Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Gone with the Wind published on this day in 1936

Gone with the Wind was published on this day in 1936. Every Southern girl of my generation knows the story well. And as we know today, and here I am quoting a source on the Internet: "Many historians regard the book as having a strong ideological commitment to the cause of the Confederacy and a romanticized view of the culture of the antebellum South."

Whatever you think about the book, Southerners know it well so I thought some background trivia would be appropriate today.

"As several elements of Gone with the Wind have parallels with Margaret Mitchell's own life, her experiences may have provided some inspiration for the story. Mitchell's understanding of life and hardship during the American Civil War, for example, came from elderly relatives and neighbors passing war stories to her generation.

While Margaret Mitchell used to say that her Gone with the Wind characters were not based on real people, modern researchers have found similarities to some of the people in Mitchell's own life as well as to individuals she knew or she heard of.

Mitchell's maternal grandmother, Annie Fitzgerald Stephens, was born in 1845; she was the daughter of an Irish immigrant, who owned a large plantation on Tara Road in Clayton County, south of Atlanta, and who married an American woman named Ellen, and had several children, all daughters.

Researchers believed Rhett Butler to be based on Mitchell's first husband, Red Upshaw. She divorced him after she learned he was a bootlegger. Other historical evidence suggests the Butler character to be based on George Trenholm, a famous blockade-runner.

Martha Bulloch Roosevelt, the mother of US president Theodore Roosevelt may have been an inspiration for Scarlett O'Hara. Roosevelt biographer David McCullough discovered that Mitchell, as a reporter for The Atlanta Journal, conducted an interview with one of Martha's closest friends and bridesmaid, Evelyn King Williams, then 87. In that interview, she described Martha's physical appearance, beauty, grace, and intelligence in great detail. The similarities between Martha and the Scarlett character are striking."

Tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Evolution of a Tomato

(This was an email sent to my kids and a few others and one of those "others" asked me to share on the blog.) 

Okay.  You may find this trivial ...but, I'm so proud of this tomato because I grew it and it was a solitary, independent enterprise. And, this is the prettiest tomato I've ever seen: perfect in size, shape, color. 


Not the first time I've been involved in tomato growing but this time it was just me doing the planting and growing, watering and watching.  You recall I'm a BFFG (bona fide farm girl) and my childhood summers were a glorious mix of tractor-driving, sand-dune excursions (looking for and finding arrowheads) and vegetable-growing and picking.  Mom kept tiny salt shakers and we'd pull tomatoes off the vine and eat them right there in the garden.  I also remember that at least one time we drove to town and sold produce on the street corner in tiny Hugoton, Kansas.  Mom canned those tomatoes so Dad would have them for his fried potatoes in the winter months.  She also made ketchup in addition to the canning, and jelly and jam processing.  What an industrious, talented and smart woman!  


Well, I must give you the facts on this particular tomato.  It weighed in at 10oz, 3 3/4" in diameter and retained the prettiest little crown of green stem, with not a blemish on its shiny red surface.  And, get this:  Its texture upon eating is firm and has that "just right" tomato taste.  


I'd been dreading the thought of taking the knife to this tomato.  I just didn't want to cut it; I wanted to find a county fair and put it on exhibit and win the 1st place Purple Ribbon.  But, this was the day to experience it's culinary glory ... just right for eating...so I had to do it.   


Sorry you can't be here to have a tomato and mayonnaise sandwich.