Thursday, September 16, 2010

Political Correctness and Pie Revisited on Highway 61

Mammy’s Cupboard
555 Highway 61 South
Natchez, MS
Visited August 20, 2010

Beer selection: None.

Food: Sandwiches and homemade pie.

I discovered another nail in America’s coffin today.

It’s sad to know that political correctness has infiltrated even this obscure southwestern-most corner of the great state of Mississippi.

Yep, hard against the Mississippi River and the Louisiana state line, not far from the swamp where those great purveyors of the Southern battle cry, Lynyrd Skynyrd, went down in ball of metal and fire, the easily offended have desecrated a road-side institution.

Out here, just south of Natchez, along that same Highway 61 immortalized in countless blues songs by everyone from Mississippi Fred McDowell to Bob Dylan, has sat for 70 years one of this country’s most famous examples of vernacular architecture – Mammy’s Cupboard.

Mammy’s Cupboard is a giant 30 foot statue of a “mammy” that happens to double as a great restaurant.

What is a “mammy”, your inquisitive little Yankee mind may wonder?

Well, a mammy is a black maid.

If your idea of the Deep South is Philadelphia, let me focus your mind a little better. Think Aunt Jemima.

Some critics of Southern culture find irony in the fact that so many white southerners were raised, clothed, fed and even nursed by mammies. And not just rich whites either. Many southerners, poor, rich and middle-class grew up with mammies or black farm hands as part of their families.

For many, mammies are as much a part of growing up southern as biscuits and honeysuckle.

So I find it sad that someone in the last decade or so decided it was a good idea to scale to the summit of Mammy’s Cupboard with some vaguely mish-mashed can of flesh-colored paint and genetically alter “Mammy”.

Sad to say, the modern day “Mammy” is some politically correct, ethnically vague symbol of what happens when someone spends too much time worrying about what some other hypothetical person might hypothetically think.

She now looks kind of like what you might expect the grandchild of a family consisting of Barack Obama, Lucy Liu, Tiger Woods and Jennifer Lopez to produce.

Only, probably not as good looking.

Oh, well. Such is life in modern America. Even in Natchez, Mississippi, for cripe’s sake.

I wasn’t going to let a little political correctness run amok stop me from eating. I was hungry, after all.

I opened the door to Mammy’s hoop skit and entered a tranquil little diner serving chicken pot pie and a variety of sandwiches.

Places like this don’t serve beer. That usually means I drink tap water.

Yeah, beer and tap water. That about sums up the list of what I drink.

But Mammy’s Cupboard had something different I had to try on this blazing hot South Mississippi August day.

Blueberry lemonade.

Yeah, don’t give me any grief. You wouldn’t pass that up either.

It was deliciously sweet. Like purple-colored lemonade – served in an old fashioned Ball brand mason jar.

My simple ham and cheese sandwich was made interesting by a bit of sweet muscadine mayonnaise. A little home-made potato salad and a cup of vegetable beef soup came on the side.

But the best Mammy has to offer is definitely saved for last.


My chocolate meringue pie was incredible. The super sweet chocolate counterbalanced by an obscene mound of fluffy meringue. An ideal meal capper on a hot summer day.

My initial depression over the desecration of one of this country’s great road-side attractions (right up there with the Cadillac Ranch and the Giant Ball of Twine) dissipated as I stumbled out of Mammy’s skirt with stomach full.

She may be yet another victim of the times, but Mammy can sure make a heck of a pie.

Rating: Seriously Thought About Buying Shirt

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