Betcha Didn’t Know That

June 11, 2007 at 10:35 am

Not a lot exciting happened this weekend. The cooking demonstration was okay. The event staff did not have the stage set-up and ready until 12:30; the demo is scheduled to start at 10:00. I could have slept in. My editor called me the other morning with a great story idea – visit some of the top chefs in the city and find out what they fix for their families when they celebrate at home. The only catch was that I had to have it ready by Monday morning. I tried to meet with several chefs Thursday to no avail. Friday was a different story. I spent the afternoon downtown, a drastically different downtown than it was just a few months ago.

The Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) Tower is finished and open. Accompanying properties also owned by RSA have begun to open including the Battle House Hotel, the oldest hotel in Mobile, a city of more than 300 years of history. The Battle House had been vacant for most of the past four decades. Urban sprawl had sent the citizenry away from the city and into the suburbs. RSA has changed all of that, the Tower is the tallest building in Alabama as well as the Gulf Coast between Corpus Christi, TX and Tampa, FL.

Mobile was a city that slept through the better part of the 20th Century. Prominent families passed down political offices to younger generations like aristocratic titles. As a result Mobile went from being the most important city in the South at the time of the Louisiana Purchase to a city best known for being the home of a college football all star game.

Most Americans do not know that Mobile not New Orleans is the home of Mardi Gras. When Mobileans first celebrated Fat Tuesday, New Orleans was still over fifty years from being born. Prior to the Civil War, Mobile was the cultural epicenter of the New World. It was said that a European artist had not played America until they played the South and they had not played the South until they had played Mobile.

There are more Mobileans enshrined in Cooperstown than players from any other city. How about this sample: The Boiling Brothers, Tommy Agee, Willie McCovey, Satchel Paige, and Hammerin’ Hank Aaron. Current Mobile players in the majors include Juan Gonzales (the one that won the World Series for the Diamondbacks back in 2001) and Jake Peavy to name just two.

Mobile has seen its share of football players, too, especially quarterbacks. Now we are no Western Pennsylvania but our list is nothing to sneeze at from Riley Smith (whose retirement estate is only a mile or so from my home) to the recent #1 overall pick in the NFL draft Jamarcus Russell and in between names like Kenny Stabler, Scott Hunter, Tee Martin, Jeff Kelly, and Dameyune Craig.

By the way, I e-mailed the story on the top chefs to my editor Sunday afternoon.

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Entry filed under: Food and Cooking.

My kingdom for a kitchen! Sam’s Club?


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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."

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