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‘Round these parts, we look forward to a whole lot at Thanksgiving… fresh biscuits, mama’s pecan pie, grandma’s sweet potato pie (can you tell we love pie?), stuffin’, football, turkey, and most of all… family! We have so much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving and hope your holiday is filled to the brim with cranberries and a whole lotta LOVE!

MARISSA: Heavens, y’all! I don¹t even know where to start! 2012 has been a year full of amazing blessings and incredible challenges – and I’m so grateful for them all! I am so thankful for the talented women I am not only blessed to work with everyday, but am able to call my friends. L, E, E, N + K, thank you! For our sweet readers, and talented clients. For my loving family – especially my mama, who is always there for me no matter what. For my handsome husband, BDK: you are the definition of a Southern gentleman, and my dream come true. Lastly, for God’s incredible grace. Without that, I am nothing.

This year, I’ll be spending Thanksgiving with the Kloess side of my family. Since I come from a small family, spending the holidays with this crowd is always a joy! Let’s just say we are one big ol’ Southern family – so big the dinner table has to be made of card tables and random chairs! Traditionally, my FIL deep fries a turkey in the backyard, and we celebrate with all the fixin’s, from homemade pecan pie to sweet potato casserole. I can’t wait! Even though I’ll miss my family and our traditions, I’m so thankful to have such wonderful in-laws to spend the holidays with.

NICOLE: This year, I am overwhelmed by how much there is to be thankful for! I’m so grateful for a loving family that gives me strength and some hilarious stories to tell and for terrific friends and a boyfriend who make me feel at home no matter where I am. I’m grateful for an amazing job that has filled my days with creativity and love and for a degree from the best University on the planet. Lastly, I’m grateful for my mom’s cooking, pug faces and Pantone. I’m heading to Charlotte today to bake pies and celebrate the holiday with my mom’s side of the family. Inevitably, there will be much debate over what to include in our Christmas lists and a lot of planning for my sister’s October 2013 wedding!

ALEXIA: I am thankful for my wonderful family, beautiful friends and unforgettable experiences at Southern Weddings this semester. I am also grateful for sweet tea, starry nights, cowboy boots and red velvet cupcakes. I am spending Thanksgiving at my grandparents’ house surrounded by family, laughter and of course a little pumpkin pie :)

EMILY: As usual, my gratitude cup overflows, which is something I’m grateful for in and of itself! I am so very thankful to call John my husband (after seven years of having a boyfriend – ha!) and for the person he is; for my parents, my siblings, and my parents and siblings in law (or, my parents and siblings in love, as one of my friends likes to say); for a God who in ALL things works for the good of those who love Him and for a church family that reminds me of that; for my sweet kitties and our warm house; for the health of those I love; for the blessing of living in this beautiful, amazing country; and for my job that I love so very much, and the amazing ladies with whom I get to work. Also, chocolate chunk pecan cookies. Yep, definitely thankful for those.

This year John and I are hosting Thanksgiving in North Carolina for my parents and one of my sisters. We’ll be a small group with entirely too much food, but I don’t really consider that a problem :)

KRISTIN: Thanksgiving 2012 marks my first married Thanksgiving, and I am looking forward to celebrating with my favorite husband and our amazing families. It is a well-known fact that I love ALL holidays and love to celebrate in BIG ways. On Thursday we will be crisscrossing the state of NC to celebrate, and I am responsible for bringing official ‘dishes’ to both meals as a reward for getting married (my late Grandma Jewell’s green bean-corn casserole — serious deliciousness and a family tradition — for my family and a sweet potato casserole for KPW’s). Thanksgiving day is sure to be overflowing with family, laughter, all my favorite foods*, and a nap, along with countless chances to reflect on all my many blessings.

During this sweet season of Thanksgiving I am reminded of the never ending listing of things that I am thankful for including, but not limited to, continued daily grace, my husband and our freshly-made marriage, our family, health, the SW family, the sunshine, and being able to find joy in each day. Hope y’all have a blessed Thanksgiving. Bring on the mashed potatoes!! PS: *Seriously. The food. We served Thanksgiving dinner at our wedding reception because it is our absolute favorite meal. I can’t wait.

LARA: Thanksgiving is a double great day for us this year as today is Grace’s first birthday! It’s been a crazy and blessed year between motherhood, making a magazine and so much more. I am overwhelmingly grateful for you, sweet readers and friends. Thank you for making this holiday time so special for us with all the excitement and kind words about V5! The story of Southern Weddings makes my heart so FULL. I am grateful for my family, dear friends, the SW ladies, a job that I love and most of all for grace. Amazing grace. God is good, y’all! This year, I’ll be attempting to cook my first Thanksgiving dinner by myself, so wish me luck, y’all! Thanksgiving is definitely my favorite meal all year with the sweet potatoes and turnip puree topping my list of leftover highlights. Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo credits, top to bottom: Nancy Ray, Nicole’s iPhone, personal, Tanja Lippert, Martha Manning, the Cheesebooth from the SW Launch Party last week!

lara Written with love by Lara Casey

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Y’all already learned in a previous Southern Delicacy column that I am a big fan of the big hair bow, but did you know that growing up I did competitive gymnastics, too? We traveled a lot around the Southeast for meets, and my mom always tried to build in fun stops along the way. One of the stops we made when in Atlanta was a very famous landmark restaurant: The Varsity!

For those of you not familiar with The Varsity, its downtown location is the world’s largest drive-in (or World’s Largest Drive-In, I suppose, since it does hold the official title!). Opened in 1928, it sits on more than two acres and can accommodate 600 cars and over eight hundred people inside. On Georgia Tech football gamedays, up to 30,000 people visit The Varsity. Holy cow!!

My favorite part of visiting was the vintage decor and nostalgic “What’ll ya have” greeting from servers. A visit to The Varsity will definitely send you back in time!

Vue Photography

Ready for a few numbers? Every day, The Varsity goes through two miles of hot dogs, a ton of onions, 2500 pounds of potatoes, 5000 fried pies (peach and apple), and 300 gallons of made-from-scratch chili. The original owner, Frank Gordy, insisted on fresh ingredients, and three to six deliveries per day is still routine. According to The Varsity’s website, when asked what he did with leftovers, he responded: “We don’t have any.” Love that!

Something else fun involving numbers: The Varsity has always managed its extensive drive-in business by numbering cars and employing “car hops,” or “curb men.” These fellows sang and danced while reciting the menu (awesome!), and some even used their time at The Varsity to launch a career in Hollywood!

Finally, my favorite fact about The Varsity has to be that it has its own lingo. A few of my personal favorites: the Naked Dog (a plain hot dog in a bun), Walk a Dog (a hot dog to go) and the Mary Brown Steak (a plain hamburger without a bun). Take that, In-N-Out!

Tell me: Have you ever been to The Varsity? Ever considered serving their goodies at your wedding like our cute couple above? They do cater!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Lauren Stone reply

    OMG! This is me and my now husband, Ryals. I would like to go on record and say that he was the one who initially suggested having a late night Varsity snack at our wedding and it was a huge hit! Check out Vue’s photo album on their website!

  2. avatar Emily reply

    Hi Lauren! That is SO awesome! Y’all looked fabulous at your wedding! :)

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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Southern Delicacy: Beignets

by in Main, Southern Food on

Ooh, y’all! This post is bound to make you hungry (just ask Emily!), so I’d like to give you fair warning before you scroll down.

Ready? Beignets are a pastry made of fried dough, traditionally served with powdered sugar on top. Though fried dough can be found internationally (and at most state fairs!), the origin of the term beignet is specifically French — it means “bump”! Perfect for these pillowy treats, no?

Top two photos by Jamie Beck, photo on left by Jim Franco from Southern Living, photo on right by Ryan Benyi from My Recipes

In the South, beignets are most closely associated with New Orleans, which makes sense, since these delicacies were introduced in America by the Acadians (French colonists) in the 18th century. They were quickly incorporated into home-style Creole cooking, and NOLA still reigns supreme as the U.S. home of the beignet.

The most famous beignet spot is Cafe Du Monde, a coffee stand on Decatur Street that opened in 1862 (and is now open 24 hours a day — good for satisfying cravings at all hours of the morning and night!).

Photo by Rachel Thurston via Southern Weddings

Fun fact: Beignets were declared the official state doughnut of Louisiana in 1986. I’m a fan of any state that has a state doughnut!!

These light-as-air sweets would make a perfect late-night snack at a wedding – especially served with hot cocoa or coffee! For an extra fun twist, ask your caterer to cut the dough into heart shapes!

Heart beignets from The Sweetest Occasion, mini beignets from Martha Stewart Weddings, beignets with coffee from The Jewels of New York

Of course, there are many ways to serve beignets, including my personal favorite: the “biscuit beignet”! Yes, you heard me right! Just last week I had my fair share of them at Another Broken Egg Cafe. To die for!

Looking to try your hand at these puffy treats? Our favorite Southern cook (besides Lara’s mama, of course), Paula Dean, has a great recipe for French Quarter Beignets. You can also buy beignet mix from the Cafe Du Monde online shop — and they have a page of baking tips, too!

Tell me: Have you ever tried your hand at making beignets? Or have you been to Cafe Du Monde itself?

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Valerie (Pieceful Wedding) reply

    Oh my gosh, I love beignets…they are sooo good!!! And I love your idea of serving them at a wedding…such a unique snack!

  2. avatar Ashley reply

    New Orleans is a frequent weekend getaway spot for us and we ALWAYS go to Cafe Du Monde for beignets and coffee! My MoH is in the process of planning my NOLA bachelorette party and I know we’ll have to stop by the morning after!

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Yum! I think beignets sound like the perfect morning after bachelorette party snack! I think your MoH and I would get along well! : )

  3. avatar Megan reply

    I LOVE beignets! Growing up, my mom had a good friend who was from NOLA, so I was introduced to them early on. They sell Cafe Du Monde beignet mix at World Market so I like to make them on the weekends as a special treat!

  4. avatar Valerie reply

    Love it!! We served beignets as a late night snack at a wedding and guests LOVED it, even the ones who have had them a million times thought it was such a treat to have at a wedding.

  5. avatar Whitney reply

    LOVE Beignets! Me and my boy started dating after a college trip to NOLA & it has been our favorite vacay spot ever since! Now every time we are in the City we take a stroll to Cafe Du Monde for an after dinner snack… much powedered sugar goodness! My favorite wedding detail is that we are having beignets and a hot chocolate bar at around 11:00pm as the “later night snack” for our NYE wedding!

  6. avatar Brooke reply

    Yum! These sound so perfect for brunch with friends! Definitely going to try and make them this weekend. :)

  7. avatar janet reply

    All the Beignets are making my hungry. Great idea for the wedding.

  8. avatar The Wedding Painter Artist of New York City William West reply

    Those beignets are great with a cup of hot chocolate on a cool fall morning. Great

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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