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GOOD STUFF TO EAT – Williams Grocery

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Of all of the human activities that bring us pleasure, nothing tops eating. Most of us indulge three or more times a day, and rather than decreasing with age, this passion just keeps getting better and better. By the time we reach maturity, if ever we really do, we have developed strong opinions about our favorite foods, and are want to share these with our family and friends. This genre of blog posts is my attempt to share my food preferences with anyone who might have even the least interest in the subject.

I don’t even suggest that these products, places to eat and recipes are the best, but they are certainly my favorites at this point in life. I suspect I will be hearing from many of you with other suggestions, and I’m open for new culinary adventures. Here is .a Company that I recently had the pleasure of discovering.

WILLIAMS GROCERY

HARALSON, GEORGIA

My friend Bobby Davis recently dropped by my office and brought me several pounds of smoked sausage, which was made and sold at Williams Store and Red Door Café in Haralson, Georgia. We fried up a batch on Sunday morning, and I have to say, it was among the best I’ve ever tried. Bobby had cautioned me that it was only available from the first freeze until they run out sometime in March.

This told me that it was the real thing, made during hog killing time, seasoned with a unique mixture of spices and smoked to savory perfection under close attention. This resulted in a medium spicy sausage, with a distinct flavor of sage. I knew that I’d have to go visit Williams as soon as possible.

An opportunity presented itself on Monday morning. My grandson Jackson is making his summer visit to Alabama, and I’m always looking for things we can do together. I called Williams Grocery, and a soft spoken young lady assured me that even though they didn’t have any of the smoked sausage left, they did have their regular link and bulk available, and yes, the Café was open for lunch.

I convinced Clista to ride with Jackson and me to have lunch in Haralson. Her first question was, “do you know how to get there?” Scoffing at her lack of faith in my navigational skills, I assured her that I did. That may have been stretching the truth a bit. Indeed, I knew where Haralson was on the map — how to get there, maybe not so much. But, not to worry, I own a GPS system, if all else fails.

When I collected Jackson, his first question was,

“Are we gonna get lost again?”

Clista glared at me and said,

“Most likely.”

I had taken the precaution of pulling up the driving directions from MapQuest, and felt confident that we could be in Haralson in time for lunch, despite the lost hour in time zone change. MapQuest’s directions were simple. Take Exit 28 off I-85 to Atlanta and follow SR 54 to Haralson. What could possibly go wrong?

Georgia State Road 54 must have been laid out by a drunken gypsy riding backwards on a mule. The noon hour had come and gone, and we were still meandering across rural Georgia, staying on SR 54, with no evidence that we were getting any closer to Haralson. Jackson is a pretty good sport about being lost, but like most teenagers, the prospect of missing lunch had him mightily concerned.

Finally, Clista insisted that I pull to the shoulder and she whipped out her cell phone and went to Waze. She then led me on still another thirty minute drive, before we finally found Haralson. Finding Williams Grocery was much easier. It’s right on Highway 54. We were still within the posted lunch hour at the Red Door. We found a table for four in the tiny café, and checked out the lunch menu, which was written on a chalkboard. A nice looking young man came over and asked if we’d like something to drink, and we all did. Things were looking up at this point. When I ordered my usual diet Coke, Tony Williams, the proprietor didn’t reply,

“Will Diet Pepsi be okay?”

It just galls my fanny to have an eatery in Alabama, Georgia, or Mississippi replace our southern cold drink standard with a Yankee “soda.” You’d think that a product developed in Atlanta, and first bottled in Vicksburg, Mississippi, would be held sacred.

Having passed my Coke test, we placed our orders for two of the plate lunches, and Jackson ordered a BBQ sandwich. Clista had a veggie plate with four veggies, along with homemade cornbread, and declared it top notch.

I ordered the fried pork chop, mashed potatoes and brown gravy. I also asked Tony to cook me a couple of patties of his bulk sausage. The plate came out with two huge pork chops and real mashed potatoes. The sausage patties were perfectly seasoned, and I ordered two pounds to take home.

Before we left, I asked Tony when I could place an order for the 2015 batch of smoked sausage. He suggested that I give him a call after the first freeze, when I could get as much as I liked.

Before we left, Jackson asked Tony the best way to get back to Opelika. He pointed to the street out front and said, just follow SR54 till it intersects with Hwy 16, turn left, and stay on it until you get to 1-85. We were home in less than half the time it took to get there.

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Categories: Uncategorized

6 replies »

  1. Looks like a day trip that I would have enjoyed. Put me down for some of that sausage.

    I was confused about the Pepsi vs Coke results. You say he asked if Diet Pepsi would be OK and then said they passed the Coke test. Asking if Diet Pepsi would be OK is clearly a Coke test failure.

    • David, if you’ll take another look Tony DIDN’T SAY would a Diet Pepsi be OK and thus passed the Cola test. Be particularly nice and there maybe some Williams sausage along with the Conecuh in your Christmas stocking.

  2. There’s a meat packer in Florence, Ms — Country Pleasin” – that makes a pretty good array of sausage also. Apparently they’ve gotten pretty big now — they’re in my local Wal-Mart.

  3. Tom, I grew up one block from the Coke bottling plant in Vicksburg. They delivered and picked up empties to our front door each week; little 10 oz bottles engraved on bottom with date and bottler. Good memories, thanks for reminding me. Williams Store in Haralson sounds like a place I would like. George

  4. Mr. Lawrence, although Pepsi-Cola is now a part of huge conglomerate of PepsiCo headquartered in Purchase, New York, its humble beginning started in New Bern, North Carolina. Therefore, Pepsi-Cola is also a southern drink. Since I grew up in central North Carolina, four North Carolina staples came to my mind: 1) Submerged a tube of Lance salted peanut in a 16 ounce Pepsi-Cola, 2) North Carolina vinegar based chopped pork barbecue, 3) Cheerwine and 4) Neese’s Country Sausage. If you ever decide to take a road trip to NC, please bring your Yeti Tundra 35 cooler pack with slabs of dry ice and pick up Neese’s Country Sausage and NC barbecue. It’ll be a well time spent! H

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