10.10.04

We're about to leave Memphis. Yesterday I got totally overloaded on Elvis at Graceland. We toured his mansion, saw a whole bunch of his white jumpsuits, lusted after his cars, & walked through his airplane. Too much! Anyway, at the little restaurant there I finally wrapped my brain around a fundamental American concept:

Anything that's not meat is a vegetable.

Repeat after me: If it's not meat, then it's a vegetable.

I ordered the vegetable plate. What I got was: mashed potatoes from a box, overly salty limp green beans from a can, a sort of mixed rice medley (mostly white rice w/ a few grains of wild rice & some tiny bits of tomato or red pepper for color), supersweet candied yams, & mac&cheese (for which I didn't bother taking any lactose pills because I knew it wasn't real cheese).

Here it is. (Yonder is Donna's meatloaf.)

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Later on I got to have a brief conversation with the famous Wally Joe who grew up in his parents' Chinese restaurant in Cleveland, Mississippi, then later turned that restaurant into a famous foodie destination & also has another fancy restaurant here in Memphis. I asked him what the similarities & differences were between what he's doing now & what it was like to run a small-town Chinese restaurant. He said, lots of differences, no similarities. I said, none? No transferrable skills? He said, No. I asked, So, it sounds like you're happy about that? He said, Yeah, I guess I am happy about that.

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