Tournament of Books bracket.
Designed by Liz Meyer, the new look twists the old school bracket into an attractive maze, pitting the 16 finalists against each other. Feast your eyes on the lovely bracket to the right. You can download a high-res version on the TMN website.
The showdown begins on Monday, with the pre-game event where judge Nathan Bradley selects his favorite from these three books: The Yellow Birds, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, and Fobbit. I've been waiting a while for this contest to determine the 16th book (mainly because I'll need to read it).
Tune in tomorrow as I begin bracking, a.k.a. the point where I tell you which books I would select in each of the first round's contests. I've already given a few hints on Twitter, so follow me at @ReadEatThink if you want some off-the-cuff commentary.
Don't get me wrong, I am the first to admit that the word "fried" and the word "sugar" are very popular in the Southern cooking lexicon.
But I think it is big stretch to say that beignets are the Ultimate Southern Food. They are not.
They are a regional Southern food, I'll give you that. But go into any restaurant in Kentucky, Tennessee, or North Carolina and try to order them. No go.
Cornbread? Yep. Barbecue? Of course. And most of the other items on your bracket would be on any respected Southern menu.
I'm a big fan of beignets myself. I even voted for them in the regional part of your food bracket. But I also voted for Fried Chicken (which lost to Country Fried Steak), for Mac and Cheese (which lost to Cornbread), and for Shrimp & Grits (which lost to Hoppin' John).
Before you say I'm bitter (cause I'm not), let's just admit that at least those items that beat my votes are quintessentially Southern, no matter which region you live in.
I do question your voting system, though. And your title. If something is "Ultimate," then it better represent. By that I mean that you should be able to walk into any Southern watering hole and say: "Hey, ya'll! What's a beignet?" and get a good answer.
You know and I know that it's just a fancy doughnut, but even doughnuts aren't super-Southern unless they have Krispy Kreme stamped on their box (look it up - they are based in N.C.).
No, you can't please everyone all the time. But I suspect your chart topper won't please anyone most of the time.
A Disgruntled Southerner
Now I've seen everything. You've read the recent posts I've done about The Morning News and its book bracket. Well Garden & Gun magazine is now doing a Southern food bracket. And someone out there is even doing a basketball bracket, apparently.I just found the food bracket, which is genius. Its point is to crown the king-daddy of all Southern dishes. A tournament like that could spark some serious slap-fights at the next family reunion.
Garden & Gun splits its bracket into four categories: Classic, Barbecue, Low Country, and Cajun/Creole. This fight is almost down to the Final Four (which sounds familiar, no?). And you can vote on all of your favorites.
Evidently, Cornbread beat out Mac & Cheese to advance in the Barbecue segment. Does that even make sense? First, there is no barbecue involved. And second, how in the world could Mac & Cheese beat Cornbread? My Southern-girl roots are deeply offended.
Oh, and why isn't biscuits-and-gravy included? Was the person who compiled this bracket even Southern? But I digress.
Yesterday, I voted for Shrimp & Grits over Hoppin' John in the Low Country category, but Hoppin' John won. Over grits. Oh, and did I mention the grits? The one foodstuff that originated in the South? Humph.
Today's vote will cause family rifts – it pits Fried Chicken against Country Fried Steak. My husband and I could have a fight over that one (I voted for Fried Chicken).
And tomorrow it's Beignets vs. Gumbo in the Cajun/Creole segment. Duh – fried dough with sugar wins every time. Just go to any county fair in the South if you don't agree and you'll see what I mean. The overall winner will be announced on April 9.
I'll keep an eye on this bracket, just like I'm keeping you up to date on The Morning News Tournament of Books. Time to check in on the Zombie Rounds.
As I told you on Monday, this is the one chance for fans to vote books back into contention (raising them from the dead, so to speak). And what do you know, some
Never thought I'd root for baseball, but "Go Fielding!"