Friday, November 6, 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday! A Bluegrass Thanksgiving


Happy Postcard Friendship Friday! I'm still getting over the shock of this being November. It should be June, I tell you, June. But no! It is November! I'll go with the flow though, and share vintage Thanksgiving cards.

"Thanksgiving in the South 1912" is an interesting Thanksgiving theme. I'm hoping the young woman is generously sharing the basket filled with Thanksgiving treats - and not collecting it. I also hope that little raccoon is just sleeping, and not about to be popped into the oven next to the turkey. I'm just saying.


This card was postmarked November 28, 1912 and was mailed from Maceo, Kentucky to Crestwood, Kentucky. Maceo is a tiny town of 500 in NW Kentucky on the Indiana boarder. Crestwood is just NE of Louisville, and also lies very close to the Indiana boarder. This town is one of only two in Kentucky to be listed in the top 100 of CNN’s Best Places to Live 2005 list. Crestwood made the list with places like the Fox Hollow Clinic with its spa, massage therapy clinic, and bed and breakfast.
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Speaking of breakfast, Kentucky's cuisine, like much of the state's culture, is unique and is considered to blend elements of both the South and Midwest, given its location between the two regions.



One original Kentucky dish is called the Hot Brown, a dish normally layered in this order: toasted bread, turkey, bacon, tomatoes and topped with mornay sauce. It was developed at the Brown Hotel in Louisville.



Harland Sanders originated Kentucky Fried Chicken at his service station in Corbin, Kentucky, though the first franchised KFC was located in South Salt Lake City, Utah



Kentucky Bluegrass - not to be confused with the music

The grass: Kentucky is known as the Bluegrass State. Bluegrass is a cool weather grass, not very drought tolerant and recommended for low traffic areas. Its beautiful cool blue green hue and barefoot delight make this a popular lawn grass. This is not the only "grass" grown in Kentucky. The state is 2nd only to California in marijuana growing.

The music: Bluegrass music is a form of American roots music, and is a sub-genre of country music. It has roots in Irish, West African, Scottish, Welsh and English traditional music. Bluegrass was inspired by the music of immigrants from the United Kingdom and Ireland (particularly the Scots-Irish immigrants in Appalachia), and African-Americans, particularly through genres such as jazz and blues. The Father of Bluegrass is Bill Monroe. Click here for a generous sample of his music
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Unlike mainstream country music, bluegrass relies mostly on acoustic stringed instruments. The fiddle, five string banjo, acoustic guitar, mandolin, and upright bass are often joined by the resonator guitar (popularly known by the Dobro brand name)
Kentucky is also happily known as the Bourbon Capitol of the World. 95% of this great American whiskey is brewed and aged in Kentucky.

Bourbon is a type of distilled spirit, made primarily from corn and named for Bourbon County Kentucky. It has been produced since the 18th century. While it can be made anywhere in the United States, it is strongly associated with the Southern United States, especially Kentucky.
The Old Fashioned highball is a Kentucky-born drink make with bourbon.
The Mint Julep, the traditional Kentucky Derby drink Since 1938 is also make with Kentucky bourbon.
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Mint juleps were often served in silver or pewter cups, and held only by the bottom and top edges of the cup. This allows frost to form on the outside of the cup. Traditional hand placement may have arisen as a way to reduce the heat transferred from the hand to the silver or pewter cup. Today, mint juleps are most commonly served in a tall old-fashioned glass, Collins glass, or highball glass with a straw.

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Mine That Bird - 2009 Kentucky Derby Winner
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The term 'julep' is generally defined as a sweet drink, particularly one used as a vehicle for medicine. The word itself is derived from Persian: گلاب Golâb, meaning rose water. (I'm beginning to feel better already!)


A True Kentucky Dish - Burgoo

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Another Kentucky Derby favorite is Burgoo, a spicy stew that has its roots in the Irish or mulligan stew. Traditionally, the idea was to make a stew using whatever meats and vegetables were available and in good supply. That meant venison, squirrel, opossum (though not in modern recipes) or game birds; essentially whatever the hunt brought back. The local Kentucky barbecue restaurants use specific meats—usually pork, chicken or mutton—in their recipes which creates (along with spice choices) a distinct flavor unique to each restaurant. Corn bread or corn muffins are served on the side.


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Moss agate - the Kentucky State Stone.
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The Kentucky State mineral - coal.

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Coal mining towns were owned by the mining company. A typical coal mining town is pictured above.

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The song "Sixteen Tons" is about the realities of coal mining. It was first recorded in 1946 by U.S. country singer Merle Travis. A 1955 version recorded by 'Tennessee' Ernie Ford reached number one in the Billboard charts.

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The well-known chorus runs:
You load sixteen tons, and what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
Saint Peter, don't you call me, 'cause I can't go;
I owe my soul to the company store...

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The line "I owe my soul to the company store" is a reference to the truck system and to debt bondage. Under this system workers were not paid cash; rather they were paid with unexchangeable credit vouchers for goods at the company store (usually referred to as scrip). This made it impossible for workers to store up cash savings.

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The practice is ostensibly one of a free and legal exchange, whereby an employer would offer something of value (typically goods, food, and/or housing) in exchange for labour, with the result being the same as if the labourer had been paid money and then spent the money on these necessities. The word truck came into the English language within this context, from the French,troquer, meaning 'exchange' or 'barter'.

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A truck system differs from this kind of open barter or payment in kind system by creating or taking advantage of a closed economic system in which workers have little or no opportunity to choose other work arrangements, and can easily become so indebted to their employers that they are unable to leave the system legally. The truck system persisted until the strikes of the newly-formed United Mine Workers and affiliated unions forced an end to such practices.

Coal is a diamond in the making. For more diamonds in the making, stop by and see our Postcard Friendship Friday host, Marie at Voila, Vintage Postcards.

22 comments:

Christine said...

Hot Brown sounds like the perfect solution to everything getting cold at Thanksgiving. It includes the turkey, the stuffing, a vegetable, and only one dish. I don't think my family will go for it though.

Marie Reed said...

I'm all about trying this hot brown although it's very likely that it will turn into burnt black in my oven:) No raccoon with cranberry sauce this year?

Sheila said...

What a fantastically interesting post! All these things I've heard of and yet never really known the story behind them.

November, you say? Oh.

steviewren said...

Muse, this plethora of information is more than my limited brain cells can process any more. I should be well equipped to answer any question thrown at me in the future about Kentucky.

We will sing one song for the old Kentucky home,
For the Old Kentucky Home far away.
Stephen Foster

Postcardy said...

I want some Hot Brown for Lunch and Burgoo for dinner.

Ragamuffin Gal said...

Hi Friend ~ I have some catching up to do I see! Loved the history lesson, the food and drink review told in such a whimsical way. Happy Friday Blessings ~*

Life Goes On said...

What a fun post. I passed through Kentucky once. Such a beautiful state. Happy Friday

MuseSwings said...

Stevie - I was humming Old Kentucky Home while typing this post. Stephen Foster wrote my state's song too: Swanee River. far far awaaaaaay.

I've been trough Ky several times myself, Life. Even stayed at the Brown Hotel. I'll have to post my accumulated adventures some time.

viridian said...

Gosh, with my geology lesson and your history and culture lesson, we are all ready to go to KY!

Mary said...

I say we have a Kentucky party, although I'll pass on the road kill burgoo! But a Hot Brown with a Mint Julep, and a little singing? Sounds like a blast.

Mary said...

I say we have a Kentucky party, although I'll pass on the road kill burgoo! But a Hot Brown with a Mint Julep, and a little singing? Sounds like a blast.

BeachILike said...

Happy Thanksgiving, you make me hungry.

Thanks for sharing all informative things :)


My Bangkok Through My Eyes!
You Got A Posty

Beth Niquette said...

What a wonderful blog! I enjoyed every bit of it. Thank you for the effort you put into things. I'm with you--it should be JUNE. I lost the summer this time around. The leaves are almost gone. It will be Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks--Christmas not so far after that...ah, I long for Spring.

Happy PFF!

Debs said...

i just love this blog! every post is a journey of discovery...am a huge fan of bluegrass music but the info about the Bluegrass State was new to me, so thank you!

sarala said...

What a unique old card. There is much food for thought in that picture.

AnitaNH said...

Never knew moss agate was the KY state stone. Thanks for a great post this PFFriday!

Karen said...

I've lived in the rural south where burgoo is still made (with squirrel) and where bluegrass music is the usual sort of thing. :)

Very nice post, thank you for sharing the beautiful card and notes!

Steve said...

Great post... Thanks for the info... I love all the pics...






Debt Help TN

ChaChaneen said...

Hi Muse! Thank you for my birthday greetings! Hope your staying dry today - heard the rain was coming your direction.

Renee said...

Read this as if you were singing a song:

I'm so excited, I just can't hid it, lalalala la la......

I can not believe I have found you again....... Yahoo.

I couldn't find your blog for the life of me. I have it save in favourites again and as long as there are no crashes, there you will stay.

When I saw Grandma Clara again, I felt like I was back home.

Yahoo.

Love Renee xoxoxo

Mary said...

It seemed to me when I traveled there a lot that "pud" was a generic term for dessert in England, at least in contemporary England. Happy PFF!

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