Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Call for Papers from Journals

The Velvet Light Trap, a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal of film, television, and new media studies, has a Call for Papers: The theme is “Case Studies in Technological Change.” August 17 is the deadline, and submissions may be sent to thevelvetlighttrap@gmail.com.

CFP: VLT #76 - Case Studies in Technological Change

To paraphrase Robert Allen and Douglas Gomery in Film History: Theory and Practice, media depends on machines. Technology contextualizes industrial and stylistic change, reveals and obscures sites of cultural negotiation and meaning, and enables new modes of media production, circulation, and reception. The significance of technology to media studies has only become more acute with the proliferation of digital technologies, which have changed the methods and tools of our scholarship—to say nothing of the object of that study.

Too often, however, scholarship relegates technology to the background, rendering it less an object of study in and of itself than a cause of, or context for, broader situations. While useful and often necessary, this tendency can have unintended consequences. It risks the assumption that technological changes automatically engender concomitant changes in our “real” object of study, when representations and practices that endure despite technological change offer equally important insight. Similarly, focusing on broader trends may steer us away from failed efforts at technological change, where entrenched structures of cultural or industrial design are exposed and tested, while treating technology as the agent of change can ignore the roles of cultural and industrial demands in technological advancement or stasis.

This issue of The Velvet Light Trap specifically seeks case studies of historical and contemporary technological change that privilege technology itself as the object of study. We wish to focus the issue’s attention on specific technological changes in context rather than theories that explore how technology in broad terms is changing media and culture. We especially welcome studies that reexamine accepted histories of technological change, reveal little-known changes worthy of attention, or show important continuities despite technological change.

For those interested, please send anonymous electronic submissions between 8,000 and 10,000 words, formatted in Chicago style, along with a one-page abstract by August 1, 2014. To submit a manuscript and/or any questions, please email thevelvetlighttrap@gmail.com.



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In related news, the coeditors of The Velvet Light Trap in the Radio-Television-Film department at the University of Texas at Austin will host the 2014 Flow Conference (September 11–13). Conference participants will examine topics connected to the current state of TV and media through roundtable discussions and new plenary sessions devoted to three specific themes: “Television: Looking Back,” Television Restoration: Pragmatic Realities and Implications for Media History,” and “TV Or Not TV: The Future of the Television Industry.” Information on registration, the program schedule, and more details can be found on the conference site.

Follow The Velvet Light Trap on Twitter @VelvetLightTrap.
Follow the Flow Conference on Twitter @Flow_2014.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

10 Staff Tributes to Texan Modern Art

The very Texan "us against them" spirit drove the midcentury modern art movement in Texas before New York City's Abstract Expressionism was canonized as American postwar modernism. This barely known chapter in the story of American art is the focus of our new book Midcentury Modern Art in Texas by Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum curator Katie Robinson Edwards. Listen to Katie Edwards talk about the book in our podcast series.
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To celebrate the book's publication, we asked our staff to get artsy and craft their interpretations of major paintings from this canon-defining period. We were not disappointed with the results. We're showcasing the staff submissions below with examinations of the original pieces from the book and statements from our staff artists on how they connected with the pieces they emulated. Here's a video overview of all the submissions from our staff:


video

10
Left: Joyce Lewandowski, untitled collage
Right: Toni LaSelle, Study for Puritan, 1947-1950
Artist Statement: "My entry was a Lance Letscher inspired collage using scissors, paper, and glue―brought on by a 50+ year delayed reaction to skipping kindergarten."
—Joyce Lewandowski

From the book: The study for Puritan (1947) indicates the labored premeditation LaSelle undertook. The study, with its slightly less complicated design and more horizontal format, is harder edged. The final Puritan remains geometric but painterly, with forms fluctuating between floating and receding planes. Although looking nothing like Hofmann’s work, it achieves the German painter’s famed “push-pull,” which generates dynamism.

9
Left: Bailey Morrison, untitled collage
Right: Marjorie Johnson, Still Life with Grapes, 1951
Artist Statement: "I was drawn to the colors Marjorie Johnson used and took the opportunity to raid my craft box for old Alamo Drafthouse and Tribeza magazines to collage this 'masterpiece.'"—Bailey Morrison

8
Regina Fuentes and Sharon Casteel, In the Press Yoga Car
Jerry Bywaters, In the Chair Car, 1934
From the book: With its themes of youth, old age, piety, and modern transportation in a spare setting, In the Chair Car might be thought of as a pictorial novella. Bywaters spent decades documenting, promoting, and creating the state’s art.

7 
Left: Regina Fuentes and Sharon Casteel, Honey Field Gals
Right: Jerry Bywaters, Oil Field Girls, 1940
From the book: Bywaters’s celebrated painting is a modern allegory on the industry’s ills and the symbiotic profession that thrives on it. (Note the black smoke and “666” sign in the background.) At the same time, it is humorous and eternal.

6
Left: Joyce Lewandowski, untitled fabric pillow
Right: Forrest Bess, Untitled, 1947.
From the book: Made by one of the leading abstract painters in the state, these twin images may allude to Bess’s theories about the unification of male and female within one body.

Artist Statement: "After realizing that working in 3D would expand my range of options, I checked my fabric cabinet and the pillow idea was born. Uniqueness was the goal."
—Joyce Lewandowski

5
Sheila Scoville, untitled animated GIF
Dorothy Antoinette (Toni) LaSelle, Puritan, 1949–1950
From the book: In colors limited mostly to black, green, and gray on a white ground, Puritan’s circle, triangles, and rectilinear forms are at once precariously balanced and solidly anchored. The small yellow rectangle at lower right intrudes almost humorously on the sanctified color scheme of green, black, and gray. Puritan looks as fresh today as it must have fifty years ago.

Artist Statement: "The color palette of Toni LaSelle's Study for Puritan inspired me to play with the themes of night and day, sky and earth. My tribute gif is a fractal depiction of a bright, then cloudy day transitioning at warp-speed into a starry night."
—Sheila Scoville

4
Left: Kaila Wyllys and Regina Fuentes, Book and Mortar
Right: Everett Johnson, Mending the Rock Fence, 1936
From the book: Painted the same year as the Texas Centennial and included in the Delphic Studios exhibition, Spruce’s Mending the Rock Fence (1936, oil on Masonite) stands at the peculiar intersection of Depression-era Texas and Quattrocento Italy. Two generations of men work side by side (reminiscent of the nuns in Bywaters’s In the Chair Car), laying stones for a wall that could stand in for an Italian parapet. Like the parapet, Spruce’s rock fence links the viewer to a fictive landscape. Spruce’s signature is on the wall, just as Renaissance artists often signed the parapets they depicted. The lessons of the father are being passed on as the older man assesses the stone’s mass with his hands, communing with it like a talisman. The stone ledge and tree in the distant background rise symbolically between the men, nature’s macrocosm. The men, working slowly with individual rocks, echo it in microcosm.
3
Henri Gadbois, Watermelon and Pomegranate, 1953
From the book: Some of Gadbois’s midcentury works reflect Fauvist and School of Paris influences, such as Matisse’s windows series at Collioure. Whether depicting still lifes, landscapes, or structures, Gadbois’s work is anchored by architectural solidity and color balance. Two-Tiered Formation (1950) applies an arid southwestern palette to swooping, interacting flame-like masses. Gadbois ably shifted from minimally representational works to highly abstracted landscapes to quotidian objects, as in Watermelon and Pomegranate (1953).
Joyce Lewandowski, untitled basket of cookies
Artist Statement: "Edible art. What's not to like?"
—Joyce Lewandowski

2
Left: Rebecca Frazier, untitled floral piece
Right: Marjorie Johnson, Still Life with Grapes, 1951


Artist Statement: "I’m a Texas Master Florist in my other life, so where others see brush strokes, I often see flower petals.  I fell in love with the bright color harmony of Marjorie Johnson-Lee’s piece; as soon as I enlarged it to examine the detail I knew which carnation I would use for that gorgeous pink."
Rebecca Frazier

1
Regina Fuentes, TGIF, Gang
While not based on a work of art from Midcentury Modern Art in Texas, this piece is a dead ringer for our production assistant Andy Sieverman! Well done, Regina.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fiction of Brazil

For those of you who may have already unplugged for the summer, the rest of the globe is in the throes of World Cup mania. Every four years, the fùtbol-loving public gets nationalistic and tunes in to watch match after match at all hours of the day. The host country always gets its fair share of attention as the media produces human interest stories to provide some context. This year, the world’s attention is on Brazil, and even if you’re not a sports fan, it’s an opportunity to delve into the culture, politics, and art of this BRICS emerging nation.

Fortunately, we have the Clásicos/Clássicos Latin American Masterpieces in English series. This series of translations is rich with diverse Brazilian landscapes and colorful characters and many are classics (hence the name...) of Latin American literature. So maybe when your eyes are glazed over from watching too many matches, pick up one of these books and get to know the real Brasil.

The full Clásicos/Clássicos series
laid out in a grid!
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“Colored by an intense feeling for her own people, 
by an omnipresent social consciousness”

The Three Marias

By Rachel de Queiroz

The Three Marias will be, for many non-Brazilians, an introduction to this nationally known South American author whose books have been widely praised for their artistic merits.


“an exciting novel with an unexpected plot”
Senhora
Profile of a Woman
By José de Alencar

In this Brazilian novel, originally published in 1875, the heroine uses newly inherited wealth to "buy back" and exact revenge on the fiancé who had left her for a woman with a more enticing dowry.

Read an excerpt here >>
More info

“A classic in contemporary Brazilian literature”

Barren Lives
By Graciliano Ramos


A vivid novel about the solitary life of a peasant family in a harsh and unforgiving land, austerely told by a classic Brazilian writer.

“The author has a keen visual sense, and the reader becomes one with the part of the earth where Fabiano's life unfolds.... Barren Lives is a moving novel, one to ponder on."—Library Journal


“Social satire and experimentation in psychological realism”
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The Devil's Church and Other Stories
By Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis
Translated by Jack Schmitt and Lorie Ishimatsu 


The modem Brazilian short story begins with the mature work of Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839-1908), acclaimed almost unanimously as Brazil's greatest writer. In his technical mastery of the short story, Machado was decades ahead of his contemporaries and can still be considered more modern than most of the modernists themselves. That his stories elicit such strong and diverse reactions today is a tribute to their richness, complexity, and significance.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

LGBT Pride Reading List

June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month! We've got a diverse round up of titles spanning the LGBT experience from the colonial Andes to prehistoric Greece, from revolutionary Mexico to modern Lebanon, and from queer representations in film to defining the Chicana lesbian identity in literature. So let's celebrate all the recent victories that have affirmed freedom and fairness, and continue the fight for acceptance that remains.
More info

Browse more in queer studies on our website!


Queer Beirut
By Sofian Merabet

Going beyond notions of identity that have been defined exclusively on the basis of sectarian and religious affiliation, this book explores the performative practices of gendering by young Lebanese gays as they formulate their sense of what it means to “exist.”

What Makes a Man?
Sex Talk in Beirut and Berlin
More info
Rashid al-Daif and Joachim Helfer
Translated by Ken Seigneurie and Gary Schmidt


More info
This “novelized biography” by Lebanese novelist Rashid al-Daif and pointed riposte by German novelist Joachim Helfer demonstrate how attitudes toward sex and masculinity across cultural contexts are intertwined with the work of fiction, thereby highlighting the importance of fantasy in understanding the Other.

Pillar of Salt
An Autobiography, with 19 Erotic Sonnets
By Salvador Novo, Translated by Marguerite Feitlowitz

Written with exquisite sensitivity and wit, this memoir by one of Mexico’s foremost men of letters describes coming of age during the violence of the Mexican Revolution and “living dangerously” as an openly homosexual man in a brutally machista society.


More info
Wicked Cinema
Sex and Religion on Screen
By Daniel Cutrara

With close readings of films such as The Last Temptation of Christ, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Closed Doors, this book investigates cinematic representations of transgressive sexuality within Christianity, Judaism, and Islam to argue that religious believers have become the new “Other”.
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Queer Bergman
Sexuality, Gender, and the European Art Cinema
By Daniel Humphrey

Foregrounding a fundamental aspect of the Swedish auteur’s work that has been routinely ignored, as well as the vibrant connection between postwar American queer culture and European art cinema, this book offers a pioneering reading of Bergman’s films as profoundly queer work.
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Psycho-Sexual
Male Desire in Hitchcock, De Palma, Scorsese, and Friedkin
By David Greven


Examining the intertextual reverberations between canonical Hitchcock films and the New Hollywood of the 1970s, this revisionist reading challenges the received opinion of misogyny, racism, and homophobia presented in male desire featured in works by Hitchcock, De Palma, Scorsese, and Friedkin.


Filming Difference
Actors, Directors, Producers, and Writers on Gender, Race, and Sexuality in Film
Edited by Daniel Bernardi

Reflecting diverse voices in film and television, more than a dozen industry professionals explore how their works represent complex identities.
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The Lieutenant Nun
Transgenderism, Lesbian Desire, and Catalina de Erauso
By Sherry Velasco

Catalina de Erauso (1592–1650) was a Basque noblewoman who, just before taking final vows to become a nun, escaped from the convent at San Sebastián, dressed as a man, and, in her own words, "went hither and thither, embarked, went into port, took to roving, slew, wounded, embezzled, and roamed about."


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Whatever Happened to Dulce Veiga?
A B-Novel
By Caio Fernando Abreu

Translated from the Portuguese with a Glossary and Afterword by Adria Frizzi

Whatever Happened to Dulce Veiga? is a descent into the underworld of contemporary megalopolises where, like the inside of a huge TV, life intermingles with bits of music, film clips, and soap opera characters in a crazy and macabre dance, moving toward a possible catharsis.

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Bridging
How Gloria Anzaldúa's Life and Work Transformed Our Own
Edited by AnaLouise Keating and Gloria González-López

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Thirty-two wide-ranging voices pay tribute to the late Gloria Anzaldúa, the beloved poet and fiction writer who redefined lesbian and Chicana/o identities for thousands of readers.

Reading Chican@ Like a Queer
The De-Mastery of Desire
By Sandra K. Soto

The first full-length study to treat racialized sexuality as a necessary category of analysis for understanding any aspect of Mexican American culture.
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Queer Issues in Contemporary Latin American Cinema
By David William Foster

More info
Highly perceptive queer readings of fourteen key films to demonstrate how these cultural products promote the principles of an antiheterosexist stance while they simultaneously disclose how homophobia enforces the norms of heterosexuality.

Brown on Brown
Chicano/a Representations of Gender, Sexuality, and Ethnicity
By Frederick Luis Aldama

An investigation of the ways in which race and sexuality intersect and function in Chicano/a literature and film.


More info
Men as Women, Women as Men
Changing Gender in Native American Cultures
By Sabine Lang

Translated by John L. Vantine

As contemporary Native and non-Native Americans explore various forms of "gender bending" and gay and lesbian identities, interest has grown in "berdaches," the womanly men and manly women who existed in many Native American tribal cultures.


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Decolonizing the Sodomite
Queer Tropes of Sexuality in Colonial Andean Culture
By Michael J. Horswell

Early Andean historiography reveals a subaltern history of indigenous gender and sexuality that saw masculinity and femininity not as essential absolutes. Third-gender ritualists, Ipas, mediated between the masculine and feminine spheres of culture in important ceremonies. These values traveled to the Andes and were used as powerful rhetorical weapons in the struggle to justify the conquest of the Incas.

More info

Among Women
From the Homosocial to the Homoerotic in the Ancient World
Edited by Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz and Lisa Auanger

This book explores a wide variety of textual and archaeological evidence for women's homosocial and homoerotic relationships from prehistoric Greece to fifth-century CE Egypt.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Next Generation Multiplex

This weekend, the sequel to an adaptation of a television show that first aired in 1987 starring Johnny Depp will hit theaters nationwide. 22 Jump Street finds the characters from the 2012 iteration of 21 Jump Street now heading to college, which begs the question: why do some movies get produced? In his updated and expanded Generation Multiplex: The Image of Youth in American Cinema since 1980Timothy Shary examines the appeal of boy nerds, nerdy girls, prep school rebels, the emotional male athlete, and other archetypes whose dramas either appeal (or don't appeal) to a primary Hollywood target audience: the young. In addition to the 'school film', Shary explores three other subgenres of the teen film: delinquency, horror, and romance.

So what characters and attitudes make an American teen film bankable and how have they changed in the YouTube era? Read on for an excerpt from Generation Multiplex:
Get Generation Multiplex here.



The Cinematic Image of Youth

The 2012 film 21 Jump Street depicts two rookie cops posing as high school students to break up a drug ring. Much to their surprise and chagrin, popularity among teenagers has changed radically since they graduated in the previous decade: traits that had made students seem square and unattractive—studying for classes, caring for the environment, being politically sensitive—now make them appealing and cool. Such is the nature of adolescence, fluctuating on a continual basis with the various whims of time, which vividly illustrates how difficult understanding youth culture can be because it is so mercurial and fleeting.

These aspects of youth have led American cinema into a curious and often inconsistent fascination with stories about and images of young people, a fascination that became abundantly manifest in the last decades of the twentieth century. Various film trends catering to young audiences had emerged over past generations, but movies since the 1980s have appeared almost fixated on capturing certain youth styles and promoting certain perspectives on the celebration, and survival, of adolescence. Many arguments persist as to why teenagers have been targeted by both Hollywood studios and the American independent movie market: youth have disposable incomes that they like spending on entertainment; today’s children are inculcated by media to be the consumptive parents of tomorrow; filmmakers engage in the vicarious experiences of their own lost youth; and young people make up the largest percentage of the movie-viewing audience. All of these points are valid, yet this book argues not as much for the reasons behind youth representation as for the issues and trends that representation engenders. Evident from the contemporary outpouring of American movies about youth, and the parallel production of teen-oriented television shows, magazines, and multimedia outlets, as well as the cultural attention paid to youth attitudes and behaviors in the wake of various scandals, crimes, and accomplishments, the imaging of youth has become indicative of our deepest social and personal concerns.

Consider, for instance, the most successful recent young adult phenomenon, the Twilight books and subsequent movies, which covered the years 2005–2012. The revenue generated from just these two media—not including subsequent products such as clothing, music, and ancillary texts—has been in excess of $5 billion, and while their number of readers and viewers is impossible to determine, their audience is unmistakably enormous. The stories about and images of the teenage characters in Twilight spoke to fantasies of the supernatural as well as romantic destiny, sexual development, and family politics, utilizing native and ancient mythologies, exotic regional locations, brutal violence, and myriad other dramatic elements within an otherwise conventional struggle between right and wrong. Further, the sensation spread beyond teens to adults, and beyond the target demographic of American youth to a global scale that extremely few stories have enjoyed with such speed and success. Through this universalization, the tormented love triangle of a girl with a vampire and a werewolf presented an incredibly satisfying journey that revealed our cultural appreciation of youth itself.

All dramas thrive on conflict, and the process of maturing is a natural conflict familiar to everyone by their teenage years. While many filmgoers freely participate in screen fantasies about the possibilities of life as a secret agent or of saving a loved one from the clutches of death, most of our lives are filled with less spectacular phenomena, such as how we come to be accepted by society, discover romance, have sex, gain employment, make moral decisions, and learn about the world and who we are in it. Most of us first encounter these phenomena in our adolescence, and how we handle them largely determines how we live the rest of our lives. The gravity of adolescence thus makes for compelling drama, even if many of us would rather forget those trying years. Understanding how we learn and grow in our youth is integral to understanding who we become as adults.


Since the 1950s the American movie box office, with varying interests, has been relying on people under thirty to pay for movies about their daily dramas and fantasies. Of course, one of the telling dilemmas of youth films since cinema began is that while they address young people they are not produced by young people, for children and teens are effectively restricted from the filmmaking process. Thus, screen images of youth have always been traditionally filtered through adult perspectives. As a result of these commercial and political conditions, teen films have evolved into a visible and often coherent genre that has thrived for over half a century.

...

Youth in School

Academics and Attitude



"You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal."
—Brian (Anthony Michael Hall) to his principal in The Breakfast Club (1985) 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Howard Garrett's Greatest Hits

Get Howard Garrett's latest here.
If a family member or neighbor made a comment about your lawn not reaching its full potential during your Memorial Day barbecue, may we suggest the infinite wisdom of Howard Garrett, aka “the Dirt Doctor.” Mr. Garrett not only knows all the tools and tricks to keep your garden looking lush and beautiful, he does it all organically. So this summer, when the neighborhood kids start eating the honeysuckle on your property, you won’t have to worry about poisoning them with pesticides! 

This week we round up the best of Howard Garrett: the books, the videos, and the soothing Texas drawl. We’re celebrating the start of summer with his latest book, Organic Lawn Care: Growing Grass the Natural Way. Read an excerpt from Organic Lawn Care on our website. Avoid this guy’s fate and know exactly what you’re doing when tending your lawn ethically:



Howard Garrett welcomes you to his world: organic gardening. Implement money and water saving techniques so you can brag about your all-natural garden like the Dirt Doctor:



Meet your lawn's new best friend: the Dirt Doctor’s compost tea:


Video highlight:
2:23: Why spray your garden with a cocktail 
of molasses, fish oil, and liquid seaweed?

Howard addresses a hot topic for organic lawn care, fire ant control:

Video highlight:
2:15 Howard reveals his fire ant whispering skills.

How did Mr. Garrett get into organic solutions for horticulture issues and what is the science behind these natural practices?


The Dirt Doctor website (www.dirtdoctor.com) has a wealth of information from the Texas Organic Research Center. Read about such research topics as bee decline, “cats, garlic & onions,” and how to kill mosquitoes with cinnamon oil. Read more research on organic practices here.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Barbecue Like a Texas Legend

Here in Austin, we’re fortunate enough to enjoy “grill out” weather from Easter through Thanksgiving, but this weekend is special. It's Memorial Day and we want you to step up your cookout game with some tried-and-true recipes from some of the biggest barbecue players in Central Texas: Scott Roberts of the Salt Lick, Vencil Mares of the Taylor Café, and from the notebooks of Robb Walsh (we posted Robb's recipe for barbecued hog forequarter with East Carolina barbecue sauce and a Tennessee Hog Rub here). 

So as you prepare to honor the men and women in the armed forces, 
Barbecue Crossroads by Robb Walsh
Photographs by O. Rufus Lovett
take this opportunity to preserve and enjoy diverse American foodways and share them with your friends and family. For more recipes, check out Barbecue Crossroads: Notes and Recipes from a Southern Odyssey and The Salt Lick Cookbook: A Story of Land, Family, and Love. Happy Memorial Day!

Beer Joint Sausage

Vencil Mares of the Taylor Café learned how to make sausage at Southside Market in Elgin. This is a Bohemian Czech sausage recipe from Central Texas. 

If you cook sausage too quickly, you render the fat out of the “batter” of meat and fat inside the casing. This causes the sausage to squirt out all its fat. For best results, set the batter by cooking the sausage very slowly at first. Once the batter is set, you can cook the sausage over high heat.
  • 6 pounds beef rump roast or beef trimmings
  • 4 pounds fatty Boston butt pork roast
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • Medium hog casings (available at butcher shops) 
Vencil Mares’s bohunk sausage
with beans served at the bar at Taylor Café
Photo by O. Rufus Lovett from Barbecue Crossroads
 
Coarsely grind the beef rump and pork butt together through the ¼-inch plate of a meat grinder. In a large bowl, mix the ground meat with the salt, garlic, pepper, and cayenne. Knead the mixture with your hands until everything is well blended. Don’t rush the mixing—it takes a long time.

In a small skillet, heat a little oil. Form a meatball-size piece of the mixture into a small patty and fry it. Taste for seasonings, and adjust to your taste.

Soak the hog casings in lukewarm water. Stuff the meat mixture into the hog casings with a sausage stuffer or a pastry bag, and tie into 4- to 6-inch links. The sausage will keep for 3–4 days refrigerated, and up to 2 months frozen.

When you’re ready to cook the sausages, place them in a pan of warm water on the stove and slowly bring the heat up to 140°F to set the “batter.” Set up your smoker for indirect heat with a water pan. Sear the links over hot coals for 3 minutes on each side, or until nicely brown. Move them to indirect heat over a drip pan and smoke for 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Makes 10 pounds.

Variation: Vencil’s Turkey Sausage

Grind 8 pounds of boneless turkey and 2 pounds of fatty pork, and proceed with the recipe for Beer Joint Sausage.


Hush Puppies

In Texas, hush puppies are usually the size and shape of golf balls. In North Carolina, hush puppies are closer to the size and shape of your little finger. You shape them by rolling them between your palms. Or you can just drop the batter from a spoon into the hot oil and make them free-form shapes.

  • Peanut oil for deep-frying
  • 2 ½ cups yellow corn meal
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion 

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Beat the milk and egg together and combine with the dry ingredients. Add the chopped onion. The batter should be stiff enough to hold its shape. If the batter is too soft, add more cornmeal until it is firm.
Gather a heaping tablespoon of batter and roll into a ball or a finger shape as desired and drop into 350°F oil and fry 3–4 minutes or until golden brown. Maintain the temperature and fry in batches of 4 or 5. Makes about 20 hush puppies.

Salt Lick Coleslaw
Interior spread from the Salt Lick Cookbook

The Salt Lick coleslaw is a shredded cabbage salad mixed with vinegar and oil dressing. Dousing the cabbage with mayonnaise wasn’t an option for settlers when they were traveling west in wagon trains. They had to use ingredients that wouldn’t spoil. We wanted to stay as true as possible to how my family originally made coleslaw.