March 31, 2005

High Heeled and High at Highlands

Anne hit it dead on in comments -- the place with the fantastic grits was INDEED Highlands, and I PACKED myself with appetizers and had to take most of my fabulous duck home. There were these OYSTERS, fried oysters. The folks who had eaten aty Highlands before ordered an array of appetizers at the start, and they ordered TWO platters of these things. Between you and me, oh my best beloveds, I was unimpressed with fried oysters as a choice. Fried oysters, to me, are what my son always wanted when he was two and we took him to his FAVORITE eatery, "The Red Lopper."

I WAS A FOOL. These oysters... It was as if they were not shellfish at all, but rather supremely talented young acting students in a hard-to-get-into workshop led by a tiny little woman in a dirndle and thick glasses who had them all on the floor with their eyes closed as she chanted, "BE VELVETY! YOU MUST PERSONIFY VELVETNESS AND SILKEN FLAVORFUL BURSTING" at them, and every single oyster was doing the exercise like Kevin Spacey on a good day. Like Meryl Streep on ANY day. Each little acting oyster was a FUTURE STAR destined for Oscars and Tony Awards and Celebrity Roasts, or in this case, celebrity Deep Friers and garlic mayonnaise.

My cold had abated a little by evening so I was able to appreciate them. I was breathing on two cylinders, but I was ---and I know you will find this hard to believe ---I was the TEENIEST bit spastic. I claim "High on Echinacea." And also Theraflu Cold Formula which they say is NON-DROWSY by which they mean, "SO non-drowsy you might as well snort crank." (ASIDE: The service at Highlands was fantastic, considering I marched in buzzing on these meds and crippled half their staff by first falling off my predictably ridiculous strappy BUT SO PRETTY black sandals and landing on a waiter and then I threw open the door to the bar and the door swung A LOT MORE EASILY then I thought it would, very fast, very hard, and took out the host. *sigh* Grace in motion!)

ANYWAY like I said, I was a little buzzy-quick-like-a-bunny on my over-counter-cold-crank, and there were these Warner Tote bags at everyone's chair with a copy of the book and a little bottle of Jack (because Jack Daniel's IS undisputably one of the gods in Alabama, and also if you challenged my narrator to an old fashioned duel---and in such cases the challenged gentleperson has the choice of weapon and other details---she would undoubtably pick 'liquor bottles at midnight") AND also a copy of the BOOKPAGE MAGAZINE that contains the FABULOUS interview and review of gods that Jay MacDonald (who is a very good writer in his own right) wrote. (Hey it's a very funny, smart article. If you want to read it, Books-A-Million has it up in the EDITOREAL REVIEW section on the gods in Alabama page I would link to it if I could get links to work. GRRR. But THERE IS A LINK TO IT RIGHT HERE ON THIS PAGE! All you have to do is hit that link to Books-A-Million that is to your left, under the teeny little cover image.)


The point being, I was VERY excited to see the paper copy of that review (my Mom REALLY wanted a copy. Um yeah. My mom. That's my story and I am sticking with it) so I...I hesitate to say "SQUEALED," not because it isn't true (because, LORD HELP ME I DID, I SQUEALED) but I hesitate to say so because every now and again I get the urge to try to retain a teeny scraplike, lacy, besmirched tatter of personal dignity, but, okay well, if we consider that a lost cause, then the ugly, plucked bald, pink truth is... I squealed. Like a delighted piglet. And everyone kinda LOOKED AT ME for a second and the echinacea granted me the power of MIND READING and I saw some variation of the exact same thought in every brain: "Ooooooooooooookay. She must have REALLY been jonesing for a FREE TOTE BAG."

So I explained the squeal, the magazine, the review blah blah, and then the tote bag sort of became a joke and I had a great time. REALLY a great time. I had such a good time that even if the oysters had not been there to act as a life-altering religious experience, I STILL would have given the whole evening two thumbs up. YAY.

By the way, for those keeping score? T minus 13 days. I'm just saying.

Posted by joshilyn at March 31, 2005 10:19 AM

Quick like a bunny! Get that review to your "mom" so she can squeal like a piglet!

Yay!!! 13 days and counting ;-)

1st post ;-P

Posted by: Beth at March 31, 2005 10:36 AM

Oh, I can see why you squealed! I just read the review and I am panting to get my copy of the book. PANTING, I tell you!

Posted by: Aimee at March 31, 2005 10:54 AM

Is it wrong if I'm starting to want to become a writer FOR THE FOOD? I'm just saying...

Posted by: Amy at March 31, 2005 12:46 PM

Is anyone sending Frank and Pardis your description of the oysters? Not your standard food review, but so EXACTLY right. And witty!

I'm a duck lady too. I could talk about food all day, as people will find out on my 100 Things if i can every whittle it down from 103.

Keep sharing your meals in cyberspace. Anne

Posted by: "Anne" at March 31, 2005 6:41 PM

Holy guacamole, Joss, I just happened to check your sales ranking at Amazon (THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT, I am vicariously living YOUR mental illness!) and it's in the 2000s. Not even OUT yet and--just for comparison purposes, you understand--it's already ranked higher than GONE WITH THE WIND.

You rock.

Posted by: Mir at March 31, 2005 7:15 PM

I SAW a huge ad! YAY!


Posted by: littlemisscantbewrongever at March 31, 2005 8:42 PM

I'm an assistant editor at BookPage, and we were so glad to be able to feature you and your novel in our April issue. I thought I would let you know that the interview is now posted at our website as well (link is below). Best of luck with the book!

Posted by: Trisha at April 1, 2005 10:40 AM