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Tony Bourdain visits the Ozarks

I noticed earlier that tonight's "No Reservations" is in the Ozarks. I saw he was going to have squirrel pot pie (better him than me). Didn't know if anyone else was interested but since I do live in the Ozarks, it sounds interesting to me.

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  1. I love him and his bad self. I'm recording it.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Sue in Mt P

      I enjoyed the program . Not quite the way we live but not bad.Kinda thought there would be some biscuits and sausage gravy and maybe come to Springfield for Springfield style Cashew Chicken.It's not so hilly there,at least not what they showed. Never been to West Plains. I've always lived where you live on the hill or in the holler. They sure burnt the hell out of the meat and corn on the grill. Looked like Bobby Flay turned loose to me or men with too many beers under the belt. The wonderful author, well, I've read one book.. Looked at the other things he's written. I'm going to try to contact him and ask him if he's ever met anyone like the characters in his book and why the hell he fell face down in a fishing boat and broke his stupid shoulder.

      1. re: MellieMag

        Ha, ha. So what is Springfield Style Cashew Chicken?

          1. re: Gio

            Wow. Great story. I spent several years in Missouri and tried cashew chicken just once, at a place heralded by her as the "best in Springfield". It was certainly not Mr. Leong's-- it was a tiny take out place. And honestly, I found the stuff to be beige and bland, and I quickly lumped it with all my other "odd things Midwesterners do" file. Now that I'm older and wiser, I'd actually like to check out a really good version of the stuff.

            Mr Taster

    2. I really liked the part where he butchered and cooked the freshly shot mallards for the duck hunters. They had said that they never like to eat the ducks because it was so gamey. I thought Tony was really classy and sincere and not condescending, as he sometimes get. Those guys loved it. I also liked his quip about here is a 40 dollar dish in NYC.

      I also found it interesting that the racoon hunter had never tasted raccoon.

      1. Watched a movie last night "Winter's Bone" filmed in the Missouri Ozarks. A depressing movie - don't bother. But the 17 year old girl was teaching the 5 year old & 10 year old to skin and gut a squirrel. Reminded me of watching my grandparents skin a wild rabbit. Although we are rural VA, DH was asked why we haven't eaten squirrel.

        To me: squirrel = rodent.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Rella

          Funny enough, AB had Daniel Woodrell, the author of Winter's Bone on the show. Woodrell broke his shoulder on the show.

          1. re: Rella

            I loved that movie..different strokes:-) I too was surprised that the hunters often didn't eat what they shot- i.e. duck, raccoon.

            1. re: karenfinan

              Now that was a thin slice of America. I've spent some time in Joplin and that bar scene was classic Americana. Hooray for for Bourdain on blazing a new trail.

              1. re: karenfinan

                This was a fantastic movie, one of the best American films I saw last year.

                I ate squirrel once-a-year growing up: at my maternal grandfather's christmas dinner. I recall he was not so good at removing the shot. Kinda wonder if it was lead.

            2. I LOVED this program. I thought Bourdain was sincere and appreciative, and I loved the slice of Hidden America that the show portrayed. Squirrel Potpie? None for me, thanks. I'm just so full, I couldn't eat another bite. (Yep, I've tried it; too stringy and gamy for the likes of me...)
              Biscuits and 'lasses; Sawmill gravy; yeah, baby. IMO, this is the truest kind of American cooking - "make do with what you have, make it work or do without...."
              And I loved, loved, loved the characters on the show. They reminded me, some, of my ex-in-laws....good folks to a person, and decidedly remarkable.

              1. But seriously - why did that dude fall face down and break his shoulder? I noticed no moonshine in this episode.

                14 Replies
                1. re: linguafood

                  I thought this was an excellent episode; not necessarily for the food but I thought it was very interesting and entertaining.
                  If the woman with the skull & crossbones tattoo on her chest from the arm wrestling segment ever gets her own show, I will watch.
                  Anyone catch the name of the band that was on towards the end?

                  1. re: linguafood

                    The NR Mods must've cut that scene. : )
                    ?Seriously though; isn't true corn likker still fully illegal? I'm sure that the Travel Network "cannot be responsible for endorsing any form of activity which could be construed as blahblahblahblah".
                    Even though they showed the entire crew geeked outta their gourds in India, right outside the Bhangi shoppe.

                    1. re: mamachef

                      There was one really unique cooking tip in that show. Who would have ever thought to put Parm cheese in a squeeze bottle? Pure genius.

                      1. re: mamachef

                        I don't know if shine is legal or not. Since I live in the number one county in the number one state for meth production, I don't think anyone really cares if some old boy cooks up his own likker. The program was pretty good over all. My brother in law hunts and eats what he kills,he might eat squirrel but I had never seen or heard of anyone eating a coon before. I've read one of Daniel Woodrell's books ,forgot the name, not badly written but about nasty disgusting imaginary people. My niece and I looked up the "Winter's Bone" book and movie online last night,read about it and watched a clip. I really don't know where he gets this stuff. The house will be taken away because the man signed it over for his bail? Not happening here, not without his wife's signature. And there's a "clan" and the "clan's" women beat the young girl up.? Okay...... I've met some real white trash druggies through my son's crack whore wife and all that crap that Woodrell says is news to me. I think he fell down in the boat and hurt himself because he's never really done anything He sure disappeared from the program after that.. I think he's sitting at his computer locked up in his house making all this crap up about the Ozarks. "Teardrop"- a name for a grown man? Right..... And of course all young children must be taught to hunt and skin and cook a squirrel to survive. We don't have government agencies that will give aid to people in need or any churches that will help either.The biggest challenge I've seen with children of that age is getting them up from a video game,tv, or computer and trying to get them to eat healthy food.
                        The people were interesting,the bar scene was pretty funny,both times baked beans were served they must have been something heated up from a can because they were runny nasty things. The mashed potatoes looked like a pile of rocks.I don't know anyone that would put those messes on the table. The cornbread was less than it could have been too. We really do eat better than that. I'm ranting, sorry, that Woodrell character and his b.s. has pissed me off .My family has lived in the Ozarks for 200 years,other side of the family were always here. My great grandfathers fought for the Confederacy,both drew a pension later in life. They fought, they went home and took up the business of living. They didn't have to hide out. They didn't have anything left but not many did. No one came in and burned the family Bible and the house. That was the first time I had ever heard that. And the Jesse James hat thing? Never heard that before. The man is making this stuff up.

                          1. re: linguafood

                            Yep, pure fiction. But to MellieMag, this comment:

                            In the criminal subculture, having a teardrop tattooed on one's body - generally the face - signifies that the wearer of said tattoo has done a stretch of time in prison. So it's not that much of a stretch, considering that Woodrell probably conceptualized a backstory on his character that we have no way of divining. But if we were just to suppose.....that a fictional meth dealer had done some fictional time, and gotten a fictional prison tattoo....he could well go by that nickname. Unfortunately, we'll never know. : )

                            1. re: mamachef

                              a thought a teardrop tat meant you had a loved one on the otherside (in or out)

                              1. re: hill food

                                It may be regional, but here in California it signifies the wearer of the 'drop as having done a certain amount of time. I have also heard that it signifies a certain type of crime, in other states, so why not yet another variation? It all makes sense in a bizarre way, I guess.

                                1. re: mamachef

                                  For gang members, each teardrop is tattooed per each "kill".

                                  1. re: sedimental

                                    wow once in 1990 around 2 AM I was at a gas station on the 101 near the Madonna Inn (what Northeast of Santa Barbara-y?) and the clerk had 3 on her face and was seriously flirty (maybe she was bored) glad I'm not slutty as life coulda ended up in a very different place.

                          2. re: MellieMag

                            HA! yes Mellie we've got a heck of a lot worse things running around to be worried about than a lousy still (ooh maybe there's a summer project) - I'm gonna have to look for this re-run. what part(s) was he in? (note for the outsider: the Ozarks can mean a lot of things) I'm interested as I'm currently living about 40 minutes off I-44 (ok we're really Ozark foothills) but same idea. what county are you in? i'm sorta Maries/Phelps/Osage

                            1. re: hill food

                              He was around West Plains and in Joplin.I understand your note that the Ozarks can mean many things. Some places are still called the Ozarks but I never think of them that way. I've lived in Greene,Stone and Lawrence Counties all my life and we've lived in Lawrence (we're Number 1!) for over 20 years. I have to admit that I know much more about the drug and meth usage than I would like. If my son hadn't become involved in drugs,courtesy of his widow, he could still be alive today.She has the "417" area code tattooed on the back of her neck(our area code ).

                              1. re: MellieMag

                                sounds like a Klassy dame. (and I'm sorry to hear of your loss)

                      2. Loved the show but not the food, most of which looked overcooked and colorless--except for the duck that Chef Bourdain prepared (natch).

                        Winter's Bone is the best American movie of 2010 and features the most genuinely heroic character in recent cinema. By the way, anybody know how Daniel Woodrell is doing? I kept hoping they would update viewers at the end, but nada.

                        1. Looking forward to watching the episode on my DVR. I was afraid it would be all squirrel-skinnin' and hyuk hyuk, but I've always wanted to check out Ha Ha Tonka!

                          - I grew up in the Ozarks; as my husband points out, pretty much on the northern border of said territory, but we still considered ourselves of the Ozarks and never used other terms, like plains or midwest or ... whatever. There was plenty of hunting and hillbilly stuff. I remember trying at least once frog and turtle, not to mention a good amount of "wild produce." We used to have deer fairly regularly (I never liked it) and wild turkey sometimes. I never had squirrel or raccoon or goose or duck. My brother hunts, but nobody in my family, like, *fetishises* hunting like I know a lot of hunters do. so looking forward to seeing how my former home is portrayed.

                          Of course, most tv shows about the region show a lot of the reasons why I left! We'll see!

                          I'm dying to see Winter's Bone. It sounds/looks great. /$.02

                          13 Replies
                          1. re: occula

                            Watched the episode last night, and the only thing that I thought was kind of askew was the total focus on hunting. I mean, people in that region hunt a lot, but when I was a kid, we ate 'hunted food' a few times a year, if that, and produce from our garden probably 300+ days a year. I know it was the wrong season, but it seems like a visit to anybody over 50's lush backyard garden and canning/preserving labor would have been a much more accurate portrayal of how people really eat.

                            Otherwise, boy, did everything look familiar. The lovely fields full of old junk equipment, those buildings of big fieldstones ... the show had a church in a few scenes made of those stones, and my hometown had a number of homes, churches, and the high school built that way.

                            Had to look away during the squirrel mutilations, and, um, who eats raccoon?? really?? ick. I'm surprised it wasn't all frog legs and turtle stew and other crap to make it look as weird as possible. I dare speculate that most wildlife consumed there is fish, deer, and turkey.

                            ah well. interesting! Nowhere near where I grew up, really, but totally the same. Except that in my area, drinking was a mortal sin. You might as well, you know, swear, if you're determined to go straight to hell anyway. :-D

                            1. re: occula

                              My Dad is from the Ozarks, and when I was a kid we vacationed there a couple times, so I was interested to see this episode, too. I was also a little surprised by the emphasis on hunting, but my Grandpa was a farmer, so my food memories from there tend to be about how fresh all the everything was. Of course, this ep was shot in winter, so he couldn't really get into that, but you do have a point about the canning/preserves. Not as visually exciting (or manly) as shooting varmints, I guess.

                              I did like hearing about the cornbread and milk, and biscuits and gravy. Although the cornbread they served at that one dinner looked a little cakey to me ...

                              1. re: Debbie M

                                I agree with you about the cornbread. To me,cornbread should be made in an iron skillet and have a nice crust baked on the outside. When one of my sister's kids first started school, he saved a yellow fluffy square of what he thought was cake to eat at the end of the meal.Poor kid, it was someone's version of cornbread and he wanted no part of it.
                                I don't think my dad went to bed many nights of his life without having a glass of milk with cornbread crumbled in it. If he did, it wasn't because he didn't want the cornbread and milk.

                                1. re: MellieMag

                                  Ha! I grew up in California, but was used to eating crusty cornbread, because that's the kind my dad taught my mom how to make (being from Okinawa, she had no preconceived notions of how it should be made). The first time I came across a big, fluffy piece of cake-like cornbread, I had the same reaction as your sister's kid!

                                  My Dad spent most of his working life on the swing shift, so cornbread in milk was also his preferred bedtime meal.

                              2. re: occula

                                Occula: and now we have armadillo! one scared the crap out of me last summer snuffling along the patio under my chair (suckers jump when startled)

                                1. re: hill food

                                  You have live ones where you live? I see where they've been in the yard sometimes but we've never seen a live one.

                                  1. re: MellieMag

                                    oh yeah but they are pretty shy (my sighting was while I was nursing a beer on the patio listening to the iPod with my feet up, so I was being all still and quiet in semi-darkness) I;ve heard of them sighted up North of the Missouri river - I was skeptical until I saw mine. I should go over to a TX/SW board and get roasting/grilling tips.

                                    1. re: hill food

                                      Ask for a 'Armadillo On The Half Shell' recipe for sure!!!!

                                  2. re: hill food

                                    I haven't seen a live one yet, but I see several of them dead along the highway when I visit my mom down there!

                                    1. re: occula

                                      If you see where armadillos have been rooting in your yard and want to see a live one, then walk around with a flashlight after dark. They will actually run towards you. We had them in south GA when I was a teen.

                                      1. re: alliedawn_98

                                        allie: sounds like a good after-the-BBQ party trick!

                                        1. re: hill food

                                          Rofl! I wish I had thought of that when I lived down there! So far, I haven't seen any signs of armadillos in VA.

                                          1. re: alliedawn_98

                                            patience, I never thought I'd see them here.

                              3. The episode was interesting, but yeah, between that and Winter's Bone, I'd think the Ozarks were full of meth heads!
                                When Tony cooked the duck, one of the guys said something about not eating it usually because it tasted bad. So, they're shooting just for sport and not eating their kill?

                                15 Replies
                                1. re: monavano

                                  I wondered that about the ducks as well. I really hate it when people do that. My husband has seen people throw the body of the deer away and just cut off the horns. I was hoping that the duck hunters would say they gave the meat to someone who enjoyed it. My cousin always donates his deer to a shelter.
                                  I'm afraid we do have a lot more methheads than we want. Trying to buy Sudafed, Primatene, anything of that nature, requires that you show your driver's license to the pharmacist and you are limited on how much you can buy each time and over a month as well. But I don't think any big time meth dealer is going to be called "Teardrop" and I've yet to hear of a clan with women that whoop on other people. Usually, the term used for meth dealers isn't "clan", but "losers".

                                  1. re: MellieMag

                                    You have to show your driver's license to the pharmacist for buying sudafed outside of the Ozarks, too. I believe that measure was introduced a few years ago to curb meth production.

                                    Sure doesn't look like it's had much of an effect, apart from being a massive PITA for us regular, non-meth head folks.

                                    1. re: linguafood

                                      I agree. I do wonder how they get enough of the stuff though. I had never heard of the band,love the place but didn't know about the band.Sounded a little like Daredevils to me. I would have liked to seen someone preparing a meal using home canned/frozen food from a home garden though. I thought we were out of okra and my old man dug some out of the bottom of the freezer. It was so good. I sure hope we grow more this year than we did last year.

                                      1. re: MellieMag

                                        Do you do anything to the okra after picking it to prepare it for the freezer? My thoughts are just to throw it in a bag.

                                        Okra is one thing we can grow in the garden (in Virginia) that never has any bugs or worms.

                                        Fresh: I love it just in a hot skillet fried in a little oil. Nothing better.

                                        1. re: Rella

                                          I wash and chop the okra up, sprinkle it with salt so it sweats and then add the cornmeal to it after a few minutes. Then I bag it up and freeze it.My mom always just chopped it and froze it but it seems to me like I have to let it thaw some if it's frozen like that before I can put meal on it. I'm lazy and when there's already meal on the okra, I put it in the skillet with some oil, low temp and put the lid on it. Let it thaw and cook kind of at the same time. It is good about bugs not liking it so much. We have had deer to eat some of the pods but then one year they pulled the beets up and ate them. I hope ours does well this year. One year I filled a 17 cubic ft. freezer with nothing but okra.

                                          1. re: MellieMag

                                            Thanks, this is my favorite tip for freezing any kind of vegetable. I know I can trust it because you had a 17 cf freezer full of it :-)) That's "loving it."
                                            Since I don't grow that much, this is a helpful hint, as I can freeze a little at a time from my garden while in the small stage. My problem has been that I waited until I got a good mess, and then half of it was tough.

                                            1. re: MellieMag

                                              Mellie, do you give your veg to be frozen a quick blanch first, to stop the enzyme action that continues even when frozen?

                                              1. re: ospreycove

                                                I did blanch some green beans this year. i did it trying to preserve the Blue Lake green beans that my niece's kids want served whole and barely cooked. But the blanching seem to cook them a lot. I don't care for frozen green beans or Blue Lakes so this was something I had never done and it wasn't a great success. I don't blanch the okra. My mom didn't so I never have. Between Mom and I it's worked for us for over 50 years. I know you're supposed to blanch corn to freeze it. .My mom tried that and thought it tasted like the cob. She contacted our local extension office and was told to skip the blanching. So we did. My in laws freeze corn in the shuck and say it tastes fresher.We didn't grow enough last year to try that. We did freeze about 250 ears one year, just cleaned, washed and frozen.

                                                1. re: MellieMag

                                                  mellie....thasnks for the info. I will try not blanching.

                                            2. re: Rella

                                              relia, i'm in arlington and you inspire me to plant okra! typically i plant only herbs, because the squirrels always stole my tomatoes.

                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                I've not seen squirrels stealing tomatoes here, south of Winchester, VA, but the groundhogs are so bold as to wait until the tomatoes are ripe, and munch on them in broad daylight.

                                                1. re: Rella

                                                  oh, that's funny. yep, i witnessed the squirrel nicking one off at the stem as it was just ripe, then carrying it across the yard. i yelled "STOP THIEF!" and he dropped it and bolted.
                                                  of course, the crows will eat anything. we have deer nearby, but i don't see them often (but i think i would if i had tomatoes. ;-).

                                                  the garden battle. our neighbors had to deal with that ugly horrible tomato hornworm on their tomato vines -- but they had lots of vines reaching up on wires to their roofline!

                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                    DH picks those tomato worms off by hand. We've never really had any good tomatoes, just a few.

                                                    I even tried to Aerogarden indoor set-ups for over winter produce, I purchased 3, one high for climbing tomatoes, but actually it was all in vain, except for basil.

                                                    1. re: Rella

                                                      i always wondered about those aerorgardens. it is a shame they didn't work, because they are expensive.

                                                      you know that rosemary can be brought in as a clipping and will overwinter in a pot of soil very nicely. i just stuck mine in the potting soil!

                                            3. re: MellieMag

                                              multiple people sourcing it, now that MO has the real-time database to track purchases (thank you techies cause we don't need that crap around here) I'm sure the makers will find internet sources or how to manufacture it themselves sooner or later.

                                              I may need to grow okra this year.

                                      2. I didn't have high hopes for this episode when it started. I've been as guilty as anyone of dismissing the the Ozarks as boring hinterlands with nothing much to offer outside of camping, and even worse, of having that view having never actually been there.

                                        There seems to be a lot of natural beauty to the land out there, and I was amazed how clear the water was in the stream where they were fishing. I'm not a hunter myself, though I have no moral or ethical objections to it, and at least the hunters shown in the episode, though fairly avid, didn't seem to have a 'kill just to kill' attitude.

                                        I think I might have actually tried the squirrel pot pie. After all, a squirrel doesn't seem that different from a rabbit to me, and they live on nuts and seeds, so the meat is probably pretty decent, at least for a country squirrel that isn't rooting through trash for its meals. I've always thought of Raccoons as scavengers though, and having raccoon = rabies pounded into my head for years on end would make me hesitant to try one of those.

                                        All in all, I think Tony summed it up well - I don't think I would be ready to move there, but he made it seem like a worthwhile place to visit and learn more about, and I think he gave the locals a fair shake and showed them in a positive light.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                          ah but Tute, their favorite food really is acorn, so the tannin is heavy and they are extremely lean AND if the musk glands aren't removed...

                                          1. re: hill food

                                            hill, if acorn causes a problem, why is one of the world's most expensive foods the pigs of Spain who live in the forest, eat acorns almost exclusively, and are the source of serrano and iberico hams?

                                            1. re: Mayor of Melonville

                                              good question, maybe the squirrels need to be salt cured and hung in a leather sack in a cave for a few months to a year like those are.

                                        2. Ate squirrel in burgoo (in Virginia in the 60's). Had lots of friends who hunted, and it all (mostly) went into the pot. Never knew anyone who ate raccoon -- they were hunted because they were pests (pillaged chicken houses).

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                            Grew up at the edge of the Ozarks, grandfather came out of the holler to go to college, meth all over the county where I grew up. Loved Winter's Bone, my pals who work in ERs closer to the area implied nodded knowingly about it.

                                            Ex-husband was a hunter (delightful current one is a gatherer, which I find more pleasant) and I've cooked a coon. Roasted w/ sweet potatoes. Okay, not great. I am told that possum is quite vile and very fatty. Cannot tell you how many squirrels and rabbits I've fried. (Never had the sense to use the rabbit in a pasta sauce, but that was many years ago, and actually the gent is dead.)

                                            1. re: lemons

                                              The only way I've eaten raccoon is braised in a tomato base/onions/celery/carrots/etc. it is simmered to the point of falling away from the bone. The way it was prepared on Bourdain's show would yield a tough strong meat. In my opinion. As for squirrels, My problem in my "hunting/gathering" days was when you skinned them the little hairs got everywhere and you had trouble washing them off the meat. The hairs stuck to the muscles and were not going to give up!!! Spoke to an old employee of mine who said her favorite dish was "Squirrel Heads and Rice", .....O.K.......

                                              1. re: ospreycove

                                                That was the first time I had ever seen a raccoon cooked. I can give that a miss. My kids and I have fed the raccoons around our house. They would come up on the porch,dip into a bowl of food with their hands,than cock their heads to listen to us. I had plastic Easter eggs in a basket on the porch one year. The raccoons kept putting them in their water bowl every night trying to soften those things up so they could eat them.So we never really considered them a food item.

                                              2. re: lemons

                                                Rabbit is one of my favorite meats. I have a reliable local source, so I don't have to pay the $25 per beast that the chi chi markets demand.

                                              3. re: pikawicca

                                                I live in southern VA and some guy asked my SO if he wanted to eat some raccoon not too long ago. The guy was going hunting that night and was going to share it with him. My SO is not that adventurous when it comes to food.

                                              4. Bourdain has really gained weight over the years, esp. that pot belly.

                                                15 Replies
                                                  1. re: karenfinan

                                                    It was really apparent in the Haiti episode, esp. if you watch some of the 2007 shows to compare.

                                                    I guess abstaining from coke, tobacco, etc., can really do that to a person.

                                                    1. re: karenfinan

                                                      no cigarettes. he hasn't been doing heroin forever, but only quit smoking relatively recently because of his daughter's birth.

                                                      i always thought heroin will screw up your metabolism for good, but never underestimate the power of nicotine withdrawal = poundage galore.

                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                        and then there is age....and what it does to the metabolism. He's no kid.

                                                        1. re: karenfinan

                                                          I like the way he looks,more weight or not.

                                                    2. re: ipsedixit

                                                      No drugs, but plenty of booze-ski. I say that pokin' out thingy's his LIVER.

                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                        Ahmmmm my "Liver" is kinda pokin out .....Not from booze-ski however ~~ Maybe too much milk and bread??

                                                        1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                          Oh me, oh my. I could manage that. Is it What's for Dinner to home?
                                                          Jealous jealous. But so happy for you, if it is.

                                                          1. re: mamachef

                                                            Sometimes for Sunday night supper....with buttermilk or sweet milk :) Think I like the sweet milk best...

                                                      2. re: ipsedixit

                                                        Oh cut the guy some slack for heaven's sake. He's 55 years old & makes his living eating.

                                                        Quit drugs (a long time ago), quit smoking (2 years ago, I believe), & I've yet to hear that - regardless of what he does on the show - that he's an alcoholic.

                                                        1. re: Breezychow

                                                          Totally agreed, Breezy. He's got a baby now too, which has apparently caused him to do all sorts of crazy things like have a positive outlook and enjoy human company! ;) Seriously, if you've watched the show for any length of time, you'll see what a difference a family has made, in a good way. This man ain't drinkin' himself into an early grave if he can help it.

                                                          1. re: LauraGrace

                                                            Totally agree! I think he looks great - he's still very slim. And if you eat for a living? Kudos for him for giving up smoking - as a smoker I'm sure that was very hard!

                                                        2. re: ipsedixit

                                                          I disagree. I don't see a pot belly. Looks fine to me.

                                                          1. re: marymac

                                                            hey even us middle-aged guys who try to stay in some semblance of fit get that belly like it or not, it's not like he has a 'Dunlop' or anything and in the context of pop culture, let's keep the image-conscious self-destructive obsessions in the demographic where they belong - teen-age girls (sorry that was in bad taste, but I see so much worse in guys far younger than he).

                                                        3. I thought there were some glaring problems with this episode of NR, namely it portrayed the region fairly homogenously and stuck to the usual cliches, like EVERYONE hunts or doesn't eat. Meh. Mountain people have known this bs to be just that for generations. It might not be the most fertile land in the US, but it's far from hard scrabble.

                                                          I sort of enjoyed watching Woodrell fall off the boat, though. I pretty much hated Winter's Bone, though the actress who portrayed Ree Dolly in the film did some fantastic work with a character who was all over the place, poorly defined, and playing a real stinker of a plot.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: amyzan

                                                            I've never eaten a meal that someone had to hunt to provide. My husband did kill a deer once, he kept some of the steaks and gave the rest to his grandparents. I cooked it for him, didn't eat it. He fishes. If he wants to eat it, he knows he has to clean it and cook it. I don't care for fish.
                                                            I've not seen the movie yet. My niece was reading fragments of the book, saying that the youngest children had to be taught how to kill and clean a squirrel before the older daughter could leave them? Oookay. Maybe during the Civil War, I don't know. Kids of that age that I know, and my niece and her 12 and 13 year old kids live in a small house on our property, have real problems since they got in trouble and had full time cell phone access taken away. And the 12 year old girl wasn't allowed online for a week. She could still watch tv, movies,play Nintendo and Wi. They have multiple tvs with various game systems hooked up. She knows how to survive. She can make ramen noodles and nuke hot pockets.

                                                            1. re: MellieMag

                                                              Yeah, my paternal grandmother's family has been on the Arkansas side of the "Ozarks," actually the Boston Mountains, since the early 19th century. Woodrell's characters are classic hillbilly gothic stereotypes, no matter the "poetic" language used to describe them and their lives. Frankly, I don't think Bourdain did that much better. I remember being particularly annoyed at his going along with that "life has always been hard" in the Ozarks. That's just the lame excuse given by people too lazy to read history and understand economic realities for disenfranchised people. I think Bourdain was capable of much more, but maybe the accident really threw the itinerary? Dunno.

                                                              1. re: amyzan

                                                                I've meant to google and see if I could find out what happened to Woodrell. Looked like he stood up and crashed. My folks are all from Arkansas. I'm the only one born in MO,my sisters would call me the Yankee and said I wasn't fit to breathe Arkansas air. My family is from Northern Arkansas, Pyatt, Omaha, Lead Hill, Harrison is the biggest town in the area.
                                                                I've always told my children that we are Irish, Cherokee and our family fought for the Confederacy(No one in my family ever owned a slave that I can find). We're used to having our butts kicked.

                                                          2. Not to be elitist, but this was the most boring, mundane show he has done since the one on the Azores. I found nothing charming about the arm wrestling contest, and he did nothing to help us understand the culture of this neglected area. Not that I would want a sociological masterpiece, but I kept wondering why the children all don't leave and live elsewhere.Perhaps I missed the innate charm of the place, or he failed to express it among the drinking binges.

                                                            28 Replies
                                                            1. re: aadesmd

                                                              aadesmd: a lot of the children DO grow up and leave. jobs are scarce, and you have to be connected (family, school etc.) to be considered for anything. or be willing to drive 1 hour+ each way for work AND pull in odd jobs or subsistence farming on the side.

                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                Thought I would add something I learned tonight. When we watched the program, my niece said she thought Fred and Red's or Red and Fr ed's whatever it was, had closed. She has lived in Joplin recently and now lives here. However, she's been working on murals for the outside of a Chinese restaurant there and has been back and forth working there, weather permitting. She noticed one day that the For Sale signs were gone from the restaurant and there were cars around and she thought someone had reopened it. Next time she went to Joplin the signs were back and the place was closed. My husband talked to some people today who had watched NR and had been regulars at the restaurant. They said Fred died a couple of years ago and the place has been closed since then.. It was opened up for the filming of this program,then closed again.So the guy who said he hadn't eaten there in the last couple of years but now was going to have to come weekly now is pretty much out of luck.
                                                                We don't have charm in the Ozarks. Unless you go to Branson or Silver Dollar City, where we play the hillbilly long enough to charm your cash from you. Y'all come back now, ya hear? (We take ViSA, AMERICAN EXPRESS, all major credit cards).

                                                                1. re: MellieMag

                                                                  LOL MeggieMag! As a girl born and raised in the Ozarks (been gone about 15 years out of 50-something), I know exactly what you mean about no real charm in the Ozarks. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my home country. It's a special place and a bit hard for others to understand. I grew up "in town", but have several friends who didn't have electricity in their homes growing up. (And, I'm not all that ancient!)

                                                                  I've eaten many a meal where everything on the table was rasied/grown/hunted by those partaking. Lots of home-raised beef, fish caught by my Dad, turkey shot by Uncle Doug, veg grown in the big garden out back, bread made by grandma, Aunt Irene, or my sister. I don't think that's typical these days.

                                                                  I'll be watching the replay of this show tonight... should be interesting!

                                                                  1. re: onrushpam

                                                                    We didn't know we could make money out of what we are(sorta) until Paul Henning made the "Beverly Hillbillies" and then it was a rush to be like the hillbillies on tv. These hills don't support much more than strawberries, tomatoes or billy goats in places. My Dad would hire high school boys to come to our farm to pick rocks. I thought I had lived with rocks, but moved to an area where there were rock quarries. You couldn't pick all the rocks. My Mom was paid to plant tomatoes for the canning factory when she was a child. They would dig as much of a hole as they could, put the plant it and support it with rocks. I've done that myself many times.
                                                                    I love it here too. It's my home,don't have any plans to leave it. I've seen places in Springfield ( in the late '80s ) where people didn't have electricity and a couple of the houses had dirt floors. These people lived down below where we lived, on a street I didn't know existed.We lived in a nice house, my kids had new 10 speeds, waterbeds, the t-shirts everyone had to have, and they always had huge birthday parties. As the P.T. A. president, we collected items for baskets for needy people . The woman who was the Vice-President and I had to deliver the Christmas baskets. One house had no electricity, dirt floors. and the man who came to the door was at least 80. They all lived there,old people, kids, everyone. He started crying when he saw how much food and cleaning products we had bought. He said 'All this can't be for us!' So we unloaded the car, felt like asses because we had started off our day calling the Burger Kings in pursuit of the purple Crayola bear(we had all the other colors for 7 kids). And I had to check each day for the Cabbage Patch twins with lace gloves or the China traveler Cabbage Patch. I remember crying a lot and taking solace with a few libations that night. And I didn't know whether to hug my kids or yell at them when I got home and they wanted to get movies and pizza. (We got movies and pizza).

                                                                    1. re: onrushpam

                                                                      I meant to ask, would it be improper for me to ask where you lived in the Ozarks? I've lived in Stone, Lawrence and Greene counties. I read where Tony Bourdain said there were no mountains. Well, they're not mountains,they're hills. I said that to my husband and he said "Dumbass, that's why they call it West "Plains". It's flat there" It's not flat here. You either live in the hill or the holler and it helps if you have one leg shorter than the other, so the old timers say, so you can stand up. I guess if Tony was in West Plains, in town in Joplin and maybe Springfield(Ozarks Plateau) he didn't see the hills. We keep them between Springfield and the Arkansas line.

                                                                      1. re: MellieMag

                                                                        I grew up in Lebanon (Laclede county). My in-laws still live on a farm between Lebanon and Richland, with a big creek running through it, hills, bluffs and LOTS of rocks. My dad owned rock quarries near their farm. :-)
                                                                        We lived several years in Springfield and I taught at Ozark HS.
                                                                        One of my friends, who grew up without electricity, went on to be the lighting/technical designer for the Shoji Tabuchi show. That's the only Branson show I've seen, because he gave us free tickets.

                                                                        I can say, those hills sure feel like mountains when you're driving a truck, pulling a horse trailer from Ava to Lebanon on a dark and stormy night!

                                                                      2. re: onrushpam

                                                                        I think there's PLENTY of charm (real charm) outside of places like Branson, and that's just show charm, the real stuff isn't that easy to find. even though I've been coming here since I was three y.o. and I'm still an outsider, but I find lots of good give n take and joshing, an insular set of groups that are cautious at first.

                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                          I guess you're right about that.We are hospitable people. I've never gone to any of the shows in Branson. My Mom worked in the Branson Cafe a hundred or so years ago while my Dad was going to school( relax, Daddy wasn't in high school, it was his Doctorate).
                                                                          I'm glad to hear you've been coming here for a while. It's a beautiful place, I've never met any of Daniel Woodrells' people and hope I won't.
                                                                          Speaking of Woodrell, the best I can find is that he broke his shoulder. I have no clue why he stood up in the boat. My husband says he has no idea what they were doing,they weren't gigging the way he's ever seen or done. I read that Woodrell moved away from West Plains when he was 1, lived in St. Louis, KC, went to "Nam, California, Ark., Kansas, and Iowa and didn't return to Mo until he had written several books. That explains a lot to me.And to steal from Harold Bell Wright and some local radio guy, " 'Tis a pleasure to live in the Ozarks".

                                                                          1. re: MellieMag

                                                                            now Mellie, nobody around here if they had any manners would question what school he was finishing (or care - we'd probably already know...) but good for him!

                                                                            1. re: MellieMag

                                                                              I've read that Woodrell didn't grow up in Springfield, but rather that he was born there and moved upstate, nearer to St. Louis than to the Ozarks. His people have been in the state a long time, apparently, but his experiences growing up weren't in the Ozarks.

                                                                              1. re: amyzan

                                                                                So what? Graham Greene didn't grow up in Vietnam and yet wrote beautifully about it. Same with Woodrell and the Ozarks.

                                                                                1. re: Jeff C.

                                                                                  He claims to have grown up in the Ozarks in interviews. He is portrayed as having intimate, first hand knowledge of the area in media. I don't like it when writers claim a history that isn't really theirs. It's disingenuous at best, Jeff. He said in No Reservations that life had always been hard in the Ozarks, which is basically ignorant. Before the land was clear cut for timber (up through the early 20th c.,) it was actually supported a decent living for people who farmed. He has a particular viewpoint and it isn't geographically representative nor historically aware, as much as it is culturally specific. IMO, that culture is not particular to that geographical area. He's continuing stereotypes and profiting off the misery of people who've fought their exploitation for generations.

                                                                                  1. re: amyzan

                                                                                    good point about the clear-cutting, I always thought that's how midwest forests looked (lotta scrub with the occasional honking big one - makes you appreciate them more IMHO) until it was explained this is mostly all second growth.

                                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                                      Not Missouri, but in WV


                                                                                      "Cathedral State Park is an ancient hemlock forest of majestic proportions, and one of the last living commemorations of the vast virgin hemlock forest which once flourished in the Appalachian highlands."

                                                                                      I should go see it.

                                                                                    2. re: amyzan

                                                                                      amyzan: Since I'm not from the Ozarks (though I am from the rural South), I have no reason to doubt anything you've written above, except the assertion that a single relatively obscure creator of mid-list works of literary fiction is "profiting off the misery of people who've fought their exploitation for generation." Misery? I thought you said that view was "ignorant"? If all artists were held to the standards of political correctness and accuracy you espouse above, then the world would be deprived of some truly great art, including, in my humble opinion, Daniel Woodrell's.

                                                                                      1. re: Jeff C.

                                                                                        My niece and I have discussed Daniel Woodrell at length lately. I gave her the book I had of his. After reading it, she decided against renting "Winter's Bone".We read enough of "Winter's Bone" online. We have agreed that we read one book,found it offensive and don't want any more of it. .He didn't grow up or live in the Ozarks until he was an adult. I feel that he's using the Ozarks and he would write the same crap about any area. I wish it was about some other area. If y'all like his made up drivel, knock yourselves out, buy his books,etc. and make him a richer man.But keep in mind, that this man isn't from the Ozarks and does not write about people who live in the Ozarks. The Ozarks he writes about is in his own little mind. And I would bet you he had never been in a boat gigging before. Anyone, babies on up,knows better than to stand up in a boat like that.

                                                                                        1. re: MellieMag

                                                                                          well, woodrell isn't shakespaere, but by this thinking, william, who grew up in stratford on avon in england, had no business writing about ancient rome, scotland, denmark, blah blah blah.
                                                                                          as for the boat nonesense, let's try this: kobe bryant has played basketball his whole life. he still gets hurt doing it.

                                                                                          every time bourdain does a show from anywhere, someone comes on here and says that's not what it's really like.
                                                                                          all these complaints sound the same to me. people who wear their self-proclaimed authenticity and insight like saddam wore a human shield sound as authentic and insightful as that loudmouth drunk next to me at the bar.

                                                                                        2. re: Jeff C.

                                                                                          Different strokes, Jeff C. I said Woodrell's viewpoint wasn't historically aware, nor informed by being raised in southern Missouri. He's the one claiming authenticity to garner critical praise in the media, and not refuting, even encouraging assumptions about his background. Of course the man can write what he wants. I'm going to read it critically, and I wish his editor would've done the same. He needed to make some choices in Winter's Bone, IMO, and the novel had potential, but he was just too all over the place with Ree Dolly and her family. Murder, incest, lesbianism, drug abuse--genre gothic run rampant. He was similarly overblown in his conversation with Tony. "Life has always been hard in the Ozarks." Oh, get over yourself, Woodrell. Then, why had almost none of those hunters eaten raccoon or squirrel or duck?

                                                                                          1. re: amyzan

                                                                                            unless anyone here can a) provide a badge proving themselves a legally appointed member of the authenticity police b) provide any concrete evidence of woodrell being full of himself, or c) put a sentence together or elicit an emotion as well as woodrell, you all can forgive me for taking these so-called criticisms with a pulsating salt shower.

                                                                                            it's perfectly fine to dislike a book or an episode of a television show. however, convincing others to feel likewise takes a bit more doing than any posts here seem willing or able to do.

                                                                                            all i read here is a massive misunderstanding of television and literature.

                                                                                            1. re: linus

                                                                                              Pulsating salt shower, huh? Sounds painful. <smiley>

                                                                                              1. re: Jeff C.

                                                                                                Jeff, painful, but cleansing. actually sounds sorta good.

                                                                                                Linus: shit I play with writing some fiction and I hope to hell that no character sources see themselves in the portrayal (it's how I have fun some nights) or I pass it by them if it's just too obvious. so yes, fiction is just that as long as the writer mixes it up enough.

                                                                                      2. re: Jeff C.

                                                                                        Jeff, you say,

                                                                                        "So what? Graham Greene didn't grow up in Vietnam and yet wrote beautifully about it. Same with Woodrell and the Ozarks."


                                                                                        The Quiet American:

                                                                                        "The book draws on Greene's experiences as a SIS agent spying for Britain in World War II in Sierra Leone in the early 1940s and on winters spent from 1951 to 1954 in Saigon reporting on the French colonial war for The Times and Le Figaro. He was apparently inspired to write The Quiet American in October 1951 while driving back to Saigon from the Ben Tre province. He was accompanied by an American aid worker who lectured him about finding a “third force in Vietnam”. Greene spent three years writing it."

                                                                                        1. re: Rella

                                                                                          Like I said, Greene didn't grow up in Vietnam. He spent time there, just as Woodrell has spent time in the Ozarks.

                                                                                          That said, it's still a free country, and last time I checked, anybody can read (or write) anything they want.

                                                                                          Cuique suum, y'all...

                                                                                          1. re: Jeff C.

                                                                                            to repeat: the Ozarks can mean many things, and to add: it can mean more than what's immediately apparent.. in fact I'd like to see more messed up misunderstandings (just not the easy Cletus-the Slack-Jawed-Yokel ones - which are handy but just too easy and skips over what Cletus really does and insults you and me)

                                                                                            although yeah we've got those types - too easy a target.

                                                                                            1. re: hill food

                                                                                              That's why they call it fiction - it's made up. Nobody said that Winter's Bone was real.

                                                                                              1. re: lemons

                                                                                                oh yeah I don't get worked up over it, heck I make fun of my self. I claim I live in Hooterville (it's just past Pixley), when I go into STL I dress all trick-hicked-out to the point once I was picking up a friend at Lambert and she didn't even recognize me (called on the cell from across baggage claim "are you wearing a beat-up cowboy hat and shitkickers?").

                                                                                                1. re: hill food

                                                                                                  It is ALWAYS good to make fun of yourself! I believe it is what makes life interesting :)

                                                                                                  1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                    I completely agree sedimental, if you can't laugh at yourself, you have no room to laugh at anybody else. and that's a trade-off I am MORE than happy to make.

                                                                        2. MellieMag.....I really enjoyed the show, about the Ozarks, the people and their customs and eating habits.....I missed the name of the small fish, Tony 'Tryed-To-Harpoon', on the boat, when the author, Daniel Woodrell, fell & was/injured......Afterward... It Looked So/Delicious...(Fryed/W-No Grease) Simple/Tasty, White Fish.......I Missed the Name.....Thanks for your time