This is my first post in a while, and I’m switching gears to my new book, “Smokelore: A Short History of Barbecue in America,” which had its launch last night at the Atlanta History Center. What a great evening. A standing-room-only crowd came for a reception catered by Atlanta’s DAS BBQ (I’m sure it was tasty, but I was too busy to get any, dammit). Then the program began, with Sheffield Hale, the center’s CEO, introducing me.
The History Center started this book rolling a decade ago when they asked me to help advise on an exhibition about the great American institution of barbecue. Then they asked me if I’d like to do the companion book, to be put out by their publishing partner, the University of Georgia Press. I ended up writing the book and helping to curate the exhibition, “Barbecue Nation,” on view at the Buckhead museum through Sept. 29.
My talk was basically a slide show with a lot of anecdotes and funny asides. It couldn’t have gone better. Well, I do wish that picture we showed of Homer Simpson standing at a grill had more accurate color. On the projection screen, his skin was green, like he was a Martian instead of bright yellow cartoon character. On the other hand, when I showed a 1964 ad for Armor Ribs-in-a-Can (yes, they really sold ribs in a can, like dog food), no one who had just eaten the real barbecue barfed. For that, I am grateful.
Many thanks to the History Center, the University of Georgia Press, and the many friends (like Alice Murray, shown with me at the signing table), family members and barbecue people who came out for the debut event. It was special.