Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day 9 Changing the world one piece of cornbread at a time

Our second day in Nashville began with a hunt for an Americano and a laundrymat. . .yes it was time to wash the jeans (and see if they still fit! LOL) we also wanted to find a little spot we read about in the guide book, but of course when we almost found it we realised we were too early, it didn't open till 10:30.  DUH!  It was very cool to explore the neighbourhood by Vanderbilt University though and it was packed with students and there were cute little shops and such all around.  The weather, after yesterday's tornado like winds was COLD, the first time I had to use my coat and jacket all trip!  About 5 degrees!  We did find a bustling little spot called FIDO that was full of students.  They took your order and you paid at the front counter then you got a little dog plaque for them to come and find you to give you your meal.  Each plaque was different and it was a customers dog and their story, why they were the best dog etc.  Super cute!  The food was delicious and simple and some of the people were SUPER interesting. . .the guys that sat down after us were wearing berets, had their shirts unbuttoned to almost their waists and moustaches and hairy chests. .  very 70's and hilarious. . wish I had snuck a photo!

Fido id

Fido, worth a visit if in Nashville
 We then spent an hour doing some laundry at a local student place and it was nice to be near the dryer on such a cold day!  The humidity in the air makes the cold feel colder than it really is!  We then got out the guidebook to hit a local landmark, Swett's.  Swett's is a Southern restaurant started in 1954 and was the first minority owned restaurant in the city!  A complete success story, Swett's now owns the market, gas station and land around it.  The wall are adorned with celebrity photos and well wishes.  After seeing the National Civil Rights Museum (see blog day 10) we can really appreciate how difficult this was to do for a black southern family in 1954.

 What you do is hit up the cafeteria line with your tray and the usual is to pick "a meat and three or a meat and two."  ("veggies.")  Southern "veggies" tend to all be cooked with some sort of pork and include: collard greens, turnip greens, mashed potatoes, white beans, green beans, and mac n cheese (veggie?)  The meat choices were fried chicken, beef tips in brown gravy, breaded pork chops, whole catfish, pulled pork etc.  You then get to choose yeast rolls, corn bread, or fried corn bread. . . .This is soul food and yes it was delicious but not good for your waistline, even if it is disguised as a "veggie."

"Changing the world, one piece of cornbread at a time"
 The server was super fun and did a little pose for me!  I guess I am not the only paparazzi that shows up to Swett's!
turnip greens, mac n cheese, beef tips, cornbread, peach cobbler, and ice tea

pulled pork, greens, white beans, bbq sauce, and chow chow: relish to eat with the pork
white bean "veggie" dish. . . see that big chunk of bacon?  No wonder these people eat up all their veggies!!

We then figured we'd see the Parthenon, a full scale replica of the Parthenon in Greece!  It was first built in 1897 for a world exposition of plaster and then re-constructed in permanent materials in 1921.  There is a 42 foot statue of Athena inside!  Hmmmm a little weird but I guess Nashville was considered the Athens of the South because of its history of pushing higher classical education back in the 1800's.

Athena. . . covered in gold leaf: one of the FAQ: Why is she so gaudy? Answer: The artist figured that's what she looked like.
We then headed out to Murfreesboro, Tennessee to meet James' Uncle Alan who he hadn't seen in 25 years.  It was great to have a beer and head for dinner to a local Italian chain Demo's.  James also got to see and hear a little more family history.  Check out the photo below of James's grandparents and Great Uncle and Aunt.  He had never seen this picture!
James and Uncle Alan and a Liverpool train

James' Granddad who died in WWII (center) and his Grandma (center) on their wedding day.  James now wears the ring his Granddad William Cuff wore on this day.  Super cool to learn the history!

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