A group of state senators wants to declare barbecue the Official State Picnic Cuisine of South Carolina.
The bill was introduced in the Senate on March 19 and referred to the Judiciary committee. It was introduced by Katrina Shealy (R-Lexington) and is co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of senators.
The bill comes on the heels of the South Carolina Barbecue Trail marketing campaign being rolled out by the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.
South Carolina already has an official state snack food (boiled peanuts), a state vegetable (collards) and a state fruit (the peach). It has a state beverage (milk) and a state hospitality beverage (sweet tea).
No doubt two-thirds of the senators in the state are already preparing their yuk-filled speeches and polite-but-passionate defenses of their regional sauces for when the bill comes up for debate.
Speaking of Southern foods, the South Carolina Cornbread Festival is this Saturday [UPDATE: The festival has been moved to Sunday] , and it features an actual cornbread cookoff.
The contest presents some obvious difficulties for those who enter. For one, most cornbread is best straight out of the oven — unlike, say, a crusty Italian wheat bread, it doesn’t improve with a bit of resting. So the logistics could be tough.
For another, cornbread preferences vary widely and wildly. Although tradition has it that Southern cornbread is made with just cornmeal, no wheat, and without sugar, we’ve all had versions at traditional Southern restaurants that were almost indistinguishable from cake, so sweet and wheaty and gummy were they. Some people like cracklins in their cornbread; others like jalapenos.
Should be fun to check out, in any case. Judging begins at 12:30 p.m., and winners will be announced at 1 p.m.
But maybe careful discernment isn’t your game. Maybe you want to be the guy or gal who can cram four cornbread muffins down your gullet in the least amount of time. In that case, you’ll want to enter the cornbread eating contest. Also on the agenda: a classic car show, kids’ games, a bunch of bands, and Mayor Steve Benjamin in a dunk tank.
The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 8. P.m. this Sunday, March 30, at the corner of Main and Newman Streets in north Columbia. Admission is $5; kids 12 and under get in free. Visit sccornbreadfestival.com for more information.
The signs of spring are many: Robins on the lawn; Bradford pears in bloom; and Free Times music editor emeritus Patrick Wall switching over to iced coffee from hot. Seriously, he’s like a f#!king barometer. Wall is a Drip man, but I bet he wouldn’t turn down the free iced coffee that Dunkin’ Donuts is offering to all comers on Monday, March 31, at all Columbia-area locations. Enjoy your iced coffee, and maybe buy a tasty doughnut while you’re at it. (They are, after all, thoroughly superior to the Krispy Kreme variety.)
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