some people are surprised when they learn that i was born and raised in north carolina. i think this is because there are some common misperceptions about southern women, i.e. southern women are genteel, we say things like "well, i declare!", wear white kid gloves to drink our mint juleps and we are never, ever assertive about what we want. in my case, the correct answer is d. none of the above.
but one perception about southern women that is true is that we can coat our sneakiness in sticky sweet syrup so you'll never know what hit you over the head. case in point, the story of how my long-time friend (and college roommate) lauren met her husband. a couple of months ago, when the dubyuhnell girls got together in lexington (our college town), i round-robined my girlfriends for their meat cute stories. when lauren's turn came, she started out by summarizing her meat cute with her husband matt as a "cavewoman" approach. or as she put it oh-so-delicately, there was "some dragging involved".
i've known lauren, otherwise known as "paxton" (her maiden name) since we went to rival high schools in north carolina. we knew of each other through mutual acquaintances, but didn't get to know each other until we both visited washington & lee the same weekend during our senior year of high school. after that brief introduction, i wasn't sure i'd ever be friends with paxton, as she had decided to enroll at unc instead. but as fate would have it, somewhere between sending in her acceptance letter and matriculation, paxton decided instead to enroll at dubyuhnell. over the next four years, paxton and i became sorority sisters, close friends and eventually housemates. senior year, when paxton and i (with our other good friend amanda) lived in "charlies" (see reference: charlie's angels, the remake version...get it?), the three of us spent quite a bit of time concocting ideas that combined boys + booze (and sometimes playgrounds). these ideas can really only be described as "shenanigans" as we southern girls would say. one of our favorites was the game of drunk jenga (if you've never played, you really should. it has a tendency to lead to some interesting outcomes...)
another of our favorite activities during senior year was weekly bowling night at the local alley, followed by several rounds of drinks at our local bar, the palms. i still have pictures and stories from these bowling + bar nights that only those who were there are allowed to see and know. during alumni weekend of our senior year in college, paxton met matt during one such of these nights because a mutual friend happened to be dating his roommate. amanda, our other roommate, ever the outspoke one (she is NOT a southern girl, but rather, a self-priding "yankee girl") commented that "law school guys are such dorks" after paxton relayed that she had met a cute law school boy. such was the type of generalization that we snotty undergrad girls were prone to. see, dubyuhnell was a school all about divides and one of those was the divide between the awesome, hard-partying undergrads and the not-so-awesome, more hard-working law school students. paxton happened to be one of the few who could bridge that divide and she had decided to spend not just four, but an additional three years in lexington as both an undergrad and law school student.
a couple of weeks later, paxton ran into matt again at the palms (did i mention that our college town is super small?). this time, looking for a reason to continue talking to paxton, matt offered to give her some advice on the law student's experience and gave her his email. paxton didn't think much of matt's offer at the time...in fact, she was convinced he had given her a fake email! it wasn't until paxton matriculated at w&l law a few months later that she met matt again. this time, it was a game of drunken jenga (such an amazing game for so many different reasons!) that bonded them. drunk jenga led to a shots challenge (a truism: southern girls will rarely back down from a shot) which then led to "cavewoman" and eventually to the rest...
lauren and matt were married in lexington, va, in june of 2006.
when i asked paxton about her and matt's meat cute meal, she responded that it was bacon. erm...what? as a north carolina girl, i love pork in all its various forms (especially pulled pork!) more than most. but an entire meal of just bacon?! lauren explained that she and matt had once decided to cook a pound of bacon in as many different ways as possible. for example, elvis style, with peanut butter. or classic southern style, as in bacon biscuits. when it comes to food, i am smitten when a meal or dish can combine some of my favorite flavors and textures in one, so for paxton + matt's meat cute meal, i decided to try chocolate covered bacon. i have long loved bacon flavored chocolate (vosges has an amazing version) but i had never thought to make bacon the dominant ingredient. what i love about this is that it's super duper easy. being totally honest (and perhaps true to the inspiration), i made this when i was oh-so-mildly hungover (it's a great remedy!). luckily, my version was incredibly easy - i simply melted some chocolate (i like cadbury chocolate bars the best for this purpose. also, the "fancy" way to melt chocolate is in a double boiler, but the microwave just works as well if you watch to make sure the chocolate doesn't burn) and coated the pre-cooked bacon in it. for those of you who like the challenge, here's a recipe for bacon fudge that probably looks more impressive than my version but i'm pretty sure the bacony-chocolate goodness is the same no matter how you combine these two infatuating/ed food ingredients...