Mike Birbiglia on Southern Food and Heart Attacks

Mike Birbiglia is in the middle of a pretty extensive tour to support his new book Sleepwalk with Me, and he just posted an entry to his blog about some of his experiences in the south. Like the book, it’s pretty great. Here’s a snippet:

But I had some amazing shows in the south, though I’m pretty sure they tried to kill me with their food. I don’t think it’s personal. I mean, I think the goal of Southern food is that you die. I actually tweeted that the other day and all these people tweeted me back, “But you die happy!” and I’m not so sure. I’ve never had a heart attack before, but are they more fun than they seem? As far as I’ve heard your heart stops and then you struggle for a breath until you die. It’s not like dying of a heart attack makes you feel like you’re eating fried cornbread dipped in honey butter. I’ve never heard of someone in the middle of a heart-attack shouting, “Oh wee! This makes me want to slap my mammy!”

That’s what our waitress told us, by the way, when Henry Philips (who opened up in the South and on the Madison and Milwaukee shows this weekend) and I went to Bullock’s, one of Durham’s most famous BBQ eateries. She put some hush puppies on the table, which for the uninformed is fried cornbread.That’s right FRIED CORNBREAD. It’s hard to get that cornbread down without some kind of incentive like fried grease. And when the waitress put it on the table, she said, “Dip it in the honey butter.” Oh perfect. I was worried that I wouldn’t have the motivation to eat the fried cornbread. But that honey butter should lubricate the situation. Then she said, “It’s so good you’ll slap your mammy.”

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