Word to the bbq-eating wise. If you’re gonna eat a pulled pork sandwich in Memphis, and you like your pork with the slaw on it, wear a shirt in the above color. Tumeric colored. Bold yellow. Some ‘o that slaw is gonna wind up on your shirt and they make it yellow there, the slaw. Boldly yellow.

I wore a yellow blotch face-front while in Memphis. Scratched off the worst of it and then lived with it.

We drove to Austin, Texas, and back, noodling from blue highways to red, and taking 3 weeks. Me and my dog. I don’t remember the year, but know that just as we were pulling away from the curb in front of the house my husband pressed a newly purchased cell phone into my hand through the car window. Had never had, or held, a cell prior. Musta been about 1994 or 5. The car was set to GO and we went.

Memphis is on the way to Austin from here. As are Knoxville, Nashville, Hot Springs and Dallas. Biloxi, Montgomery, Athens and Blowing Rock are all on the way back. Lots of good eating to be done. And sight seeing. Sight is right. We saw. We looked. Our eyes were open and opened. Insight and outsight. We were made of mesh and the world flowed in and out.

My Ida. She could leap tall buildings in her youth. One agile ~spring~. Wind up, then uncoil her hocks and she was UP, perched regally on the Graceland wall.

And then, she had to wait in the car, while I looked around inside. Later we ate bbq and she was appeased. So well built, dogs never drip slaw on their chests. Teeth, lips and tongue advance towards tasty bites and bits, beautifully.

Slaw. Pork. Dogs. Love. Gets me thinking.

Where would the sandwich universe be without mustard? In a lopsided, astronomically banal loop around the outer reaches of a black hole.

Mustard is the peacemaker. You got a sandwich. And that is good. But it is not quite right. Missing somethin’. And there is an abyss between you and that sandwich cause it lacks the punch to bring you to it. Mustard! That’s the punch. That’s the punctuation. Mustard will make you lean forward, scoop that sandwich up and make yourself one with it. A peaceful union.

These outfits both have the cred of history. Both are local, as in not owned by Kraft or similar, and both engender civic pride.


Weber’s is good anytime of the day, of course. My introduction was at 7 am on a cold sausage. Zooee mama, it was tasteee.

The last remaining mustard mill in the US is:


Ray’s is on in Eastport, Maine, way up north on the east coast near Canada. I wonder where those mustard seeds are grown. That’s a good question. Next up….mustard seed plantations, backyard plots and urban gardens.

4 responses to “Moooou-tarde!!!!

  1. When I lived in Memphis, Paynes’ was one of my favorite bbq places. I’ll have to dig up my picture and show it to you sometime!

  2. I didn’t know you lived in Memphis! What other joints do you recommend? Would love to see your pictures.

  3. I am biased by the name but Ellen’s really does have good soul food.
    From the NY Times:
    At Ellen’s Soul Food, 601 South Parkway Street, (901) 942-4888, a small, no-frills establishment in a ramshackle area of South Memphis, the friendly staff serves great home-cooked staples like chicken with cornbread dressing, candied yams and collard greens, ham hocks and oxtail. Ellen’s is especially busy on Sunday afternoons, when churchgoers stream in. Closed Monday. Lunch for two, with iced tea, $15.

    More bars (P&H, Young Ave. Deli, Earnestine & Hazel’s) than restaurants come to mind, I was much younger then, and I’ve forgotten most of the names of the restaurants I did like. However, another bbq place I remember is Little Pigs B-B-Q near the University of Memphis. They have the classic smiling/jolly pig on their sign that makes you want to bite right into it’s juicy bbq flesh! I think I have a picture of it too. Ahh, what a walk down memory lane!

  4. Oh yum! Time to get back to Memphis.

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