Alabama - The Heart of Dixie
Updated: Oct 16, 2022
Official Slogan: Sweet Home Alabama
Suggested Slogan: First in Friendship, Second in Diabetes
Two Truths and a Lie
Alabama is home to a huge football rivalry between the University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide and Auburn University’s Tigers. Traditionally, when Auburn won a big game, students would cover two massive oak trees on campus to celebrate. They would also do this whenever their rival, Alabama lost a big game. An incensed Alabama fan decided to put a stop to their joy, so in 2011 he snuck onto Auburn’s campus at night and poisoned the beloved trees. He served six months in jail for the crime.
Mobile is home to the largest cast-iron statue in the world. The massive sculpture depicts the Roman god Vulcan to honor the city's steel heritage. You see, Mobile lies at the base of the Appalachian mountains and is the only place on Earth where steel’s ingredients: limestone, coal, and iron ore, exist in close proximity to each other.
Alabama was a major battleground in the Civil Rights Movement, famous events include the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Selma March. Less well-remembered is that Lowndes County, Alabama was the birth of the Black Panther Party. It was technically named the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, but its panther emblem was more memorable than the acronym LCFO.
The Recipe - Lanestacks
Alabama has an official state dessert - Lane Cake. The story begins in 1898 when Emma Rylander Lane of Clayton County included the recipe for this treat in her self-published book “Some Good Things To Eat.” The cake won first prize at the county fair and is still beloved throughout the South. A Lane Cake starts with four layers of a white sponge, which are sandwiched with a boozy, fruit-filled custard. The creation is then covered with boiled icing. I can pass on a white sponge and sticky sweet frosting, but that boozy, fruit-filled custard sounded most intriguing. The original recipe called for egg yolks, sugar, and bourbon-soaked raisins. Most modern recipes include more ingredients like flaked coconut, toasted pecans, or candied cherries.
Once I saw the words coconut, eggs, and sugar together, my favorite coconut macaroon recipe came to mind. I use desiccated coconut which is finely ground instead of grated resulting in a finer, drier texture. The finished cookies do resemble haystacks, so I dubbed these treats “Lanestacks.” To honor the roots of the Lane Cake, I poured two ounces of whiskey over a half cup of raisins and cooked over low heat until all that liquor was absorbed. My whole kitchen smelled amazing. I roughly chopped those before adding them to the rest of the mix. I relish these simple recipes that require just a single bowl and wooden spoon. This recipe may have been the simplest so far in this project.
These are so tasty! I love the contrast between the outer crust and the luscious middle. I will certainly make these again, maybe with a whole rainbow of different raisins. I also believe regular raisins are ruined for me. Soaking them in bourbon is absolutely the best way to enjoy them.
Want to experience Alabama for yourself? Then Teresa recommends ...
Alas, I have not visited Alabama, though I would like the change that. I’ve enjoyed classics set in Alabama like the novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and the movie, “Fried Green Tomatoes.” I would definitely recommend a novel I devoured recently: “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi which traces a family through generations on either side of the Atlantic ocean.
Time for the whole truth
Mobile is a port city, all that stuff about steel is true regarding Birmingham.
(By the way, you can click on any of the 2 truths and a lie statements to visit the source of the trivia)