American Wasteland

Riddle me this, loyal readers: what do you call someone who splits his time between writing about eating barbecue and writing about not wasting food?  Confused? A hypocrite? Maybe even a hero? All three, perhaps, but I just call him The Rib Rabbi. 

My BBQJew.com co-author The Rib Rabbi moonlights as the author of Wasted Food.com, blogging under what I can only assume is a pseudonym, “Jonathan Bloom.”  His first book, American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It), was released yesterday.  That means The Rib Rabbi, or at least his alter ego Jonathan, is now a published author.  Sure, it’s not as impressive as being a barbecue blogger, but it’s something.  

Since BBQJew.com pays even its senior staff poorly, do The Rib Rabbi a favor and buy a copy of American Wasteland.  After all, he needs some pocket change to spend on barbecue.  Oh, and don’t worry, avoiding food waste and eating copious amounts of barbecue are completely compatible… right “Jonathan”?

Like A Pig Needs a Bicycle?

“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”  So goes the famous feminist quote often incorrectly attributed to Gloria Steinem. While women may not need men, and fish may not need bicycles, pigs need both.  At least that was the sense on the streets of Lexington on Saturday. 

Women and men alike participated in the 19th annual Tour de Pig, a bicycle race that is affiliated with The Barbecue Festival.  See full coverage of the Tour de Pig, including photos and video footage, in this Lexington Dispatch article.  And stay tuned for The Barbecue Festival itself, which takes place on October 23rd.

Flood Causes Soggy Bunn’s, While Fire Burns Rick’s Pits

This week we learned of a double dose of barbecue bad news.  Down east the recent flooding hit Bunn’s Barbecue in Windsor hard.  According to an AP article, the well known 72 year old BBQ joint located in a former gas station was damaged by flood water and may need to be rebuilt.  Here’s to hoping they get back in business quickly.  In the meantime, best of luck to the Bunn’s Barbecue family.

Meanwhile, a fire that started in the joint’s pits gutted Rick’s Smokehouse Barbecue Restaurant in Welcome.  According to the Lexington Dispatch, “A number of restaurant employees hugged one another and cried as they stood in the parking lot not long after the fire was brought under control.”  The owner, Rick Mathews, said the joint is “essentially destroyed” but he wants to rebuild and hopes his insurance policy covers much of the damage.  We hope so too!

Readers, please leave any suggestions for how to help Bunn’s and Rick’s out if you hear more about what they need to rebuild.  There is a long tradition in North Carolina of folks pitching in when barbecue joints run into unexpected problems so maybe there is something past, present and future customers can do to help out.

Festival Trifecta This Weekend

Looking for something to do this weekend?  Whether you head east or to the heart of the state, you’ll find yourself deliciously close to barbecue.  
 
The Pork Jam 2010 BBQ Festival takes place about 45 minutes north of Greensboro in the little town of Pelham.  The event is scheduled for Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 pm. Located at 4895 Old US 29 in Pelham, the event benefits the community by supporting the Pelham Volunteer Fire Department.  There will be arts and crafts (over 50 vendors in ’08 and ’09), kids’ games/rides, face painting, hay rides, clowns (run for your lives, children!), door prizes, and live gospel, rock, country, beach, and bluegrass music. Oh yeah, and there will be fresh BBQ and stew served all day long and cooked by the volunteer firemen.  Free admission and parking. For more info or to be a vendor (if it’s not too late), please email porkjam@bellsouth.net.
 
A little ways to the north and west, the 2nd annual Future Legends of BBQ festival takes place in Flat Rock on Saturday. The event features a youth cooking competition (meaning the youth do the cooking, not get cooked, I think), along with live bluegrass, face painting, appearances by barbecue celebrities like Mike Mills, and more.  Admission is $5.
 
Meanwhile, down in Rocky Mount the Eastern Carolina BBQ Throw Down, a part of the Down East Festival, celebrates its third year.  The KCBS-sanctioned cooking competition runs from Friday through Saturday. Related events include cooking demonstrations, people’s choice judging, BBQ for sale (of course!), a beer garden, music and more.  The event is free to the public. Visit the website for more info, including a complete event schedule. Also, see the Governor’s proclamation, in which Gov. Perdue proclaims October 8-9 “as the EASTERN CAROLINA BBQ THROW DOWN in North Carolina and urge[s] all citizens to commend its observance.”  Better not disobey the Governor, even if her last name is synonymous with poultry rather than pigs. 

Eat Pig, Help the Masonic Home for Children

The Freemasons are at it again.  But this time you can put the conspiracy theories out of your mind, as there are no The Da Vinci Code-like plot twists involved in their upcoming BBQ fundraiser. 

Hiram No.40 Masonic Lodge will be holding its annual BBQ fundraiser this Friday, October 8th from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. to benefit the NC Masonic Home for Children.  Barbecue will be prepared by the award winning competition cookers of the Lodge and will be sold to the public for $7 a plate.  These boys take their BBQ seriously, as they even organize an annual cooking competition called the Carolina Pig Jig.  So, get yourself a plate of ‘cue for a cause.

The fundraiser takes place at the Lodge at 1520 Caswell Street in Raleigh.  Learn more about the event here.

School What?

It recently came to the Rib Rabbi’s attention (after reading a blog post) that an entire generation of young Americans are being duped. Their rightful inheritance of the noble tradition of barbecue is being bastardized by school board shortcomings and shenanigans.

A teacher named, coincidentally enough, “Mrs. Q” is eating school lunch along her students at a midwestern school this year (she’s intentionally vague). She blogs about the experience on Fed Up With Lunch, and in a recent post she reported that her cafeteria served something called “Rib-B-Que.”  She’d written about this all-beef patty smothered in cloying barbecue sauce before.

These are not ribs.

Nor is it barbecue.

Shame on you, lunch ladies!

Pity the poor children. For their sake and our nation’s, I think it’s time we right this barbecue wrong. Let’s call a spade a spade a beef patty a beef patty. At least a few of the kids already do, as Mrs. Q reports:

I think somebody is trying to be creative with the “rib-b-que” meat (the illusion of variety), but the kids aren’t fooled. I asked one of my students “What did you have for lunch today?” and he replied, “A hamburger.”