Mr. Henry is not one to call names, casually hurl insults or take cheap shots.
His friend Michael, also a Southerner, took issue with Mr. Henry’s writing style saying, “Why don’t you come clean with your reading public and stop pretending to be this urbane New York sophisticate ? Out yourself as a true chaw-bacon, cousin-humpin’ cracker!”
Mr. Henry takes no umbrage. He feels, however, a twinge of envy at Michael’s fluent command of invective. Also, he has every confidence that even if not in mid-season form he could best Michael at tennis, golf, or bridge.
When Mr. Henry recently visited Jacksonville, Florida, however, he began to sputter and spit at the truly disgusting fare offered up as cuisine.
To be fair, it was not as bad as what Frances at the 87th Street dog run, having just returned from Dallas-Ft.Worth, confronted at the Texas State Fair. Is it really possible that in Texas they serve deep-fried Coca-Cola balls with fake whipped cream topping? (Yes, the Henry research team uncovered just such a monstrous concoction. First soak dough balls in Coca-Cola. Next………….no, please! Make it stop!)
Jacksonville may specialize in fried food, too, but this year Mr. Henry made a discovery that set him back on his big city heels – a brand new upscale eatery called “Chew” on an old block centrally located in the heart of Jacksonville’s languishing downtown. This is not Hooters. This is not Whitey’s Fish Camp, accessible only by motorboat, where every entrée is fried and served with a side of hush puppies. (At Whitey’s the specialty of the house is “cooter.” Opinions are divided on whether that is alligator tail or turtle).
The staff at Chew do not speak with a southern accent. (The chef trained at the Culinary Institute of America.) The braised short ribs sandwich was a tender, rich and subtle creation that clearly took hours to prepare. Mr. Henry believes there is hope for America after all.