Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

February 25, 2013

TIM PRESTON: Doughnuts, beans for breakfast, fiddles and old flames

ASHLAND — Every now and then I run into someone whose job title is “dietitian,” or “nutritionist” or “doctor” who reads this column and I’m reminded that some folks are sent into either fits of laughter, or simply sugar shock, as I write about the things I’ve ingested the week before.

I was reminded of this last week after encountering people from both KDMC and OLBH whose work focuses on nutrition, at least one of whom took particular interest in the recent description of a “sausage doughnut” I enjoyed while on vacation. In case you missed it, that pastry came from a place called Dixie Donuts in North Wilkesboro, N.C., and I clearly stated I did not want to know anything about the fat and calories it contained. With such a lack of specifics, however, you invite speculation — especially from people who do this kind of thing for a living. At their request, I called my fellow newspaper writer and food-lover Jerry Lankford, and asked him to do some investigating (he said he would pick up a phone and call them). With a little luck, we’ll soon know more about the devilish doughnut from the South!

The reply came quickly, “I spoke to Kayla at Dixie Donuts. She didn’t have the information, but said she will do her best to figure it out and send it to me. She also said those doughnuts could be shipped to Kentucky, but it would be expensive (two-day air in an insulated container). It would be sans the maple drizzle, but it might could be shipped in a separate container inside the box or something. Get up a big order and it might be cost effective, not sure.”

With that out of the way for now, and despite my own perceptions I’ve been eating spinach-based salads or baked chicken breast dishes every day, the truth is I’m still popping buttons off my pants any time I need to be somewhere early in the morning. I’ve certainly managed to change my eating habits, and eliminate a lot of the processed meats and corn-based faux-foods we’ve come to accept as real, but the reflection along my waistline is far from obvious. I have lost weight, but not much and the only comfort I can extract is I’m eating “less unhealthy” than I was a few months ago. I put it that way because in the last few weeks I’ve concluded much of what I was labeling as “healthy” simply didn’t meet the definition. I mean, a spinach salad is a healthy meal, but not so much when you find ways to load it down with dressing, nuts and cheeses, or chase every bite with heavily buttered bread. And, as always, portion control is my demon to fight in this battle.

Considering I have given up my crown as king of the super-extra-value menu circuit, I’ve done OK. I do, however, remain open to suggestions, especially for meals that come through the car window. I’m actively working on the physical activity side of this formula, although I’m yet to even break a sweat thinking about it.

If these challenges sound familiar, let me know what has worked for you.

Beans for breakfast

Our buddy, “Rajah” Ron Elliott, at The Lunch Bucket has been on a feed-the-newsroom kick in recent weeks, and I’m enjoying a bowl of his soup beans (brown beans or pinto beans depending on where you grew up) and corn bread for breakfast as I write this.

Last week, Elliott packed up a big bucket of chili and shipped it to the newspaper with a pan of corn bread. Several of us enjoyed it that day, and there was so much of it we stashed more than half of it in the fridge. Mark Maynard remembered it was there on Monday and two or three of us enjoyed it again for lunch that day, agreeing it got even better during the hiatus.

Today’s staff lunch will be meat loaf and meat loaf sandwiches, along with any brown beans and corn bread that remain after my morning hunger rampage.

If you enjoy country-style cooking and good people, check out the menu and daily specials at The Lunch Bucket. For more information or to place a carry-out order (I used their drive-through for the first time last week), call (606) 929-5222.

Cool stuff

I love it when it when someone responds to a question with, “Well, it’s kind of weird ...”

Nicole Allen, owner of the recently opened Old Flame Antiques and Uniques at 824 29th St. in Ashland, used those words when I asked about the things she collects personally, followed by “I collect vintage auto parts.” She said her living room decor features seven different vintage car grills, and her kitchen is decorated with classic “soda fountain” items. Needless to say, I liked her immediately and really want to visit her new store.

Allen, who grew up in the Gulf Shore area of Alabama and moved to these hills after meeting her husband, Darin, went on to explain antiques and collectibles have been her passion since childhood, and that her late father, Russ Wuerffel, also dreamed of having a shop filled with old and unusual items. Old Flame Antiques and Uniques features handmade products along with “Kustom Kulture,” hot rod art, “UP-cycling” and repurposing items, signage and oil-related products.

The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. The shop is in the former Kelly’s Computer location, next to Automotive Fast-Lube. For more information, visit oldflameantiques.com or call (606) 585-8898.

Fine fiddles

A few years ago, my wife gave me a true mountain fiddle hand built by an old man “way up a holler in Pike County.” I’ve worked on my bowing quite a bit since then, although the only thing I can play well is an original piece I call “Cruelly Murdering a Cat, Slowly.” Despite my inability to play the thing, I have been fascinated by the depth of local talent when it comes time to break out the fiddles. Among the best of those players, in my opinion, is a young man named Michael Garvin, who has just opened a new shop on the second floor of the Camayo Arcade on Winchester Avenue in Ashland.

The shop, Kentucky Memories Traditional Music Center, is an extension of Garvin’s goal of preserving and passing along the music, culture and heritage of the region, as well as being the place where he will teach individual and group lessons and selling vintage and high-quality acoustic instruments.

“We’ve got plenty of guitar teachers and repair men around here, but not for fiddles,” said Garvin, who is an experienced repair guy for any instrument in the violin family.

He will also be selling a few select instruments, “but I don’t want to sound like I’m competing with the guitar store — I want them to send people to me,” he said, explaining he has access to many fine old fiddles and historic guitars that can be seen on his website and by appointment.

Garvin will soon be starting a new round of fiddle and guitar classes geared to beginners. The courses are offered in five sessions for $75, which I will proclaim an extreme bargain considering students will be working with an instructor who personally learned from legendary fiddlers including his own grandfather, Bert Garvin, as well as J.P. Fraley and Roger Cooper.

Garvin’s goals with the shop, and his all-family band Kentucky Memories, are nothing less than admirable and more extensive than I can get into here. To learn more, visit kentuckymemories.com or call (606) 585-2974 or (606) 836-3759.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

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