good about ourselves?  And should we feel bad about eating a wood-cooked, presumably carcinogen-tainted plate of chopped pork covered in homemade but low antioxidant sauce?  Nonsense.

Maybe I am overreacting, since that’s what I do when inhabiting my Porky LeSwine persona, but this sort of madness needs to stop.  Eat a balanced diet, run around the yard with your kids every chance you get, and by all means enjoy your BBQ sandwich.

Changes to the Site

The editors of BBQJew.com would like to alert you to some recent changes to this site.  Most importantly, in response to overwhelming popular demand (thanks for your input, mom), we’ve added a new section called “The Joints.”  This section–click the tab at the middle top of the page–includes short descriptions of all the barbecue joints we’ve visited in NC, which should make it easier to browse for restaurant reviews.  Links to full reviews are provided where available. 

Other updates to the site include newly reorganized categories displayed in the right sidebar, simplified tags used for posts (left sidebar), and… well, that’s about it.  We hope the recent changes make the site more intuitive to navigate, but feel free to drop us a line if there are other changes or features you’d like.

Porky’s Pulpit: Were There BBQ Joints in Nazareth?

Thank you to Jay and Katherine, a husband-and-wife team who sent me the below picture of a fascinating tapestry.  According to Katherine, “The tapestry hangs in the Gallery of Tapestries in the Vatican Museum and is a picture of the Last Supper.  I think it was woven in the 1600s.”  Why is this artwork of particular interest, other than the obvious fact that it is Holy Week?  Well, this particular depiction of the Last Supper appears to feature a serving platter full of pig! 

Since I’ve never before seen a pig-positive depiction of the Last Supper, I’m curious to hear from any religious scholars who can help answer these questions: Are those really pigs featured on the platter?  And, if so, is it at all possible that swine might have been on the menu at the Last Supper given the number of, you know, Jews present?  Also, what might the pigs’ symbolic meaning, if any, be in this tapestry? 

Given Jesus was a Jew, one would expect he kept kosher.  Then again Jesus, you may have heard, was no ordinary Jew.  According to that holiest of holy website WikiAnswers, which is a decidely unscholarly source of information, there is some debate about whether Jesus indulged in treyf food like swine.  The evidence that Jesus might have eaten pork largely comes from him saying, “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man” (Matthew 15:11).  Whether this one passage can be interpreted to mean it is okay to eat pork and other “unclean” foods is not clear.  Anyone out there care to enlighten me? 

Last Supper tapestry, courtesy of Jay and Katherine Wilkerson