Plantation Monthly

Plantation Monthly

Garden & Gun is an eclectic journal devoted to reading, eating, and killing with style.

April 03, 2008 

Garden & Gun magazine’s title and compelling cover photo of a sad-eyed, quail-hunting spaniel is impossible to ignore. (The one-year-old publication, based in Charleston, South Carolina, takes its name from a local 1970s disco.) Marketed as “21st-Century Southern America,” the March/April issue offers something for everyone: quail hunting on Georgia plantations, an essay on cooking fish by Roy Blount, Jr., and tales of Eudora Welty’s terrifying driving habits.

A mouth-watering feature on North Carolina dining and agriculture includes chef and restaurateur Andrea Reusing, who leads her area’s chapter of Slow Food (a consortium of those devoted to consumption of locally grown and raised foods). Reusing operates The Lantern restaurant in Chapel Hill, where she drives a red Mercedes modified to run on recycled vegetable oil.

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There’s a piece on the Cherokee rose, which was brought from China to England in 1759. By the 1800s, it was growing in America and had become a favorite of Thomas Jefferson. Readers will also discover “feists,” little squirrel-chasing dogs adored by William Faulkner that are often confused with Jack Russell terriers.

Avid fisherman-turned-artist Mike Williams is profiled by Alabama’s Daniel Wallace, the author of Big Fish. Williams paints giant, dazzling images of fish, making the creatures appear to dart across the canvas. His huge metallic fish sculptures resemble monster-sized lures designed for catching whales.

Roy Blount, Jr., has a hilarious essay on the delights of panfish. Blount uses crickets for bait and scoffs at such notions of catch and release. He believes that tossing fish back into a pond is like picking out a steak at the market, having it wrapped up and carrying it in your buggy as you shop, only to return it to the butcher before you leave the grocery. After musing on whether the panfish (he favors bream, crappie, and bluegill) was named after the pan or the pan was named after the fish, he writes, “A fish made for a pan—unless, as I say, it was vice versa. Scale him (which roughs up his coloring but his meat can take it) and clean him (you can bury his head and innards in your garden plot, deep enough that the varmints won’t dig them up and he’ll feed your collards) and dredge him in cornmeal and salt and pepper and drop him into hot grease, and you’ve got something that is sort of like . . . I’m going to say . . . Sort of like pie. Pecan pie maybe. In this sense: It’s crunchy—in a chewy not a crudité way—and it’s juicy, salty, and sweet. All in one bite.”

Sandy Lang travels to Puerto Rico in search of the endangered green-blue Puerto Rican parrot. Once numbered in the millions, the species has dwindled to a couple hundred birds, all in a 28,000-square-foot rainforest called El Yunque. Centuries of clearing forests to make room for sugarcane and coffee plantations have killed off parrot habitats, and many birds were captured for sale as pets in the early 20th century. The writer can’t resist a peek at the underbelly of Puerto Rican life and visits a legal cockfighting pit. “[The roosters] look as if in a dance, strutting, prancing, posturing, pouncing, the best matched pairs erupting over and over into a rising, feathered ball,” she shares. “It’s all there before you—tenacity, skill, beauty, blood, life and death.” Sounds kind of like the latest issue of Garden & Gun. &

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