Thursday, July 26, 2007

Welcome to Catfish Bytes

Good morning…or good evening!

Whatever the time of day at your place, welcome to Catfish Bytes, a blog about life in Catfish Country.

While much of The South qualifies for that title, I live in Alabama’s Black Belt where catfish is king, and community is a big front porch with a great double door. Just go on in and help yourself to pot-luck suppers, church homecomings, historic pilgrimages and Friday night football.

Named for the color of its dirt, the Black Belt is a mostly rural area once covered by a shallow sea. Scientists come around now and then to dig up fossils of dinosaurs, sea turtles and other creatures. No kidding!

Then some 40-plus years ago, farmers discovered that if they dug a pond in the prairie clay, the hole would hold water. If they stocked it with catfish, the mineral-rich soil would help sustain their crop. Then, if they harvested the fish, buyers would come, ready to get the bounty home for a catfish fry!

That’s how a region that once was the Camelot of the Cotton Kingdom changed its identity. Yet, the Black Belt is known for a whole lot more…Spanish moss, wide prairies, antebellum mansions, hunting camps, rivers and more rivers, and well, a place where tourists come to see the authentic South!

It’s a destination explored by Hernando Desoto and trod by Civil War soldiers and Civil Rights activists. Visitors flock to heritage trails, museums and events.

It’s also a paradox— Old South and New South—a place where former sharecropper cabins still exist and foreign auto suppliers build parts for their cars.

It’s where the politics often has a deep-blue hue in a very red state.

It’s where the natives still say “y’all,” and California transplants live in Tara-type homes and say “you all.”

It’s been my home since I was barely walking, and before that, the home of my parents and grandparents.

So, welcome to my Place on the Blog where I’ll share Catfish Country with you: its heritage, its present, its people and their dreams, and oh yes, recipes…catfish for sure!

PHOTOS: Greensboro water tank and Magnolia Hall


tut-tut said...

Well, I'm pleased to be the first commenter on your first-ever post!

Janet said...

Hi tut-tut,
Thank you! I am pleased to have your comment!

Sandi @ the WhistleStop Cafe said...

I'm glad to see you Janet! This will be fun to see what's new in your part of the world.
Drop by our WhistleStop cooking blog anytime you can... and have you ever tried our seafood batter? It makes the best fried catfish in town. (shameless plug)

Janet said...

Hi Sandi, I checked out that batter on your website. It does sound good!
Thanks so much for visiting. Hope I can drop by up there soon.