Barbeque Update

I haven't written much about food since I fired Mrs. Ramfanatic and I'm now beginning to have second thoughts about letting her go. I should have learned from 30 years in Personnel Administration (Human Resources) that when you let someone go for unsatisfactory performance, the chances are slim that their replacement will be any better. And then you have the problem of no performance until you can locate a replacement.

I don't miss working with people in an organized sense. I, however, love working and interacting with people on a personal basis I thoroughly enjoyed personnel work for the first 15 years, but the nature of jobs in Human Resources changed dramatically. I sure am glad I don't have to come up with policies and procedures for enforcement of those policies to prevent employees from visiting porn sites while at work. One experience with employee telephones calls to porn sites was enough for me.

Let's talk about something more pleasant. I was watching TV this morning when they aired a segment that I later learned has been ongoing for the entire week about barbecue. The segments have dealt with barbecue in various parts of the country and, as luck would have it, I was tuned in on the day they featured North Carolina. They had previously done Tennessee and Texas and one other one that I can't remember since I didn't see them. Seems like it was Arkansas where McClards BBQ is so popular.

The guest from N.C. was a gentleman by the name of Tabb ( didn't we have a football player named Tabb several years ago? ) who has won many BBQ contests. They didn't say where he was from in N.C. but the unusual thing about Mr. Tabb was that his very attractive daughter was with him and she has a BBQ team of solely females. She explained that female BBQ teams do not exist in large numbers, but that the numbers are increasing. According to Mr. Tabb, the daughter's team won the N.C. Championship a couple of weeks ago. Those of you who are in N.C. probably know a lot more about this than I do but I found it interesting that N.C. was getting some good national publicity on the NBC program.

Al Roker, one of the co-hosts of the program committed a faux pas earlier in the program when he mentioned that there were two kinds of BBQ in N.C. Vinegar based in eastern N.C. and as you moved west in the state, mustard based, according to Roker. Katie Couric later explained that mustard based BBQ is South Carolina and that tomato based is the 2nd popular kind of BBQ in N.C. Roker's foul up would have been enough to start a good brawl down where I used to visit in the summer, and I almost saw one the one time I attended the N.C. BBQ Championships at the N.C. State Fairgrounds back in the early 80s.

The Tabbs showed how they prepared the pork and explained the cuts of meat they were using. Matt Lauer snuck up and pulled a piece of the BBQ off the cooked portion before they even pulled or chopped the rest. Some of you may not know that Matt Lauer used to work in TV Richmond and married the daughter of a UNC alum. They are no longer married to each other, but both seem to be doing quite well. Nancy Alspaugh now lives in California and her father, Frank Alspaugh, informed me recently that she has had a book published.

By the way, you probably didn't know that I have written a book. I have to say that with a grin because it isn't really a written book. I have had all the articles I have written bound with a fancy cover so I could playfully refer to myself as an author. To play out this fantasy even further, I think I will check and see what is required to have it placed in the Library of Congress so there will be no doubt that I am an authentic "author." Please take the above with a grain of salt. Sometimes I like to do things just for the experience. I don't have to be told that I'm not a real author since I already know that.

Haven't gotten back to Suffolk for some more of Herb's BBQ but I do hope to make it soon. I have visited Andy's in Richmond which is one of my favorites and I plan to go by Double T's soon when I visit the Byrd Theatre. I desperately want to hear the pipe organ which rises out of the floor, but they only play the organ on weekends. I've always loved pipe organs, but I was born a little too late to enjoy them when they were at the peak of their popularity. Did you know that the oldest pipe organ still in operation in the U.S. is in Winston-Salem and they have just awarded a contract to a firm in Staunton to completely overhaul it. I want to visit the folks in Staunton someday to see what they have up there. By the way, the largest pipe organ in the U.S. is at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Before I found this out, I would have guessed Salt Lake City, Utah and the Mormon Tabernacle but what do I know.

BBQ and pipe organs. That's a combination, isn't it? One of the pleasures in pursuing my hobbies is that they don't have to make sense and things don't have to have a rational connection for me to group them together. A young friend of mine and I are assembling a metal model of a "hemi" engine. Bet those of you who are not auto enthusiasts don't know what a "hemi" is, but I bet you have seen the Dodge ads where hemi is the star. How bout that little boy who is asked if he can say hemi and he let's it fly.. We're going to do an internal combustion engine model after we finish the hemi.

Went to the Raleigh-Durham Airport this past week for the first time in 33 years. I wasn't prepared for what I found and I will share my impressions later. Got a terrific meal at Nunnary-Freeman BBQ in Henderson on the way back to Richmond.