Do you have “the right stuff”? The mental fortitude of John Glenn, who sat coolly in the Mercury 7 spacecraft Friendship 7 moments before blasting off to orbit the Earth, with a recorded heart rate that never rose above what the average adult might experience while gardening? The physical stamina of Chuck Yeager, who exceeded transonic speed suffering from two broken ribs and emitting no more than what Tom Wolfe noted as a “faint chuckle”?
Lone Star Rock
Blue Dog and Bush
The importance of aroma is obvious to anyone who has ever attempted to eat while congested: when our sense of smell is compromised, much of our sense of taste goes with it. Given its significance, it is surprising that the aromatic component of most cocktails is an afterthought, often little more than a zest or peel of citrus.
It didn’t take me long to see the sights in the miniopolis of Coleman. On a meandering tour of the town of 4,500, a little southeast of Abilene, I cruised past the Shoppin’ Baskit, the county farm bureau, a pawn shop, a family dental center, a plethora of churches, and an even greater plethora of empty buildings. Near the square, I peered through rosebushes to spy on a black-and-white cat asleep on the porch of a once fine old house.
Three years ago, Tony Smith was happily committed to a desk job in finance. But his mind often wandered to childhood adventures in tinkering, like restoring a 1966 Corvette with his dad and learning to use the anvil he received for his twelfth birthday, when he had dreams of becoming a blacksmith. “My day job is a great job, but I wanted to reconnect with the ten-year-old version of myself, who spent all day outside, building forts and working with my hands,” says Smith.
Arriving in Galveston the morning after Memorial Day from flood-stricken Houston—part of a weather tirade that had left more than twenty dead and thousands displaced—I found the island in a state of sunny, even smug, tranquillity, as if history had reversed itself and we had returned to the halcyon days before the Great Storm of 1900, when the island ruled the Gulf Coast.
One afternoon in late May, I entered NorthPark Center, a sprawling, minimalist white-brick shopping mall that sits five miles north of downtown Dallas.
Chili and cornbread. Beans and cornbread. Stuffing with cornbread. The dish is in the cast of many menus, but it always gets stuck in the supporting role. No doubt cornbread’s long history (think hardscrabble predecessors like ash cakes) and cornmeal’s ubiquity in the diet of our forebears led some to take it for granted.