Meals to Die By, no. 4

Today we continue the lesson on getting rid of the evidence. If you’ll recall last month we learned how to choose and dispose of a murder weapon. This month our class takes a very macabre turn, but it’s too delectable to pass up.

Cannibalism, unintentional or intentional, often makes its way into the crime and thriller genre. It’s inherent gruesomeness means cannibalism also makes its way into other genres even if the word is never said.

Some people have not watched Fried Green Tomatoes. This visual faux pas seems hard to believe since the movie plays almost constantly on cable. Real quick, for those people, the pertinent details for this post — the abusive husband is accidentally killed, his body needs to be gotten rid of, it is implied that he is barbecued and then fed to the detective investigating his disappearance.

I’m not sure if anyone I know has read the book, including myself. I checked it out, just to see what it’s like (i.e. to make sure the same scene and line is also in the book). Scanning through the chapters and lines, I spotted it.

“…secret’s in the sauce.”

There is a slight possibility that I like the movie just because of the food. This is precisely the kind of runaway success I don’t like reading because two hours seventeen minutes of sentimental storytelling is my limit. In the end that’s what this is — a sentimental story covered up with the, all important, flavors of comedy and murder. I mean come on, death, abuse, disabled children, racism and especially cancer. At this time I would like to make a request that some author write a sanguine story where a main character does not die of cancer especially as there are many deadly and depressing diseases available to choose from. Please and thank you.

Like all excellent mysteries we are left wondering did that really happen? In the interest of crazy storytelling I would like to believe yes. In the interest of continuing to eat out at restaurants I would like to believe that no one would do that and he was instead fed to the fish when they pushed his car into the lake. Even if they did chop up and bbq Frank Bennett he ended up in the scrap heap of discarded uneaten meat.

My own BBQ sauce flavored spicy black bean burgers with pickles and caramelized onions. A delicious use of BBQ sauce.

Since no research is too much to take on for my readers I spent some minutes perusing library shelves for the perfect sauce.  Much is written about the regional styles. And I certainly thought I should be true to this. But, then there’s the appeal of the fancier ones. In the end it was the internet that once again made the decision for me. As a runaway success there is a novel, a movie and a cookbook and the library had all three. After looking through several online book sites I deducted that the inspiration for the Whistlestop Cafe is a real restaurant called the Irondale Cafe. On one site I found a book written by the owner’s of the cafe . Much more common, though, was the book by Fannie Flagg featuring recipes from the Irondale Cafe.

In the recipe I’m not sure if 1 thick slice lemon/onion means only one slice or if it means one whole lemon/onion, thickly sliced. I opted for a whole one and then decided to double the rest of the ingredients. Also, instead of discarding the onion I tossed them into the same skillet that had just caramelized the other onions. I thought they were pretty tasty.

Aunt Bess’s Barbecue Sauce

from Fannie Flagg’s Original Whistlestop Cafe Cookbook

½ cup water
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup butter
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon mustard
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon chili pepper
1 thick slice lemon
1 thick slice onion
½ cup ketchup

Combine all ingredients except ketchup in a pot over high heat. Bring to boil. Reduce, cover and simmer about 20 minutes. Take out lemon and onion. Stir in ketchup. Done.

One thought on “Meals to Die By, no. 4

  1. Brynne:

    Keep it coming. The text is very well written and intriguing. My own BBQ sauce is pretty much the same only in winter I boil the ribs cut 4 inches long for 1/2 hour, stain & drain the fat off, and bake them bone up at 180 C. for half an hour. After, I turn them for 8-10 minutes painted with a 2 inch brush from the hardware store of pig bristles ( from China of course = a throw away so cheap ). My sauce is quite much the same as yours, however I never measure or count and let God enter into the material like a painting. MY difference is that I substitute the chilli peper for McIlhenney Co green pepper (tabasco) sauce as my insides get older.Thanks for keeping to your calling !! Garner Tullis


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