Brunswick Stew & Thinking Of You

A spoon coming in to scoop up a bite of a bowl of brunswick stew.

My dad was the only person I ever heard talk about Brunswick stew, so when I read the NY Times article linked below, I started really missin’ him and the remainder of this blog post will be in a Southern accent, because when I talk about Deddy n ‘Em, my brain operates with a twang.

Now, fancy New York Times article claims that Brunswick stew originates in Virginia, though I beg to differ. It comes from BBQ joints sprinkled around Georgia – Cobb County to be exact, and would be transported home in the safety of my dad’s pickup in a large Styrofoam container. It was sacred stuff.

To me it was ‘alright’, but I was never a BBQ fan or meat lover. Calm down. That’s one of many reasons why I live in California now.

When I was in my early 20s and old enough to muster the courage to tell my dad something’s not right, I went down to the kitchen one Sunday to get some water. In his flannel shirt and sweatpants, my Dad was leaned over the sink, slowly pouring a huge, steaming pot of Brunswick stew into a blender jar. He came alive with excitement as he talked about it. He starts boasting about his first time making it, the recipe used, and he’s already had a bite, and it’s better than Wallace BBQ ‘s!

I watched my dad’s enthusiasm grow as he lifted the blender jar to set on its stand. ‘I’m going to blend it just a tad he tells me, like REAL BBQ places do it. He kept saying that stuff we get at Wallace’s is alright, but this is the real deal right here.

My dad is one of those men who don’t like being corrected, but clearing my throat throat gave me the courage to say, ‘you’re not supposed to put hot stuff in a blender, are ya?’.

‘Well… I’m gonna be standing right here to make sure nothing happens to it,” my dad says in that, ‘but this time is an exception’ tone. He then places the lid on the jar and the glass is getting steamy. As soon as he presses ON, he steps back to watch the magic happen. The magic was that the lid flew off and our boring brown and beige kitchen (which is probably the root of me going blind) suddenly has stringy orange stew spewing everywhere.

My dad turned to me with his glasses and half bald head splattered in stew. I could see a little yellow corn kernel stuck to his forehead. In a state of near-shock, my dad says, “God damn, did you see that?!” I paused, not knowing how to reply, then I lost it. The silent laughter where you can’t breathe gave my abs a workout. Then my dad caved and joined in. “Hurry, let’s get this cleaned up before anybody sees what we did,” dragging me into the chaos.

I don’t know how much stew he was able to salvage, but if you want to learn more about Brunswick stew, here’s the article that pulled at my heartstrings.

Love,

Bella C.

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