So. I'm a graduate of what you could now officially call the nation's worst school system. What to do?
That’s the Barbeque Kitchen of College Park. Serving it up southern style for 40 years. Scene of my 30th birthday party. We figured it would be a cheap enough meal to ensure a big turnout. Our family would appreciate the southside location and our transplant friends would find the whole thing exotic. The owner, who knew both my dad and Mug’s dad from Forest Park days, visited all the tables, reminding everyone that Sunday is banana pudding day. It was a classic stumptown hoedown!
I’ve never actually tried the BBQ here. Mug can’t get past the fried catfish on the bone and I’m attempting to master the 4-veggie plate. They have this nonsense offer on all-you-can eat veggies, where you can pick a new item each time you clean your plate. Here’s a list of the sides I’ve been able to critique over the course of several meals at the BK of CP:
Mac & Cheese – Always gets eaten first.
Fried Okra – Second place finisher.
Pole Beans – Broad haricots verts, plus bacon.
Creamed Corn – Tastes fresh, not canned.
Okra & Tomatoes – Tangy! They managed to sneak bacon in these too.
Navy Beans – These are the white ones, simmered to a buttery mush.
Peach Cobbler – Slimy with a hint of nutmeg.
Mashed Potatoes – Mug says they’re the real deal.
Baked Apples – How great that I can get baked apples outside of November.
Cornbread & Biscuits – Don’t make me choose between them.
Collard Greens – Too bitter and swampy for me.
Rutabagas – Looks like applesauce, tastes like turnips.
Banana Pudding – Turns brown under the heat lamp. I believe it should be pale and chilled.
Yellow Squash – I have an aversion to yellow squash in general.
If you grew up in Stumptown, you've probably heard stories about our brush with Hollywood fame: the filming of Smokey & The Bandit, circa 1975. Everybody knew somebody who's car was in a scene. Shot on location in Jonesboro, Fayetteville, McDonough and the Lakewood Fairgrounds, the film captures a lot of southside flavor in the background. I usually study '70s movies for the interiors and hairstyles, but this one's all about the exteriors.
To: Chick-fil-A Cares
Subject: Chick-fil-A Web Form Message
Today I was having lunch at the counter at the original Dwarf House and ordered a side salad. I watched as my server grabbed a pre-packaged salad from the fridge, dumped it on a plate and tossed the plastic container in the garbage. Throughout my short meal, I watched this same action several times and was astonished at the amount of wasted of plastic. It seems like the container, which is never actually presented to a guest, could just as well be made of paperboard or something that won't live as long in a landfill. Those containers are going to survive our great-grandkids!
The styrofoam cups worry me too. Chic-fil-A gives the impression of a premium brand in most ways, but smart, "green" packaging ain't one of them. I just wanted to let you know that your customers care about the environment and don't want any guilt spoiling an otherwise perfect lunch! Thanks!
From: Chick-fil-A CARES
Sent: Aug 1, 2008
Subject: RE: Chick-fil-A Web Form Message
Dear Ms. Palmer:
Thank you for taking the time to contact Chick-fil-A. Our customers are very important to us, and we appreciate their comments, questions and suggestions. The plastic clamshell now used for this Salad protects the product better and keeps it fresher. Please rest assured that your comments regarding this packaging will be forwarded to the appropriate parties within Chick-fil-A.
In addition, we share your concerns regarding the environment. Although customer feedback reveals that the majority of our customers favor the type and style of packaging that we use, we are constantly looking for more economically and more ecologically sound alternatives. Our polystyrene containers (drink cups) have never been produced using chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and are, therefore, ozone safe. Foam products are more easily recycled than plastic, coated, or treated paper products.
Unfortunately, there is a misconception that paper food service containers are easily recyclable. In order to be used as food containers, paper must be treated or coated in some way. For instance, most cups are either coated with wax or a polyethylene film. Even though it is possible to recycle paper if the coating or film is removed, it is, for all practical purposes, unrealistic to do that. Biodegradability is another issue of concern. Contrary to popular belief, landfills are not giant compost heaps, where contents rapidly degrade. Research has shown that paper buried in landfills does not biodegrade very quickly. Therefore, there is no advantage in using paper over foam if the issue is biodegradability.
We do appreciate your business and want to please you as well as all our other customers. To the best of our ability, we make our decision on that basis; however, it is sometimes difficult to please everyone with everything we do. Thank you again for your time and interest and look forward to seeing you in one of our local Chick-fil-A restaurants soon.
Chick-fil-A...We Didn't Invent The Chicken,
Just The Chicken Sandwich.
To: Chick-fil-A CARES
Date: Aug 1, 2008
Thanks for your response.
I took the time to write you about my concerns not because I'm a complainer, but because I actually care about Chic-fil-A and see this as a big opportunity for you guys to lead and innovate. Fast food companies that successfully implement eco-friendly packaging are going to be hailed as leaders in quality, design AND ethics... It's going to be a huge win/win for both CFA and for the customers. and for the planet, of course.
I love drinking iced tea in those styrene cups too, but would happily trade them for an alternative that doesn't come with the environmental pricetag... a pricetag that includes production costs and shipping, not just recycling and landfill space.
The problem with your defense of polystyrene as “more easily recyclable" is that there is no clear recycling program in your restaurants. That's part of my original comment... I was "dining in" and was still served with disposables, all of which ended up in the dumpster. Why not serve with the reusable dishes that are already there? Or install bins with signage that makes it easy for both waitstaff and customers to recycle?
Chic-fil-A customers are a loyal bunch, so give us some credit. Rather than mourning the old packaging, we'll celebrate when CFA steps up to this challenge with the same commitment to quality and ethics they show in every other area of business.
East Point, GA
This is a photo of a photo of the old East Point public pool, just down the street from my house, circa early ‘50s. Wasn’t it glorious? Look at all those white people, young and old, swimmers and sunbathers and people-watchers. And the pool is huge! I couldn’t even fit the whole thing in one shot. On a weekend like this past weekend, a string of muggy days in the mid-nineties, a pool like that would be a treasure.
But this pool, like many others in Atlanta was shut down, filled in, and otherwise destroyed during the era of desegregation. In its place there now stands the East Point Historical Society, where I found the photo, above.
I spent my Saturday morning here instead of poolside. It’s another old house that was moved to a new location and reassembled for historical purposes. It seem like putting the museum on this spot would be kind of like building a house on a sacred Indian burial ground or something. I’m one one of the hot, sweaty residents, robbed of a pool, that came back to haunt the place.
This cemetery is almost hidden under I-85 off Cleveland Ave, like a secret garden.
I can be a bit over-dramatic, referring to vague and forgotten places as “non-places." Turns out there’s a name for some of these communities: a CDP!
"Census Designated Places are identified by the U.S. Census Bureau for statistical purposes. CDPs are communities that lack a separate municipal government, but which otherwise physically resemble incorporated places."
In addition to cities and unincorporated places, I was enchanted to discover that Clayton County has 3 CDPs: Conley, Irondale and Bonanza. I might name my first 3 children after them. Because they might get teased for a name like "Stumptown."