Life Lately, According to Instagram – March (Madness) 2014

28 03 2014

Instagram - Becky - Pancakes March 2014Instagram - Ginger - Go Big Blue March 2014 Instagram - Ginger - Robot March 2014 Instagram - Becky - Lettuce Wraps 2014

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Stephen Foster Day

13 01 2014

Today, January 13th is Stephen Foster Memorial Day.

Most of you will know who Stephen Foster is, but even if you don’t, we all know his songs. Foster was known as the “Father of American Music” and penned such songs as “Oh! Susanna,” “Beautiful Dreamer,” “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair,” and my favorite “My Old Kentucky Home.”

While Foster spent most of his life a little north of the Mason-Dixon, the South has embraced his music, which embodies the American spirit. Foster made many of our beloved Southern landmarks famous with his songs. White Springs, Florida is home to the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park on the banks of the Suwannee River. Foster wrote “Old Folks at Home,” which made the river famous. The Museum at the Folk Culture Center features exhibits about his music.

stephen foster

In Bardstown, Kentucky you can visit My Old Kentucky Home State Park. Foster was inspired to write his famous tune, which is now the Kentucky state song and sung each year at the Kentucky Derby, after visiting his cousin, Senator John Rowan, on Federal Hill. Today, you can tour the mansion on Federal Hill. And if you’re there during the summer months, be sure to stay for the Broadway-style show “The Stephen Foster Story.” I was delighted by the costumes, songs, and story last time I visited. The grounds are beautiful and you can’t do better than a warm night under the stars at their amphitheater.





Seabiscuit

2 05 2012

I love horses. How could you not? Majestic, elegant creatures — throughout history, it’s really been horses that have been man’s best friend.

I grew up in Kentucky, so it’s only natural that some of my favorite books and movies starred horses. And they don’t get more beautiful than thoroughbreds.

The fascination with Seabiscuit has never ended.

Most of us are familiar with the Academy-award nominated feature film starring Tobey Maguire and based on the bestseller by Laura Hillenbrand.

But my less-celebrated favorite is The Story of Seabiscuit, featuring Shirley Temple. It includes actual race footage from the famous race against War Admiral.

I think the reason we so resonate with the story of Seabiscuit is that he started out life during the Great Depression in the small town of Paris, Kentucky, small and knobby-kneed — a true underdog. He slept a lot, ate a lot, and became the butt of a lot of stable jokes.

But sometimes it just takes the right match of trainer and jockey to coax a winner to life. And what a winner he was.





George

21 04 2012

That’s right, add Mr. Clooney to the list of beautiful people from the South. Bet ya didn’t know that George Clooney was born and raised in Kentucky. My hometown, as a matter of fact, Lexington.

Stories fly around Kentucky family of sightings and though Mr. Clooney is just as at home now in Los Angeles or Italy, or serving as humanitarian in Haiti or Darfur, this actor/director/writer got his start in Fort Mitchell and Augusta. (I’m sure you all recognize the lovely stylings of his aunt as well, Rosemary Clooney.) A true Southern boy, he enjoyed sports, playing baseball and basketball, and even had early jobs in cutting tobacco.

Of course, now we all know him as doctor, escaped convict, pilot, casino schemer, Special Forces operator, and jilted dad. This Oscar-winning sexy-man is just a little more proof that we really know how to raise ’em in the South.





Southern College Week: Western Kentucky University*

2 09 2011

*Alright, y’all… I promise this has nothing to do with a certain team’s victory last night. Western Kentucky was scheduled to be our featured school today for a long time. (Though I was a bit nervous in the first quarter last night.) Nope, I’ve got other personal reasons to hold Western Kentucky University dear to my heart. While my ol’ pops graduated from the illustrious University of Kentucky, he attended his freshman year at WKU.

Western Kentucky has always had an esteemed journalism program, so off an 18-year old dad headed, back before I knew him, to be a Hilltopper. This beautiful campus holds award-winning programs, and, while still small yet, has been the fastest growing university in Kentucky for more than a dozen years.

Western Kentucky places a high emphasis on community and world involvement, so their influence stretches throughout the South and beyond. And hey, while they’re not the Wildcats, WKU is still in the great Bluegrass State so we can still give a hearty “Go Hilltoppers!”





Four Roses: The Return of a Whiskey Legend

25 01 2011

Today is January 25, 2011 and one month ago was Christmas. I almost find it hard to believe.

With holiday gift giving behind me I am able to revisit my own little wish list.  One such item on the list is the recently released book, “Four Roses: A Return of a Whiskey Legend.”  The book includes much of the history that made the bourbon company, Four Roses, the once top selling bourbon.  The book is said to include all the twists and turns of prohibition and stories from the family. 

Did you know that in the 1950’s Four Roses was pulled from American markets and sold only oversees? It was not until 2002 that Four Roses was reintroduced to Kentucky and then most recently in 2007 expanded into other states. 

I look forward to my upcoming purchase and its future spot on the coffee table.  Hurray for bourbon history!





A Bourbon Tasting

28 09 2010

Bourbon.  An American spirit with lots of southern tradition and production involved.  The limestone spring water of Kentucky is known to contribute much to the flavor and purity of this drink, as does the aging, bottling, temperature and storage. 

To me, bourbon denotes mint juleps and southern men in seersucker, however, I truly have never thought to actually sit down and compare the products.  I realize the absurdity considering this is a southern blog, but ideas don’t come all at once!  Sunday evening we hosted a little bourbon tasting and sampled three Kentucky bourbons, Maker’s Mark, Buffalo Trace, and Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey

[sidenote: Tastes are subjective. Understanding this, you might not agree with some of our opinions and if you do, please be encouraged to host your own tasting. I know the parties involved will not mind!]

Selection : Maker’s Mark, 750ML, $23.99

Reason:  Maker’s Mark was selected as it is one of the more visible bourbons on the market.  It is most often in bars, and restaurants as the bourbon of choice. As a result, I selected it as our standard from which the other two would be compared. 

Production: Maker’s Mark is a small batch barrel bourbon (see An Introduction to Bourbon), made from Kentucky limestone spring water, local corn, grains contributing to the whiskey are baked and slow cooked,  the sour mash method  (see An Introduction to Bourbon), fermented in cypress tanks, distills the whiskey in copper, and rotated during the aging process. 

Taste Notes:  

Low ball glass, 2 ice cubes, 1 shot of bourbon. 

The nose on Maker’s Mark is warm even to the smell. You can pick up on the sweetness and masculinity of this drink.  To taste, you could feel the warmth, and notice the tastes of Christmas, allspice, and butterscotch, backed by the force of the alcohol content.  (Make sure you have something in your stomach before you start this journey). The taste does not linger, so you take another sip, and another until you are ready for a new glass. 

Selection: Buffalo Trace, 750 ML, $25.99

Reason: The reviews of Buffalo Trace are all good, and as it won the Malt Advocate Distillery award for Distillery of the Year in 2000, 2005 and 2006, as well as, named Distiller of the Year in 2005 and 2007. Lastly, Buffalo Trace won the Wine Enthusiast Magazine award for Distiller of the Year in 2006. All these awards are quite convincing. 

Production: Buffalo Trace begins with corn, rye and barley milled by a hammer, and then pressure cooked.  The sour mash ferments anywhere from three to five days and afterwards is distilled and stored in barrels at 125 proof.  Additional steam is pumped into the warehouse during the aging process, and barrels are selected from the middle of the warehouse for small batch barrel bourbon.  Finally the bourbon undergoes a chilling process to ensure the color and flavor maintain, and then is reduce to 90 proof by using water that is reserve osmosis filtered.

Taste Notes:

Low ball glass, 2 ice cubes, 1 shot of bourbon

The nose on Buffalo Trace is much stronger than that of Maker’s Mark, and instantly you smell the alcohol followed by the flavor.  This is much the same when tasting. You are initially shocked by the taste of alcohol and then move forward to taste the caramel, vanilla and brown sugar.  It feels heavier on the tongue and more one dimensional compared to that of Maker’s Mark.

Selection: Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey, 750ML, $27.99

Reason: Truthfully, I was originally drawn to the Bulleit packaging and then began to read a bit more about the product. Known for the high amount of rye, more so than others, lack of phenol alcohol and over six years of aging sold me. 

Production: Produced in small batches and stored in a single story warehouse as to reduce inconsistencies provided by temperature.  Aged six years and the barrels are mingled, not blended unlike some other bourbon. 

Taste Notes:

Low ball glass, 2 ice cubes, 1 shot of bourbon

This bourbon has a smooth smell, soothing almost.  Full bodied and includes notes of vanilla, and caramel.  The difference between this bourbon and the others is the complete lace of harsh taste and lends itself to drinking straight or mixing. 

Overall, I preferred the Bulleit to the others, due to the smoothness, and flavors.  It was a rare treat! We welcome your opinions and hope to hear about your favorite bourbons.  We are open to new things!