Truly, I had no idea Atlanta would be subject to torrential rains and flooding over the past week. It’s just that I had a speech to give in Savannah, and another down on St. Simon’s Island, and then a book-signing with my friends at GJ Ford Books on SSI on Thursday. And so Mr. Mary Kay and I planned to spend the weekend at The Breeze Inn. And a very pleasant weekend it was. The summertime heat and crowds are gone, the weather had a hint of fall. The news from Atlanta was not good though–our sump pump conked out, the basement flooded, hot water heater had to be repaired to the tune of $400, ect. But hey, our damage was nothing compared to what I’m hearing and reading about other parts of the Atlanta area. On Friday we kinda messed around the house, kicking back. We had dinner at our favorite restaurant, Sundae Cafe, and went to bed early. Saturday morning, we went out in the boat. The tides down here have been freakishly high this fall, so the fishing wasn’t great, but it was good to get out in the boat and be on the water again. Saturday night we went to a fun dinner party at Hallie’s house–billed as a “Deen Family Reunion”–but without any known members of Paula Deen’s family in attendance. (Unless you count the life-size cardboard cutout of Paula.)
Our hostess’s request was simple: bring an appetizer, side dish or dessert culled from any cookbook written by Paula or any of her family members–you know, like Bobby and Jamie Deen, or her brother, Bubba Hiers, whose Uncle Bubba’s Savannah Seafood Cookbook was co-written by my good friend Polly Powers Stramm. We chose to make Black Pepper Shrimp from Paula Deen’s Kitchen Classics. And when I say we, I mean, Mr. Mary Kay, because he is the seafood chef at our house. The recipe was simplicity itself; very fresh shrimp right off the boat, sauteed in butter (of course!) and garlic, liberally sprinkled with fresh-ground coarse black pepper and baked in the oven at 450 degrees for about five minutes on each side. Naturally, we had to gild the lily a little, garnishing it with thin slices of lemon and finely chopped fresh parsley. Everybody raved about the finished dish. And of course, the buffet table–spread with all that buttery Paula-inspired goodness, looked like a cardiologist’s worst nightmare. We joked that we should have had a dish of Lipitor in the middle of the table. Thankfully, two people did bring fresh green salads. But it was all yummy–especially the four different dishes contributed by our friend Diane of Mermaid Cottages. The cream cheese frosted carrot cake she brought–with little candied apricots made to look like carrots, was just outstanding. Sunday morning, before taking my husband to the airport for the flight back to Atlanta, we decided to try a new restaurant on Tybee, JJ’s Cafe. It’s located on Highway 80, where George’s used to be. I’m happy to report that the food was great, and reasonably priced, so we’ll be back. And now, with Mr. MaryKay back in Atlanta, dealing with non-functioning air conditioners, and refrigerators on the fritz, I’m hard at work again on SUMMER RENTAL, my book in progress.
This week I’ve been intrigued by what I call The Church of Disney, which sits catty-corner across the street from Fish Camp. The church is actually a set that was built by the Disney folks this summer when they were filming the Miley Cyrus movie LAST SONG. It’s the sweetest little white clapboard-painted country church you ever saw, with a little red-tin roofed spire, and gothic arched windows and a sign that proclaims it to be the Tybee Island Baptist Church. My understanding is that the movie people have donated it to the local historical society, and that once adequate funds have been raised, it’ll be moved from the vacant lot across the street down to the historic lighthouse on the north end of the island. Once it’s there, they’ll have to do some structural work to make it more than just a movie set, and then people can have weddings and other functions there. Who knows, when SUMMER RENTAL comes out, maybe we’ll even have a book signing there!