My granddaughter, the lovely and talented Ella Grace Boyd, recently made a trip to Birmingham to see her great grandmother, Dear, who doesn’t get around much these days, and a crowd of cousins. And it was about time for Ella to eat some real barbecue. She was approaching a full year and had never actually eaten any,* as Nancy and I are not the sort of people who would actually subject an innocent child to the “barbecue” around here.
Ella chose Miss Myra’s, which is convenient to her cousins, Christopher, Lauren, Patrick, and Lily Tanner, so Ella, Liza, Mike, Nancy and I met them all there. The order was their pork barbecue, with green beans and potato salad.
Ella was eager to try food she’d heard so much about.
You could feel the tension as Liza gave Ella that first taste,
and you could sense her total concentration as the taste of pork and hickory smoke hit her palate.
Ella’s reaction was unequivocal.
Ella also enjoyed the potato salad, the yeast roll, and especially the green beans, cooked Southern style. Note to new parents: if you want your child to eat vegetables, cook them with bacon or salt pork.
Ella is looking forward to trying Eastern North Carolina barbecue this summer, and to getting some more good green beans and her first hush puppies — and maybe a shrimp burger at the Big Oak. The question is, which barbecue place? Readers are invited to submit suggestions.
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* Regular readers will recall Ella’s first encounter with barbecue flavor last summer, when she was, alas, too young to eat any.